Bill Bryson's Down Under

Topics: Lachlan Macquarie, New South Wales, Tasmania Pages: 3 (941 words) Published: June 27, 2011
Bill Bryson presents a unique perspective of Australia in his text ‘Down Under’. He uses the landscape, history and people he meets, as well as the daily activities he experiences to develop his own understanding and perspective of Australia. History plays an important role in the formation of Bryson’s perspective of Australia. “You really cannot move in Australia without bumping into some reminder of his [Lachlan Macquarie’s] tenure. Run your eye over the map and you will find a Macquarie Harbour, Macquarie Island, Macquarie Marsh, Macquarie River, Macquarie Fields, Macquarie Pass, Macquarie Plains, Lake Macquarie, Port Macquarie, Mrs Macquarie’s Chair (a lookout point over Sydney Harbour), Macquarie’s Point and a Macquarie town”. Bryson uses this to show and even criticise to an extent the trend Australians tend to have getting hold of a name that suits them and sticking with it. He finds it hard to believe that one place could have so many places named after the same thing and no one see anything wrong with it, a trait exclusive to Australia. Bryson often researches the history of the areas he visits and then bases his initial impressions of the places on this information. Bryson hardly visits a town or city without first presenting the audience with an anecdote or brief history about the place. By doing this, he is putting the locations he visits into context and also shows the reader how he comes to form his first impressions about a place and what he expects to find and do there. The way Bryson makes his perspective of Australia uniquely his is that he builds upon these initial ideas of a place by experiencing them first hand. Because no one else could have exactly the same experiences as him, the audience is presented with a view of Australia that only Bryson could give. Bryson also discusses and visits the Australian landscapes to build on his perspective of Australia. Throughout the book, Bryson uses the history of the outback as well as his own...
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