Roo is a "ganger" (boss) of sugarcane cutters in northern Australia. He's the best of the best at his job and takes great pride in this fact. Every layoff season, from December to April, he… read analysis of Roo Webber
Olive is a thirty-seven-year-old, happily employed barmaid who lives with her mother, Emma, in Carlton, Victoria. Olive looks forward to the layoff season when her lover, Roo, and Roo's friend Barney visit and… read analysis of Olive Leech
Pearl is one of Olive's coworkers at the pub, though she's much less content with her position than Olive is. Pearl is a widow about Olive's age with an eighteen-year-old daughter named Vera… read analysis of Pearl Cunningham
Barney is Roo's best friend. Though Olive describes him as being short, the stage directions indicate that he's only short in relation to Roo. He's about forty, beginning to gray, and has a potbelly… read analysis of Barney Ibbot
Emma is Olive's seventy-year-old mother. She allows the layoff season shenanigans to take place at her home in Carlton, Victoria, and Olive lives with her the rest of the year. Emma is a wry… read analysis of Emma Leech
Roo hired Johnnie to replace Tony Moreno in the cane fields up north. He's a young, strong, and burly man. Roo soon found that Johnnie was stronger and faster than he was, which resulted in… read analysis of Johnnie Dowd
Nancy was one of the original four who stayed at Emma's house for the layoff season. Though she never appears in the play—she married several months before the seventeenth layoff season—the other characters mention… read analysis of Nancy
Tony is a man that Roo fires in the cane fields and then replaces with Johnnie Dowd. Though his age is never stated, he's likely around Roo's age, and it's this that finally makes Roo realize he's old. Tony never appears in the play.
Vera is Pearl's eighteen-year-old daughter. She never appears in the play herself.