Billy limps back to the Superintendent’s Office in Moore River. David, Cissie, and Topsy follow him and call him names.
The children can see that Billy has betrayed his connection to his fellow Aboriginal people, and instead sided with their white oppressors.
Billy enters Neal’s office. Neal and the Matron, who enters behind Billy, are shocked by Billy’s condition. Neal begins to yell at Billy, asking why Billy let Joe get on the train, as Billy tries to explain that Joe overpowered him. Billy asks if they can take the handcuffs off of him, but when the Matron checks his pocket for the keys she only finds quandongs. Neal calls Billy a “bloody incompetent savage.”
When Neal calls Billy a “bloody incompetent savage” he reveals his own racism and prejudice. His treatment of the Aboriginal people at Moore River is not just an enactment of policy, it is an exercise in his own personal hatred and need for control.
Neal decides the handcuffs are a job for the blacksmith. The Matron tells Neal to send Billy to the hospital, where she can examine him and give him dinner. The Matron and Billy joke for a moment, but Neal comments that this situation is not funny at all. Neal and Billy leave, and the Matron tries a quandong. It is too bitter to eat.
The quandongs are bitter—they have “no sugar,” as alluded to in the play’s title. When the Matron tries to eat it, the bitterness is a reminder to her that her and her husband’s treatment of the Aboriginals under their care is neither sweet nor kind.