Your cart


Total AUD


This book took five years to research and write; but in many ways, it’s been two decades in the making.

You see, I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, out Frankston way. Throughout my childhood I visited the beaches of Portsea and Sorrento, Mount Martha and Mornington, attended high school in Mt Eliza and rode the Arthurs Seat chairlift (back before the 2003 collapse).

In 1999 I was also in Year Six; the same as my protagonist Fred is in the book. And I do have only the vaguest memories of ‘Operation Safe Haven’ – the biggest humanitarian exercise undertaken by the Australian government, when they welcomed some 6000 Kosovar refugees into ‘safe havens’ around the country, including to an abandoned Quarantine Station on Point Nepean.

I wish I could say I drew on my own memories of this time for Winifred – Fred’s – story, but since I’ve been digging into these historic events, I am no longer certain where my own remembering ends and researching begins.

There are still parts of myself that I gave to Winifred though – like a grandparent who lived out the back of the main house, and a father in the police force; which my own was, retiring after 17 years.

The old writers advice is to ‘write what you know’… I didn’t do that, exactly. I wrote instead what I wanted to know. I wanted to remember this time from the depths of my childhood; when the outside world came to my back door, it seemed. And in writing and researching, I found it to be a turning point in Australia’s policies, and the blueprint for how our government and society still treats asylum seekers today.

  • The Year the Maps Changed - Danielle Binks

    Fred's family is a mess. More and more it feels like a land-grab for family and Fred is the one being left off the map. Even as things feel like they're spinning out of control for Fred, a crisis from the other side of the world comes crashing in. When a group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees are brought to a government 'safe haven' not far from Sorrento, their fate becomes intertwined with the lives of Fred and her family in ways that no one could have expected.

Related news


Home Learning Resources for Kids

Keep children entertained and engaged in learning activities at home with these fun book-based teachers resources!


The best, most bad-ass leading ladies in Young Adult fiction

Six inspiring YA women to read about this International Women's Day.


Books to Read on Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house… were magical books, perfect for curling up together and reading.


Books With Inspiring and Empowering Girls

We’ve put together a great list of books that celebrate girls and all their sporty, brave, magical, and scientific qualities and attributes! Who’s ready to take over the world?


Books to Read on Your Camping Trip

If you’re taking the kids camping in the wild this summer, or even if you’re pitching a tent in the backyard, then this is the book list you need.

This website uses cookies. Using this website means you are okay with this but you can find out more and learn how to manage your cookie choices here.Close cookie policy overlay