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Obituary – Last of the Showmen

A recent picture of Max Laurie Photo: Supplied

Outback communities everywhere are coming to terms with the loss of a showman known from Arnhem Land to Tasmania – and from Bourke to Booligal. Max Laurie – the patriarch of the famous “Laurie’s Merry-Go-Round” family passed away at home in Dubbo on 19th March aged 76.

He was born into one of Australia’s oldest show families, and had a great passion for amusement rides, music and work.

Max had a smile as wide as the outback landscape that he criss-crossed for decades with his family’s amusement rides.

For those that knew him, Max was a man who loved to entertain others, and loved to put a smile on the faces of everyone around him.

His wife Irene told The Western Herald that Max inherited his love of the travelling shows from his parents — Frank and Lillian Laurie.

Frank and Lillian Laurie imported their first steam-driven merry-go-round from Germany in 1898 — and with their 4 children Frank, Jean, Max and Evelyn, they travelled shows and carnivals throughout eastern Australia.

“The show bug came down through the generations” Irene said.

“Shows and amusements were always part of Max’s life — he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, and once you start travelling, it’s gets in your blood.

“His favourite ride was the rollercoaster he bought in later years — he called it ‘The Taipan’; and he was also proud of the Dodgem Cars he’s imported from a town called Reggio in Italy.

“Back in the old days he’d turn up on the spare block in Mitchell Street, Bourke across from the Federal Hotel with his Merry-go-round, the Razzle Dazzle, a Cha-Cha and the Dodgem cars — everyone living Bourke in those days remembers Frank, Max and the Laurie family.

Read more in the printed edition of the Western Herald.

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