Home to Biloela: The story of the Tamil family that captured our hearts by Priya Nadesalingam and Rebekah Holt

$34.99

It was dawn in the small rural town of Biloela. Loud thumps on the front door signalled the start of a four-year odyssey that would catapult Priya and her family into the heart of a national debate.

For the first time, Priya shares the story of her childhood in war-torn Sri Lanka and her perilous escape across the Indian Ocean on an overcrowded fishing boat. Alone in a strange country, she had to make a new life without family or friends. She married Nades, another refugee, and settled with him in Biloela, where they had two daughters, Kopica and Tharnicaa.

The shocking dawn raid in 2018 was the first of multiple attempts by the Australian government to deport the family. But the people of Biloela wouldn’t have it. A small group swung into action and built an extraordinarily powerful social media campaign that gathered support from hundreds of thousands of ordinary Australians around the country.

Journalist Rebekah Holt first met the family in detention, and recounts the dramatic behind-the-scenes efforts to prevent the family from being deported.After a change of government, Priya, Nades and the girls were granted the permanent visas they needed, and were able to return home to Biloela-the happy ending they always wanted.

‘The story behind the headlines. The sheer brutality of bureaucracy and the fierce love of a mother. What an incredible woman Priya is.’ Justine Clarke, actor

‘An amazing story that shows how powerful we can all be when we authentically join together.’ Claudia Karvan, actor

‘This book tore my heart out and had me crying tears of anger and devastation but also hope and love.’ Susie Youssef, writer and actor

‘Priya’s deeply moving account of seeking asylum is a powerful story of survival, humanity and hope and how the persistence of a small town finally brought home a family to a place of healing.’
Leah Vandenberg, actor and Play School presenter