Kilroy was Here

Front Cover
Bantam Australia, 2006 - Social justice - 289 pages
2 Reviews
'Mandatory bedside reading for every politican, bureaucrat, teacher, psychologist, criminologist, feminist, police officer.' The Australian Debbie Kilroy was locked up and abused at 13, a mother at 17, married to a celebrity footballer at 25, jailed for drug trafficking and witness to a violent murder at 28. Just 12 years later she was awarded the Order of Australia for her fearless campaigning for the rights of women prisoners through her groundbreaking advocacy group, Sisters Inside. What sent a decent, working class kid out of control and into the care of the state so young? What enabled her to step off the merry-go-round of violence, drug dealing and prison to remake her life? When Kilroy was jailed for drug trafficking in 1989, she lost almost everything along with her freedom: her husband, rugby league player Smokin' Joe Kilroy, her two young children and her home. Inside, she was viciously stabbed and witnessed the murder of a friend. This tragedy marked a turning point - and the beginning of the battle to turn her life around. After her release, Kilroy began a painstaking journey towards reconciliation with Joe and her children, and fulfilling a promise: 'I said to the women in Boggo Road I'll be back. I believe that all you've got in this world is your word and nothing else. And if I can't keep my word, I'm nobody.' The seeds for Sisters Inside were sown. Today Kilroy is recognised internationally for Sisters Inside, most recently with the Human Rights Medal, and is studying to become a barrister.

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Review: Kilroy Was Here

User Review  - Meg Vann - Goodreads

I have to give this five big stars because it's an amazing piece of my local history. Wonderfully intuitive portrayal of an inspiring woman who makes me want to make a difference! Read full review

Review: Kilroy Was Here

User Review  - Liz - Goodreads

like all the best biographies it's not just about an individual but about the world & history they were part of. a great, accessible, engrossing introduction to anti-prison history and politics in australia. Read full review


A Prison Term for Wagging School
Once Violence Becomes a Possibility
Joe Kilroy

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About the author (2006)

Brisbane-based Kris Olsson is a journalist and writer. She has worked for THE AUSTRALIAN, COURIER MAIL and SUNDAY MAIL, as a government media advisor and teacher of writing at two universities. Her first novel, IN ONE SKIN was published by UQP in 2001. She is a member of the management committee of Sisters Inside.

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