James “Jimmy” Munday
A middle-aged Aboriginal man. He is Milly’s brother and Gran’s son. Jimmy likes to drink, and often becomes argumentative and violent when he does, lashing out at anyone who gets in his way… read analysis of James “Jimmy” Munday
Gran is the matriarch of the Millimurra-Munday family, which is at the center of the events of the play. She is mother to Jimmy and Milly, and grandmother to Joe, Cissie, and… read analysis of Gran Munday
A middle-aged Aboriginal woman. She is the daughter of Gran, sister of Jimmy, wife of Sam, and mother to Joe, Cissie, and David. Together with Gran, Milly is the… read analysis of Milly Millimurra
A middle-aged Aboriginal man. He is Milly’s husband, and Joe, Cissie, and David’s father. Sam is technically the patriarch of the family, but much of the of the parenting and decision… read analysis of Sam Millimurra
Auber Octavius Neville
Neville is a real historical figure, and the Chief Protector of Aborigines in Western Australia for the first quarter of the 20th century. Neville works in Perth with his secretary, Miss Dunn. Like many… read analysis of Auber Octavius Neville
Mr N. S. Neal
A white man and Superintendent of the Moore River Native Settlement, he is married to Matron Neal. Although Neal’s job is to protect and care for the Aboriginal families under his jurisdiction, he… read analysis of Mr N. S. Neal
A white woman in charge of the hospital at the Moore River Native Settlement, she is married to Mr. Neal. The Matron is more sympathetic to the plight of the Aboriginal families under… read analysis of Matron Neal
The daughter of Sam and Milly. Cissie becomes sick early in the play, and her whole family rallies around her and cares for her. Although the play takes place over the course of four… read analysis of Cissie Millimurra
The youngest son of Sam and Milly. David is a playful, easily distracted child. Although he ages four years over the course of the play, like his sister Cissie, he remains young enough… read analysis of David Millimurra
A sergeant on the Northam police force. He works with Constable Kerr, and sometimes remotely checks in with Neville and Miss Dunn. Part of his job involves helping and coordinating with the local… read analysis of Sergeant Carrol
An Aboriginal teenager who lives at the Moore River Settlement. She and Joe meet soon after he arrives with his family, and the two quickly fall in love. Mary becomes pregnant and she and… read analysis of Mary Daragurru
Jimmy Koolbari Millimurra / The Baby
Joe and Mary’s infant son, often simply referred to as “the Baby.” Mary delivers Jimmy with Gran’s help while Joe is still in jail. She gives him a Nyoongah name, Koolbari (meaning magpie)… read analysis of Jimmy Koolbari Millimurra / The Baby
A white farmer who has traveled to Northam looking for work. Frank has a wife and children who he has not seen for many months. Because of the depression, he’s been unable to find employment… read analysis of Frank Brown
A white nun who works at the Government Well Aboriginal Reserve. She has more respect for the Aboriginal men, women, and children in her care than does her superior, Neal. She does not… read analysis of Sister Eileen
One of two black trackers employed by Neal at the Moore River Native Settlement, the other being Bluey. Billy follows Neal’s orders, but also spends time with the Millimurra-Munday family as friends… read analysis of Billy Kimberley
Herbert “Herbie” Munday
A distant relative of the Millimurra-Mundays who lives on a farm near them in Northam. Herbie has more money than his relatives, and although he is willing to lend them his cart to transport… read analysis of Herbert “Herbie” Munday
Captain James Stirling
A real-life historical figure invoked by Neville in a speech to the Royal Western Australian Historical Society. An admiral in the British Royal Navy, Stirling helped found the Swan River Colony in Western Australia, at… read analysis of Captain James Stirling
A constable on the Northam police force. Although part of his job is to help protect the Aboriginal families in his district, he shows little respect for their lives, livelihoods, health, or comfort.
Miss Sybil Dunn
A white woman who works as Neville’s secretary. Although Miss Dunn receives few opportunities to express her own opinions, she demonstrates that she’s fine with Neville’s explicit and institutional racism as she happily transcribes and enables his various schemes regarding the future of the Aboriginal population within his care.
Justice of the Peace (JP)
A white Northam farmer who oversees the trial of Jimmy and Sam for public intoxication. He is not sympathetic to the two men’s cases, imprisoning Jimmy and giving Sam a steep fine.
A teenage Aboriginal girl who lives at Moore River Native Settlement. She and Mary are close friends, and she discovers that she is related to the Millimurra-Munday family through their shared uncle Herbie. Topsy eventually begins to work with the Matron Neal in the hospital.
One of two black trackers employed by Neal at the Moore River Native Settlement, the other being Billy. Bluey follows Neal’s orders, but also spends time with the Millimurra-Munday family as friends when he is off duty.
Jimmy Munday’s pet dog. Streak was shot by the Northam police before the events of the play.
A real-life historical figure, Jimmy Mitchell was a white Australian politician who was the Premier (or head of the executive branch of government) of Western Australia until he was ousted in the 1933 election by the opposition Labor party.
Gran’s pet dog. Although he makes the move from Government Well to Moore River, he is then killed by Billy, who is ordered by Neal to cleanse the camp of dogs.
A white man from Western Australia. He appears in Billy’s story of the Oombulgarri Massacre. According to Billy, Midja George beat a sleeping Aboriginal man who retaliated, killing Midja George. This upset the white townspeople, who in turn massacred the native population.
A white man who lives in Northam and who occasionally employs the men of the Millimurra-Munday family.