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  • Writer's pictureLen Beadell Publications

Around the World in Eighty Delays

Len Beadell, author of six best-selling books about his exploits building the roads through Central Australia in connection with the Woomera Rocket Range, took long service leave in 1959 and headed off on a trip around the world.

Around the World in Eighty Delays is a recollection of that trip, and the funny things that happened to him on the way. This account is a unique record of life in the 1950s in other corners of the world, as seen through the eyes of a real Australian bushie.

This manuscript remained unpublished for many years as Len's publishers felt that it may detract from the other 'bush' books. After Len passed away in 1995, the book was published by Corkwood Press in 1997 with a limited release.

Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print but may be found second hand online or in bookstores. This blog post shows the journey of the original manuscript through to its final published version.

1. The Handwritten Manuscript

The original copy of the manuscript lay in this envelope for safe keeping for many years in Len's office. As you can see by the image below, the manuscript was handwritten in Len's script.

Chapter 7 tells the story of Len's visit to see Sir William Penney in the UK. Len had worked closely with him in Australia during the time of surveying for the atomic bomb tests and was invited to visit him at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston.

The second version has some edits but was typed by hand using a typewriter.

2. Hand typed with some handwritten edits

The handwritten manuscript was then typed, and further edits were made by hand.

In Chapter 7, Len visits Sir William Penney and other friends he met in Australia, before travelling to Heather House to visit Sir William and Lady Penney. He experiences British hospitality with a trip into the English countryside.

They shared many humorous stories of their time in the Australian bush.


3. Typeset with some edits

This next version shows further edits by hand after being typeset prior to publication.

The spaces in the text have been left for the drawings to be inserted.


4. Drawings

Of course, Len drew all of the drawings for his books that would add information or humour to the text.

After visiting Sir William Penney, Len drove to Portsmouth to see the HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. On the way he stopped at a vacant car park in Winchester to see King Arthur's round table.

On returning to his car, he found a uniformed policeman looking after his car. Len thought it very convenient that the sign was so helpful. He "just drove up, saw it, and there was a parking place right away, with no waiting at all, just as the sign said".


5. The published book

To accompany the book, Len designed, drew and painted the front cover, which was originally in green. He also drew the end papers depicting him starting out on his journey.

In Chapter 7, he was pleased to go to Salisbury to see Stonehenge, a structure he had been waiting to see all his life. He was amazed with the story behind it and very pleased he had taken the effort to get there. Len was left with many unanswered questions including "If the ancients could do these things with nothing, (he) wondered what they could have achieved with theodolites."

The mockup of the original front cover, hand drawn and painted by Len

The design for the end papers, used in the published version in 1997


Selection of drawings used in the final published book.

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