Living in Hope
By Frank Byrne with Frances Coughlan & Gerard Waterford
This is the story of the early years of my life. The story of a boy who was taken away from his mother and his family forever when he was just six years old. He had no say in it. His family had no say in it. The government had all the say in everything.
First printed 2017.
Paperback 120x178mm 50g. 56 pages.
“This is a very strong story of survival. A tragic reminder of the harshness and unfairness of the mission era but also the toughness and determination of our people.” – Bruce Pascoe.
Book one in the Inland Writers Series—short reads from the Centre of Australia.
Winner of Best Non-Fiction Territory Read 2018
Winner of Most Underrated Book Award 2018
Showcased at Frankfurt Book Fair 2019 by the Australian Publishers Association.
“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.
Nov-December 2018: Media Highlights of MUBA win. Ptilotus Press.
22 November 2018: ‘Living In Hope Wins’ by Karen Wyld. Indigenous X.
About the author
The son of a Gooniyandi woman and Irish stockman, Frank Byrne was born on Christmas Creek Station in the Kimberley on 20 July 1937. He was a child of the Stolen Generations, taken from his mother at the age of six. Frank spent the next nine years at Moola Bulla native station and Beagle Bay mission, and then, when he turned 15, began his working life as a stockman on Birrindudu Station in the Northern Territory.
Frances Coughlan and Gerard Waterford are social workers and counsellors at Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs, and share an interest in assisting people to tell their stories of survival and courage as part of their therapeutic journey. Frank approached them in 2015 to help him finish his life story. Their work began with a three-week road trip through the Kimberley, retracing Frank’s childhood steps, and meeting with family, friends and fellow Stolen Generations survivors.
Sadly, Frank was diagnosed with cancer shortly after returning from the Kimberley trip. Despite his illness, he continued to work on his book, and he and his writing team completed a full manuscript of his life story shortly before he died.
This book, Living in Hope, is an extract of childhood memories from Frank’s full memoir. It was first launched in Mparntwe/Alice Springs among his family and friends in May 2017. Later that year, he returned to his country in the Kimberley where he died on 20 October 2017.
Frank Byrne is buried beside his mother Maudie Yoorungul in the family graveyard outside Fitzroy Crossing.