Bad Apple Press 2021 Catalogue

Bad Apple Press is proud to release our 2021 Catalogue of Australian non-fiction titles

Bad Apple Press is proud to release our 2021 Catalogue of Australian non-fiction titles

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Welcome to the 2021 Bad Apple Press catalogue. We are happy

and proud to be presenting this year’s books to you, as we think

they all fulfil our Bad Apple Press criteria: they are interesting,

entertaining, educational, compelling and just plain enjoyable

to read.

Our list this year ranges from a memoir about travelling to

India, growing up with Borderline Personality Disorder in a

girls home, coping with our emotions, a blast from the past

with a memoir set firmly in the 1980s about a boy with two

mothers, a father and son walk around Australia the likes of

which you have never read before (I guarantee it!) and the wry

reflections of a country doctor who specialised in autopsies.

Yes, it is a diverse list but the books all have one thing in

common: they are great Australian stories.

We have loved hearing the reactions from our readers in 2020.

We look forward to hearing even more in 2021 and hope that

you will choose to stock our books so even more readers can

find and enjoy them.

Sam and Sonya


of pages

Night Train to Varanasi 5

Borderline 13

The A−Z of Feelings 21

Two Mums and a Dad 29

13 Pairs of Boots 37

Autopsies for the Armchair Enthusiast 45

Other Bad Apple titles 51


of releases

02 March 03




04 June 07





for the Armchair Enthusiast

August 08

September 09

Release Release

My strange encounters with death as a country medical examiner

Dr Meryl Broughton

‘Night Train to Varanasi wears its bristling intelligence so lightly,

darting and diving from shocking history to the profound core

of India’s spiritual tradition – how it took hold of the West, and

even today continues to change who we are. But it’s in the

tender, self-revealing way that Doyle relates to his daughter,

stumbling on a path between protecting her and letting her

go, that this book touches us most deeply. It’s a jewel of a


Steve Biddulph, author of Raising Girls, Raising Boys and Manhood



In short

Night Train to Varanasi

Sean Doyle

ISBN: 978 0648556954



Paperback, 256 pp

215 x 152mm

Price: $32.00

Release date: February 2021

People of Ajmar, Photo: Sean Doyle

Travel writer and editor Sean Doyle has loved India for decades, so when

his first-born, Anna, finishes high school, they set off on a two-month trip.

She wants an adventure; he wants a holiday. But India is no cakewalk,

especially for women: he’s nervous.

Night Train to Varanasi showcases Sean’s ability to reflect on his lived

experience, shape it into a compelling narrative, and write in such a way

that the particulars of his life become universals we can all relate to. He

speaks for all of us when he describes the emotional rollercoaster rides that

comprise parenting, ageing, the challenges of India and life in general, and

his hopes for his child.

Blending erudition, humour and paternal angst, this is a beautifully nuanced

exploration of a father–daughter relationship set against the backdrop of

one of the world’s most intense cultural experiences. A compelling and

insightful reading experience.

On being published...

I tried to manage a Subcontinent so my daughter could have a nice

holiday. It worked out, and it didn’t, as my book reveals in grim and

glorious detail. If life is about exploring the full range of our capabilities,

fatherhood and India have served me well – though it hasn’t always felt

like it. And now I’m getting published: sweet icing on a spicy cake. This

publisher might be a Bad Apple, but it’s done a good thing: it’s helped

me find my happy place.

Sean Doyle

Sean’s daughter, Anna, in India. Photo: Sean Doyle

About the


Sean Doyle

After completing a BA (Hons) degree at Sydney University, Sean Doyle

misspent his twenties travelling the Asian, especially Indian, road. He

sought redemption by writing Beyond Snake Mountain: A journey in

Rajasthan (HarperCollins, New Delhi, 1991). In his thirties, married

with kids, he was an English-language teacher, then a travel journalist.

He’s now a writer and editor – and an empty-nester. When not back

on the road, hogging the slow lane, he lives in Northern NSW, where

he loves to bodysurf and cook aspirational curries.


Anna is frowning deeply. I follow her gaze to a cart packed high with caged

chickens. The cages are tiny, the sight disturbing. This is what I feared,

exposing her to animal cruelty. That didn’t take long. Welcome to Old Delhi,

standing at a gateway to heaven, looking at some kind of hell.

‘Shall we walk?’ I say. I want to get her away from that.


The light is beginning to fade. We set off – I don’t know where, just away

from the chickens. The shrapnel rage surges, inspired jointly by the plight of

the chickens and by me bringing her to them. But how was I to know about

them, or the traffic, or the pollution? It’s 20 years since I was in Delhi. If this

trip is going to work, I need to ease up on myself.

I get an idea. ‘We could check out Chandni Chowk. It’s the main street in

Old Delhi. Plenty to see there.’ And hopefully no more horror shows. In the

old days, Chandni Chowk was Instant India: Tibetan vendors and Tamil

snake-charmers, Bengali poets and Keralan dancers, itinerant hawkers,

dignified shopkeepers, every religion on display. Quite a head-trip.

‘Do you want to see Chandni Chowk?’


‘Do you feel like doing anything else?’

‘No. I want to go back to the hotel.’

I don’t mind. There’s no point trying to force things. ‘Okay, we can get some

dinner on the way.’

Back in Defence Colony, we queue at a roadside stall for some momos,

Tibetan dumplings – popular winter fare here. The queue follows a

makeshift brass railing erected on the footpath, nightclub-style. A group of

teenage boys are fooling around while their friend stands in line. One of the

boys accidentally knocks over the railing and leaves it lying on the ground.

Suddenly self-conscious, he glances around.

‘Are you going to pick it up?’ I call to him.

‘Excuse me?’ he says. He heard me, but doesn’t like the question.

‘Why don’t you pick it up?’


No reply, just some awkward shifting from foot to foot.

‘These guys are trying to run a business. You’ve made a mess. Why

don’t you clean it up?’

He’s very embarrassed now; can’t even look at me. I take a few steps to

where the railing lies, stand it up as before then get back in line.

‘Why did you do that?’ Anna says.

‘Do what?’

‘Be rude to that boy?’

‘Was I?’

‘Yes.’ Plenty of attitude in her voice.

‘Well, like I said, he made a mess and didn’t clean it up. Don’t you think

he should have picked up the railing?’

A pause. ‘Yes.’

‘So what’s the problem?’

‘It’s none of your business.’

Now we’re getting to it.

‘You shouldn’t interfere.’

‘Because I’m not Indian?’


‘But I feel Indian …’ I also feel a surge of irritation. I don’t like being told

how to behave.

We get our momos and stand there eating them, things a little tense.

This incident is trivial, but it reveals the distance between our respective

approaches, and the distance between me now and in the old days. On

my first trip, I would have reacted as she has. I felt like an outsider then,

as she does now. I no longer do, so I get involved. Anna mightn’t like it,

but that’s too bad. Relationships grow through communication. I’ll talk

to her about this when she’s less bothered. It’s Day One, after all. Her

neural pathways have just been nuked.

‘Sandie takes us on a deeply emotional journey through

the haunting rooms of the Parramatta Female Factory and

Institution Precinct, where her story reflects the neglect, the fear

and abuse of the convict women and children that preceded


Cate Whittaker, playwright and social historian





Sandie Jessamine

ISBN: 978 0648780779



Paperback, 292 pp

215 x 152mm

Price: $34.00

Release date: 20 March 2021

Genre: Memoir/Mental Health/Australian Social History

Photos left to right:

Sandie in shower room Kamballa 2015, Kamballa group sessions 1975, Kamballa exterior

2015, Sandie by pool Kamballa 1975, Sandie in QLD, Sandie as a child age 3


In 1974, fifteen-year-old Sandie escaped from the Kamballa institution,

formerly known as the infamous Parramatta Girls Home. On the outside

she soon discovered that police and justice are not always the same.

Forty years later, during a heartbreaking family crisis, Sandie

experienced a mental breakdown inside a men’s protection prison

where she worked as a teacher. She felt helpless while other unknown

parts of her personality took over.

Finding herself unemployed, she embarked on the difficult quest to find

healing by reclaiming the other selves buried deep within her. Girls

who were still trapped in the horrors of her troubled childhood.

As part of her recovery Sandie visited the derelict buildings that she

had once been imprisoned in. Kamballa was the gateway between

herself and childhood. To find the lost girls within her and bring them

home, she knew had to cross that threshold and let them finally tell their


The voices of a troubled child, a rebel teenager, a witch, a teacher, and a

wild fighter join forces in a raw, gritty and ultimately uplifting memoir

that shines a light on the complexities of mental illness, the injustices

and cruelty of juvenile incarceration and, above all, the determination

and strength of character to overcome them both.

On being published...

Writing my memoir Borderline, was my way of freeing the

voices within me that I had muzzled for much of my life,

dissociated parts that emerge in time of trauma and were

present a lot when I was incarcerated as a girl. The agenda of

my other selves was always to be heard and acknowledged.

When Bad Apple Press offered me a publishing contract, it

was a watershed moment, I was able to look within and say,

‘I’m not running from you any more.’

The stairs leanding down to the shower room at kamballa, 2015

Sandie at Kamballa 2015

Sandie Jessamine


Sandie Jessamine is a writer, transpersonal art therapist and writing mentor who

lives in Sydney. She spent fourteen years teaching creative writing to inmates in

New South Wales prisons. She has also worked as a health educator, an alcohol

and other drugs counsellor, and a Dru Yoga teacher specialising in trauma yoga.

She is a strong advocate for the rights of Forgotten Australians and people living

with mental health conditions.


In early 2015 I wrote a letter to my managers. I didn’t disclose that I had

Complex-PTSD. They’d known that for years. Instead I told them about the

other selves within me who had come alive in the protection prison. A teenage

witch. A little girl. A dancing delinquent.

I was sent for a work fitness assessment. The psychiatrist I saw, for fifty

minutes precisely, perhaps didn’t believe in breakthroughs. He affirmed I had

Complex-PTSD but also stated that it could be argued that I had Dissociative

Identity Disorder, once called Multiple Personality Disorder. However,

he concluded that, for the sake of simplicity, his diagnosis was Borderline

Personality Disorder.

In a process akin to alchemy, the months I’d spent in and out of amnesic states

in a prison that held men convicted of rape, murder, child sex offences and

police corruption, were condensed into these three words.

Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the most stigmatised of all psychiatric

conditions. Those who live with it are viewed as manipulative, attentionseeking,

difficult and nasty. The disorder is thought to be caused by an innate

predisposition for emotional, mental and behavioural instability and an

invalidating childhood environment. Suicide is not uncommon.

I had experienced each of these symptoms, mostly in my teenage years. As a

girl I’d spent two years in and out of Sydney institutions for juveniles deemed

delinquent. I tried to die but ultimately chose to live. A jagged scar on my arm

is a legacy from a suicide attempt as a teenager.

To a lesser extent, I’d also displayed borderline tendencies in my twenties

and thirties, usually triggered by romantic relationships. But I was fifty-five

and unimpressed when the hammer finally came down.

Within the psychiatric report my choices were lost from the pages. Trauma

and the resilience to survive it were blurred by the borderline label. I didn’t

dispute the diagnosis. However, it did nothing to help me grasp the deeper

layers of what had transpired with the former police officer and I felt

desperate to find that story.

I sensed that before I could reach within and grasp it, I would need to

reclaim my past. But how? So much of it was lost to memory or stored in

hidden chambers.

I decided to go back in time to find it and I knew just where to start.

In 1974, at age fifteen, I’d been transferred from Reiby Training School

in Campbelltown to Kamballa Special Unit in Parramatta. Both were

institutions for girls sentenced by the New South Wales Children’s Court

for crimes or welfare offences such as being uncontrollable or exposed to

moral danger. Kamballa was a place where girls with severe emotional and

behavioural problems were sent.

Kamballa was the gateway between me and childhood. If I returned and

stood at that threshold with my arms outstretched, maybe I could touch

both past and present.

Andrew Fuller’s most ambitious work yet.

An A to Z compendium of your emotions.

In Short


The A–Z of Feelings


Andrew Fuller with Sam Fuller

ISBN: 978 0645069013



Paperback, 256-272 pp

215 x 152mm

Price: $32.99

Release date: May 2021

Genre: Psychology/Self-help/Motivational


How to make your emotions work for you instead of against you

In perhaps his most ambitious and comprehensive work yet, Andrew

Fuller takes a deep dive into the architecture of our everyday human

emotions to understand why we think, act and behave the way we do. If

you have ever struggled with feelings you just can’t make sense of, have

trouble controlling or feel helpless against, then this book is for you!

Andrew, one of Australia’s best-loved psychologists, examines the most

common array of emotions and explains what they are, how they work

and how you can use them for your own personal good, rather than letting

them rule your life. He details the origins of emotion and outlines the

pathways of the brain that surround and allow emotional development.

Divided into 26 easy to read, bite-size chunks of information, The A to

Z of Feelings can be dipped in and out of for quick reference or read at

leisure for a more detailed understanding. It is essentially a recipe book

for emotions!

About the


Andrew Fuller

Clinical psychologist and leading

adolescent and family health

therapist Andrew Fuller specialises

in how children learn and improving

concentration, focus and educational

outcomes. Andrew Fuller is a Fellow of the

Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Learning

and Educational Development at the University of

Melbourne. He is the author of numerous books including

Unlocking Your Child’s Genius, Your Best Life at Any Age and

Tricky Teens.

More fantastic Andrew Fuller Titles

How feelings can help you to

read minds (even your own!)

Learning to read the signposts of your own emotional world is massively

advantageous. It is like having a secret knowledge that provides a roadmap

to healthy relationships with others and also with ourselves. Some people

try to ignore their feelings, usually to their peril. It would be like sending

important messages to yourself that you never bother to open.

Knowing how to read feelings is a bit like learning a second language.

Learning the language of feelings is like delving into the past and recapturing

a language your distant ancestors had, that was then supplanted by a deluge

of words. Your distant ancestors may have been much better readers of microexpressions

and feelings than modern people. In the absence of words, they

relied on that communication of feelings to survive. Today we prefer words

which makes us over-reliant on what people say (and less on what they do).

The language of feelings is just a relevant today and will give you insights

into other people and, at times, will startle you about yourself.



Kindness Self-compassion Self-worth Creativity Playfulness Acknowledgement

Confidence Tolerance Openness Freedom Flexibility Understanding Integration

‘When I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.’

Carl R. Rogers

What you may notice

Acceptance is about becoming less reliant on praise, feedback and affirmations

from others and more validated from within yourself. It is related to confidence

and assuredness and opens up the way towards following your own path.

Acceptance is not passivity. Acceptance can appear less dynamic than setting goals

and making plans for self-improvement. As we will see with many of the feelings

covered in this book it is easy to be discontented. It is easier to be, as P.G. Wodehouse

superbly put it, if not quite disgruntled, not entirely gruntled either. It is easier

to squander energies trying to resolve discontentment. It takes consideration and

careful action to be contented.

Acceptance is actually a form of alignment that shifts us towards contentment.

When we lack self-acceptance, we believe our way of being requires change and

improvement. There is a sense of not quite being in control of the direction of our


The world tricks people into feeling dissatisfied with their current state of being.

You are not good enough is the main message. Consumerism relies upon it. The

question the world seems to attack people with is, ‘Why accept who you are now

when you could be fitter/ thinner/ happier/ richer/ smarter/ even more successful?’

Diet harder, exercise more, work longer or rush faster are messages that place

people on the treadmill of self-improvement. Invariably, this is accompanied by

offers to sell you some product to help you achieve your new ‘improved’ state of


Self-acceptance takes patience. It is a type of alchemy that we do on ourselves.

There are parts of ourselves that we find admirable and easy to like. There are other

parts of ourselves that we regard as distasteful and a little well… grubby (don’t

worry we’re just talking about people generally here, I’m sure this doesn’t apply

to you). However, our flaws are just as important as our more positive qualities.

Self-acceptance is about making the best of the bits we like while acknowledging

the bits we’re not so fond of and directing them in positive directions. For example,

someone who tends to be controlling can use this to become a meticulous detail ed

person and possibly seek a career as an events or project manager.

Often the journey towards self-acceptance begins with being accepted by loved

ones. We first glimpse ourselves reflected in the eyes of those we love.

While change is always possible, without awareness, reflection and some degree

of self-acceptance most attempts are dashed by disappointment, followed by selfloathing.

This sets up an unhappy cycle of failed efforts.

Acceptance is awareness rather than passivity. It doesn’t mean we have to be

resigned or content with situations as they are. Accepting that this is how things

are for now, leads us to a sense of awareness and being present. Becoming aware

and being present opens us up to new possibilities.

Self-acceptance is a pathway to recovery and healing. Life transitions such as

relationship breakups, job changes, health changes or fluctuations in fortunes

can jolt us all. Through self-acceptance people begin to learn that they are larger

than their damaging misfortunes. At these times self-acceptance restores trust in

yourself that enables you to move beyond periods of hurt and tough times.

Without self-acceptance we can be tempted to try to conceal parts of ourselves

with a cost to our integrity. Self-acceptance empowers us to be authentic.

What happens

One of the central longings of people is to be acknowledged. To be accepted for

who they are. When we feel accepted there is a sense of calm belonging. We don’t

have to be on guard or defend ourselves. We can speak more freely, think more

creatively and live more playfully.

True acceptance of others requires acceptance of ourselves. We have to be brave

enough to celebrate the parts of our own self that we like and be courageous

enough to look those parts that we aren’t so fond of in the eye and admit that they

also are part of who we are.

It can be an act of great liberation to re-label some of our most troubling flaws as


In short



Two Mums and a Dad

Toby Roberts

ISBN: 9780648780793



Paperback, 256-272 pp

215 x 152mm

Price: $32.99

Release date: 1 June 2021

Genre: Memoir


Sydney’s leafy northern suburbs were a bastion of Christian conservatism

in the 1970s, but the Roberts family was always a little different. If having

lots of children, pets and parties made them stick out, then a mum with a

procession of live-in lovers had the neighbours wondering if this mob had

mistaken Beecroft for Lesbos.

Despite the climate of the times, Toby’s parents were able to reach a very

bohemian understanding – his dancer mother was free to find love in the

arms of younger women, while his doctor father was free to drink and

pretend it wasn’t happening.

Growing up a middle child of four, Toby loved his mother’s girlfriends

as if they were older siblings. But when his mum fell for Caro, everything

changed. It’s hard enough when your mum and dad divorce, and you move

into a new home with two mums – harder still, when one of those mums

challenges your masculinity by flogging you in tennis and lifting weights

that would give you a hernia.

To make matters worse, Toby had just started high school at a Christian

college where Mum’s spiky hair and long trousers weren’t welcome. The

usual insecurities about finding acceptance in high school go up a notch or

two when you’re a weedy violinist and your two mothers keep kissing in


This delightful coming of age memoir explores the angst of puberty, school,

sport and bad 80s fashion. Beneath the humour and quirky characters,

reminiscent of Netflix’s Sex Education series and just as awkwardly funny,

lies a deeper reminder of the human need to pursue more authentic lives,

and the capacity for people to surprise us by accepting love in all its forms.

Over time, the bravery and decency of Toby’s two mums wins admirers and

supporters in unlikely places, from rugby-playing school boys to deeply

religious stay-at-home mums. Even Toby learns to see the value in his

embarrassing childhood…

On being published

Me and my family have always said horrible things about each

other, but now I get to do it from a rooftop. Being a proper writer,

I also get to wear a skivvy and cord jacket. Lower down the order

of needs, I’m hopeful that my story reminds people, in this time of

division, that love and persistence will eventually wear down the

walls of prejudice.

Toby Roberts

About the



Toby grew up in Dural, Sydney, and attended

the Steiner School where he played the violin.

Between 2003–2008 he was the singer/songwriter

for the band The Telltales, whose songs

received airplay on MTV, Video Hits, MusicMax

and commercial radio. Toby’s songs were

distributed through MGM and also featured

on the soundtrack of some Australian films. He

has worked as a song writer, a session singer,

a lawyer, a banker and a consultant, in roles

that have taken him from Sydney to London,

Singapore and Jakarta. He currently lives in

Sydney with his wife and two children. He has

written for law journals and the ABC short story

podcasts. This is his first book.


It was clear that Mum liked girls well before she left my Dad. I’d just

misread the signs. When I was 7 years old, Mum took me to meet her

year 12 students at the girls’ school where she taught French. She sat

me on a pile of books and two smiling teenagers cooed over my blond

hair, leaving me with the mistaken impression that they loved me. They

really loved my mum.

And there was a lot to love about Mum. She had perfect white skin

and elfin features. The only thing that stopped her looking girlish

was the severe helmet fringe that she’d adopted in honour of the

70’s folk singers whose anti-establishment message she embraced so

enthusiastically. Her free-spirited approach to teaching kids was fun

too. A book called The Children on The Hill had convinced her that an

environment of creativity and experimentation would yield bold and

gifted children. While we all loved the plays and books and word

games, her eccentricity must have been embarrassing for some people.

I was too young to feel anything other than adoration, but to others it

was clear that Mum was different.

Within a year of finishing school, both of those French students were

living at our place in Beecroft. Our three-level house could happily fit

Juliet and Kelly, and Dad didn’t seem to mind. He even described them

as “angels”, though Mum knew they were naughtier than that. I don’t

think there was a sexual relationship underway between Mum, Juliet

or Kelly at this stage, but it was clearly on their minds, judging by all

the flirting and cuddles.

In the 70s there was a general air of permissiveness when it came to

bad fashion and sex. Underdressing was common around our house

but clothes became entirely optional on the first boat trip with the girls.

Dad had just bought an oversized clipper, a captain’s hat and a pair of

fetching ‘miss daisy’ denim shorts to go with it. When your radiological

practice is making too much money, one response is to buy a large boat

and play dress ups.

Dad performed the part of admiral with conviction - he was a tall man,

proud and loud, well used to getting his way. But the effect was partly

undone when he tried to stride the top deck with denim shorts wedged

in his bum crack. If he kept still, he could convey the impression of an

experienced seaman, albeit one who knew enough about real sailing

to avoid the ocean altogether and stick to the Hawkesbury river. We

set out from Akuna Bay with Dad at the helm, my older brother Mark

trying to make sense of his orders, my sister Ren already set up below

deck with a board game, Mum and her two new friends up the top with

the wind in their hair.

‘Steeped in humor and great adventure, Mark’s memoir

provides a unique perspective on not only travelling

through Australia but also the unmistakable bond

between father and son. From venomous snakes to an

unruly water buffalo his story was perfect for our travel

podcast Postcards From The Road. We are very excited

to introduce 13 Pairs of Boots to our listeners this season!’

Elizabeth Hill - National Productions/Outreach Coordinator and Producer

WAMC Northeast Public Radio NY, USA

In Short



13 Pairs of Boots

Mark Howison

ISBN: 9780648556947



Paperback, 224 pp

215 x 152mm

Illustrations: Colour Section

Price $32.00

Release: August 2020




▪ People who travel around Australia are called ‘Big Lappers’.

100 000 people are travelling around Australia right now.

Kangaroos have outpaced the population of Australian

residents 2 to 1.


In 1973 David Howison announced to his then 17-year-old son Mark that they

were going to walk around Australia to raise money for a wildlife sanctuary to

protect kangaroos.

Once he got over his initial shock, Mark was up for the adventure. Thanks to the

local Kangaroo Protection Society they were kitted out in boots, hats and suncreen

and given a sponsorship with Hanimax cameras. After leaving Sydney with a

huge farewell from a Scottish Highlander band, thousands of people and many

media interviews, it was just Mark, his dad, and their dog Wendy on the road. The

fourth mem ber of their team was a large cart loaded with their belongings, which

they pulled behind them.

Anticipating a hero’s welcome and free hospitality at every town, the pair soon

discover that not only are they left to fend for themselves but that, in the bush,

the bloody kangaroos don’t need saving and on many occasions angry farmers

reminded them of this fact by firing bullets over their heads. Dirt roads, wilddriving

semi-trailers, feral pigs, crocodiles, snakes, rogue RSPCA officers and,

eventually lack of food and, even more importantly to David, cigarettes, turn this

inspiring quest into one of survival.

To make matters worse, halfway through the trip, not only have the locals turned

against them, Mark and David begin to become heartily sick of each other. And

that is when the fun really begins ...

Frequently hilarious and written by a master storyteller with a very ‘Australian’

turn of phrase, this is warm-hearted, entertaining read.

About the



Mark was born the eldest of five children

in Bathurst, NSW. As a family they

travelled around a lot, mainly to avoid

debt collectors or to follow their father’s

latest gambit to make money. During his

teens and early twenties Mark played

rugby league and participated in boxing.

After his journey with his father around

Australia, Mark worked as a painter and

decorator, and later in sales adminstration.

This is his first book.

On being published...

Through the publication of the book, I look

forward to talking with people and retelling

many of the great adventures experienced

during that year.

Mark Howison


Here I was stuck up a tree, about 20 feet off the ground, with an apparent madman

slowly circling around the trunk below. Why was I up here? What had I done? A

few minutes before it had been simply me and Dad walking across the Nullabor

and all I had said to the old man was, ‘Maybe it would be a good time for you

to give up the fags.’ This was not meant as anything other than a desire to make

conversation, but the old man just exploded.

‘Give up smokes, yeah why not? I have given up every bloody thing else. I’ve

given up rooting, I’ve given up bathing, I’ve given up drinking … I’ve even given

up living and now you want me to give up smoking!’

Well, as I thought this was just Dad being Dad, the bloke with all the gags and the

quick wit, I once more offered my opinion.

‘All I’m saying is that it’s been three days since you had your last smoke and if you

gave up, you wouldn’t have to send me into town anymore to buy them anymore.’

‘Look!’ Dad screamed, with a glint of madness in his eyes. ‘I could no sooner

give up cigarettes, than you could give up wanking, so I’m gunna give you three

choices: pull a packet of smokes out of your arse, get up that fucking tree there or

bloody well fight me.’

Now Dad had never been violent and I can’t ever recall him striking anybody in

anger. Sure there had been the childhood threats of the belt and sometimes even

a couple of whacks across the backside, but this was a demonstration of real fury.

In hindsight I should have seen it coming. He had been snakey for three days now

since running out of smokes and was only getting crankier. At this stage we were

three and a half months into our planned twelve-month walk around Australia to

raise funds to build a wildlife sanctuary. As we crossed the Nullabor the walk had

taken on a humdrum routine of getting up at the break of day, walking till 1.00 pm

and then having a break until 4.00 pm to escape the real heat of the afternoon. We

would then start walking into the night or until we both agreed we were rooted.

Blow up the airbeds, have a leak and sleep until the first light of day then get up

and do it again.

Dad had run out of cigarettes a couple of times before and it had not been a big

deal; he usually just put the bite on a passing motorist or sent me into the nearest

town to get a couple of packets. This time though, we were on the Nullabor and

the nearest town was a bloody long distance away and passing motorists were few

and far between.

Of the three choices given me, I chose the second and climbed the tree. Now

people think the Nullabor doesn’t have any trees, as the name would imply, but

the Western Nullabor does have some. They are sparsely placed and not very

tall, but when Dad and I were having our moment of unpleasantness, there was

a particularly tall Mulga tree and I was perched on the top branch. I was shaking

violently from the fear of heights, but also shaking from a fear that I might really

hurt Dad in a fight. Not quite understanding what was going on and not willing to

beat him up, I stayed put for two hours. During this time I started thinking about

Dad, pondering on my strange life with him and his various adventures.

‘If the popularity of entertainment based on hospital themes and

crime investigation is anything to go by, people are curious about

the human body and the processes of delving into it, preferably

from a safe distance and on somebody else.’

Meryl Broughton, taken from Autopsies for anyone?


for the Armchair Enthusiast

My strange encounters with death as a country medical examiner

Dr Meryl Broughton

In Short



Autopsies for the Armchair Enthusiast

Dr Meryl Broughton

ISBN: 978 0645069020



Paperback, 256pp

215 x 152mm

Price: $32.99

Release: September 2021


Intimate interactions with complete strangers, faithful customers and

everything in between, form a regular component of the professional work

as a country doctor. Within the sanctity of the medical consulting room

however, confidentiality is king and privacy rules supreme.

For over 35 years Meryl Broughton has been a keeper of secrets. But while

there is a special group of patients whose voices can no longer be heard,

their tales can teach so much and deserve a wider audience than the doctors’


The ultimate medical examination and strangest of encounters is the autopsy,

that mysterious procedure strategically positioned between death and the

grave. It is a sort of biography of the body that increasingly few people get

the opportunity to see, and in Autopsies for the Armchair Enthusiast, Meryl

provides a virtual tour. The insights she offers offer a unique and compelling

encouragement to looking after one’s own health.

This account of a peculiar passion for performing post mortems involves

pickled brains, dungeons, zombies, maggots, outsides, insides, blood and

guts. Exploration of the human body is illustrated by fascinating true stories

based on real cases.

Details of the individuals are smudged to protect the privacy that still belongs

to those who have gone to wherever people go when they have left behind

their mortal remains. As Meryl says, we should not miss the chance to learn

about ourselves from what happened to them.

About the



Meryl completed her medical

studies at the University of

Monash and has been a doctor for

over 35 years, mainly in the country

regions of Western Australia. She writes

regularly for the Medical Observer and has also been

published in the Griffith Review. She lives in Albany

with her husband. This is her first book.

On being published

There is a strange sensation in my chest, my pulse quickens, tingling

spreads over me causing a funny look on my face. No, I’m not

having a heart attack, just delighted that my peculiar passion for

post-mortems has escaped the medical enclave and made it out

into the big wide world.

Meryl Broughton


‘There was blood everywhere.’

The head of the forensic pathology department was recounting to me his adventures

during a night call-out to a scene. We donned our white overalls and protective

gowns before proceeding into the autopsy suite at the State Mortuary.

Police had arrested a nervous character hanging around a house where a man was

found dead. There was blood spread about in several rooms and the deceased was

found lying with his head on a blood-soaked pillow.

The body arrived in the autopsy room with brown paper bags tied over his hands

and, creepily, one over his head. Several police officers accompanied the alleged

victim to collect evidence in this sterile environment and observe the post mortem

proceedings. I was incidentally there to be looking at other autopsies, cases of

presumed natural causes, not suspicious ones. But everyone was diverted to this

spectacle for a while.

Some bottles and packets of medicines were recovered from the scene and delivered

in a plastic bag along with the body. The man was a known alcoholic but, as a

general medical practitioner and country doctor, I could tell from his medications

he was also being treated for high blood pressure, arthritis and a past stroke. This

was my immediately useful contribution.

The paper bags were removed. Inspection of the outside of the naked corpse

revealed bruises of various ages over his trunk and limbs. There was a fresh deep

cut to his left ear but no other bleeding sources were detected.

No weapon had been found. Could the amount of blood dispersed throughout the

house have come from this apparently minor wound? Was it foul play or something

less sinister?

Trace evidence was collected from his body surface, scrapings from under his

fingernails, and combings from his hair. Each bruise was meticulously sampled

with a small cutting device and the tissue placed in little cassettes for subsequent

microscopic examination. Then the head pathologist continued the autopsy in the

usual way.


We found cirrhosis of his liver, a result of chronic heavy alcohol use. There were

the signs of his previous old stroke in the cerebellum of his brain. But there was no

evidence of other wounds, occult injuries or suspicious pathology.

So the scenario came down to this. He had cut his ear by accident. But the tablets

he was taking appropriately to prevent another stroke interfered with the process

that initiates clotting. This was exaggerated by the anti-inflammatory medication

he took for his arthritis. The patient’s other coagulation factors were in short supply

due to the abnormal function of his diseased liver.

Already walking funny because of his past stroke, acute alcohol intoxication made

him bumble about the house as he tried to stem the bleeding from his ear. He

eventually passed out on the bed and quietly bled out.

His worried old mate who had been apprehended was no longer considered a

suspect and released from police custody.

That was the one case of drama I encountered while brushing up my skills in

anatomical pathology in the city. A few others would occur in the course of my

duties as the coroner’s medical examiner in the country.


Bad Apple titles

A Long View from the Left by Max Ogden

A memoir by Max Odgen, a longtime Australian Communist

Party member, Unionist and, from 1985, ALP member. The

memoir traces Max’s 60 years as a union and political activist,

as well as the changing social and cultural values of Australian

society over this time, and reveals many rich lessons that will be

invaluable to our current and future generations of leaders.

ISBN 978 0648556961

RRP: $32.99

Good Night Irene by Michael Schiavello

This down-to-earth memoir describes how a bullied fat kid from

Melbourne evolved to become an award-winning, international

television presenter and sports commentator. Michael Schiavello,

the overweight son of an immigrant factory worker, was

taunted and bullied at school and was told he’d never amount

to anything. By his late teens he knew he only had two things

going for him: his deep booming voice and a burning ambition

to prove his critics wrong.

ISBN 978 0648556930

RRP: $32.99

Red Herrings for Breakfast by Annabet Ousback



For breakfast

AnnAbet OusbAck

Annabet and Anders had had each other’s backs from a very

young age; in a household where the emotion of domestic

violence was prevalent, emotions uncertain, life was hard with

little or no exception. She was outgo-ing and an extrovert,

Anders far more introverted, challenging the status quo from a

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ISBN 9780648556923

RRP: $32.99





A Year in the Mud and the Toast and the Tears by Georgie Brooks

A laugh-out-loud acount of a young family’s misplaced

confidence in themselves to become hobby farmers in rural

Adelaide Hills, where their fantasies about life in the country are

progressively destroyed and their almost total ignorance about

everything agricultural is revealed...

ISBN 978 0648 556916

RRP $27.99

Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail by Wil Patterson

Wil Patterson was just an ordinary working husband and father.

Wil knew it was wrong but the temptation was too great. Soon

enough he found himself down at the bank cashing a work

cheque, that wasn’t for him. After vowing ‘never again’, it

wasn’t too long before Wil’s mounting debt meant he just could

not resist ...

ISBN 9780648226741

RRP $27.99

Around the Grounds by Peter Newlinds

Peter Newlinds worked for ABC Radio Grandstand for 18 years

through the 1990s and 2000s. His name and voice will be familiar

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many of the various sports the ABC has covered over the years.

Peter provides a unique perspective on the life of a broadcaster.

ISBN 9780648100874

RRP $32.99

‘Funny, fabulous and a little bit scary.

I love these ladies.’ GRETEL KILLEEN



Women Like Us by Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs

Bssed on their bestselling comedy show, Women Like Us delves

deep into the minutiae that makes up the drama of life … and

turns society’s expectations of what women should be upside

down. Women Like Us is for anybody who is tired of being told

what they must look like, act like or even talk like!

ISBN 9780648100836

RRP $27.99


Tricky Behaviours by Andrew Fuller

Leading Australian psychologist Andrew Fuller has interviewed

over 500 000 people to trace the commonly identifiable

stages of life. Understanding what stage you are in will lead

to making changes that can improve your relationships,

create better health and develop a more resilient mindset.

ISBN 9780648780724


Your Best Life at Any Age by Andrew Fuller

Leading Australian psychologist Andrew Fuller has interviewed

over 500 000 people to trace the commonly identifiable

stages of life. Understanding what stage you are in will lead

to making changes that can improve your relationships,

create better health and develop a more resilient mindset.

ISBN 9780648226796



Your Child’s


How to discover

and encourage

your child’s

natural talents

Andrew Fuller

Unlocking Your Child’s Genius by Andrew Fuller

Leading clinical psychologist Andrew Fuller says that children

are born bright and curious – with a greater capacity and inner

genius than we realise. Every child has an innate sense of

inquisitiveness, creativity and lateral thinking that form the basis

of genius.

ISBN 9781925048353

RRP $27.99

Tricky Teens

How to create a

great relationship

with your teen …

without going crazy!

Andrew fuller

Author of the bestseller Tricky Kids

Tricky Teens by Andrew Fuller

Tricky Teens: How to create a great relationship with your teen

without going crazy! provides parents with a step-by-step guide

to understanding what is really going on in the minds of their

teenagers - and why.

ISBN 9781925048186

RRP $24.99



The Full Mandy by Mandy Nolan

For the first time, Mandy Nolan – legendary comic and

author – has brought together a collection of some of her most

provocative, polarising and most humorous columns written

for the iconic and long-running newspaper The Byron Bay Echo.

ISBN 9780648780748

RRP $22.00

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across the state for

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Jamie SimmondS


fRom the flood

Moving the Town of Grantham

Jamie SimmondS

Rising from the Flood by Jamie Simmonds

During the summer of 2011, the state of Queensland was

ravaged by some of the worst flooding Australia has ever seen.

Mayor Steve Jones saw no future in rebuilding where the town

once stood. He made a promise to the people of Grantham that

they would move to higher ground by Christmas … less than

twelve months after the flood.

ISBN 9780648556985

RRP $25

Nature Heals by Virginia Field, Karen Gray, Kerryn Coombs-


The first of its kind, this beautiful book brings nature into the

growing areas of well-being and health care. An inspiration

and a resource for developing and delivering programs assisted

by nature, from the healing of a therapeutic garden or farm to

the expanse of the forest and wilderness. A must for anyone

interested in mental health programs in Australian and NZ

ISBN 9781684541638

RRP $49.99

The Camino Diaries by Cilla Cole

Is it madness or just plain naivety when a young woman thinks

walking the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path

with her new husband, her even newer father-in-law, and his

architect, would be a fun way to spend her honeymoon?

ISBN 9780648226789

RRP $25

For enquiries or more information please contact


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