Australians who struggle with the somewhat obtuse language of the King James Bible now have their very own vernacular version to turn to, complete with pretty sheilas, good blokes and dusty, down-at-heel pubs. Called The Aussie Bible (Well, bits of it anyway), it provides a uniquely Australian spin on the Virgin birth, the Good Samaritan and other well known parables. There is not a 'thee', 'thou' or 'yea verily' in sight. Christ's father, Joseph, becomes simply Joe, the Three Wise Men are 'The Wise Guys' and the baby Jesus sleeps in a 'feed trough' instead of a manger (the local pub being 'full to bursting'). It is the work of journalist and author Kel Richards, who drew inspiration from a Cockney version of the Bible. It took him a year to translate large chunks of the original gospel into 'Strine', as Australian English is known. The parable of the Good Samaritan, for instance, is translated into the sort of language found in any Outback pub or city building site. The Aussie Bible has been given the Anglican church's official blessing and includes a foreword by the Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen and Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson. Due to be published in August by the Bible Society of New South Wales, it will have an initial print run of 30,000. In a country with steadily falling church attendance, Richards said he wanted to make the Bible accessible to all Australians. The target readership, he says, is 'anyone who's stopped reading the Bible because they think it's dull'. The Bible Society's Martin Johnson told The Sydney Morning Herald that the vernacular version was not meant to be disrespectful. 'It's slightly cheeky, I suppose, but certainly not meant to be irreverent. It's done with a large amount of care,' he said.