Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Living the Island Life; Martin Clunes Relishes the Chance to Travel and Discover Some of Australia's Tangible History, Writes Seanna Cronin

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Living the Island Life; Martin Clunes Relishes the Chance to Travel and Discover Some of Australia's Tangible History, Writes Seanna Cronin

Article excerpt

SOME of Australia's hidden gems are secrets no more thanks to Martin Clunes.

The actor and star of Doc Martin visits more than a dozen of our country's more remote destinations in his travel series Islands of Australia.

Martin and his film crew skipped many of the obvious locations for lesser known ones, like Restoration and Pitcairn islands.

"It would be a different show if we were to make a show about an island everybody knew," Clunes tells The Guide.

"We were out to find the surprises, I guess. We skipped the (Great) Barrier Reef, for example, because we've all see that.

"We avoided all the ones we'd heard of, apart from Tasmania of course."

Clunes, who also narrated Islands of Britain for ITV in 2009, relished in Australia's tangible history.

"Our history (in the UK) goes back so far it gets vague and sometimes the only historian available was a songwriter from 300 years later," he says.

"Australian history is there in handwriting, the time, the place; it's interesting and immediate... whereas we get a bit muddled.

"I was talking to an indigenous guy I met at Rottnest (Island) and he said 'where are your people from?' I said 'I dunno; I think my dad's people might have come from Scotland or Ireland'.

"Then I asked 'how about you?' He said 'that hill over there for about 5000 years'."

The 54-year-old said he was impressed at how Australians are now embracing their convict history.

"I remember being out there in 1999 when I went right round Australia making a documentary, and you kind of didn't mention the penal system or the convicts," he says. …

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