Just Out of Your Ground’ is a contemporary account of the life of one of the founding fathers of Western Australia… Thomas Peel, an aristocrat and first cousin of the British Prime Minister Robert Peel. He was the leader of the first organised group of settlers, but from the moment he arrived on Australian shores, he became the butt of ridicule and contempt.

He seemed utterly unable to marshal himself to provide the leadership and employment to his hundreds of artisans, labourers and families. Indeed, for one whole year, he seemed paralysed and utterly incapable of moving even from the beach he landed on, while on another beach his people were dying of starvation, scurvy, dysentery and exposure. Finally, his people had to desert him as quite mad.

His wife and daughter also deserted him, leaving him saddled with his mother-in-law and his wife’s love child. For thirty-six years he stood a lonely, haughty and solitary figure blinded to his failings.

Finally, at old age, he suffered the indignity of being brought before the magistrate for some decrepit and unspecified sexual misconduct against his haggard housekeeper,

The play is primarily concerned with Peel’s inability to leave the beach to confront the dark heart of the then Australian landscape, that physical opponent in which there are no lineage selected for special treatment, no social status automatically qualifying for acceptance. There were not even any cricket practise pitches awaiting!

  • farce
  • 120
  • 8 total
  • 3 female identifying, 5 male identifying
  • 16 to 18, 18+
  • young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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Thomas Peel

Male | 40s | 5 to 10 minutes
Starts on page 86

EXTRACT: I see a golden sun. Full pelt, it is! And furry? Who knows? Never mind that. There’s no run. Halfway on top of the earth upside down we be, out in the centre. And of course the sun will not move. You tell me who said it had to? There’s a single to extra cover. New people moving around the new Peel Fold Manor, what? Won’t there ever be! Newbies. Revolving orbs. Damn the old northern sun!

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