The Start of the OzCan Odyssey

The Australian government has granted me permission to travel to Canada to support my parents and conduct research.

I’m deeply relieved I can go, but profoundly sad for those who remain separated from their loved ones as a result of a border policy that is very harsh.

I’ve been lucky to build my life as an internationalist. I’ve emigrated, lived in different countries, worked around the world. What an immense privilege! One I’m ever grateful for and never take for granted. I wonder, after Covid will such a life be possible?

Today, I say farewell to Australia for many months, because that’s the bargain I’ve had to strike with the Australian government. It’s a high price to pay to be separated from my Australian family and friends for so long. Each side of this policy – being forced to stay in Australia for an indefinite period of time, or being forced to stay away from Australia for an indefinite period of time – feels short-sighted. I understand all the dimensions Australia needs to balance, but can we please, please elevate compassion? Otherwise, we are closed and cold-hearted and that reduces us all.

Today, the Australia I say farewell to is one that cannot be reduced. I say good-bye to the forests, birds and beasts of this beautiful continent, which remain vast, priceless, ancient, and vulnerable, and which define the Australia of my imagination: the Red Cedar, Acacia, Sassafras and Lilly-Pilly, the Eucalypt, Coachwood, Melaleuca and Gravillea, the Australian Magpie, Eastern Spinebill, Wombat and Echidna, the Swamp Wallaby, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Top Knot Pigeon and Superb Blue Wren, the Lyre Bird, Whip Bird, Cat Bird and Brown Cuckoo-Dog, the Wedge-tailed Eagle, Wonga Pigeon, Kookaburra and Welcome Sparrow.

I am going to Canada, my motherland, from Australia, my adopted home. Having the freedom to leave, allows me to cherish this immense, diverse, antique continent, in a way that I simply could not while I was waiting, anxious that I would be denied the ability to see my Canadian family.

Farewell Australia. I will return, as soon as you let me.


Lyn McFarlane is a Canadian-Australian writer who splits her time between Sydney, Australia and Vancouver Island. She’s a former freelance journalist and holds degrees in economics, journalism and law. Lyn is a member of the Australian Society of Authors and the Crime Writers of Canada, a graduate of The Faber Academy and a mentee with the Australian Writers’ Mentorship Program. Her debut novel The Scarlet Cross won the 2019 Arthur Ellis “Unhanged” award for best unpublished manuscript, sponsored by the Crime Writers of Canada and Toronto’s Dundurn Press. The Scarlet Cross introduces Meredith Griffin, a young emergency nurse who follows a trail of suspicious deaths that leads her straight to the heart of her own hospital.


The Scarlet Cross is the first book in Lyn McFarlane’s crime trilogy, The Griffin Series.


March 2021

Pantera Press acquires world rights to The Scarlet Cross . Read more here >

May 2019

Lyn McFarlane wins the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis “Unhanged” Prize (Best Unpublished Manuscript) for her debut novel The Scarlet Cross