Cristy Burne

Fiona Wood: Inventor of spray-on skin

Fiona Wood cover 3DDingo-Logo

Written by Cristy Burne

Published by Wild Dingo Press, 1 September 2020

ISBN: 9781925893281 (paperback)

About the book

An authorised biography of burns surgeon, inventor and Australian of the Year Professor Fiona Wood, written especially for ages 10+. An inspiring true story of spirit and stamina, generosity and courage. Narrative non-fiction. Part of the Aussie STEM Stars series.

Sneak a peek at the first pages

Teaching notes for Fiona Wood: Inventor of Spray-on Skin


1962 ish“There’s no point sending Fiona to university”

The daughter of fifth generation Yorkshire coal miners, Fiona Wood learned early the value of hard work.  But she is just as likely to be found with her fists up in the playground as with her head down in a book.

Encouraged by her parents to tackle everything from ballet to athletics, Fiona grew up tough, relying on her family, her nerve and her unwavering faith in the value of hard work. Teased by others for wanting more than her tiny Yorkshire village could offer, Fiona always felt different. 

But, inspired by her brothers, and powered by her parent’s sacrifice, Fiona never stopped working, never stopped striving for better, for more, for the chance to do her best if the opportunity ever arose.

Part rebel, part role model, Fiona has one vital thing in her favour: no one can tell her what she can and can’t do. If she sees a problem, she stands up to do something about it. She doesn’t let anything stand in her way, not bullies, not prejudice, not power, not fear. Over and again she proves her tenacity by standing up for what she believes in and what she knows to be right.

Aust Day 2005 134 (3)

The path Fiona chooses isn’t often easy, but it is the path towards her dreams, towards doing what is right and living her best life.

 From defending the weak and fixing the broken to fighting for her chance to become a medical student and work as a surgeon, Fiona’s story shows us the value of daring, hard work and courage to do what is right.

Hear Cristy read a free sample – As featured on ABC’s The Science Show with Robyn Williams.

Interview about the book on Alphabet Soup magazine.

Teaching notes for Fiona Wood: Inventor of Spray-on Skin

Check out the Aussie STEM Stars series website

Buy a signed and personalised copy

Crow BooksOrder a copy from Crow Books and I’ll personally sign and dedicate it to that special person.

Buy local

Buy online

Wild Dingo Press

Booktopia (Australia/NZ)
Angus & Robertson
Book Depository (UK)


“Everyone who meets Fiona comes away affected and uplifted. It was an extraordinary honour to work with Fiona to tell her story, and I recommend everyone has the chance to read it. She’s a wonder!” Cristy Burne (Disclaimer: I’m also the author, but OMG, Fiona is amazing and you should all read this book!)

“R read your book and honestly couldn’t put it down! She even took it to school to finish it because she couldn’t fathom the thought of not finishing it that day. You are AMAZING! Fiona is AMAZING!” Parent

“Cristy Burne brings Fiona’s story to life, giving the reader insight into her childhood, celebrating her success and exploring the struggles and prejudice she faced throughout her professional career. Born to a family of coal miners, Fiona fought for her right to an education and to follow her dreams. The 2002 Bali bombings brought her important work in the field of burns to the attention of the public and cemented her as important figure in Australian history. Burne’s treatment of Fiona’s story balances the personal and the factual, making it accessible, while Fiona’s love of invention and discovery and her can-do attitude make her a strong role model, opening up a world of possibilities to young people. Perfect for a 10–13 readership” Books+Publishing

“Here’s the Thing: believe me when I say I am someone who has almost ZERO interest in science, I prefer Astrology to Astronomy, that sort of person. I sat down to read one chapter and ended up reading half of it. I finished it in two sittings.
The Review: I would best describe @cristyburne style as easy and engaging and full of emotion! Page 7 and I’m so invested I’m ready to bawl my eyes out! I just wanted to know everything about Fiona Wood. The story was so inspiring and so humanistic I forgot my aversion to science.
Favourite passage: ‘If you could believe Dad’s stories, the Woods has been going down coal mines since Fiona’s great, great, great grandfather was killed in one about a zillion years ago. So, when Dad was old enough, Grandma had ripped the studs off his soccer boots – his beloved and only shoes – and he’d walked the same worn track into the darkness and the slush.’
The Verdict: what a valuable resource for schools to have! I can’t wait to read the whole series, each one about a living Australian Star of STEM.”  @ShirleyonMarrs


Support the Fiona Wood Foundation

The Fiona Wood Foundation is dedicated to improving outcomes for people with burns. For more information or to help support the Fiona Wood Foundation’s life-saving work, please visit

Burns first aid

If you or one of your friends is burned, you can help by knowing what to do:

In a fire

Stop, drop and roll: Drop to the ground, cover your face, and roll away from the flames.

Five steps of burns first aid

For any type of burn injury:

  1. Remove wet clothing and constrictive jewellery.
  2. Cool the injury for 20 minutes under cold running water*.
  3. Cover the injury loosely with a clean wet cloth or towel.
  4. Keep the patient warm. (“Cool the burn, warm the patient“).
  5. Seek medical assistance.

*No cool running water? Wet two cloths and place them on the burn, alternating every two minutes.

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