Travel all over the countryside

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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 11:16 am

The Bulletin salutes Australia’s televisual bushmen, including Jack Absalom, Malcolm Douglas, Alby Mangels, Les Hiddins, and the Leyland brothers:

Posted by Tim B. on 08/02/2006 at 12:03 PM
    1. Alby Mangels ! I vaguely recall an unsavoury incident involving one of his beautiful ‘assistants’, leading to his ignominious departure from adventure television. Anyone..?

      Posted by JAFA on 2006 08 02 at 12:30 PM • permalink


    1. “It was the trousers…”

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2006 08 02 at 12:31 PM • permalink


    1. I knew the guy on the right looked familiar.  I’m sure I’ve seen the one on the left playing a gibbering psycho, too.

      Posted by Achillea on 2006 08 02 at 01:40 PM • permalink


    1. These Aussie Bushmen on Downunder TV are just great.  Wish we had them here in the States.
      I remember seeing Malcolm Douglas, AKA The Bushtucker Man” trying to eat a Mangrove worm which is a foot long piece of snot.  His expresion was priceless.

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 08 02 at 02:06 PM • permalink


    1. All you need is cash…

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2006 08 02 at 02:18 PM • permalink


    1. Oy! What about the greatest of them all: Harry Butler??

      Posted by AlburyShifton on 2006 08 02 at 04:05 PM • permalink


    1. Imassie, the Bushtucker Man was Maj. Les Hiddens (rtd) not Malcolm Douglas from WA and yes I remember the mangrove worm incident…tasty!
      Remember the Leyland Bros built a dodgy looking theme park Leyland Bros World(?) with a huge dirt Ayers Rock as it central feature?
      Apparently the place went bust.
      Who’d of thunk it?

      Posted by 81Alpha on 2006 08 02 at 04:42 PM • permalink


    1. Re #7 Leyland Bros World.

      MIKE LEYLAND: We had bought 100 acres of land right on the highway because we wanted to put what was going to be called ‘Leyland Brothers World’ there. The rock itself cost $2 million to build and we’d put a couple of million each into the project up to that point and then we borrowed money from the bank to finish it off. The next thing you know, the interest rates had gone up to 26%. What we’d borrowed had just doubled and then it started to snowball. So the bank walked in, sent the receivers in put new locks on, gave us 20 minutes to get us off the place and, uh, it was the most devastating day, I reckon, I’ve ever gone through. We were absolutely broke, uh, to the point where I had to go bankrupt. And Mal did dwell on it a lot. I said, “Look, forget the what ifs. That’s all finished. Look ahead. That’s the only way you can go.” I still talk to him. We don’t do things together now, so it’s not the same. 
      Rooned they was! Guess who was the PM that cost us the dirt Ayers Rock and LBW??

      Posted by 81Alpha on 2006 08 02 at 04:45 PM • permalink


    1. My family used to watch the Leyland Brothers whenever they were on TV. A disparaging ex-boyfriend used to rubbish them with this song, to the tune of the Leyland Brothers’ theme song:

      Travelled all over the country side
      Ask the Leylands, ask the Leylands
      Fucked it up with a four-wheel-drive
      Ask the Leyland brothers.

      As a kid I used to be amazed that they did all this with one four wheel drive…


      Malcolm Douglas

      Bush Tucker Man, Les Hiddens

      My dad used to get mistaken for Harry Butler (can’t fin a decent photo of him on the web, but will show one of Dad later).

      Posted by kae on 2006 08 02 at 06:32 PM • permalink


    1. Kae, 81Alpha Thanks, I could have sworn that Malcom was they guy up to his ass in mud downing that worm.  Anyway, they all beat Steve Irwin.

      Posted by lmassie on 2006 08 02 at 06:39 PM • permalink


    1. The Leyland Brothers? The whole family with non-speaking parts helped make them widely appealing.

      They were completely genuine, and made their naively amateur style completely acceptable on the box.

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 08 02 at 07:18 PM • permalink


    1. What about the giant poop built by the Leyland Bros north of Newcastle, now shamefully derelict? Judy Green is my wife’s cousin- Alby Mangels is an idiot. I was on Thursday Island when he turned up, and his much-touted tough dog had the piss and pickhandles beaten out of it by a poodle cross on the jetty, and later that night Alby had a similar reception from a not terribly pugilistic Islander chap in the public bar of the Torres Hotel. What a twat.
      Les Hiddens was a good mate of my old man, who promoted his idea of recording and mapping sources of edible assets in the north of Australia to the brass in Canberra; Maj Les was given carte blanche to swan about with the Abos for years, and had a great time (and provided a worthwhile service, unlike a lot of other staff peanuts loose at the time). Les has also set up a retreat in FNQ for Vietnam vets to get on the piss, have paranoid delusions about Charlie being on the wire and compete with each others ear collections.
      Crazy Steve is a client of mine, and is out of his mind.
      As to the rest, why haven’t they been eaten by saurians or bitten by the hosts of hostile and venemous fauna that infests this coutry, saving us from hours of terribly boring travelogues on early Saturday evenings?
      (Sharks are terribly fussy eaters as well- why else are we still being lectured by the strident, nasal tedium of the likes of Ben Cropp and Ron and Valerie Taylor?)

      Posted by Habib on 2006 08 02 at 08:35 PM • permalink


    1. Judy Green’s rising 50 and still got the PHOOAAARRHHH!!!! factor.

      Posted by slatts on 2006 08 02 at 10:53 PM • permalink


    1. “Oy! What about the greatest of them all: Harry Butler??”

      The Greenies never forgave him for describing Kakadu as “clapped-out buffalo country”

      Posted by Tex on 2006 08 03 at 01:02 AM • permalink


    1. And what about the Barefoot Bushman?

      (The name appears to be a little inaccurate, as he appears to be wearing thongs in the photo where he’s stuffing chooks down the maw of a big pukpuk- bloody cheat.)

      And what about the truly loopy Ram Chandra? The mad old sod used to perform a routine that virtually involved juggling particularly irritable taipans.

      Posted by Habib on 2006 08 03 at 01:36 AM • permalink


    1. I used to like watching the Leyland Brothers.

      Posted by davod on 2006 08 03 at 02:05 AM • permalink


    1. “Ben Cropp, did your calamari have his Whiskas today?”

      Oh, dear. I’ve not thought of that in ages, and now I’ve got “He’s not the full squid, you know, his tentacles haven’t even dropped!” in my mind.

      Thanks, Habib.

      Kae, are you sure we don’t have the same father? When my dad had a beard he, too, was a dead ringer for Harry Butler.

      The Leylands were mandatory family viewing every weekend, also.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 08 03 at 06:58 AM • permalink


    1. Ah, Major Les eating the giant mangrove worm. One of the great moments of Aussie tv. I swear that thing was at least a meter long.

      Posted by Daniel San on 2006 08 03 at 07:48 AM • permalink


    1. loved that show!

      Posted by william°­ on 2006 08 03 at 08:30 AM • permalink


    1. #17 Nilk,

      I had a photo of Dad scanned* today but it was a PDF, can’t post PDF on photobucket (it was a crappy photo, too). Will get one done tomorrow and you can see the resemblance.

      Many, many moons ago Dad grew a beard to win a bet. His beard was multi-coloured, friends called him “fungus face” – it stuck, and became his nickname for many years.

      Erk, look at the time – I’m going horizontal. One more sleep and it’s the weekend, woohoo!

      (New ‘pooter scanner/printer/copier STILL not working. Old one slow as a wet week!)

      Posted by kae on 2006 08 03 at 08:46 AM • permalink


    1. Russell Coight is da man

      Posted by KK on 2006 08 03 at 09:51 AM • permalink


    1. #20 kae, that is scary. Same happened with my dad. He only had the beard for a year, but yeah, multi-coloured, fungus-face, the works.

      Of course, that couldn’t be because “fungus-face” was a pretty common term for someone with a beard, though, could it?

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 08 03 at 06:05 PM • permalink


    1. Good on you Bulletin! I love these guys! Quintessential Aussies the lot of ‘em.
      My personal favourites are the Leylands and Malcolm Douglas…you’ve gotta love Mal, what a great bloke!

      Posted by Brian on 2006 08 03 at 07:31 PM • permalink


    1. Alby Mangels was a clever South Australian entrepreneur in the true Ocker tradition.  He created a strong Tough Guy persona by very clever editing [wouldn’t work on TV] He took his movies on the road [I saw him], told a racy yarn, appealed to women, and was a bit of a bastard like his classic Australian type.

      Also lost a lot of money.
      On the whole, far more honourable and genuine than “Crocodile Dundee” who just Hollywoodised the style.

      Posted by Barrie on 2006 08 03 at 07:40 PM • permalink


    1. #6 “Oy! What about the greatest of them all: Harry Butler??”

      Didn’t you notice Harry picking up his Logie in the 70s? (That’s the Aussie equivalent of the Emmy.)

      Here is a more recent view of Harry from German television. I notice ‘Naturschützer Harry Butler’ is wearing a hard hat – he couldn’t be…working with a mining company…could he?! That sort of thing explains why the ABC will never commission another series of In the Wild.

      I remember in 1982 mentioning to someone that Harry was working with the Tasmanian Hydro Electricity Commission (his job is as an environmental consultant) to try to manage the enviromental impact of HEC dams – I was told that was ‘like working with the Nazis to ensure they had nice clean gas ovens’.

      Posted by David Morgan on 2006 08 03 at 08:14 PM • permalink


    1. Nilk, et al. I have had an ordinary day. After an encounter with a flying kangaroo (Kae 1: Roo 0) this morning. No access to a scanner at the moment. However, I did lazily obtain this of Dad, AKA Fungus Face and Harry Butler, receiving his gong.

      Posted by kae on 2006 08 04 at 01:44 AM • permalink


    1. The Leyland Brothers was essential viewing when I was a kid. They came across as friendly guys who loved the bush – no prentention about them.
      I also recall going to the local council hall, along with hundreds of excited kids, to watch Alby Mangels “World Safari” and being amazed at how he could repair any mechanical failure with a rubber band.
      My only encounter in the flesh with Les “Bush Tucker Man” Hiddens was at a restaurant in Darwin many years ago. He’d had more than a couple of beers and wandered into the kitchen, then the Ladies toilets, before finally being pointed in the direction of the Gents. “I know my way all around the bush, but couldn’t find the f***ing Mens toilets for the life of me” he quipped.

      Posted by strachan9 on 2006 08 04 at 03:45 AM • permalink


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