A new television series is set to explore the stories of men and women from Ulster who left their imprint on the political, economic and cultural life of Australia.
The three-part series, ‘Brave New World: Australia’, sees presenter William Crawley travel ‘down under’ to discover how Ulster people have helped shape the history of the country from the Surgeon General of the First Fleet to outlaws, innovators and entrepreneurs.
William’s journey to discover the stories of the Ulster-Scots diaspora has already taken him to New Zealand, America and Canada. This time, he will be travelling from the cosmopolitan cities of Sydney and Melbourne to small country towns and bush country, where sheep and kangaroos outnumber human inhabitants.
In Sydney, William reveals the colourful background of one of Australia’s founding fathers. William Wentworth, dubbed ‘Australia’s greatest native son’ was, in fact, the son of a suspected highwayman from Portadown.
In 1879 one of Australia’s most wanted outlaws ‘Captain Moonlite’ staged a desperate gun battle near the sleepy town of Gundagai. William discovers Captain Moonlite’s real name was Andrew Scott, a magistrate’s son from Rathfriland.
In Melbourne, William hears of a woman from Belfast who scandalised the establishment and became a local celebrity when she opened an all-female motor mechanic and taxi service in 1919.
And while Australia is proud of its country music scene, few Australian’s know that a performer who sang at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics - dubbed the ‘King of Australian Country music’ - credited his musical style to his Ulster family.
The series, which begins on Sunday on BBC Two NI at 10pm, received support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Ulster-Scots Broadcast fund.