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Leyland brothers

leyland brothers, leyland brothers theme song
Mike Leyland, MBE 4 September 1941– 14 September 2009 and Mal Leyland, MBE born 1945, also known as the Leyland brothers, were Australian explorers and documentary film-makers, best known for their popular television show, Ask the Leyland Brothers The show ran on Australian television from 1976 until 1984


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Media career
    • 21 Honours
  • 3 Leyland Brothers World and bankruptcy
  • 4 Later careers
  • 5 Documentaries
  • 6 Television series
  • 7 Bibliography
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links

Early life

When Mike was eight and Mal was five they migrated with their parents from England to Newcastle, New South Wales, and Mike attended Wallsend Public School

Aged 15 Mike won a trip to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne from a cartoon drawing competition, and his father bought him a 16mm movie camera to take along

Media career

By the age of 21 Mike was a news cameraman at NBN Television and at age 18 Mal was working as a cadet at Newcastle's now defunct newspaper The Sun

Their first regular TV series, Ask the Leyland Brothers, ran on Australian television from 1976 to 1980, and again from 1983 to 1984 The show often provided Australian viewers with their first look at outback Australia

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

The television show is not to be confused with the theme park of the same name


In 1980 the brothers were awarded the MBE for services to the film industry

Leyland Brothers World and bankruptcy

In November 1990 the Leyland Brothers opened the theme park Leyland Brothers World 32°37′3″S 152°4′48″E / 3261750°S 15208000°E / -3261750; 15208000, on a 40 ha property at North Arm Cove on the Pacific Highway north of Newcastle, New South Wales It included a 1/40 scale replica of Uluru, as well as amusement rides, playground, roadhouse, museum and a 144 student capacity bush camp In a 1997 article in the Sunday Age, Mike Leyland said that the initial A$1 million loan blew out due to rain during construction and a 27% interest rate In July 1992 Chris Palmer of BDO Nelson was appointed receiver and manager of the park when the Leyland Brothers company failed to meet its loan commitment to the Commonwealth Bank Auctioneers Colliers Jardine estimated the yearly attendance of the park to be about 400,000 people, with 10,000 students for the bush camp After an auction held by the receiver on 26 November 1992 the theme park was sold for $800,000, and continues to trade successfully as the Great Aussie Bushcamp The brothers went bankrupt

Later careers

After the 1992 bankruptcy, Mike and his wife Margie ran a New Lambton video store and worked for the park's new owner In 1997 Mike sold part of his Tea Gardens property to fund the production of a far north Queensland film for Channel Seven Mike and his wife Margie signed a contract with Channel Seven for 12 one-hour documentaries, the first of which aired in 1998 in The World Around Us slot On 14 September 2009 Mike Leyland died from Parkinson's disease He was 68 years old Mike is survived by his wife Margie, his daughters Kerry, Sandy and Dawn, his stepdaughters Sarah and Alison, and seven grandchildren

Mal and his wife Laraine ran a photo processing lab in Queensland and launched a travel magazine In 1997 Mal and Laraine launched a bi-monthly magazine, Leyland's Australia In 2000 Mal produced the television show Leyland's Australia, with his wife Laraine, daughter Carmen and her husband Robert Scott - travelling around Australia in a caravan In April 2000 Channel 9 cancelled the show after 6 episodes but the series was then picked up by Network Ten Since 2015 Mal and Laraine have written travel stories for ROAM magazine


This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it
  • 1963 - Down the Darling - A trip from Mungindi, Queensland, to Mildura, Victoria, following the 2,300 kilometre course of the Darling River, part of Australia's longest river system, in a small aluminium boat An accompanying book was titled Great Ugly River was published by Lansdowne Press in 1965
  • 1966 - Wheels Across a Wilderness - Driving two Land Rovers from Steep Point, Western Australia, across the centre of the continent to Cape Byron, New South Wales The trip was also published as a book, Where Dead Men Lie IMDB link
  • 1969 - Open Boat to Adventure - A six-month journey from Darwin to Sydney in an 18-foot open boat, following the coast around Arnhem Land and Cape York The book was titled Untamed Coast
  • 1972 - The Wet documents a journey to what is now called Kakadu National Park via Darwin There were no sealed roads to the North-West part of the Northern Territory at the time It also provides footage of a Darwin before Cyclone Tracy

Travel All Over The Countryside with Mike & Margie Leyland

  • Lure of the Red Centre

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Hayes Family 3 Uluru 4 Ochre Pits 5 Fly Over Kings Canyon 6 Arltunga Visitors Centre

  • Border Country
  • The Stormy Coast

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Maits Rest 3 The Grotto 4 Princess Margaret Rose Cave 5 Goolwa 6 Kangaroo Island

  • Outback Coast
  • Along and Beyond the Tanami Track

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Desert Park 3 Granites Gold Mine 4 Back On The Tanami 5 Bungle Bungle Range 6 Dawn Kununurra

  • Tracks Of The Past

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Willochra Plain 3 Talc Sculptures 4 Marree 5 Coward Springs 6 1961 7 Peak Hill Ruins 8 Fogarty's Claypan 9 Puncture Repair 10 Mac Clark Reserve 11 Chambers Pillar 12 Credits

  • Travel Across The Cape

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Tuckers Lookout 3 Lava Tubes 4 Cobbold Gorge 5 Chillagoe 6 Dorunda

  • Travel To The Lost City

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 The Great Top Road 3 Lawn Hill 4 Track To Bowthorn Station 5 Track To Hells Gate 6 Cape Crawford

  • Trek Around The Pilbara

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Dalgaranga 3 Three Pools 4 Chinamans Pool 5 Walking Trail 6 Kalamina Falls

  • Kakadu and Beyond

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Jabiru Airport 3 Gunlom 4 Nourlangie 1967 5 Yellow Water 6 Twin Falls 7 Ubirr Lookout 8 Fishing 9 Bush Tucker 10 Caves 11 Port Essington 12 Credits

  • Cape York Adventure

Chapters: 1 Introduction 2 Bloomfield Falls 3 Archer River 4 Frenchmans Track 5 Fruit Bat Falls 6 Dugout Canoe

Television series

  • Off the Beaten Track, 1970-1972
  • Trekabout, 1974-1975
  • Ask the Leyland Brothers - Nine Network, 1976–1980 and 1983-1984 All 156 episodes were shot in the Super 8 mm film format
  • The Leyland Brother's Great Outdoors - Seven Network, 1980-1984
  • Leyland Brothers' World
  • Leyland's Australia - Network Ten In 2000 Mal and his wife Laraine documented their travels throughout Australia


  • Gold fever : Is it the perfect crime 2000
  • Great Ugly River: A Modern Adventure in Australia’s Outback, Mike Leyland, 1965
  • Untamed Coast: Darwin to Sydney in an 18 ft Boat
  • Where Dead Men Lie: An Adventurous Journey that Spanned a Continent


  1. ^ Farewell Mike Leyland Archived 15 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine NBN News, 14 Sep 2009 Retrieved 13 December 2013
  2. ^ "Mike Leyland dies, aged 68" newscomau 14 September 2009 Retrieved 15 September 2009 
  3. ^ a b Channel Surfing Safari, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 April 2003
  4. ^ a b Wilmoth, Peter 27 July 1997 "How The Leyland Brothers Lost Their Way" Sunday Age John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd 
  5. ^ "150th Year Celebrations" Wallsend Public School Retrieved 3 February 2012 
  6. ^ Leighton, Spencer 3 January 2004 "Leyland brother's venture" Geelong Advertiser Nationwide News Proprietary Pty Ltd 
  7. ^ a b c Joyce, James 26 February 2000 "Ask The Leylands About Sibling Rivalry" Newcastle Herald John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd 
  8. ^ Safe, Georgina 2 July 1997 "Leylands out of the Wilderness" The Australian Nationwide News Proprietary Ltd 
  9. ^ a b c Harvie, Jeni 8 December 1992 "$800,000 Leyland Sale" Australian Financial Review John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd p 33 
  10. ^ Nicholas Way ed 24 July 1992 "Leyland Bros Go West" Business Review Weekly John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd p 12 CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list link
  11. ^ a b Pam Walkley And Aap 19 October 1992 "Theme Park for Auction" Australian Financial Review John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd p 44 
  12. ^ Great Aussie Bushcamp website
  13. ^ a b Lovell, Darren 3 August 1997 "Leylands rebuilding their world" Sunday Telegraph Nationwide News Proprietary Ltd 
  14. ^ Perez, Jesse 14 September 2009 "Australian explorer Mike Leyland dies age 68" Livenewscomau Macquarie National News "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 16 September 2009 Retrieved 14 September 2009  Australian explorer Mike Leyland dies age 68]
  15. ^ Heaney, Claire 14 October 2000 "Leylands hot up act" Herald Sun Herald and Weekly Times Limited 
  16. ^ a b Joyce, James 1 September 2000 "Out Of The Wilderness" Newcastle Herald John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd 
  17. ^ timetoroamcomau
  18. ^ "Mike and Margie Leyland: Travel All Over The Countryside 3 DVD Box Set" Retrieved 28 October 2011 
  19. ^ Barclay, Alison 28 October 1997 "Out Back with the Reel Thing" Herald Sun Herald and Weekly Times Limited 

External links

  • Mike Leyland was an Inspiration
  • The Leyland Brothers transcript of a retrospective broadcast on 9 Aug 2003 on George Negus Tonight

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