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R. M. Winn is one of those blokes who never cave in. No matter how serious the situation, he hauls it out front and deals with it, hard and fast ­no ifs or buts. Not even a malignant brain tumour could lay him in his tracks. He is totally self-reliant, lacks reverence, doesn't yet know what 'political correctness' means, talks no bullshit – or not much – and won't listen to any, laughs at himself easily and at others more easily.

He says he attended Ipswich Grammar School, Queensland Institute of Technology and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, but will not agree to saying he was educated at any of them. He adds that in one or two cases he might have actually lost ground.

For thirty-five years he was a leading rural valuer and much sought­ after professional court witness but just as often preferred cane-cutting, chasing scrubber cattle, running brumbies, timber-getting and driving trucks around the backblocks.

He has a swag of books to his credit, including the self-published High Tides & Hard Rides, When a Tree Falls and Behind the Bike Shed and the Penguin-published Rough Diamonds & Real Gems, True Grit & Dry Wit, Out of the Blue and Up A Hollow Log.

So that's the bloke – take him or leave him, but when the going gets tough, line up beside him and you'll be right.

Books by R.M. Winn