Welcome to my official website! Thank you for visiting.

From a young age I loved reading and writing stories. I grew up in Australia at the edge of the Garigal National Park, on Sydney’s breathtaking northern beaches. An area of incredible natural beauty, teeming with wildlife. In many ways it was an idyllic childhood.

I had enormous freedom to explore the bush surrounding our home, to swim in the saltwater lagoon at our doorstep, and at some of the world’s best surfing beaches. When I wasn’t reading or helping my grandmother or mother, my playground was outside amongst nature.

In those days the possibility of being a professional writer never crossed my mind. Authors were mysterious creatures who lived in a world I knew nothing about.

In my teens several things happened that changed the course of my life, and eventually led to me becoming a published author. It was a journey full of drama. It happened in the summer of 1970, when I was sixteen. As a result of “falling in love” with a boy three years older than me, I was committed to  Parramatta Girls’ Home in Sydney, Australia’s most notorious home for girls under 18. A brutal, terrifying place run by unqualified ‘carers’ who ruled the home with sadistic fists. The contrast between life behind the high stone walls surrounding the home, and my life on the northern beaches, could not have been starker.

Parramatta Girls’ Home, No 1 Fleet Street, Parramatta, NSW, Australia

This story has since become important historically. It is very much an Australian story. My experience at Parramatta Girls’ Home is one I could have done without. So it may sound strange to call it a gift. But it was.  It kickstarted my writing career. But not immediately.

After being discharged from PGH,  I moved to New Zealand and studied journalism. In 1980 I moved to London. In 1997 I won the SHE, ARVON, Little,Brown Short Story prize for my story titled “Trouble.”

My first novel, Invisible Thread published in 2001, is based on my experience at PGH. It was republished with a new cover and title, Girl 43, in 2014.


My other novels are Under The Green Moon and The Past Is a Secret Country.

Parramatta girls are among the Forgotten Australians, survivors of government policies that resulted in at least 500,000 children growing up in ‘out-of-home’ care in Australia in the 20th Century. Forgotten Australians are also known as ‘Care Leavers’. Many Parramatta girls and others in ‘out-of-home’ care were also victims of state-sanctioned forced adoption practices.

Within the pages of my books I hope you will find optimism, and be touched by the enduring determination of the human spirit to overcome adversity, to fight injustice and bigotry, and thrive. Love really is the only thing that matters.

Please do get in touch via email or leave a comment for general discussion. I am always happy to hear from readers, especially anyone affected personally by the big issues in my stories.


Thank you for visiting!

Maree X





Girl 43

A gripping and powerful narrative based on the true story of Parramatta Girls’ Home in Sydney, Australia, a story that illuminates the human drama behind the incarceration and abuse of young girls who were committed to the notorious Home by the Children’s Court and charged with being “exposed to moral danger and neglected.”

First published under the title Invisible Thread (Virago, London) in 2001, the book was republished with the new title Girl 43 in 2014, after the controversial government apologies made by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to the Forgotten Australians, and Julia Gillard, to the victims of forced adoption.






Read more here