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The 3 Best Illegal Things To Do in Brisbane

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by Sean Goedecke (subscribe)
Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published December 11th 2011
There's a common saying that a person's worth can be measured by how many laws they've broken. By this measure, though, you'd find the most worthy people in prison, and any attempt at self-improvement might land you there yourself. It's enough to make anybody despair – surely growing as a human being should be risk-free and easy. Luckily, there are a few loopholes: laws that are still on the books but are too outdated to be properly enforced.

Go to Jail
Get a lawyer on retainer, just in case.


Dress Up As A Cat Burglar

Get out your skinniest black jeans, your comfortable felt shoes and a dark jacket - oh, and remember to cover your face with shoe polish. There's a reason behind all of this: it's illegal to walk the street in this outfit. Black clothing and shoe polish was the outfit of cat burglars (not tight-fitting leather and a whip, unfortunately). Dark clothes couldn't be seen in shadows, and a thin coat of shoe polish on the face stopped the creepily pale skin of nocturnal burglars from giving them away. Only a criminal would need to dress up like that, the reasoning went.

Catwoman BTAS
You can understand their reasoning.


Nobody's likely to be cracking down on this law these days, though – your modern burglar is more likely to be wearing a suit and siphoning thousands of dollars from his bosses than to be creeping around at night in a all-black suit. All in all, it's certanly less dangerous. Maybe that's the kind of criminal Brisbane deserves.

Drive A Taxi (With Nothing In The Trunk)

This one's a holdover from the ancient days where taxis were made of wood and had horses on the front. To prevent cruelty to animals, or just ensure that paying customers wouldn't have to endure unnecessary hold-ups, cab drivers were required to have a bale of hay in the back at all times. A sick or hungry horse could be revived in emergencies. Despite the relative scarcity of horses on Brisbane streets, this law's still on the books - so if you drive a taxi now, you'd better have a trunk full of straw. It's a little harder to break this law than the last one, unless you own a taxi. Perhaps if you rode in a taxi, you'd count as an accessory to the crime? Hey, it's worth a shot.

Cross-Dress Without Straps

Like the cat burglar one, this is likely to get you some strange looks. Unfortunately, it doesn't apply to women. Listen up, men: if you appear on the street in a "dress without straps", you're breaking the law. No restrictions apply to other items of women's clothing, fortunately, so feel free to cross dress in anything with sleeves. Hot pants, for instance, are still perfectly legal. Presumably the early days of Brisbane were full of men walking around in dresses with straps – but take the straps off and you'd become a dangerous degenerate.

Pink Dress
Totally legal.


Sure, there are easier ways to break the law - shoe polish isn't cheap, you know, and neither are taxis these days - but when you factor in the costs of a court case, it might break even. There are plenty more crazy Australian laws, too – bar owners, for instance, are required to stable, water and feed the horses of their patrons. And just think: when you've done all these things, you can brag to your friends about how much fuller a person you are. If they want to stay friends with a cross-dressing taxi passenger with shoe polish on his face, that is.
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Why? Because there's a little Ned Kelly in all of us.
When: Anytime.
Where: All around Brisbane.
Cost: Free.
Your Comment
This was very amusing and written well. I enjoyed reading it :) Well done.
Now... how to put this as a favourite on my page?
by Chrystal Byrne (score: 2|792) 2020 days ago
Very entertaining article, thanks. I'm in the mood now to break some laws :)
by Celeste Jacobs (score: 1|33) 1860 days ago
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