On the white frontier in mid-nineteenth century Australia, a lone, bloodied woman arrives at a traveller's rest in the midst of a violent desert storm with a shocking story to tell. Aboriginal people have allegedly murdered her husband and stolen her infant child. But an Aboriginal woman has a different story to tell. What would cause a missionary's wife to lie? What chance does the word of an Aboriginal woman have against hers?
A chilling mystery that draws together the lives of four extraordinary women and their men, all struggling to survive in a hostile and misunderstood landscape.
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Male | 30s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 20
EXTRACT: We never saw a single black man, but sure enough if we counted twenty sheep that night there would be nineteen the next morning. Every shadow seemed to us to be of a man with his spear raised. And every sound in the bush a secret call. I'm not ashamed to tell you the terror I felt out there. We might have the guns, but what's the good of a gun if you can't see your enemy? That's what people don't get. It's a war. Them or us. And they know how to fight it...Adult themes, Adult language
Female | 20s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 59
EXTRACT: I picked that sleeping baby up with its sweet face and I took her away. And I went down to the waterhole and I held that baby in my arms. And I sang her a sweet song. And she opened her eyes and looked at my face. And she smiled. She a little whitefella smiling at a black face 'cause she didn't know what the rest of you think of that face. How the rest of you hate that face. How you're scared of it. How you bash it. How you kick it. How you push it into the dirt.Adult themes
Female | 30s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 60
EXTRACT: I put the flame to the church and watched it burn. Forgive me, Lord.... I went back to the house. The child was crying... but I was deaf to it. I took the gun and walked back to the waterhole. He asked me for forgiveness. And I answered him by laying the gun at his feet and walking away. I heard the shot before I'd even got back to the house... I went inside and she was gone. The crib was empty.
This study guide for What I Wrote: Andrew Bovell has been written for senior secondary students. It provides information and suggestions for learning activities in English, Literature, Theatre Studies and Drama. PDF (1.0MB)