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Maria Seeto is caught between. A return to Papua New Guinea (PNG) seemed impossible yet now she's dying there. Too late she realises home is with her family in Australia.

When PNG begins self-rule in 1975, Maria Seeto's husband insists it will be safer for his family to migrate to Brisbane, Australia.

For the next thirty-five years, Maria suppresses her pain over losing her homeland. The loss is centred on the town of Rabaul, where her culturally-diverse ancestors have lived for almost a century as a minority sandwiched between New Guineans and the colonisers, in which they lived through volcanic eruptions and two world wars, including Japanese military occupation.

For Maria, leaving Rabaul also robs her of hope of reuniting with her estranged brother Henry and of the rare but heart-lifting glimpses from afar of her one-true-love, Stephen.

In 2010, against all odds, she's back in PNG with her brother but she's dying. Her death brings consequences. Maria is the only surviving family member who can narrate the family's cultural history in Rabaul but, to protect secrets about her biological relationships to her so-called sons, she has failed to do so. Her death not only means knowledge of the Chinese-Mixed Race family's cultural heritage will be lost, but also the truth about her will be revealed. Can the family survive these revelations or be strengthened by reuniting those in Papua New Guinea with those in Australia?

Important places

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Rabaul (3)


Queensland (599)
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Papua New Guinea (129)
Australia (6,814)

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Bismarck Sea (18)
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Small Island States (3,004)
Australia And New Zealand (4,260)
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