In his 1952 review of Sky Without Birds, Leslie Rees writes that 'once again one notes and appreciates Oriel Gray's direct feeling for the dispossessed' (93). The review in the Tribune, meanwhile, is glowing in its praise of her depiction of 'much of the Australian tradition', to which is credited the return of the dispossessed's 'faith in humanity'. These two reviews exemplify the tension Sky Without Birds straddles: the tension of national solidarity and international concern foregrounded when a stranger seeks refuge in a foreign community.
Again the setting of the play is liminal. Koorora, a settlement of 67 people, exists only as a stop along the railway through the Nullarbor Plain – a place at which to pause and move on: 'it's not a town, it's not ... anything ... It's not even a point of arrival and departure, because no one stays here long enough for that' (III.i). All the action takes place in the town post office, through which residents attempt to make contact with civilisation through post and a faulty switchboard. This, the most extreme borderzone of any of her plays, is the space into which Gray chooses to introduce the ultimate stranger of the time: a German refugee in the aftermath of World War II. To an even greater extent than the lounge room of Had We But World Enough, the post office is where events are communicated rather than where they actually occur, whether as town gossip or government correspondence. It is thus the centre of relational events, and gives opportunity for plot and characters to be extrapolated outwards into greater society. Indeed, this opportunity is expressed as precisely the hope of the refugee, Heinrich, in the final scene: 'All the problems – big and small, I think – all the problems have to start to be solved in desert post offices, in kitchens, in back bars.' (III.ii)