No Sugar

No Sugar

by

Jack Davis

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Sam and Milly’s teenaged son. Joe takes after his uncle, Jimmy, more than he takes after his father. Joe, like Jimmy, is rebellious, and challenges the authority of the white Australian law enforcement officials and bureaucrats. However, Joe isn’t opposed to the idea of authority figures; instead, he recognizes that he and his Aboriginal family members have been systematically mistreated by white Australians who are supposed to be protecting them, and he refuses to accept this kind of disrespect and abuse. Joe and Mary meet at the Moore River Native Settlement and fall in love. Knowing that Neal will never grant him permission to marry his lover, Joe elopes with Mary. He is eventually recaptured and sent to jail, but upon his release he is as committed as ever to leaving Moore River with Mary and finding a better, freer life somewhere else.

Joe Millimurra Quotes in No Sugar

The No Sugar quotes below are all either spoken by Joe Millimurra or refer to Joe Millimurra. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Currency Press edition of No Sugar published in 1998.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

JOE: ‘The—blood—was stirred…as if by a trumpet… by the history-ical…Headed by a tab-leau… […] ‘…Commemorating the pioneers whose lives…’ […] ‘…Were a steadfast performance of duty in the face of difficulty and danger. With them was a reminder of the dangers they faced, in the shape of three lorries…carrying Aborigines.

[They all stop what they are doing and listen.]

[…]

JOE: All right! ‘…Dancing…to a brass-band.’

SAM: Koorawoorung! Nyoongahs corrobereein’ to a wetjala’s brass band!
JIMMY: Ah! That beats everythin’: stupid bloody blackfellas…You fellas, you know why them wetjalas marchin’ down the street, eh? I’ll tell youse why. ‘Cause them bastards took our country and them blackfellas dancin’ for ‘em. Bastards!

[…]

JOE: ‘The pag…page…page-ant pre-sented a picture of Western Australia’s pre-sent condition of hopeful optimum-optimis-tic prosperity, and gave some idea of what men mean when they talk about the soul of the nation.’

SAM: Sounds like bullshit to me.

Related Characters: James “Jimmy” Munday (speaker), Sam Millimurra (speaker), Joe Millimurra (speaker)
Page Number: 15-16
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

MILLY: Whose idea was it to stop the soap?

SERGEANT: The idea, as you call it, came from the Aboriginal Department in Perth.

GRAN: Mister Neville?

MILLY: I just can’t believe it: no soap!

SERGEANT: Your trouble, Milly, is you got three healthy men bludging off you, too lazy to work.

MILLY: Where they gonna get work?

SERGEANT: They’re afraid to look for it in case they find it.

MILLY: Cockies want ’em to work for nothin’.

GRAN: They not slaves, Chergeant!

SERGEANT: Well, they’ll have to work if you want luxury items like soap.

MILLY: Look, last week my Joe cut a hundred posts for old Skinny Martin and you know what he got? A pair of second-hand boots and a piece of stag ram so tough even the dawgs couldn’t eat it; skinnier than old Martin ’imself.

Related Characters: Gran Munday (speaker), Milly Millimurra (speaker), Sergeant Carrol (speaker), Joe Millimurra, Skinny Martin
Page Number: 22-23
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 6 Quotes

CISSIE: [holding her throat] Hurts, Mum, here; hurts when I cough.

MILLY: Well, no school for you today, my girl. [To SAM] You ain’t goin’ post cuttin’ today, and David, you walk to school.

DAVID: Aw, Mum!

MILLY: Don’t, ‘Aw Mum’ me. Joe, you git on that bike and go and ask Uncle Herbie for a lend of his horse and cart. We takin’ her to the doctor straight away.

[JOE takes the bike from DAVID.]

SAM: Aw Mill, can’t you and Mum take her? I only want another hundred posts and I’ll have enough boondah to pay me fine.

Related Characters: Milly Millimurra (speaker), Sam Millimurra (speaker), Cissie Millimurra (speaker), David Millimurra (speaker), Joe Millimurra
Page Number: 37-38
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

Mary: I don’t like the way [Mr. Neal] looks at me.

Joe: Well, you got me now, for what I’m worth.

Mary: He’s always hangin’ around where the girls are workin’; in the cookhouse, in the sewin’ room. And he’s always carryin’ that cat-o’-nine tails and he’ll use it, too.

Joe: Bastard, better not use it on you or any of my lot.

Mary: He reckoned he was gunna belt me once.

Joe: What for?

Mary: ‘Coz I said I wasn’t gunna go and work for guddeah on a farm.

Joe: Why not? Be better than this place.

Mary: No! Some of them guddeahs real bad. My friend went last Christmas and then she came back boodjarri. She reckons the boss’s sons used to belt her up and, you know, force her. Then they kicked her out. And when she had that baby them trackers choked it dead and buried it in the pine plantation.

Related Characters: Joe Millimurra (speaker), Mary Daragurru (speaker), Mr N. S. Neal, Matron Neal, Sister Eileen
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 6 Quotes

[He picks up inji sticks. The Nyoongahs, SAM, JIMMY and JOE, dance with them. BILLY joins in. They dance with increasing speed and energy, stamping their feet, whirling in front of the fire, their bodies appearing and disappearing as the paint catches the firelight. The dance becomes faster and more frantic until finally SAM lets out a yell and they collapse, dropping back to their positions around the fire. JIMMY coughs and pants painfully.]

[…]

BILLY: This country got plenty good dance, eh?

BLUEY: Wee-ah!

JIMMY: Ah, yuart, not too many left now. Nearly all finish.

BILLY: No, no, no. You song man, you fella dance men. This still your country. [Flinging his arms wide] You, you, you, you listen! Gudeeah make ’em fences, windmill, make ’em road for motor car, big house, cut ’em down trees. Still your country! Not like my country, finish… finish.

[He sits in silence. They watch him intently. JOE puts wood on the fire. He speaks slowly.]

BILLY: Kuliyah. [Miming pulling a trigger, grunting] Gudeeah bin kill ’em. Finish, kill ’em. Big mob, 1926, kill ’em big mob my country.

Related Characters: James “Jimmy” Munday (speaker), Billy Kimberley (speaker), Bluey (speaker), Sam Millimurra, Joe Millimurra
Page Number: 66-67
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 10 Quotes

DAVID: Eh, brother, you want my pocket knife? You might need it.

JOE: No, Brudge, I can use glass if I wanna gut a rabbit.

[SAM hands JOE a home-made knife.]

SAM: Here, son, take this one.

JOE: No, I’ll be all right.

SAM: Take it. I can git another bit of steel and make another one. Here, take it.

[Magpies squawk. GRAN begins to sing. They farewell each member of the family, then walk off into the distance.]

Related Characters: Sam Millimurra (speaker), Joe Millimurra (speaker), David Millimurra (speaker), Gran Munday, Mary Daragurru
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
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No Sugar PDF

Joe Millimurra Character Timeline in No Sugar

The timeline below shows where the character Joe Millimurra appears in No Sugar. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
...the Western Australia Historical society. The play begins in 1930 at Government Well, as Sam, Joe, Gran, Milly, David, and Cissie eat breakfast and prepare for the day. (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Gran and Milly wash clothes. Jimmy sharpens an axe “bush fashion.” Joe struggles to read from the Western Mail newspaper. It is a centenary edition, celebration 100... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
...and her siblings “little shriveled ones,” while white children receive “big fat ones.” Hearing this, Joe gives his siblings an additional thrippence. (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...side. She makes him change and then sends David and Cissie to school. Milly tells Joe and Sam they’ll have to catch meat for dinner, and then exits the stage with... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Joe continues to read the paper to Sam. The paper describes “Australia’s present condition of hopeful... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...at the Government Well Reserve. Cissie prepares a damper (a kind of bread) for dinner. Joe and David play with bottlecaps, until Cissie calls Joe over to help her with the... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...has left the circle to tend to some cooking potatoes, returns, tripping over David’s bike. Joe jumps up and cautions Jimmy to be careful, since David has been working hard on... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 6
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...complains that Jimmy, who is still in prison, is probably eating better than he is. Joe returns to camp with empty rabbit traps. He is disappointed that he has been unable... (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...tells Cissie she is not going to school. The whole family is concerned. Milly sends Joe off to borrow a horse and cart from their neighbor, Herbie. Sam has been cutting... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 8
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
At the Government Well Reservation, Jimmy repairs shoes as Gran and Milly sew. Sam and Joe enter and sit. Joe has brought back fat, potatoes, and onions to cook with, but... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Joe announces he’s seen the Sergeant, who told him Cissie is ready to be taken home... (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...Herbie to borrow a cart. He also plans to steal a sheep while he’s there. Joe volunteers to help, too. Gran warns Jimmy to be careful, or else he’ll go back... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 10
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
...Government Well. The group is interrupted by the Sergeant and Constable, who arrive with Jimmy, Joe, and Sam. The Sergeant announces that he has warrants for the family’s “arrest and apprehension.”... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
David, Joe, and Cissie collect water down by the river. Once they’ve gotten enough, they look for... (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Joe sends Cissie and David back to camp with the water. They complain that they wanted... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Although there’s nothing wrong with Joe, Matron Neal has him take his shirt off for an examination. The Matron comments that... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
...admits that they have a handful. Billy tells the Matron the family has seven, causing Joe, David, and Cissie to curse at him as he leaves. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
One evening, Joe and Mary meet in a clearing on the Moore River Settlement. Mary has brought Joe... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
...during her service. When the girl had the baby, black trackers killed and buried it. Joe jokes that he doesn’t like Mary, and she pulls away. He clarifies that he loves... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...Jimmy and Sam, who have painted themselves for a corroboree ceremony, sit by a fire. Joe  enters with firewood, and tends to it. Bluey and Billy enter and remove their shirts.... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
...left, but none of them will return to the land where the massacre took place. Joe asks why, and Billy explains that at night they can hear the voices of mothers... (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Joe holds back for a moment. Mary calls to him from offstage and he responds. She... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Joe wants to marry Mary, but they need Neal’s permission and fear they will not get... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 7
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Joe and Mary return to the Long Pool Camp later that night. He announces that he... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 8
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
...Neal she has some news. He assumes she’s talking about politics, but she reveals that Joe and Mary ran away last night. The Matron tells Neal Mary was “terrified at the... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 9
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Mary sleeps in a clearing by the railroad tracks. Joe returns with water and quandongs. He wakes Mary. Her feet hurt, and he washes and... (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
As Mary and Joe sit, Billy sneaks up on them from the cover of the tree line. He tries... (full context)
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Billy says Mr. Neal wants them to return, but Joe doesn’t care. Joe grabs Billy’s whip and chokes him with it. Mary begs him not... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 10
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Joe and Mary arrive at Government Well Aboriginal Reserve. The camp has been torched, and there... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Sergeant Carroll intercepts Joe and Mary as they walk down the street in Northam. He doesn’t understand why Joe... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Joe wants to pick up rations, but the Sergeant says that, since the entire Aboriginal community... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
...many Aboriginal Australians are in Northam, but the Sergeant insists it is only Mary and Joe. The Sergeant says they’re not bothering anyone, and he doesn’t have a warrant to arrest... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
In Northam, the Sergeant ropes the Constable into helping him pick up Joe and Mary. He struggles to remember her last name and calls her “Darg…something.” The Constable... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Later that day, Sergeant Carroll and Constable Kerr approach Joe in the streets of Northam. The Sergeant produces a warrant for Joe’s arrest. Joe is... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
The Constable tries to handcuff Joe, but he resists. He clarifies he isn’t resisting arrest; he just doesn’t want to put... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Mary doesn’t want to go to the hospital. Gran tells her that she delivered Joe, and she can deliver also deliver Joe’s child. (full context)
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Cissie and David enter. They have a letter from Joe, who is still in prison. Cissie reads the letter out loud. Joe asks after the... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Milly and Sam approach Neal’s office. They ask if Joe can come to the funeral. Neal says no, although they point out that other Aboriginal... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...delivers her baby, and Gran cuts and ties the umbilical cord, just like she did Joe’s. She uses the ashes Milly gathered as baby powder, joking that it’s “better than Johnson’s... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 8
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...Mary is watching over the Baby. Suddenly, they all hear a whistle from offstage. It’s Joe! Mary embraces him, and David climbs on his back. The rest of the family gathers... (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Mary brings Joe to meet their Baby. They’ve given him a Nyoongah name, Koolbari, which means magpie, but... (full context)
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Joe brings gifts for the family. He earned money working in prison, which they gave to... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Mary returns and has Joe do up the back of her dress. He can see the scars from when Neal... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 9
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Joe waits outside the Superintendent’s office as Neal rifles through his drawers. Neal finds the paper... (full context)
Language and Culture Theme Icon
...Billy understands the paper. Billy does not. Neal is happy to hear this, and has Joe sign the document. (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Billy walks Joe out and asks what the document said. Joe explains that it will let him and... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Billy tells Joe to watch out for Mary, as she is still an Oomboolgari girl even though she... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 10
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
...Mary a sugar bag full of flour, a frying pan, mugs, onions, potatoes, and fat. Joe says he is going back to Northam, and Gran warns him to be careful. David... (full context)
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Language and Culture Theme Icon
Gran sings as Joe and Mary pack up and leave the camp with their baby. Her song is in... (full context)