Becoming Billy Dare


Older Children/Young Adult/Historical Fiction


Becoming Billy Dare| 1896 – 1899 

The Children of the Wind Series | Book II

Paddy Delaney survives the terrors of shipwreck but can he make a life for himself in a strange new land? On the road with a travelling circus, on the run with a wild child, and sleeping rough on the mean streets of Melbourne, Paddy learns to live by his wits. Each adventure brings him closer to discovering his true gift.

Character, choice and destiny intertwine in this richly detailed historical novel.

From the cloisters of an Irish seminary to the drama of the Australian theatre scene, from the shearer’s strike to larrikin street battles, Billy Dare’s story is enmeshed with the birth of a nation. The 1890s was the era of the famous bush poet Henry Lawson and Henry Parkes, father of Australian federation, a decade that celebrated the awakening of Australia’s national identity. Alone in a foreign land Paddy Delaney reinvents himself as Billy Dare while around him Australia invents itself as a new nation.


  • CBCA Notable Book 2005

Reviews of Becoming Billy Dare

  • This is a great story, beautifully written by Kirsty Murray, who tells it through the eyes of a child… This is a novel but you could easily believe Paddy Delaney existed in Australia’s pioneering days such is the strength of the story telling. Do not leave it just for the kids to read – grab it before they do!

    Weekly Times
  • I have been awaiting this sequel to “Bridie’s Fire” and I have not been disappointed… My heart poured out to Paddy, and I felt his despair, loneliness and happiness through the book.’
    Reading Time
  • An amazing piece of work, a real masterpiece.
    Alexandra, 11, Palmerston, ACT
  • I really loved “Becoming Billy Dare”. These books just keep getting better.
    Ruby Meredith Year 10
  • A thoroughly entertaining and authentic portrayal with well-realised and intriguing characters.
    Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Books 2005

Keep in Touch

Upcoming Events

  • 14 June
    WA Launch of When Billy was a Dog, 6.00 pm
    The Literature Centre, Fremantle
  • 22 June
    Puppies and Portraits, 3.00 pm
    Paper Bird Bookshop
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  • 17-28th June
    Talented Young Writers' Program
    Bunbury, Busselton & Fremantle, WA
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  • 2 August
    HASS Conference WA
    Perth, WA
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