Katharine Susannah Prichard was born in Levuka, Fiji during a hurricane. (She was called 'The Child of the Hurricane' by the local population and used the name for the title of her 1963 autobiography.) Prichard grew up in Tasmania and Melbourne, and was educated at home until she was fourteen when she received a half-scholarship to attend South Melbourne College. Although she matriculated successfully, her mother's illness and the family's poverty made it impossible for her to pursue university studies.
Set in the interior of a hut in the Gippsland forest, in the 1850s, the play has six characters. Donald Cameron, an honest dour Scot, and Mary, his wife, whom he picked off the boat at the wharf, are pioneers sharing a strange, strong love. Thad McNab, the double-crossing shanty keeper, and McLaughlin, a trooper, pursue two escaped convicts, Dan and Steve. Mary befriends them during Donald's absence. Donald, McNab and McLaughlin return. Mary successfully conceals the fact that the convicts have been at the hut from all but Donald.(...more)
In a hut in the Gippsland bushland, Donald Cameron and his wife Mary are together in isolation, until two escaped convicts and their pursuers come into their world.
The publication of this play is forthcoming.
See the AustLit record for The Pioneers.
All images are in the public domain. They may have been modified for publication.
Louis Buvelot, Summer Afternoon, Templestowe (1866). In the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. Via Wikimedia Commons. Source