Small Press Network profiles Living In Hope for #MUBA18

Small Press Network publishes a spotlight on ‘Living In Hope’ in the lead up to the announcement of the winner of #MUBA18 on 22 November 2018. The judges comment, “Told in simple but powerful language, the story is one that all Australians should read to understand the impact of the Stolen Generations on individual lives. Byrne writes: “I still have memories of my life at Christmas Creek before I was taken away.” He writes fondly about his time with his extended family in the Kimberley, hunting kangaroos with his stepfather, visiting his mother’s family at Fitzroy Crossing and hiding in a cave during World War 2. But then he was taken from his parents and left to fend for himself. It is heartbreaking to read his words: “I was only six years old and had to survive the best way I could.”” To read more, click here.

Vale Frank Byrne: 20 July 1937 – 20 October 2017

It was one year ago today that Frank Byrne sadly passed away. He may not be with us any longer, but his voice continues to resonate with heart-felt wisdom and powerful resilience. Ptilotus Press pays our deep respect and condolences to the immediate Byrne family, extended families, friends and community. We will dedicate this week to remembering him; his life, his story and his intent determination to pass ‘Living In Hope’ to the future generations.

Frank Byrne was a gentleman in every sense. He spoke softly with great authority about those things he knew of stock work, family and resilience and much much more. He loved his family and wanted to share with them his journey to give them a sense of perspective of “living with hope” as he had managed to do despite the adversity he had faced. He was a lovely singer and musician and we very much enjoyed the nights he’d sing with us and friends. He is deeply missed by his families and friends” (Jo Dutton – author and founding member of Ptilotus Press).

Photo by Chris Hallet, 18 August 2015. On the road between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing.

In 2015, Frank Byrne journeyed from Alice Springs through to the Kimberley with Frances Coughlan & Gerard Waterford to retrace his childhood steps & write his life story. Driving west on the Tanami Highway, he would say "those rosary beads keeping us safe". Photo by Chris Hallett,15 August 2015.
Writing on the road. Frank Byrne sits with Frances Coughlan and Gerard Waterford in their 'office' at Gnylmarung, just north of Beagle Bay mission on 21 August 2015. The son of a Gooniyandi woman and Irish stockman, Frank was born on Christmas Creek station in the Kimberley on 20 July 1937. He is a child of the Stolen Generations, taken from his mother at the age of six. Frank spent the next nine years at Moola Bulla settlement and Beagle Bay mission.
Frank Byrne visits Beagle Bay Mission 69 years after being taken there with other stolen children. He describes on page 27: "One day, without any warning, Alf George got us all together and picked all of these kids out from the mob. Like he was culling cattle. He just rounded up a few of us half-caste boys and girls, got us on the truck and away we went. It was 2 September 1946. I was nine years old. We just left Moola Bulla this day. I did not say goodbye to anyone, not any of the old people who had cared for me for the last three years, nobody. None of us said goodbye". Photo by Chris Hallett. 24 August 2015.
Frank Byrne sketches an early draft of Living In Hope in his own handwriting
Whilst retracing his childhood steps through the Kimberley, Frank meets Johnny Cooper again. Johnny was three years old when he was stolen from Lamboo Station and taken with the Moola Bulla kids to Beagle Bay mission. Frank describes on page 28, "I don't remember seeing little Johnny's mother that day. Maybe she could not face it. We just picked Johnny up and took him, no clothes, no blanket, no goodbye. We did not see anyone there to support the little guy. The blackfellas were all too scared. They feared the government, they just come and take the kids away, they had no say in it".
In the church at Beagle Bay mission, Frank and his mother's story is found on p202 of 'From Patrons to Partners: And the Separated Children of the Kimberley' by M. Zucker (2005.
Roadside consultations with Frank whilst writing Living In Hope. Photo by Chris Hallett, August 2015.

Small Press Network Shortlists ‘Living In Hope’ for Most Underrated Book Award 2018

Ptilotus Press title ‘Living In Hope’ by Frank Byrne has been shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2018 (#MUBA2018). The winner of the award will be announced by the Small Press Network (SPN) at their Independent Publishing Conference in Melbourne on 22 November 2018. Members of the Byrne family, co-authors Gerard Waterford & Frances Coughlan along with Ptilotus Press will travel from Mparntwe/Alice Springs to attend the MUBA 2018 ceremony.

Earlier this year, ‘Living In Hope’ won Best Non-Fiction Territory Read Award 2018. It is a powerful childhood memoir and story of resilience by a survivor of the Stolen Generations.

Ptilotus Press is a community publisher based in Mparntwe/Alice Springs managed by a collective of local writers. To learn more, see the SPN announcement here or visit www.ptilotuspress.com

For media enquiries, contact Olivia Nigro: 0405 406 731 | olivia.nigro@ptilotuspress.com

Past News

Best Non-Fiction award for ‘Living In Hope’

Trevor Byrne and Delphene Byrne (pictured centre) accept ‘Best Non-Fiction’ award for ‘Living In Hope’ on behalf of their father and grandfather Frank Byrne at the 2018 Territory Read Awards in Darwin on 29 July 2018. Photo: NT Writer’s Centre.

Call out for submissions

Public service announcement on 8CCC 102.1 FM Community Radio Alice Springs & Tennant Creek for submissions to the Inland Writers Series. 16 May 2018.

ABC Alice Springs

Leni Shilton speaks to 783 ABC Alice Springs about Ptilotus Press, the Inland Writers Series and current call for submissions. 11 May 2018.