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Margo O’Byrne / Left Unsaid


Price $27.95 AUD

Postage in Australia $5.00 AUD

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Margo’s book was quoted from, and her story highlighted in the Senate speech delivered by Senator Rachel Siewert (watch on youtube)

 and in the House of Representatives speech delivered by the Member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke.  



Hi Margo,

 Have just finished your most extraordinary book I want to congratulate you on your
literary achievement. It is a compelling account, brilliantly told to both prompt readers
to ask and listen and marvel at the human spirit. Your reliving and documenting of
traumas and nightmares of powerless children must have been both extraordinarily painful
but also healing for both you and Micko.

 It is an indication of your strength of character to overcome those who have betrayed you
and from that violence find the compassion and an ethics to build you life on.  It is a
testimony to and respect for the strength of love between you and your brother and those
fortunate to be embraced by your generous heart.  This book itself is evidence of your
'power to overcome'.

 But one of the most interesting things I think your book does for me is it tells of the
complexities of the daughter/mother relationship,  and how the hurt is so hard to
reconcile. Beautiful written and excellently structured narrative with Margaret and
Michael/ Margo and Micko working well to manage both time periods.
A truly wonderful achievement Margo.



Melissa Parke MP Federal Member for Fremantle

House Debates - National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants (16/11/09)

  Another Fremantle constituent, Margaret or ‘Margo' O'Byrne, who is here in parliament today with her husband, Eitan, has also written a book called Left Unsaid, recently launched by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, which documents her and her brother Michael's experiences in Queensland institutions after they were taken from their mother. The flawed nature of the system under which children were institutionalised was highlighted in the Brisbane Children's Court decision in which the judge found Ms O'Byrne, then aged 12, and her brother, aged 11, guilty of the charge of being neglected children.

Like Mr Humphreys, Ms O'Byrne found the process of writing a book cathartic. It is humbling to see that after all that Ms O'Byrne and her brother suffered through neglect and poverty; through the suicide of their father and the alcoholism of their mother; through the cruel, brutal treatment they had at the hands of the nuns and priests charged with their care, that both Ms O'Byrne and her brother have determined that they will not be the lifelong victims of their treatment. They have adopted the attitude that you can get bitter or you can get better, and their strength of spirit in outshining the damage done to them is something I acknowledge and celebrate today. Ms O'Byrne is now an accomplished facilitator within the Fremantle area.

Book Review:   Clan Newsletter No 56 February 2010, page 28

Left Unsaid by Margo O’Byrne (South Beach Publications, 2009)


This is a powerful story of how Margo and her brother Micko survived a shocking childhood. A suicidal father, an alcoholic mother, neglect, poverty, children’s court, orphanage (St Vincent’s Nudgee), abuse by religious staff. Much will be familiar to Clannies, but it is beautifully written and provides fresh insights. Despite all that, the story has a happy ending because of the unshakeable will of the two children to stay together and their resilience in the face of many setbacks. Margo and Micko eventually thrive as adults, even after being confronted by the awful truth of their parents’ separate and joint tragedies.

‘You can get bitter or you can get better, it’s your choice’ the book says. But, as you read, you find there’s more to it than simple choice. Margo concludes that ‘The challenge is to be at peace with our memories. Writing this story is a way of transforming Micko’s and my past form something that was a tangled and confused know of shadows and secrets into a story about part of our lives.’ She encourages others to write their stories too. An inspirational book. Highly recommended reading.


Reviewed by Frank Golding

Insight Magazine January 2010





From Aus Lit:

When Jean, a 63 year old alcoholic, disappears from her suburban home, her daughter Margo assumes responsibility. That's how it's always been. As a child, she dragged her mother home from pubs, cared for her younger brother Michael (Micko) and became a little adult. Forced again into a pressured situation, Margo is overwhelmed by a flood of childhood memories and struggles with her everyday life while paying attention to a powerful, untold story from deep within.


From Ubud Flicker follow the link


Margo O’Byrne / Left Unsaid

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