He’s traveled all over the countryside, and now he’s heading to the 4WD and Adventure Shows!
Mal Leyland is an Aussie legend. Anyone who was in Australia during the 1970s and 80s will remember “The Leyland Brothers” – and no doubt can sign the theme song off by heart! Mal Leyland and his brother Mike were pioneers, traveling outback Australia before it became popular to do so, discovering and filming remote locations that had never been filmed before.
With a quirky, gutsy and adventurous spirit, Mal and Mike Leyland became icons in Australia as outback tourism guides. It makes sense therefore that Mal is the Special Guest at the 2017 4WD and Adventure Shows, and will help celebrate our 25 year anniversary by presenting the Game Changers theme – the people and products that have changed the way Australians go traveling.
Turn on the TV or head to YouTube today and there’s plenty of TV adventurers showing off our amazing country. But it was the Leyland Brothers who started it all, with their 1963 film “Down the Darling”.
This expedition, filmed all in black and white, was a trip from Mungindi, Queensland, to Wentworth, Victoria, following the 2,300km course of the Darling River, part of Australia’s longest river system, in a small aluminium boat.
This trip and film obviously inspired the two brothers, and in 1966 they decided to tackle the Simpson desert.
“Wheels Across a Wilderness” was 18 months in the planning and took five months to complete. Driving two Land Rovers from Steep Point, Western Australia, Mike and Mal – plus a group of their friends – headed across the centre of the continent to Cape Byron, New South Wales.
This was followed by “Open Boat to Adventure” in 1969, a six-month journey from Darwin to Sydney in an 18-foot open boat, following the coast around Arnhem Land and Cape York. “The Wet”, 1972, documents a journey to what is now called Kakadu National Park via Darwin, a trip that was made interesting by the fact there were no sealed roads to the North-West part of the Northern Territory at the time.
But it was the TV series “Ask the Leyland Brothers” that cemented Mal and Mike as celebrities. The series ran on Australian television from 1976 to 1980, and again from 1983 to 1984 and attracted some of the highest ratings of the time – and their theme song, “Ask The Leyland Brothers”, remains familiar to millions of viewers. The program format included an invitation to viewers to write in and suggest topics for the show – at the time an innovative way of encouraging audience participation and a generation or more before the invention of social media.
A following documentary series called Leyland Brothers’ World appeared on Australian TV. Rather than viewers writing in and asking the Leyland Brothers to visit a particular place in Australia and provide information about it as in Ask The Leyland Brothers, it focused on exploration by the Leyland Brothers in Australia and featured a double-decker bus.
Today, Mal and his wife Laraine, are still travelling. There’s so much he still wants to explore, and as a photographer, he’s keen to revisit some of the places he visited in his youth and re-photograph his favourite places in digital.
It’s safe to say that Mal Leyland has a few stories to share, and we are extremely excited to have him as part of the 4WD and Adventure Shows in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. Mal and Laraine will be at each Show having a chat on the Engel Bush Camp Stage.
Keep a check on the Show’s website for times and information.