Brian O’Raleigh was born into a chaotic Irish family in 1941 in the English seaside resort town of Blackpool. He attended St Joseph’s College, Lytham, until the age of 14 when he was expelled for fighting with a Christian brother. At the age of eighteen, accused of being involved in an IRA threat on Blackpool Tower, he emigrated to Australia, just a few steps ahead of English justice. Arriving in Sydney he worked at a dozen different occupations including, salesman, construction worker, driver, bulldozer operator, factory worker, steel fixer, security, and trade union official. After his first wife, Jean, left him with their daughter, Kathleen, he realised that his drinking was out of control and volunteered for the 6-Day-War in Israel in a desperate attempt to do something decent with his life. He met his second wife, Carol, in Tel Aviv, and for a little while, he managed to control his drinking. But on returning to London a year later, he immediately became involved in nightclub life of ‘The Swinging Sixties’, and, as his alcoholism progressed, he became more involved in crime and the associated violence. A year later, after launching a gang assault on the Earls Court police station, in a failed attempt to free a friend, he was forced to flee England once again, and, with police alerts at all International Airports in the UK, he bribed the skipper of a small, French fishing boat to take him to Calais. Carol met up with him later and together they journeyed through France, Germany, Austria, Belgrade, Bulgaria, Turkey, crossing the Bosphorus at Istanbul, before travelling through Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan then through the Khyber Pass to Pakistan and then on into India, before arriving back in Australia broke, disillusioned and angry.
A year later, still running from reality, Brian and his wife began building a deep sea sailing boat hoping that this would set him free from the alcoholism he had so despised in his father. But after 4 years of frustration and failed promises, and with Carol about to leave him, he realised one day that the boat would never be completed and he suffered a major collapse and became suicidal. This proved to be the catalyst that began his recovery and after joining a rehabilitation program in 1974, he never took another drink.
Brian began writing in 2005 and his first book, ‘The Boy in the Boat’ was widely acclaimed by the Australian Press. His second work: The Storyteller of Inis Mór, a modern day mystery set on the Irish island of Inis Mor, Éire, was lauded by Frank O'Shea, literary critic for The Australian Irish Echo: "Brian O’Raleigh’s new book: The Storyteller of Inis Mor, reminds one of the great Irish writers such as Sean O’Faolain and Benedict Kiely”.
Brian and his wife Kadek currently live at Bondi Beach, Sydney, Aust.