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21 August, 2021

Book depicts migrant story familiar to many locals

A FAR NORTHERN author has released a book depicting her mothers immigrant story from Croatia to the cane fields of the north, a story that resonates with many residents of Far North Queensland.

By Rhys Thomas

Local author Debra Gavranich has put the migrant journey of her mother on paper, a story that resonates with many residents of the far north

A FAR NORTHERN author has released a book depicting her mothers immigrant story from Croatia to the cane fields of the north, a story that resonates with many residents of Far North Queensland. 

Debra Gavranich grew up on a sugarcane farm near Mossman and currently resides in Cairns, however both of her parents were born on the Croatian Island of Korcula. 

Her new book ‘The girl who left’, published by Wild Dingo Press, follows the brave, true story of her mother’s immigration to Australia in the 1950s through a proxy marriage.

A proxy marriage is not an arranged marriage as many believe it to be, Debra’s mother married her father while he lived in Australia and she lived in Croatia, however they were from the same village and knew each other through family.

Mrs Gavranich said that she has always felt compelled to write her mothers story, and her new book is the result.

“Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to write this story, but life gets in the way,” she said. 

“Three years ago, I was able to cut back my work to four days a week and Wednesday was my day off, so it became my writing day. 

“In the day two to three years I’ve devoted my day off to writing this story.” 

The true story mentions many areas and prominent families from Far North Queensland including in and around the Tablelands.

Mrs Gavranich’s book has made waves across Australia with it recently making the list for the August Great Monthly Read 2021 by Collins Booksellers. 

The book has already seen massive success with the first two releases being sold out within weeks with a third on the way.

Mrs Gavranich believes that the popularity of this book is driven by its relatability because it is just not the story of her mother’s migrant story, is it every migrant’s story.

“This story is representative of many stories especially migrants from the Mediterranean,” Mrs Gavranich said.

“Because of the migration the book really struck a chord with a lot of people and it’s a women’s story as well.

“It’s a strong, female, migrant and she was terribly courageous and went through a lot of adversity as a lot of migrants did.”

The book is currently on its second release with a third on the way as the first two releases sold out within weeks and she has run out of books. 

The library in the village in Croatia where Debra’s mother was born approached her and asked to do a release of the book, something that Debra is very excited about. 

Two private launches will be coming up in October with one set for Cairns while the other will be set in Mossman.

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