Set in Sydney over two distinct eras, Playing Beatie Bow begins in 1985, with teenager Abigail discovering that she can communicate beyond the grave with a person who lived in Sydney in 1873. As their communications continue, Abigail suddenly finds herself transported back in time, where she discovers a great deal more about herself than she would have done had she remained a discontented teen in modern times. Through her adventures, she also contributes to the lives of those around her.
Radio adaptation of Playing Beatie Bow in three parts by British script-writer Joe Dunlop.
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 7 (NSW Stage 4)
Colonial and contemporary Sydney, coming of age, family, hardship, identity, Language, poverty, resilience, the past, time travel
Critical and creative thinking, Information and communication technology, Literacy, Personal and social
Lesson plan by Anthony Shaw for the 'Teaching Classic Australian Children's Fiction' Exhibition.
This Exhibition is a collection of extensive teaching resources for classic Australian children's texts. The resources are aimed at upper primary school and lower high school teachers. The collection forms part of Anthony Shaw's Learning with Literature program.
'Ruth Park’s Playing Beatie Bow (1980) is a fantastical, time-travel novel that is also fascinated with lived history. It is especially interested in the question of how, that is through what means and forms, our past is remembered and mediated. Do we remember the past through what is recorded in official archives and taught on school and university curricula? Or are there other ways of accessing what took place before our own time? It is a children’s nursery rhyme and a discarded piece of old cloth that enable the transportation of Playing Beatie Bow‘s Abigail Kirk back to Sydney’s The Rocks in 1873, suggesting that popular song and ephemeral objects can open historical horizons and be the catalyst for reconstructing meaningful stories.' (Introduction)