Like an Australian Mandela,
O'Brien shares his life and thoughts without rancour or bitterness. -David Susuki
And the Clock Struck Thirteen is the story of Kaurna man Uncle Lewis O'Brien and his family, beginning with his great great grandmother Kudnartu-the first Aboriginal woman to marry a white man in South Australia. Born in the 1930s at Point Pearce, O'Brien has become an esteemed Aboriginal Elder. He has worked as a fitter and machinist for 30 years before joining the SA education department as an Aboriginal education liaison officer in 1977. His presence has made a significant impact on the number of Indigenous children completing high school.
The book tells the story of his chequered life, with all its trials and tribulations, including his running away to sea. His Kaurna name Yerloburka means Old Man of the Sea.
It also explains how he managed to endure hardship and become a stronger person and tells of his thoughts and philosophies on life. He believes that the philosophies of his Aboriginal grandparents on Point Pearce have sustained him throughout his life. They taught him to be proud and not deny his Aboriginality or his Irish ancestry. Since his childhood days of 'listening' to his elders he has remained strongly committed to the well-being of Aboriginal people and bringing about positive change that is respectful of diversity and culture.
Lewis O'Brien has been involved in numerous committees that in various ways deal with Reconciliation and cultural issues. Among them the Aboriginal Advancement League, Curriculum Committees, Kaurna Heritage Committee and currently as Chair of the State Council of Aboriginal Elders. He was named Aboriginal Elder of the Year in 1977, was winner of the South Australian Local Hero award in 2003, and is Honorary Fellow of the University of South Australia.
Written by Lewis O'Brien and Mary-Anne Gale, the book @ $27.95 is available from