The script explores the construction of the Wangaroo jetty (South Australia’s longest wheat transporting jetty on the Yorke Peninsula) in 1924, just before the depression years through the eyes of a young rail engineer, Jack French and his new bride Elsa. As Elsa experiences the trials and tribulations of frontier life, and makes the aquaintance of the her local Aboriginal neighbours, Jack is dealing with troubles of his own including labour strife and a Texan railway boss, AB Whales. On a larger canvas the play explores the illusion of progress and the meteoric rises and falls from working to middle class in Australia prior to and during the depression. It also reflects upon similar notions in contemporary globalised economies and initiatives that make up the current national push for progress, such as the Telstra optical fibre rollout and most recently the national broadband rollout.

‘The Jetty’ radio play been commissioned for ABC Airplay, and was recorded during March 2010. The radio version has had dramaturgy from Hilary Bell over two drafts through a Playworks/Varuna fellowship. It has also had composer Phillip Johnston working on the 20’s style jazz and blues instrumentation of the five songs in the script.

  • drama, verbatim
  • 45
  • 10 total
  • 3 female identifying, 7 male identifying
  • 3 to 8, 8 to 12, 16 to 18
  • young adult, adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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