Jane Macmanamin starts work as a domestic at the Salt Creek Hotel, an isolated frontier outpost. The first thing she witnesses is an adulterous embrace between Nellie, her employer, and Malachi Martin, a yard-hand. A week later, Nellie's husband, John Robinson is murdered.

Over the course of the play the lives of Nellie, Malachi and Jane become disturbingly intertwined, a triangular relationship of love, greed, fear and desire, leading remorselessly to a tragic conclusion. As the hotel deteriorates, and money is scarce, Malachi commits another murder in which Nellie may or may not be complicit, and Jane seems unable or unwilling to extricate herself from an increasingly perilous situation.

Salt Creek Murders is based on the true story of a series of murders committed in the 1850s in the Coorong in South Australia.

"...dynamic mix of suspense, horror, intrigue and humour." - Selina Mansell, The Border Watch

  • tragi-comic thriller
  • 130
  • 5 total
  • 2 female identifying, 3 male identifying
  • history, women
  • 18+
  • young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


You can preview the full online text with a Membership


Female | 20s | 3 to 5 minutes
Starts on page 18

EXTRACT: As soon as I saw it I hated it, but I wanted to please John so I smiled and ran down to the creek and took a huge gulp of water, and that was when he laughed and told me I should've paid attention to the name, that it was called Salt Creek for a reason, the water was foul, and I wondered again for the twentieth time if I had done the right thing marrying a man who would wait until after I had half poisoned myself, without warning me first. There's something wrong in that. There's something cruel..

Search for details of past productions at

AusStage provides an accessible research facility for investigating live performance in Australia.

Search by play title and/or playwright name
Results will open in a new window

PLEASE NOTE: You will be directed to for search results; Australian Plays Transform is not responsible for their completeness. Refer to our terms of use.

SKU: ASC-626 Category:

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024