y Sky Without Birds single work   drama   - Two acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1951 1951
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Set in the Post Office of the fictional town of Koorora a few years after the end of World War II. A desert settlement of some 67 people that exists mainly to support the building of the Trans-Australian Railway line (which crossed the Nullarbor Plain from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta), Koorora typifies the railway workers' joke that their trains 'stop at nothing.'

Heinrich Schafer is the town's new railway mechanic. He is also a new Australian - a German Jew who spent much of the war imprisoned by the Nazis. His arrival in the town creates new tensions - inflaming both anti-German hatred among some locals and a romantic passion with the wife of Rick, the locomotive engineer who befriends him. Rick is already questioning his worth as a husband to the much younger Nereai, and so allows his wife the freedom to choose. Their decision is not, however, left to them alone.

The scenes, as determined in the Hanger Collection manuscript are:

Act 1

Scene 1: Post Office in the settlement of Koorora, Nullarbor Desert

Scene 2: One month later

Act 2

Scene 1: A month later

Scene 2: A month later

The characters in the play are: Peg (32, postmaster's wife and Nereia's sister), Rick (40), Heinrich (34), Major Harry Robinson (postmaster, and former 'Kipling soldier'), Bartley (50, owner of the general store and a 'miserable whining tyrant'), Nereia (22), Jumbo Tollis (55, laconic, easy, philosophic - a Lawson bushman), Cliffie Royce (20, a big hansome lout), Peter Bartley (18, under his father's thumb).

The title is a reference to the local belief that birds, apart from the occasional crow, won't fly over or settle in Koorora because it too far from water.

Adaptations

y Sky Without Birds Oriel Gray , 1952 9566306 1952 single work radio play

Set in the Post Office of the fictional town of Koorora a few years after the end of World War II. A desert settlement of some 67 people that exists mainly to support the building of the Trans-Australian Railway line (which crossed the Nullarbor Plain from Kalgoorlie to Port Augusta), Koorora typifies the railway workers' joke that their trains "stop at nothing."

Heinrich Schafer is the town's new railway mechanic. He is also a new Australian - a German Jew who spent much of the war imprisoned by the Nazis. His arrival in the town creates new tensions - inflaming both anti-German hatred among some locals and a romantic passion with the wife of Rick, the locomotive engineer who befriends him. Rick is already questioning his worth as a husband to the much younger Nereai, and so allows his wife freedom to choose. Their decision is not, however, left to them alone.

The title is a reference to the local belief that birds, apart from the occasional crow, won't fly over or settle in Koorora because it too far from water.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      1951 .
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library
      Location: The Hanger Collection of Australian Playscripts
      Local Id: H0695
      Note:
      This manuscript contains to identical page 17s. A note accompanying the holding suggests that there might also be at least one page missing (possibly page 18).
  • Appears in:
    y Plays of the 50s [Volume One] Katharine Brisbane (editor), Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2007 Z1372257 2007 anthology drama Strawberry Hills : Currency Press , 2007
Last amended 20 Jun 2016 14:29:36
Subjects:
  • Bush,
  • Nullarbor area (Western Australia), Southeast Western Australia, Western Australia,
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