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How Has Sherlock Holmes Persisted in The Australian Mind-set For More Than One Hundred Years?

  • Written by News Co

Sherlock Holmes may have famously resided on Baker Street and spent most of his career solving mysteries in London, but that hasn’t stopped other countries trying to lay some sort of claim to the legendary character. Australia has had links with the great detective for more than one hundred years, and there are books about the relationship between Holmes and the Land Down Under. On top of that, the legendary clue finder is still prevalent in popular culture and loved by thousands of fans in the country.

Australia And Sherlock Holmes Highlights The Rich History Linking The Two

One of the best books for information about the numerous links between Holmes and Australia is Australia and Sherlock Holmes, edited by Bill Barnes and Doug Elliott. This is part of the Baker Street Irregulars International Series, a collection of Sherlockian texts that detail the character’s links to various countries. This can come in the form of mentions of countries within Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works, or connections between the author himself and the countries mentioned. In addition, there are also a number of non-fiction Holmes-based writings to be found within these instalments.

In Australia and Sherlock Holmes, there is a section about the detective in the country. This is followed by a segment about Doyle’s exploits Down Under. These parts are followed by a vast number of scholarly essays written by a variety of students and journalists between 1959 and 2007. They are mostly taken from News From The Diggings and The Passengers’ Log. It is clear from this hardback published in 2009 that Holmes was incredibly popular in Australia.

Various Occasions When Doyle Alluded to Australia in His Works

Doyle was renowned for being an avid global traveller. During his formative years, he spent some time in Austria, and later, as a physician, he travelled around the world and spent time in Venice and Milan. Much later on in his life, he decided to go further afield and ventured all the way to Australia. This was in 1920, and he went there on spiritualist missionary work.


At this time, Doyle had already written the bulk of his Holmes novels, but there were numerous short stories between 1921 and 1927. These made up The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, and some references to the Land Down Under can be found in these. It is also notable that Doyle alluded to Australia a number of times before ever setting foot there, highlighting his interest in the country.

In The Boscombe Valley Mystery, published in the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1892, the characters John Turner and Charles McCarthy met in Australia. In the story, the two are Australian expats who move to England. Another mention of Australia was in The Adventure of the Gloria Scott, a short story published in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in 1893. In the tale, James Armitage was sentenced for transportation and put on a ship bound for Australia.

The other occasions that Doyle specifically mentioned Australia were in The Adventure of The Empty House, The Adventure of The Priory School, The Adventure of The Abbey Grange, all of which were published in The Return of Sherlock Holmes in 1905. The country was also mentioned in The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax in 1911.

Sherlock Still Persists in Australia in Various Ways

It is amazing that despite existing for the first time in fiction more than one hundred years ago, Sherlock is still at the forefront of mainstream culture. And the character still has strong ties to Australia as well. This can be seen in the list of pokies at Betway, which include offerings like Sherlock & Moriarty Wowpot and Shamrock Holmes. These will appeal to Australians, who are known to love the reel-spinning offerings. There are also numerous mobile games like Young Sherlock from Innim Games and Sherlock Holmes: Hidden Object Detective Games from Crisp App Studio that are popular in the Australian Google Play Store.


The Sherlock television series is hugely popular in Australia. It is shown on the country’s ABC network and is also available for viewing on iView. The series stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the legendary sleuth, with Martin Freeman playing his sidekick and narrator of the stories, Doctor Watson. The British series has been lauded for its modern take on the classic tales. It also used modern technology to its advantage, as a way to show the intricate details of a crime scene from Sherlock’s perspective.

There is no denying the strong connection between Doyle, his works, and Australia. This is why it should come as no surprise that the iconic character has been able to persist in the hearts and minds of Australians for such a long time. In addition to enjoying the Doyle character, Australians also like to read about other detectives that share some similarities, such as Kurt Wallander. For people who have read all the Holmes adventures, it may also be a good idea to check out the Martin Hewitt tales from Arthur Morrison.

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