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Book review: Bush Yarns and other offences

Salvationist Max Lewis has uncovered ‘uniquely Australian bush tales and a lovely example of community policing’.

Do you like a good yarn from the Aussie bush? Bush yarns and other offences is a book for you!

Max Lewis is a Salvationist and retired Queensland police officer who spent his service in rural and remote Queensland towns.

This book is a collection of 61 very short chapters with images of bush trackers and old police stations. Each chapter tells a different story from the point of view of the non-drinking, non-gambling policeman in locations where these pastimes are often the only forms of entertainment.

Most of Max’s service was in Far North Queensland at places such as Atherton, Burketown, Camooweal, Laura, Mt Isa, Palmerville, and Ravenshoe. The remoteness of these towns was clearly portrayed in the yarns.

Eumundi police station, which was another place Max served, although not geographically remote, carried with it unique experiences for the emotions of the police officers. This too was portrayed in such a way as to secure empathy from the reader for what people in law enforcement are required to do.

Similar to other memoirs from professionals in law enforcement and medicine, there are examples of black humour with stories of road accidents and death. It shows the way these professionals deal with such matters to sustain their mental health.

Stories of chickens in the police quarters and alcohol locked in the watchhouse give cases of a more whimsical note. There are interesting and unique characters to meet and the birth of the Laura Rodeo (Far North Queensland) to explore.

For a self-published book, it is clearly written and professionally arranged. The stories are authentic and reveal the true nature of the roles performed by country ‘coppers’.

Bush yarns and other offences uncovers uniquely Australian bush tales and a lovely example of community policing.

Max Lewis, Bush Yearns and other Offences: A Police Officer’s Initiation to Country Service by Bush Folklore is available as Kindle or Paperback from or other online booksellers.

*Garth R. Hentzschel is a Salvationist living in Brisbane and is a freelance historian and writer

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