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Television Shows

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Boy Swallows Universe (television series)


In the adaptation of Trent Dalton’s 2019 novel, Boy Swallows Universe, significant Australian actor, Bryan Brown (b. 1947), plays the role of Slim Halliday, the ‘notorious crim’ who babysits and is a mentor for the protagonist 13-year-old Eli Bell (played by Felix Cameron). Halliday, also known as The Houdini of Bogo Road, was orphaned at age 12 and grew up in an Anglican orphanage. Convicted of killing a taxi-driver – which Slim long denied – Halliday was imprisoned in Brisbane’s infamous Boggo Road Gaol in 1952. Arthur ‘Slim’ Halliday was a family friend and always kind to Trent Dalton when he was growing up. He was also a wise man.

Another character in Boy Swallows Universe who was orphaned as a child is Gary John Lawrence who becomes Lyle Orlik (Travis Fimmel). Lawrence was Trent Dalton’s stepfather and Lyle Orlike (played by Travis Fimmel) is Eli Bell’s stepfather in the book and television series.

Gary John Lawrence was orphaned as a child, according to this Daily Mail Australia article. He was on the streets as a teenager and in gaol for the first time at age 20. In Boggo Road Gaol, Lawrence was highly regarded because he was head cook.

“He was also known for having served the most time there without ever having been convicted of murder.”

Lawrence taught himself to read while he was in prison. He’s remembered as a good stepfather to Trent Dalton and his brothers, as Lyle is in the television series. Gary Lawrence was released from prison for the last time in 2001.

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