Our Country’s Good


Timberlake Wertenbaker

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Our Country’s Good: Act One, Scene Two Summary & Analysis

Alone on stage, an Aboriginal Australian man narrates what it’s like to encounter the first fleet of convict ships in Botany Bay in 1788. As he watches a boat appear on the horizon with “clouds billowing” up from what he mistakenly believes are its oars, he says, “This is a dream which has lost its way. Best to leave it alone.”
In this moment, the Aboriginal man optimistically thinks that he and his people will be able to ignore the British, who have just arrived. This is an example of dramatic irony, given that the audience most likely knows at least a little about Australia’s history—namely, that Australia was taken over and colonized by the British.
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