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This Day in History

Australian History

Sunday, September 15, 1895. :   Celebrated American writer and humorist, Mark Twain, arrives in Australia on tour.

     American writer Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on 30 November 1835. He grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, and later worked as a licensed Mississippi river-boat pilot. Writing from a mixture of experience and imagination, the pseudonym 'Mark Twain' was spawned in 1863 when he signed a humorous travel account with that name. Twain is best known for stories such as "Tom Sawyer", "The Prince And The Pauper" and "Huckleberry Finn".

Twain arrived in Australia on a three-month lecture tour on 15 September 1895. He was fascinated by the unoccupied desert expanses of outback Australia which contrasted greatly with the populated, fertile inland areas of USA. He was captivated by the humble kookaburra, magpie, and Australian wildlife in general. He wrote extensively about his observations of Australian animals and birds, and was surprised by the problem of feral rabbits. In all, he was a man who, during his tour, displayed a keen interest to learn and explore, tempering his interest with his usual satirical comments.

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