Peach’s legacy to Australia

By | Category: Travel rumblings

From Sydney comes the news that Bill Peach has died. Most of the readers of CD-Traveller won’t know Peach from Adam but Australians will know him as an authoritative figure in journalism and in tourism for his native land. For non-Australian readers, there is no figure similar except, possibly, another recent loss – Alan Whicker.

Peach anchored a daily, current affairs programme called This Day Tonight in the nineteen-sixties and seventies at a time of Vietnam and the turbulent Whitlam government years. His authoritative approach made stories believable and trustworthy so when he left the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) to freelance and launch a series of programmes, Peach’s Australia, Peach’s Australian Cities, Peach’s Gold, Holiday with Bill Peach, and The Explorers people watched.

These travel programmes about his nation were like nothing else that Australia had seen. They introduced an Australia to a largely urban population that rarely went into the bush. What they knew was limited to novelists, bush ballads, strip cartoons like those about the Etamoogoh Pub (created by cartoonst, Ken Maynard) and songs by Slim Dusty. None were truly representative. But Peach’s TV programmes were. They encouraged Aussies to see their own homeland and not just the coastal strips.

Not content with producing documentaries about his country he set up the Bill Peach Journeys travel company in 1983 which enabled him to continue travelling but taking groups with him. For his tourism and journalistic endeavours he was awarded the Order of Australia in the 1990’s.

Here is a case of one individual who used his TV presenting skills to gain a audience who would believe anything he said. Unwittingly that authority helped when he showcased his own country to fellow Aussies. From there, developed outback tourism and today, hundreds of thousands of Aussies will visit the outback and explore their own country each year.

Peach would be proud of that legacy

Image © Bill Peach Journeys

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