The Birth of a Book- The story of a Forgotten Australian

I’m writing my dear friend’s biography, which has the working title of Not Forgotten.  It’s been a labour of love, but often, more like hard dull labour than passionate love. I have felt like a pregnant elephant, holding this huge story deep inside me for the longest time.  But elephants only gestate for two years, and this book has been in production for over four years.  I now know that four years is not unusual for a book.  The process seems endless – interview, research, write, get feedback from readers, edit, interview more people, write, get more feedback from readers, edit.  Repeat multiple times.  Then become overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, drown in self-doubt, pick yourself up and get going again.

I blogged in 2015 for a year. The purpose was to hone my writing skills while my husband Steven and I enjoyed six restorative months away from our busy lives, travelling the world.  Those posts are still here, now mostly irrelevant, but I can’t bear to delete them.  Since then I have continued to work on Not Forgotten. Now I’m firing up the blog again to motivate me through the final stages of labour – getting it from a manuscript to publication.

Birth of a Book - The story of a Forgotten AustralianDuring the gestation period Not Forgotten has led me to thought-provoking places; the magnificent State Library of Victoria, an orphanage for critically ill children in China, a psychiatrist’s room, a rock climbing expedition and decaying buildings in Far North Queensland.  I have become the keeper of my friend’s family history, with cupboards overflowing with documents, diaries and photos of people I do not know.  My life has been enriched by the growth of a cherished friendship.

I can’t wait for you to meet my friend in Not Forgotten. I know you will be astonished at her courage, I hope you will admire her, as I do.  In 1954, at just two-years old, she was placed in St Joseph’s Orphanage, Neerkol.  My friend is one of 500,000 so called Forgotten Australians. This dismal label describes a group of adults who, as children, were mistreated and ignored in Australian institutional care between during the 20th century. These children spent their childhood in State, church and charity run orphanages and homes.

Sixty years later my friend courageously gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  Her life has been a battle to recover from the abuse that was perpetrated against her as a child.   Its been an honour to hear and record her story.  Now I just need to find a way so you can hear it too.

UPDATE:  At present, I am unable to publish and unable to tell you why.  Hence I am now a frustrated bi0grapher and refer to my friend as Ms Forgotten Australian, as I am unable to name her.  Read more in Silenced!

25 thoughts on “The Birth of a Book- The story of a Forgotten Australian

  1. Anonymous April 29, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    Anne, how wonderful that you are progressing the book. What an amazing story it will be. I can’t wait to request it through my local library, and buy a copy for my home library too. Thanks for keeping us posted. 🙂 Hilary

    • Anne April 29, 2018 / 6:01 pm

      Hi Hilary, thanks for the encouragement. There is still a lot of work to do! I would love to see the book in libraries, particularly in Queensland. And thanks for being my first possible pre sale!!

  2. Christine Baden April 29, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    An amazing journey Anne.
    Wow

    • Anne April 29, 2018 / 7:58 pm

      Feel like there is still a long journey ahead of me.

    • Margaret campbell June 10, 2018 / 6:21 am

      I was in neerkol orphnage, when my historical child sex abuse case is herd in court I’ll be doing a tell all book of my life in there also. Look foreword to reading the book

      • Anne June 10, 2018 / 8:40 am

        Good on you Margaret. I look forward to reading your book too.

  3. wendy April 29, 2018 / 7:55 pm

    This orphanage was listed in the end credits of the movie ‘Spotlight’.

    • Anne April 29, 2018 / 7:58 pm

      Yes it was Wendy…. and yet people still doubt what happened.

  4. Mary Ann McDonald April 29, 2018 / 9:57 pm

    What a journey for you…well done as you continue to navigate your way through all of the elements of production. Thanks for the update, keep them coming, I’m enjoying the ride from afar! MA

    • Anne April 30, 2018 / 9:29 am

      I feel like I’m three quaters through a marathon… and exhausted. I’m looking forward to the LA book launch!!

  5. Scott McLennan May 1, 2018 / 3:48 pm

    this is fantastic Anne, can’t wait to read the final product! Did I read that correctly? a book launch in LA! that is so far away from Logan! 🙂 I have shared this to our VOICE team too Anne so you should get a few new subscribers. Scott

    • Anne May 1, 2018 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you so much Scott. LA, Logan, Brisbane City…. I’ll go anywhere for a book sale.

  6. Anne May 8, 2018 / 7:31 pm

    Its going to be an exciting ride…. glad you are with me.

  7. Pingback: Silenced! -
  8. myralarsen May 25, 2018 / 1:20 am

    Just remember your book will be wonderful. I understand how you feel.

    For about two years, I have been doing the same thing, with two books. Both are authorized. Working titles: Robert Yellowhair Sr. Navajo Artist AND Raiders of the Lost Art, a 20 Year History of Artifact Collecting. Robert’s story (deceased) has involved many interviews. Raiders is a co-writer project. Both books have required heavy research.

    Some days you’ll wish you never started. Then you begin again. The desire comes back. Once you’ve started, you know you cannot give up.

    • Anne May 25, 2018 / 3:36 pm

      Thank you. Is fantastic to hear about your project… and that you understand there are definitely days when I wish that I hadnt started – but the desire is definitely back.

  9. Laryssa Faulkner June 8, 2018 / 9:01 am

    How wonderful, brave, kind and committed you are to be doing this. I too am a Forgotten Australian survivor and spoke at the Royal Commission. I have loads of diaries and writing helps me ‘Vent’ in the best possible way. I look forward to reading more. All the very best to you. Cheers, Laryssa.

    • Anne June 8, 2018 / 9:50 am

      Thanks for the encouragement.

      I think my bravery pales next to yours xx

    • Anne June 19, 2018 / 3:35 pm

      Thanks for doing this. Happy to have it shared.

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