WILLUNGA--A CLEAN SLATE

By

Allen Lyne

 

 

 

©   Allen Lyne

    8 Redgate Court

    Moana Heights

    South Australia  5169

    Ph (08) 8 327 4142

 

 

 

MUSIC.  DRUM ROLE

V.O.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN... WILLUNGA A CLEAN SLATE.

DRUM ROLL CLIMAXES. SPOTLIGHT SNAPS UP ON ALF AND GERTIE.

Alf

Willunga, a clean slate.

Gertie

Willunga, a clean slate.

Alf

We've got some bad news.

Gertie

There will be no play tonight.

Alf

We're really sorry.

Gertie

Desperately sorry.

Alf

But we can't do a play about the history of Willunga.

Gertie

It's impossible to put all that history on stage.

Alf

So instead we'll give a lecture about Willunga's history

Gertie

And use the music we had 'specially written for the show... Maestro!

THEME BEGINS. GERTIE CHANGES CALENDAR TO 1837

Alf

So to kick things off... Willunga was explored by Colonel Light in 1837.

KIDS BEGIN TO INTERJECT FROM THE AUDIENCE. "WE WANT A

PLAY NOT A LECTURE.  WE WANT A PLAY", ETC. THEY

ENCOURAGE THE AUDIENCE TO JOIN THEM IN A CHANT OF "WE

WANT A PLAY. ALF AND GERTIE APPEAL FOR CALM. KIDS 1 & 2

COME UP ONTO THE STAGE AND MOTION THE AUDIENCE TO BE

QUIET.

Kid 2

Give them a go.  They might know what they're talking about.

Kid 1

Yeah, give them a go.

Kid 4

Yah... Rubbish.

Kid 5

What would they know?

Kid 3

We want a play.  We want a play.

KIDS 1 & 2 MOTION FOR SILENCE AGAIN.

Kid 1

Come on, give them a go.

Kid 2

Yeah, come on. be fair.

Gertie

Stop being so rude.

Alf

Young people today.

Gertie

Should be smacked on the bum.

Alf

Bottom... It can't be done.

Kid 5

Yes it can.

GENERAL CONFUSION WITH MUCH SHOUTING. KIDS

ATTEMPT TO LEAD ANOTHER CHANT OF "WE WANT A

PLAY" WITH THE AUDIENCE. KIDS 4 & 5 ARGUE

HEATEDLY WITH GERTIE AND ALF WHILE KIDS 1 & 2 TRY

TO SMOOTH THINGS OVER. ALF AND GERTIE ARE

NONPLUSED. EVENTUALLY ALF LOSES HIS TEMPER.

Alf

Alright,  you're so smart,  you do the play.

Kid 5

(takes charge)   Yeah, righto, let's do the play!

Gertie

If that's how you feel....

Alf

Come on.  Up here.  It's all yours.

ALF AND GERTIE MOVE INTO THE AUDIENCE AND SIT

DOWN. THE KIDS TAKE OVER. THEY MILL AROUND IN

SOME CONFUSION UNDECIDED HOW TO START.

Alf

Come on,  we want a play.

Gertie

Yeah.  We want a play.

ALF AND GERTIE BEGIN THE "WE WANT A PLAY" CHANT.

THEY ENCOURAGE THE AUDIENCE TO JOIN THEM.

Kid 1

So we're going to do the play?

Kid 2

Where do we start?

Kid 3

Good question.

Kid 4

Very good question.

Kid 5

We start with them.

Kid 1

The audience?

Kid 5

The audience... Maestro... A fanfare.

FANFARE.

Kid 5

Now,  you hear that?  Every time you hear that fanfare,

you yell out "Willunga:.  Got it?

THE KIDS PRIME THE AUDIENCE: "OKAY, LET'S GIVE IT

A TRY. EVERYONE READY?", ETC.

Kid 5

Maestro....

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Kid 4

Oh, come on.  You can do better than that.  Let's really

hear it.  Maestro....

FANFARE

All

Willunga!

Kid 3

Better.

Kid 2

But we can do much better yet.

Kid 1

We've got to raise the roof at least six inches.

Kid 5

Let's give it a go.  Maestro....

FANFARE

All

Willunga!

ALL KIDS MIME ROOF FALLING IN.

Kid 3

Let's keep it at that level.

Kid 2

Remember, every time you hear this fanfare....

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Kid 5

You got it.

Kid 4

Okay, let's start the play.

ALL KIDS RETREAT UPSTAGE THEN BURST OUT

FOR THE OPENING.

Kid 1

Ladies and gentlemen...

Kid 2

Welcome to...

Kid 3

A play about...

Kid 4

The history of...

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Kid 5

Tonight you will see...

Kid 1

History on parade.

Kid 2

Our history on show.

Kid 3

The history of...

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Kid 4

There will be scenes from the long forgotten past.

EXPLORERS TABLEAU.

Kid 5

Scenes from the dimly remembered past.

A SETTLER GALLOPS THROUGH ON HORSEBACK.

Kid 1

There will be no Marina.

Councillor

There will be a Marina.

PUNCH UP BETWEEN COUNCILLORS AND

GREENIES. THEY FREEZE.

Kid 2

All these scenes and many more

Kid 3

As we explore...

Kid 4

History.

All Kids

Our history.

Kid 5

The history of...

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

GERTIE AND ALF ARE IN THE AUDIENCE.

Gertie

You can't do it like that.

Alf

All that shouting and noise

Gertie

Kids!

Alf

What would you know about history?

Gertie

Our history?

Kid 1

It's our history too.

Alf

Poppycock.

Gertie

You're too young to know anything.

Alf

About history.

Gertie

The history of Willunga.

Kid 2

We can read as well as you can.

Alf

History is in your bones.

Gertie

Young people!

Alf

More interested in this rock and roll nonsense.

Gertie

Marijuana.

Alf

Sex.

Kid 3

Come on.  Let's show 'em.

Kid 4

Reckon we don't know our stuff.

Kid 5

Ladies and gentlemen.  Presenting...

Kid 1

The history of...

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

MUSIC BEGINS AND CONTINUES UNDER THE REST

OF THE SCENE.

Kid 2

Do you know where the first expedition in South Australia's

history finished?

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Kid 3

Did you know that the expedition camped at the site of a town?

Kid 4

Guess which one...

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Kid 3

Oh, you knew that, too.

Kid 5

They were on their way to Encounter Bay.  Guess where they stopped?

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Kid 3

You're all so bright.

Kid 1

Stand by for the exploration scene of...

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Trooper 1

Gawd, I'm hungry, Jack

Trooper 2

You're always hungry, Bill.

Trooper 1

My tummy's so empty it rumbles.  Hear that?

Trooper 2

That were thunder.

Trooper 3

No it weren't ... Ssssshhhh!  What is that?

Trooper 2

Aborigines.

Trooper 1

Reckon they're friendly?

Trooper 3

Don't know.

Trooper 1

We're a lot further from Adelaide than we've ever been before.

Trooper 2

Nothing to worry about.

Trooper 1

Probably never seen a white fella.

Trooper 2

They're alright.  Keeping out of our way.

Trooper 3

Might be headhunters.

Trooper 1

Or cannibals.

Trooper 2

Stow it.  They're alright.

Trooper 1

Gawd, I'm hungry.

WE HEAR SINGING, OFF.

Trooper 2

Eeeek!  It's the aborigines.

Trooper 1

They're having a corroboree.

Trooper 2

They're coming for us.

COLONEL LIGHT DANCES ONSTAGE FOLLOWED BY A

FOOTSORE AND WEARY FISHER.

Light

The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la...

Fisher

I'm so tired.

Light

The flowers that bloom in the...

FISHER HAS STAGGERED ONSTAGE AND COLLAPSED.

Light

Now now Mister Fisher.  Buck up!  Must keep those spirits up you know.

Fisher

We've come a long way and I'm dog tired.

Light

The flowers that bloom in the spring... Come on chaps.  On we

go.  Just a few more miles and we'll camp at the foot of those

hills yonder.

FISHER AND THE TROOPERS FALL IN BEHIND LIGHT. ALL

MIME WALK. FISHER DANCES IN THE LEAD AS THE OTHERS

TRUDGE WEARILY ON.

Trooper 1

Gawd, I'm hungry.

Trooper 2

Quiet, Bill.

Light

Ah, nature.  Bountiful nature.  The glorious carol of the magpie.

Fisher

The drone of the mosquito.

Fisher

Curlew, wild geese, bush turkey.

Fisher

Flies, flies and more damned flies.

Light

The loveliness of the native shrubs and vegetation.

Fisher

The stinging plants that grab you as you pass.

Light

The native bears, wallabies and kangaroos.  Oh, who would be

in England now with so much beauty surrounding us?

Trooper 1

Me for one.

Trooper 2

Is he a surveyor or a philosopher?

Trooper 3

Search me.

Trooper 1

I'm hungry, Jack.

Trooper 2

Worms, Bill.

Light

Right men, we'll pitch camp here.  Right at the base of these

wonderful hills.  Ah, Mathew Flinders was right when he

spoke of thickly wooded hills.  Look at those magnificent gums.

Some so big they must be thousands of years old.

Trooper 1

Yeah, well they'll have to go at any rate, if we're to farm the

bleeding place.

Light

(still dancing)  The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la...

Fisher

Give it a rest, Light old chap.  I'm trying to sleep.

Light

Ah, where's your soul, Mister Fisher?  How can any man remain

unmoved on looking upon this beautiful, bountiful aspect?  Green,

green trees as far as the eye can see.  It is truly a place of green trees 

Trooper 1

Not to mention thousands of opossums.

Trooper 2

Those trees will supply Adelaide with fire wood for many years to come.

Trooper 3

Fifty, sixty years, not a tree on those slopes.

Light

Trees, ah, trees!  Beautiful big green trees.

Trooper 1

And the opossums, sir.  Don't forget the opossums.

Light

Now let me see.  What should we call this wondrous place?

Trees?

Trooper 1

Don't suppose we could knock a few of those opossums off

and make a stew, sir?

Light

Trees?  A name for the place.

Trooper 1

Dinner, sir.  Shall we start a fire for dinner?

Light

Green?  Lots of green.  Beautiful vegetation and trees.

What to call it?

Trooper 1

Begging your pardon, sir.

Light

Eh?  Oh, what is it, Bill?

Trooper 1

I'm hungry, sir

Light

You're always hungry.  A name for this place?

Trooper 1

Really hungry, Colonel Light, sir.

Light

You might help instead of whinging about your stomach all the time.

Trooper 1

Can't help it.  I've got this terrible, terrible hunger.

Light

The old North American Indian tradition.  Name the place after the

first thing you see or experience... Trees?

Trooper 1

I am so terrible, terrible hungry.  I can't stand it.

Light

Bill hungry.  We'll call it.

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

BLACKOUT. LIGHTS UP ON ALF AND GERTIE ONSTAGE.

Alf

That's nonsense.  You can't tamper with history like that.

Gertie

No!

Alf

It's not.... (he is lost for words)

Gertie

Decent!  History is a precise study of what happened in the past.

You can't muck about with it.

Alf

No.  You can't have fun with it.  It must be absolutely accurate.

There's no room for these.... (he is lost for words again)

Gertie

Interpretations.  Everyone knows what Willunga really means.

Alf

Course they do.  Willunga is an aboriginal word meaning

'Place of Green Trees'.

Gertie

No it isn't.

Alf

What?

Gertie

It means 'Place of the Opossum.

Alf

Does not.

Gertie

Does so.

THEY REPEAT DOES NOT DOES SO TRYING TO TOP

EACH OTHER THE WAY CHILDREN DO.

Kid 1

And they talk about kids.

Kid 2

No room for interpretations?

Kid 3

Next came the settlers.

Kid 4

They cleared and ploughed the land

Kid 5

At....

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

THE SETTLERS ENTER AND BEGIN TO DO SETTLER

LIKE THINGS. THEY CLEAR LAND, CHOP DOWN TREES.

THERE ARE FREQUENT SOUNDS OF AXES AND TREES

CRASHING TO THE GROUND. THE KIDS DON PIECES OF

COSTUME ON STAGE AND JOIN IN. HEWETT AND LOUD

YOKE UP KIDS AND ADULTS AS BULLOCKS AND BEGINS

TO PLOUGH FROM OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS.

Hewett

Hewett's the name and farming's the game.  First settler to plough

land in Willunga.

Loud

Loud's the name and farming's my game too.  Arrived here in early

1840.  In April of that year... What's the matter.

LOUD GOES TO HIS WIFE WHO IS IN CONTRACTIONS AND

GENTLY LAYS HER ON THE GROUND. WOMEN COME TO

HELP AS LOUD PACES UP AND DOWN LIKE AN EXPECTANT

FATHER.

Women

(rhythmic chant)   Push, push, push, push,  etc.

Mrs Loud

Oooooooooooh!

Women

It's a boy.

Loud

Mr. Hewett.  Mr. HewettI'ma I'ma I'ma...

Hewett

Yes?

Loud

I'ma, I'ma, I'ma...

Hewett

You're a... ?

Loud

I'ma, I'ma...

Hewett

For god's sake spit it out man.  I've got to get on with me ploughing.

Loud

I'ma, I'ma....

HEWETT HITS HIM.

Loud

Daddy!

Hewett

Well I'll be blowedFirst born in Willunga.  Boy or girl?

Loud

Bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb....

Hewett

Boy?

LOUD NODS.

Hewett

This calls for a celebration.

HEWETT PRODUCES A BOTTLE OF RUM. THEY SIT, IMBIBING.

Mrs Loud

Thank you, ladies...

THE WOMEN APPLAUD.

Mrs Loud

Well, can't sit around here all day.  There's work to be done.

SHE HOLDS HER BABY TO HER BREAST WITH ONE HAND

AND RESUMES PLOUGHING WITH THE OTHER.

Mrs Loud

Yeeeeeehah!  Now where is that man.... ?

LIGHTS FADE ON BULLOCK TEAM. SPECIAL ON COLVILLE.

Colville

David Colville's the name and farming was my game too. Me and my

missus, god bless her, I couldn't have done without her, reckoned

maybe sheep would go well here at Willunga, so we imported fifteen

hundred head from Scotland.  Later on I built the first bridge, not only

in Willunga, mind.  It was the first bridge in the entire colony of South

Australia.

Mrs Colville

It was only over a creek!  He's right though.  He couldn't have done it

without me.  We women worked as hard as our men.  It was a hard life,

clearing the land and settling the place.  We worked alongside our men

clearing and planting and tending the animals.  And we looked after the

meals and housework and bore and reared children as well.  Oh, there

wasn't much rest from labour in those days.  I saw my David start work

well before first light and come home in the pitch dark after a hard day on

the land, then have to mend the roof in the pouring rain past midnight.  I've

been so tired myself after weeks of back breaking toil with never a day's

rest, that all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep and sleep.  But of

course I couldn't.  You had to go on.  Oh, it was hard alright, but we weren't

unhappy.  We were building a future for us and those who followed, our

children and our grandchildren and others.  Whenever we felt unhappy

because of the hardship, we thought back to what it was like in England.

No land except for the gentry.  No chance of ever owning the place you

lived in, or much else.  We knew how much better off we were with the

fresh air and sunshine and our own land and a decent place to bring up

a family.

LIGHTS DOWN ON MRS COLVILLE. UP ON THE SETTLERS AT WORK

ON THE LAND.

Settler 1

The governor approaches from the north.

Settler 2

So what?

Settler 3

So it's the governor.

Settler 4

What do you want us to do?

Settler 5

We should do something special.

Settler 6

Like what?

Settler 1

Err... Afternoon tea?

Settler 5

A guard of honour.

Settler 2

Break it down.  There's only a couple of coppers in the place and

you want a guard of honour?

Settler 3

What would we use for rifles?

Settler 4

Count me out.  Bloomin' vice regal twits.

Settler 5

How dare you talk about the governor that way.

Settler 1

I don't know what I'd do without the governor.

Settler 2

Pay less taxes more than likely.

Settler 3

He's sending the colony broke.

Settler 1

It's up to us to welcome the vice regal party with some decorum.

Settler 5

Here they come.

NOTE: IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT GOVERNOR GAWLER'S

ATTENTION IS ALWAYS SOEMWHERE ELSE WHENEVER

THE WORD 'BOTTOM' IS USED

THE PRO VICE REGAL GUARD LINES UP USING PITCHFORKS

AND SPADES FOR RIFLES.

Settler 1

Attention... Present arms.

THE SETTLERS PRESENT THEIR PITCHFORKS AND

SPADES AS GOVERNOR GAWLER AND PARTY ENTER.

Gawler

I say... Jolly good show

Miss Gawler

Rural hicks.

Mr. Inman

Now now.

Gawler

At ease, chaps... What a fine body of people.

HE IS OGGLING A YOUNG GIRL IN THE GUARD.

Miss Gawler

Father!

Miss Inman

My bum hurts.

Gawler

What's your name, my dear?

Miss Gawler

I'll tell mother!

Capt. Sturt

Bottom!

Gawler

I beg your pardon?

Capt. Sturt

Err... Nothing, your excellency.

Gawler

I say, what an absolutely spiffing place.  All these lovely...

HE IS OGGLING THE SAME YOUNG LADY

Miss Gawler

Father!

Gawler

... green trees.  Eh, Mister Inman?

Inman

Oh, spiffing sir.  Absolutely spiffing.

Settler 1

You hexellency, your honours, ladies and gentlemen. 

Hit his hour honour to hask hyo to partake hof hafternoon

tea hinside the 'all.

Gawler

I beg your pardon?

Miss Gawler

They're inviting us for tea, daddy.

Gawler

Oh, I see.  What's on then?

Settler 1

The husual, sir.  Tea and damper, sir.

Mrs Sturt

Savages!  I'll never get used to this country.

Capt. Sturt

Now now.

Mrs Sturt

Well my bum....

Capt. Sturt

(shouts)   Bottom

GAWLER REACTS BUT SAYS NOTHING.

Mrs Sturt

Hurts too.

Capt. Sturt

Oh, do be quiet dear.

Miss Gawler

It's alright for you, Captain Sturt.  You're used to galloping all over

the landscape exploring things.  All the way from the Onkaparinga

side-saddle.  It hurts our bums.

Inman

Bottoms!

Gawler

I beg your pardon?

Inman

Err... Nothing, your excellency.

Gawler

Why does everyone keep using that word?

Settler 5

Would you care to walk this way, you hexcellencies,

your honours, ladies and gentlemen?

SETTLER 5 LEADS THE WAY. SHE HAS A PRONOUNCED

LIMP. THE ENTIRE PARTY INCLUDING THE OTHER

SETTLERS LIMP OFF AFTER HER.

Gawler

They have some strange customs in the bush, don't you know?

Mrs Sturt

Savages!

Miss Gawler

My bum!

Inman

Bottom!

GAWLER GIVES HIM A HARD LOOK. THEY EXIT.

THE SETTLERS REMAIN ON AS THE VICE REGAL PARTY

GOES OFF AS THE LIGHTS FADE. LIGHTS UP ON SETTLERS

ONCE MORE AT WORK.

Settler 1

I'll tell you what though.  It was hard to graft a living in those days.

We were all broke.  Want to buy some mutton?  Only twopence

a pound.

Settler 2

Aint got twopence.  Want to buy some beef?

Settler 1

'ow much?

Settler 2

Only twopence a pound.

Settler 1

Aint got twopence.

Settler 2

Tell yer what....

Settler 1

What?

Settler 2

Swap yer.

Settler 1

Right!

Kid 1

A primitive barter system sprang up.

Kid 2

And that saved...

FANFARE.

All

Willunga!

Alf

They didn't barter beef for mutton you nincompoops!

Gertie

They bartered bread for meat.  Candles for vegetables.  Stuff like that.

Kid 1

Barter schmarter,  what's the difference?

………………………..

Yeah, what is the difference?  Will the history of this beautiful part

of the world be perverted completely?  Or will Alf and Gertie manage

 to keep it on the rails?  If you are interested in looking at the rest of

this script, send me a mail and I'll send you a copy.