Following her marriage to Ellis Harvey Davies in 1923, Mary McLean (aka Betty Roland) produced a number of works under the name Betty M. Davies up until she left her husband in 1933 to travel to Europe. While travelling there she met Guido Baracchi, a prominent member of the Australian Communist Party. The pair lived in Russia for several years before returning to Australia in 1935.
Davies is believed to have adopted the name Betty Roland while in Europe in 1933. A photograph published in the Western Mail (Perth) on 14 September 1933 is captioned: 'Queen of the Pool: Miss Betty Roland stars in an impromptu parade at Paurville-Sur.Mer, near Dieppe, France." (p.6).
Set in a log cabin in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales during the early goldrush era, Burton and Lucy are two runaway convicts who have hewn out a primitive existence in the harsh bushland. The story begins in the morning, shortly after Lucy has given birth to a son. Burton, a quiet, strong and apparently educated man is tending to the house and his 'wife'. As they consider the impact of the child on their already meagre lives, a prospector, lost during the course of a drunken spree, wanders into their lives. They feed him from their limited supply of food while he gloats about the gold he has found, showing them the nuggets. Each has been named after the use he will put them to. As he sobers up the stranger becomes wary and suspicious of the couple and rightly guesses who they are. He leaves, and shortly afterwards is followed by Burton, armed with his rifle.
Writing of the play in the Australian Women's Weekly following its publication in Best Australian One-Act Plays, Leslie Haylen writes: 'It succeeds on its dramatic situation, the texture of its writing and its craftsmanship. In some respects it is not a "nice" play and is probably all the better for that. It has an ugly ending, in the tragic manner, uses the convict theme, and no doubt if produced someone would want to ban it. Still, it is a brilliant play in every way' (18 September 1937, p.30).