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australian son

australian son

By Max Brown

A century and one-third after his death, Ned Kelly’s not forgotten, and it’s hard to believe that Australians will ever forget him. In his own lifetime he passed into folklore, as Max Brown makes clear, so where is he now? This is not an easy question, but wherever he is, Max Brown’s book is part of the answer.

When Ned was alive, and police in two states were trying to find him, he was regularly labelled a criminal, murderer, desperado, villain, et cetera. Respectable society condemned him because they had to. We might say they knew no better. The amazing thing about Ned and his gang, though, is that they convinced a great many people that justice might mean injustice, and vice-versa. Ned was hanged in 1880. A lifetime later, with the world recovering from World War 2, Australian Son was written. Decades later, Max revised it but didn’t live to see this later version, which keeps the tradition alive. Tradition? Yes. The famous bushranger, from the poorest of poor families, has given rise to a persisting idea that the apparatus of justice may pursue the ends of injustice, and be meted out to those who, by their own sense of what’s right, deserve it least.

Published by Georgian House, Melbourne, 1948; revised edition, Georgian House, 1956; Angus and Robertson Australian Classics, 1980; followed by this final fully revised and edited edition published in paperback in 2005, and hardback in 2013 by Network Creative Services.

About the Author

Max Brown was born 1916 at Invercargill, New Zealand, educated in Melbourne (St. Kilda Park Central and University High School) and worked as a journalist in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and several country towns, notably Echuca, Bendigo, Lithgow and Kalgoorlie. His paternal grandparents were on the Dunstan Gorge goldfield and his maternal grandparents at Dunolly where the Welcome Stranger nugget was found. He was at various times a teacher, wharf labourer, knockabout and film publicist. After service with the RAAF in the Second World War he used his severance pay to write Australian Son, which was first published in Melbourne and London 1948, republished 1961, again in 1980 and (final revised version) 2005, republished 2013. He wrote two novels, Wild Turkey (1958) and The Jimberi Track (1966), as well as The Black Eureka, a history of the 1946 strike of West Australian station Aborigines, and Buttered Toast: stories and sketches, a book which further demonstrates his sympathy with those on the fringes of society. Max died in Ballarat in September 2003.

Max Brown Photo


Published in a special hardcover limited edition by Network Creative Services, Max Brown’s 312 page biography Australian Son: the story of Ned Kelly includes a bonus Australian Son: the story of Ned Kelly bookmark.

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Finished size A5 (210mm x 148mm)
Extent Hardcover 312 pages
Recomended retail price $34.95
Published 2013 by 
Network Creative Services Pty Ltd