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The AustLit Australian Drama Archive

(Status : Public)
Coordinated by Australian Drama Archive
  • Max Afford (1906-1954)

  • Max Afford
  • Max Afford wrote immensely popular radio plays and serials throughout his career. He was known best for his mastery of drama, plot, and characterisation. His radio thrillers were in high demand.

    The plays available through the Australian Drama Archive showcase Afford's range in writing both stage and radio plays. Works such as Mischief in the Air and Lady in Danger are exciting and fun, while Lazy in the Sun and Consulting Room contain serious themes under a pleasant veneer.

    In Awake My Love, he wrote a passionately defensive history of Colonel William Light, the first surveyor-General of South Australia, who Afford felt had been wronged. The play won the South Australian Centenary Drama Competition. His wife, Thelma Afford, designed costumes for several productions of his plays, including Awake My Love.

    Afford sold several plays overseas and wrote many which were never published or produced. His novels and short stories were popular. They centred around detective fiction and in particular his reoccurring protagonist, Jeffery Blackburn. Afford turned over a vast amount of writing in his lifetime, including long-running serials.

    This page contains two slideshows with material sourced from The Fryer Library at The University of Queensland. They include photos from Max and Thelma’s personal photo album and costume designs by Thelma for Awake My Love. Image sources can be found at the bottom of the page.

  • Max Afford was born in Adelaide in 1906. He began his career as a journalist, but in the following decades he would go on to write some of the most popular radio and stage plays in Australia. Full of clever schemes and witty dialogue, Afford’s detective stories were extremely popular. He also wrote dramas with political overtones, which ranged from examinations of Australian life after the Second World War to the founding of his home town, Adelaide.

    See full AustLit entry
  • The Plays

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      The Flail of God

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      Lady in Danger

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      Mischief in the Air

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      Awake My Love

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      Consulting Room

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      Lazy in the Sun

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      Merry Go Round

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      Photos of Max and Thelma Afford

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      Costume Designs for Awake My Love

  • Image Credits

    All images used are under Creative Commons CC0. They have been edited for publication.


    The Flail of God

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.


    Lady in Danger

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.


    Mischief in the Air

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.


    Awake My Love

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.


    Consulting Room

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.


    Lazy in the Sun

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.


    Merry Go Round

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.


    Photos of Max and Thelma Afford

    Photos provided courtesy of the Fryer Library, The University of Queensland.

    Local Call Number UQFL184, Box 3, Item 43. 


    Costume Designs for Awake My Love

    Photos provided courtesy of the Fryer Library, The University of Queensland.

    Local Call Number UQFL184, Album 2. 

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