> Skip to content

Article  •  18 August 2016


Birdsville and back

The job ad that changed Outback Cop Neale McShane’s life forever.

Neale McShane describes Birdsville, central west Queensland as, ‘The land of plenty – plenty of heat, dust, flies, snakes, camels and salt of the earth outback folk’. And he’d know: as the senior constable on the Birdsville beat for ten years, he’s more qualified than most to offer a snapshot of one of the most remote and colourful regions on the continent. Through the pen of bestselling author and mate Evan McHugh, in Outback Cop McShane shares stories of desert dangers, dead bodies, droughts and floods, drinkers and dreamers – and, of course the infamous Birdsville Races – bringing into vivid focus the goings on of a town too far off the beaten track for most.

It all started with a job advertisement. Straight from the pages of Outback Cop, here’s the ad that, after being posted for the third time, sent McShane down a decade of dusty roads:

Looking for a challenge both in your lifestyle and working environment?

Desirous of living/working in one of the remotest Western Queensland Police Divisions?

Looking for the opportunity to maybe set yourself and your family up financially?

Then seriously consider the following position that is now being readvertised.

Vacancy 334/06 in Qld Police Gazette dated 16 June 2006 advertises a position of Senior Constable, Officer In Charge, Birdsville Police Station. There are numerous career and financial advantages associated with this position. These include:

  • The position has a department residence and a fully equipped barracks.
  • $310.30 per fortnight family locality allowance = $8067.80 per year extra.
  • 35% Operational Shift Allowance (OSA).
  • Potential for approved secondary employment in Division.
  • Potential employment for spouse/partner through Q-Gap at Police Station.
  • Five (5) days per year isolation leave.
  • Ability to accumulate paid days off.
  • Higher rate of accrual of recreation leave (250.8 hours per year).
  • Two (2) annual return air fares for Officer and family. Ability also to take cash in lieu of airfares.
  • Cross border (QLD/NT) policing opportunities.
  • This is a dedicated Officer In Charge position.
  • Work at major events, including Birdsville Races.
  • Too many other advantages to mention e.g. fishing, hunting, camping, remote-area policing and four wheel driving.
  • Birdsville Police Station is within the Mount Isa Police District and is located approximately 1592 kilometres west from Brisbane and 670 kilometres south from Mount Isa.
  • If you are up to a challenge and looking to gain an advantage in the promotional and financial stakes, then:
  • do your research;
  • speak with the current acting officer-in-charge;
  • consider your personal circumstances; and
  • submit your application.
  • And yes, be aware that living and working in Birdsville can be difficult, challenging and at times isolated.

Outback Cop Evan McHugh, Neale McShane

'Birdsville, the land of plenty – plenty of heat, dust, flies, snakes, camels and salt of the earth outback folk.' Neale McShane

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Dear reader: A letter from Brené Brown

The bestselling author of Gifts of Imperfection and Dare to Lead on the vastness of human emotion.

One of Us is Lying: Meet the suspects

Five students get detention, only four leave alive. How far would you go to protect your secrets?

Top 5 unmissable Aussie books of 2021

A list of page turners we recommend you read this year.

What book you should read based on your star sign

Your zodiac sign could be key to discovering your next great read.

Gary Mehigan reveals surprising Christmas lunch tradition

The TV chef has revealed the one Christmas favourite he leaves off the menu.

Gary Mehigan's 5 tips for the perfect Christmas lunch

The TV chef shares his secrets to successfully entertaining friends and family over the holidays.

Submissions open for the 2022 Penguin Literary Prize

We're on the lookout for aspiring authors wanting to tell their story.

2021 Booker Prize winner announced

It's third time lucky for Damon Galgut, who won the Booker Prize after being shortlisted twice before.

Explain That: Where did the Australian accent come from?

Karl Quinn delves into why the Australian accent sounds like it does and the biggest misconceptions about it.

The most bonkers advice women have been fed for centuries

Should I wear an apron or bikini to a BBQ? How do I trap a husband? Does my period make me poisonous? Advice column with a difference.

What is love at first sight?

Can a chemical reaction in your brain really decide your romantic future? Or have we been sold a fairytale?

Monica McInerney on writing for children

Bestselling Australian author of The Godmothers explores the joy of writing Marcie Gill and the Caravan Park Cat, her first book for kids.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles