No Sugar

No Sugar

by

Jack Davis

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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 her care than is her husband. She sees The Millimurra-Munday family, Billy, and Bluey as people, worthy of kindness and respect. She often clashes with her husband over his treatment of the Aboriginal community, which she sees as unnecessarily cruel and violent. At the same time, she does little to stop her lecherous husband from preying on Aboriginal girls.

Matron Neal Quotes in No Sugar

The No Sugar quotes below are all either spoken by Matron Neal or refer to Matron Neal. 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 2 Quotes

As I mentioned, I was a little concerned to see so many dirty little noses amongst the children. I’m a great believer that if you provide the native the basic accoutrements of civilisation you’re half way to civilising him. I’d like to see each child issued with a handkerchief and instructed on its use. […] I think some practical training from yourself and Matron in its correct usage would be appropriate. If you can successfully inculcate such basic but essential details of civilised living you will have helped them along the road to taking their place in Australian society.

Related Characters: Auber Octavius Neville (speaker), Mr N. S. Neal, Matron Neal
Page Number: 24
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 8 Quotes

MATRON: Apparently you told [Mary] she was going to work at the hospital and stay in the nurses’ quarters.

NEAL: Who told you that? [Yelling] Billy!

BILLY: [off] Comin’, boss.

MATRON: It seems she was terrified at the prospect of working in the hospital.

NEAL: They’re all scared of the dead.

MATRON: I think she was scared of the living.

Related Characters: Mr N. S. Neal (speaker), Matron Neal (speaker), Billy Kimberley (speaker), Mary Daragurru
Page Number: 72-73
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 4, Scene 5 Quotes

SISTER: It gives me great pleasure to be with you all on this very special day, when we gather together to pledge our allegiance to the King and to celebrate the birth of this wonderful young country […]. We must remember today not just our country and King, but the King of kings, the Prince of princes, and to give thanks to God for what He has provided for us […]. Even we here today, Mr Neal, Matron Neal and myself, are but His humble servants, sent by Him to serve your needs. The Lord Jesus Christ has sent His servant, Mr Neville, Chief Protector of Aborigines, to speak to us on this special day. Mr Neville is going to say a few words before leading us in a song of praise to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

[NEVILLE rises. The whites clap while the Aborigines remain silent.]

Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
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No Sugar PDF

Matron Neal Character Timeline in No Sugar

The timeline below shows where the character Matron Neal appears in No Sugar. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 2, Scene 3
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...Camp in the Moore River Settlement, the Millimurra-Mundays play, work, and rest. Billy arrives with Matron Neal, Topsy, and Mary. Matron Neal examines the family for scabies, the ostensible reason for... (full context)
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 he’s... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
The Matron concludes there is nothing wrong with the Millimurra-Munday family. She gives Milly some soap and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
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
Mary doesn’t mind Matron and Sister Eileen, but she doesn’t like Mr. Neal. She finds him scary and predatory.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 5
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Neal promises to deal with Jimmy later, and enters his office. Matron Neal is angry that Neal was secretly drinking in a hotel room somewhere while 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
The Matron says the dogs are the only true health hazard in the camp. Neal agrees, and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 8
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
Matron Neal enters and tells Mr. Neal she has some news. He assumes she’s talking about... (full context)
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...leaves. He is especially anxious to recapture Mary, who is his fellow “countryman.” As the Matron turns to go, she tells Neal she thought it was her job to assign women... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 10
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
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,... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
The Matron enters Neal’s office and announces that Billy and Mary, who is visibly pregnant, have arrived.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 5
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
It is Australia Day, 1934. Neville, Neal, and the Matron sit on a platform above the crowd. Billy and Bluey, wearing ill-fitting new uniforms, stand... (full context)
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
...She also asks the crowd to remember to give thanks to God. She says she, Matron Neal, and Neal are the Lord’s servants, and Jesus Christ himself has sent Neville to... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
Overexcited and overexerted, Jimmy collapses on the ground. Mary rushes towards him and asks the Matron for help. She takes his condition seriously and orders Billy and Bluey to help take... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 6
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
...his office reading the newspaper, which shows that today is Monday, January 30, 1934. The Matron enters and asks if there is any news. Neal says no, but when the Matron... (full context)
Racism, Discrimination, and Colonial Violence  Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...case of emotion com[ing] in through the door and reason go[ing] out the window.” The Matron agrees, clarifying that she has seen this in Neal’s office more and more. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 7
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...Gran comforts Mary and promises no one will take the baby, and says that the Matron is coming to help. Mary doesn’t want the Matron to come, and she is beginning... (full context)
Government, Civilization, and Religion Theme Icon
White Australians vs. the Aboriginal Family Unit Theme Icon
...comes to look at his new nephew. Sam rushes in to meet his grandson. The Matron finally arrives, but Mary refuses to hand over her baby. The Matron insists she only... (full context)