Earlier this week I was on a plane, and given that flying is a fundamentally boring experience I whiled away the time watching a movie.
The art house movie on offer was the wonderful, spare elegaic Lady Macbeth, beautifully photographed and incredibly dark.
I won’t rehearse the plot, but one device that the director had used was to have all the servants and socially inferior characters as persons of AfroCarribean or mixed heritage, and the property owners as most definitely white north of England characters.
The film was filmed on a property strangely reminiscent of how we found Hume’s cottage in Yass when we visited on a winter’s day some years ago.
And that got me to thinking that you could have made an equally powerful version set in one of the squatocracy properties in the Western District, and where the socially inferior characters could be aboriginal, or part aboriginal, which would certainly have given it some edge.
And from there it was a short step to wondering what could be done with the stories of Henry Lawson and Barbara Baynton who wrote equally harsh stories of life among the farmers and miners of colonial Australia ….