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y separately published work icon The Battler single work   drama   humour   - Three acts
Alternative title: Diggers Rest : A Comedy in Three Acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1922... 1922 The Battler
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Digger's Rest is a shanty hotel in a sleepy Victorian town whose inhabitants live for the memory of the booming gold-rush days. Little disturbs the lifestyle of quiet marriages and barely profitable farming until the arrival of George Ogilvie, an old gold-digger and mining entrepraneur known as the 'battler' for his many made and lost fortunes. After disguising himself as a hawker and raining gifts upon the whole town, Ogilvie is eagerly welcomed by his old sweetheart Mrs Smith, the owner of Digger's Rest. In him she finds represented all the glory of her former years.

In Act Two it is revealed that Ogilvie has lost his latest fortune in the failure of the Southern Cross mine in the west, which has driven him to return to the east in search of the long lost Crown Jewels reef. He proceeds to work the town's inhabitants into a gold fever frenzy. Much to the disappointment of his straight-nosed wife Bella, the fever is caught even by the level-headed Sam, eventually prompting her to leave him right before Ogilvie announces that he has found the reef.

Act Three picks up some time later as the town is being transformed, flooded by miners and burgeoning with new infrastructure. Watty, Mrs Smith's son, has recently married Clara, but the two are driven by business and find no occasion to rest and celebrate. The original inhabitants are greedily watching the share prices climb until the reef unexpectedly ends and the mine falls flat, just as Bella makes a reappearance. The only person to come out on top is Sam, who had seen the error of his ways and decided to sell out with the hope of winning Bella back. The curtain closes on Ogilvie receiving word that the Southern Cross mine has made a turn for the better, and the Battler departs to chase gold in the west, leaving the town to return to its humble ways – which, they discover, are not so bad after all.

Characters 

TERRIBLE NICK – Old fossicker

ANDREW – Old fossicker

JACK CONROY – Estate agent and auctioneer

SAM CLARKE – A bullock driver

WATTY – Mrs Smith's son

CLARA – A girl working at the shanty

BILLY – A rousabout

BELLA – Sam's wife

MRS JONES – An immigrant

MRS SMITH – The store and shanty keeper

GEORGE OGILVIE – A mining man

Exhibitions

10821368

Production Details

  • 1922 : Playhouse Theatre, Melbourne ; 18, 22 May.

    • Prod. Pioneer Players [premiere]
    • Cast George Dawe (George Ogilvie), Eileen O'Keefe (Mrs Smith), Leo Burke (Sam Clarke), Frank T. Keon (Watty), Hettie Feuerman (Bella), Hilda Bull (Clara), T. Skewes (Terrible Mick), Charles Doherty (Billy), C. H. Row (Andrew), J. O'Connell (Jack Conroy), Irene Appleton (Mrs Jones)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1922
      ca. 1922 .
      Link: 10821661Full text document Digital copy of manuscript.
      (Manuscript) assertion

      Holdings

      Held at: University of New England Dixson Library
      Location: Campbell Howard Collection
      Local Id: 142

Works about this Work

"Something with a Cow in It" : Louis Esson's Imported Nationalism John McCallum , 1986 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Drama 1920-1955 : Papers Presented to a Conference at the University of New England, Armidale, September 1-4, 1984 1986; (p. 39-52) Overland , September no. 108 1987; (p. 6-13)
McCallum argues that Esson's attempts to translate the folk dramas of Ireland to an Australian context failed because of the absence of a similar folk background.
Drama E. C. Davidson , 1922 single work review
— Appears in: Corroboree : The Journal of the Australian Literature Society , June vol. 1 no. 9 1922; (p. 7-8)

— Review of The Battler Louis Esson , 1922 single work drama
Sundry Shows 1922 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 25 May vol. 43 no. 2206 1922; (p. 34)

— Review of The Battler Louis Esson , 1922 single work drama
Drama E. C. Davidson , 1922 single work review
— Appears in: Corroboree : The Journal of the Australian Literature Society , June vol. 1 no. 9 1922; (p. 7-8)

— Review of The Battler Louis Esson , 1922 single work drama
Sundry Shows 1922 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 25 May vol. 43 no. 2206 1922; (p. 34)

— Review of The Battler Louis Esson , 1922 single work drama
"Something with a Cow in It" : Louis Esson's Imported Nationalism John McCallum , 1986 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Drama 1920-1955 : Papers Presented to a Conference at the University of New England, Armidale, September 1-4, 1984 1986; (p. 39-52) Overland , September no. 108 1987; (p. 6-13)
McCallum argues that Esson's attempts to translate the folk dramas of Ireland to an Australian context failed because of the absence of a similar folk background.
Last amended 26 Feb 2018 10:44:38
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