A Prayer for Blue Delaney


Older Children/Young Adult/
Historical Fiction


Colm is on the run, determined to escape from the cruelties of Bindoon Boys’ Home. He strikes up an unexpected friendship with Billy Dare and his dog Rusty, and together they travel from the goldfields of Kalgoorlie to the rugged north. Whether they’re working along the Dog Fence, eluding the police or confronting a wild boar, they’re a team. When Bill’s life is at risk, it’s up to Colm to go in search of the mysterious Blue Delaney and lay to rest the ghosts that haunt them both.

This action packed story, set in the 1950s, continues the richly detailed historical quartet that began with Bridie’s Fire and Becoming Billy Dare.

Australia has a long history of child migration schemes. Since early convict days, thousands of orphaned children have been sent to Australia from all around the world. Many of them were of Irish descent. After World War II, thousands of children were taken from orphanages in the UK and Malta and shipped to Australia, often against their will. These children are sometimes referred to as the ‘forgotten Australians’. They were sent to institutions all over the country. Many suffered unspeakable hardship and cruelty. Their stories are an important part of Australia’s complex history.

A Prayer for Blue Delaney is also available in an abridged English language edition that is widely used in secondary schools in Germany.


  • Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards 2006 - Winner – Young Adult
  • CBCA Notable Book 2006

Reviews of A Prayer for Blue Delaney

  • Children of the Wind is a marvelous series and this book, the third in the quartet, is a strong novel in its own right. With powerful use of language, Murray breathes life into Colm McCabe and Billy Dare.
    CBCA Judges Children’s Book of the Year Awards Notable Australian Children’s Books
  • The dogged and true character of Colm is heartbreakingly evoked by writer Kirsty Murray. This writer is able to paint vividly the settings and visual landscapes, and the emotional experiences of the characters, particularly Colm. She creates boys so believable you want to save them.
    Helen Wilde, SA
  • Murray’s story is compelling. It movingly depicts the aching loss of a young boy abandoned by his mother and the unspoken love that develops between the two central characters. My son (13) is an avid Murray fan but I had never read her before. I honestly could not stop reading and quickly devoured the preceding books in the quartet, too. This is quality literature for children —vivid characters, good pace and well written —highly recommended for anyone that enjoys a good story!
    Kate Lester Allambie Heights Public School, NSW
  • I really love this series; the books have so much insight. I recommend this book for people in the early years of high school right up to the age when you start losing your sight; it really is a good read and when you get into it, it is very hard to put down.

    Carmel, Year 11, Canberra, ACT YARA websit
  • I gave myself a treat yesterday. I sat down after lunch thinking I would read Blue Delaney for half an hour, and instead of going back to work I finished it a few hours later. The story line is so strong that one wants to keep reading; the landscape and sense of history equally so.
    Brenda Niall Biographer and Historian

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Upcoming Events

  • 14 June
    WA Launch of When Billy was a Dog, 6.00 pm
    The Literature Centre, Fremantle
  • 22 June
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  • 17-28th June
    Talented Young Writers' Program
    Bunbury, Busselton & Fremantle, WA
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  • 2 August
    HASS Conference WA
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