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Jim’s Australiana Spot – 2UE - October 22, 2017

Aussie CONS - A preview of Jim's new book

Jim's book is out next week - HIS 25TH  - George and Paul have a preview!

1 What is the most interesting thing about the famous Aussie poet Ern Malley?
  He didn't exist
2 Where would you find the museum collection of material relating to the longest court case in British History  - the Tichborne Case?
  Wagga Wagga
3 What part did DASHING SOLTAIRE and BOLD PERSONALITY play in our history?
  They were the "ring in" horses in the Fine Cotton affair.

It seems that many Australians are of the opinion that our nation has a particularly rich history of deceitful behaviour, cunning plans to relieve the gullible of their hard earned cash and imaginative and risky schemes designed and carried out with a certain, particularly Australian, panache, and daring. Perhaps it is so, although I am quite sure every nation has its fair share of risk-taking, daring & imaginative scammers and con men.

When our national 'character' is discussed, much is often made of our convict beginnings, and it is true that European settlement in Australia began with Sydney Cove being used as a dumping ground for the unwanted criminal elements of British society.  This undeniable historic fact has been used to explain many elements of our national character, including our tolerance of alcohol, a tendency to bend the rules here and there, and the belief that everyone deserves a 'fair go'.

Whether these characteristics are part of any real 'national character' or not is a very moot point. Perhaps this mythical 'Australian character' is something we'd like to believe.  Perhaps it is merely part of the romance of the past.

Themes run through the stories, yet I didn't set out to collect and relate the stories with any particular themes or subjects in mind. I simply looked for entertaining examples of clever and deceitful behaviour. I found that certain subjects, social issues and personality traits turned up again and again, especially events to do with gold, art, forgery and horses - and opportunity, rebellious spirit and class struggle. I'm sure that these things are not specifically unique to our national spirit and history, but I suspect that the combination of these elements is often especially Australian.




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