"When the cold August wind abated in its final sigh of emergence from the lean, hard winter months into springtime, the People emerged from the cold, and often leaky shanties, and old discarded car-bodies, which were their home, to gather together their few ragged possessions and tie them in bundles ready for traveling to the cherry orchards, often many hundreds of miles away. Many would travel by bicycle with their swags swinging crazily from the frames; many traveled in old tattered caravans drawn by horses; many just walked beside the caravans through the red sandhill and mallee country, while the more daring 'jumped the rattler', the slow old steam train that chugged across the land.
Wherever the people gathered there too was a spirit of revival, of intense relief, for the "cherry season" meant a temporary release from near starvation. In a good season it could mean some old debts would be repaid. It meant food and toys for the children for the forthcoming Christmas season and, above all, it meant some independence, some freedom, from under the crucifying heels of the local police and the white 'station' managers; an escape from the refugee camps called 'Aboriginal Reserves'. The cherry season was the time for hope, for meeting old friends and relatives, for laughing and for making love. The Cherry Pickers tells it all.' Source: http://blackwebs.photoaccess.org.au/~kevingilbert/books/books.html (Sighted: 12/4/2009).
'John McCallum's new history explores the relationship between 20th century Australian drama and a developing concept of nation. The book focuses on the creative tension sparked by dueling impulses between nationalism and cosmopolitanism; and between artistic seriousness and larrikin populism. It explores issues such as the domineering influence of European high culture, the ongoing popularity of representational realism, the influence of popular theatrical forms, the ambivalence (between affection and aggression) of much Australian humour and satire, and the interaction between the personal and the political in drama.
'The strength of Belonging is its comprehensiveness. Anyone studying an Australian play will find it here in the context of the other works by its author or the time and place in which it was written. As well as a rundown of the major writers and their works, the book also investigates a number of lesser known plays and writers.
This authoritative study of Australian drama gives an account of the relationship between our theatre and our sense of self while taking into account a broad range of influences that helped to shape both.' (Publisher's blurb)