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20/08/2013
Great Australian World Firsts
What do the portable pacemaker, the circumnavigation of Greenland and the cardboard wine cask all have in common? All three are the achievements of Australian innovators and pioneers.

What do the portable pacemaker, the circumnavigation of Greenland and the cardboard wine cask all have in common? All three are the achievements of Australian innovators and pioneers.

Great Australian World Firsts, by James Cook University lecturer Chrystopher J. Spicer, documents an abundance of great Australian ideas, inventions, feats and follies.

Some, like Kay Cottee’s journey around the world (the first single-handed, non-stop, by a woman) are well known. Others, such as the crouching start to a running race, (thanks to stockman Bobby MacDonald) are not.

Launched at the weekend’s Cairns Tropical Writers Festival (September 14-16), Great Australian World Firsts celebrates thirty Australian innovators, world leaders in fields including sport, the arts, medicine, transport and exploration.

Exploring both the Arctic and Antarctic by air, manufacturing and marketing the one-piece bathing suit, developing the wire-guided missile and the car radio — yes, an Australian did each of those first.

“This is my ‘yes, anyone can achieve’ book for every Australian,” said author Chrystopher J. Spicer, who nominates electrician John Hoelscher (the first, with team-mate Lonnie Dupree, to circumnavigate Greenland) as his favourite among many firsts.

About the author

Chrystopher J. Spicer has written extensively about Australian and American film and history. His acclaimed biography Clark Gable was published in the United States by McFarland on the centenary of Gable’s birth. A contributing editor of the former Australian arts magazine The Melburnian , he was also a major contributor to the Encyclopaedia of Melbourne, the first encyclopaedia of an Australian city compiled in this country. He teaches writing at James Cook University in Cairns.

Publication details

Published: Monday 27 August 2012

Imprint: Allen & Unwin; CATEGORY: Australiana; Extent: 336 pp RRP: $29.99

Ebook available: Yes

Issued September 18, 2012

Media enquiries: E. linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au T. 07 4042 1007