you know the traditional way to break a
water File snake's spine is to put its entire head
in your mouth and bite at the neck?
Or are you aware that frill-necked lizards have a tail which
can slap you if you approach them the wrong way?
Despite the fact most of us may never wish to dine on
sea snake or go near a frill neck, watching Malcolm
Douglas doing so on television makes really wonderful
Douglas, who found celebrity status more than 10
years ago with his now classic documentary. Across the
Top, revisits the spots featured in the original for his
first in a series of specials for Channel 9 this Sunday
night on Our World.
Titled Across The Top Again With Malcolm Douglas, the documentary
retraces his original trip from Arnhem Land to the west Buffalo
plains, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Cape York Peninsula, Sunday's
program is interspersed with original footage from this trip.
Douglas revisits the Aboriginal settlement where he and his mate
David Oldmeadow spent a year after ditching their jobs as stock
and station agents in 1964.
Here, Douglas goes hunting for the sea snakes with his friends.
He later dines on the serpents at their bush camp.
He joins the Aboriginal women on their daily search for tortoise
in the drying mud fiats and eats wild duck with the feathers still
Douglas's diet is not what most of us would regard as palatable.
He tucks into the snake, wild duck and tortoise.
Then he quaffs a drink made of squashed ants nests.
He also eats water lily pods.
Most people would feel sick at the thought of devouring these
so-called delicacies, But Douglas says that bush tucker such as
this can mean the difference between life and death when you're
But surely it would be more agreeable to be stranded by one of
the remote Northen Territory rivers visited in Sunday night's
special. Douglas catches so much barramundi that he ends up letting
half the fish go.
Like the ABC's excellent Bush Tuckerman series last year, the
Douglas specials are both informative and educational.
But Sunday's special, like all Douglas documentaries, carries
a subtle conservation message. One example is a shot of the Barrier
Reef's main shipping channel. It is seen to be polluted by hundreds
of kilometers of garbage.
Douglas never preaches and says he makes his documentaries as
The outback adventure series by Albie Mangels may have set hearts
on tire with shots of tight shorts and buxom blondes.
Douglas doesn't do this. He lets the beauty of the outback please
the eye while the factual but lighthearted narration feeds the