1. EXT. POSSUM GULLY. DAY
Crows wheel in the wide, pale summer sky ...
Beneath them are bare, drought-stricken paddocks, shimmering
in the heat and denuded of vegetation except for a few
scrubby trees. Little puffs of red dust swirl up from the
The stillness is broken only by the screeches of the crows as
they circle ... and settle on the carcass of a cow near a dry
In the distance is a small farmhouse with out-buildings and
yards where some scraggy cows stand listlessly.
SYBYLLA's voice starts under.
Possum Gully, Australia, 1897.
2. EXT. MELVYN FARMHOUSE. DAY
The old weatherboard farmhouse is in need of repair and paint.
It has a wide veranda, with sleepout, and a large water tank on
the side. The iron roof is rusty.
At present, the windows and doors are open to catch the
Beyond the open door and windows, SYBYLLA, a skinny girl
of sixteen-seventeen years old, with a vital if not pretty face,
paces backwards and forwards, holding a stub of pencil and an
old exercise book, deep in concentration, oblivious to her
Dear fellow countrymen, just a few lines
to let you know that this story is going
to be all about me ...
(SYBYLLA comes to the
window, in a world of
So in answer to many requests, here is
the story of my career.
(SHE stops, considering.)
3. INT. FARMHOUSE KITCHEN. DAY
SYBYLLA moves away from the window, critically considering
what she has written in her exercise book.
The kitchen is large, cluttered and impoverished ... with
faded curtains and old and broken furniture. There is a large
iron range on which is a 'fountain': a large black kettle and
some flat irons heating. A box of wood is beside the stove.
A collection of odd china is on an old-fashioned dresser.
Near the large central table is a washing-basket piled high
with clothes waiting to be ironed. Half the table is covered with
an ironing blanket and sheet on which is a part-ironed shirt.
SYBYLLA obviously has been doing the ironing.
SHE sits at the table, brushing away the flies.
Suddenly she has an inspiration. SHE smiles to herself as she
C.U. on her hand as she writes the first time.
My ... brilliant career ...
SHE continues writing, smiling to herself smugly.
I make no apology...for being
egotistical... because I am!
SHE grins, self-satisfied, as she writes, not hearing a
desperate call, off.
4. EXT. THE HOME PADDOCK/YARDS. DAY
In the yard to the side of the house, FATHER, a middle-aged
man who was once handsome, and a younger brother, HORACE,
about fifteen years old, are struggling to get a cow back
on its feet. They sweat in the intense heat. The cow gives a weak
protesting moo and sinks back to the ground.
A wind has begun to rise, and the dust is billowing around
them. FATHER looks up to the reddening sky and blurred horizon
anxiously, and calls again.
5. INT. THE KITCHEN. DAY
SYBYLLA, immersed and unaware of the curtains flapping and
the darkening sky of the approaching dust storm, pauses to
consider her next paragraph.
I have always known...that I belonged...to
the world of art ...
6. EXT. TRACK TO HOUSE. DAY
Coming towards the house is a dray in which are MOTHER,
GERTIE, pretty girl of about fourteen, STANLEY, a young boy,
and AURORA, a toddler, and TWO NEIGHBOURS who are giving
them a lift home from church. MOTHER, a worn-looking
woman who looks older than her thirty-eight years, clutches
her hat and looks anxiously at the darkening sky.
The wind has risen, and the dust swirls around blindingly as
the dray comes to a stop at the side of the house.
MOTHER and family hastily get down ...
7. INT. KITCHEN. DAY
SYBYLLA dreams on. The curtains are beginning to flap wildly.
...the world of literature ... and the
world of music ...
8. EXT. THE YARD/VERANDA. DAY
The dray is driving off in the dust-storm.
MOTHER directs the CHILDREN as they hurry towards the house.
GERTIE and STANLEY run to the clothes-line to collect the
washing which is flapping wildly.
Take those into the house! Hurry!
MOTHER hurries onto the veranda with AURORA and going to an
open window, slams it shut.
GERTIE and STANLEY are hurrying in with the washing. THEY
pass MOTHER who is shutting another window. SHE looks in.
9. INT. THE KITCHEN. DAY
SYBYLLA starts up guiltily. Her first impulse is to hide the book
... which she hastily shoves under the unironed washing as
she gets up.
In the background FATHER and HORACE can be seen trying
to drive some weak cows to shelter. HE looks towards the
Sybylla! You get out here!
SYBYLLA runs to the door.
10. EXT. THE YARD. DAY
The dust storm is on them, noisily, blindingly. SYBYLLA struggles
across the yard to help. GERTIE and STANLEY are trying to
unpeg the washing. MOTHER is desperately trying to close
doors and windows.
11. INT. THE PARLOUR. NIGHT
This is the "best room". There are a few remaining good pieces
of furniture and relics of a more genteel past, but now it all
looks shabby and neglected. A lamp stands on a small table.
On top of an old upright piano are several family photographs.
SYBYLLA is sitting at the piano, moodily thumping out a
simple tune from memory. It is "her tune" in which she takes
out her feelings of desperation and frustration with life. She
does not seem to notice that the piano is badly out of tune and
some notes stick.
12. INT. THE KITCHEN. NIGHT
The sound of the piano carries over.
FATHER, exhausted, is asleep on a chair by the stove. MOTHER
is nearby mending. AURORA is playing with a cat.
GERTIE is now doing the ironing. She returns one flat iron to
the stove and takes up another.
HORACE is at the table with STANLEY, helping him with his
MOTHER comes to what is evidently a difficult decision. SHE
puts down her sewing and rises.
13. INT. THE PARLOUR. NIGHT
SYBYLLA continues to thump out her tune.
MOTHER comes in and goes to her. SYBYLLA ignores her
presence. MOTHER hesitates. This will be difficult ...
Sybylla ... I want to talk to you.
You're a young woman now ... I have been
thinking about this a great deal ... We
can't afford to keep you any longer ...
SYBYLLA stops playing and sits silently glaring in front of her.
Do you think you could earn your own
And how would you do that?
SYBYLLA turns to face her mother defiantly.
I'd like to be a pianist.
Oh Sybylla! That takes years of practice
... You know we can't afford it.
You've thought of something already,
I've ... arranged a position for you ...
As a general servant.
A servant! I won't!
We have no choice ...
(With rising anger)
You just want to get rid of me!
I must do what I feel is right ...
Believe me, I've prayed to God for
SYBYLLA rises angrily and glares at her mother.
This is what God told you to do?...God be
SHE stamps out furiously.
14. INT. MAIN BEDROOM. NIGHT
FATHER is trying to sleep. MOTHER, beside him in bed, has
been shocked and worried by Sybylla.
It's a wonder God didn't strike her dead
at my feet!
Same as all your damned family...illusions
To have such a daughter ... useless,
plain and Godless! What can I do?
15. EXT. THE VERANDA. NIGHT
GERTIE and SYBYLLA in their night-dresses are at the end of
the veranda, outside the sleepout, leaning on the railing.
It is a hot, silent night. A dog barks in the distance.
Oh Gertie, I want to do great things, not
be a servant! ... I hate this life ... We
should never have left the mountains.
It's not father's fault ... You can't
blame him for the drought.
SYBYLLA looks out over the bare moonlit paddocks.
Don't you ever dream there's more to life
than this? Don't you want to meet people
and talk about books and words and have --
visions? ... Gertie, I can't settle for a
new dress and a picnic now and then ...
living out in the bush for the rest of
my life! ... I might as well be dead.
Oh Syb, don't say things like that.
Why doesn't mother understand? Why doesn't
I think you're the nicest, cleverest girl
in the whole entire world.
I'm not! I'm mad! ...It'd be better if I
didn't think at all.
16. EXT. THE COWSHED. DAY
SYBYLLA is trying to coax some milk from a half-starved cow,
leaning against its flank.
(Voice over) (To herself)
What's the sense of anyone like me? No
training, no money, no time to study or
practise ... Just two states of existence,
work and sleep ...
SYBYLLA comes out of her reverie and freezes as MOTHER comes
from the house.
Sybylla, why do you never answer when I
call? ... I want you to fetch your father.
GERTIE, coming behind MOTHER, goes to take over the milking.
It's all right. I'll do it.
SYBYLLA gets up abruptly, brushes past her MOTHER and marches
out of the shed.
GERTIE sits to continue the milking while MOTHER watches
SYBYLLA with exasperation ... and some guilt.
17. EXT. A SMALL COUNTRY PUB. DAY
The pub is a single-storeyed building with a veranda, in a
seemingly empty landscape.
SYBYLLA has tied her horse and trap to the hitching rail.
She goes along the veranda to the pub doorway.
18. INT. COUNTRY PUB. DAY
A GROUP OF MEN is clustered at the bar in the dim, cool bar
room, drinking and talking to the large BARMAN.
SYBYLLA comes to the doorway and looks around.
THE BARMAN notices her silhouette in the doorway.
The other MEN stop talking and turn to look.
Looking for your dad, are you, girlie?
Just missed him. Left with the
Yes. The blind leading the blind.
There is general laughter ... as SYBYLLA turns away.
19. EXT. SMALL COUNTRY PUB. DAY
SYBYLLA, grimfaced, gets into the trap and turns for home.
20. EXT. ALONG A TRACK. LATE AFTERNOON
FATHER and MR HARRIS, a portly schoolteacher, are arm in
arm, reeling along the track, singing.
The trap comes up behind them.
SYBYLLA reins in and watches with a mixture of hurt,
disgust and desperation as her father falls over in the
dust ... but she's used to this.
21. EXT. THE FARMYARD. DAY
At the woodpile, SYBYLLA is viciously chopping wood --
taking out her anger and frustration.
GERTIE is stacking the wood nearby.
MOTHER, who has been collecting the mail from the mailbox,
comes towards them. SHE carries a letter. SYBYLLA ignores
I've had a letter from your grandmother.
You'd better read it.
SYBYLLA isn't interested. She continues chopping. MOTHER
hands the letter to GERTIE who looks at it.
She says she's sorry to hear you're such
a source of grief and annoyance ... and
she thinks you might be in danger of --
um -- "forming ties beneath you ..."
SYBYLLA keeps chopping.
"I think therefore as you have your hands
full, the best idea is for ..."
(Suddenly, almost shouting)
Oh, Syb! You're to go to Gran -- to
SYBYLLA grabs the letter and hastily scans it. SHE can hardly
believe it... then ecstatically flings her arms around GERTIE.
They hug each other laughing ... ignoring MOTHER who turns and
silently walks back to the house.
22. EXT. POSSUM GULLY. DAY
SYBYLLA runs ecstatically over the brown, dusty paddocks,
shouting to the world.
I'm going to Caddagat! I'm going to
Caddagat! I'm going to Caddagat!
23. EXT. MONARO COUNTRYSIDE. DAY
A COBB & CO. coach is travelling through lush, rolling hills.
24. EXT. BUTLER'S STORE. DAY
The small country store, among the hills, is also the coach station.
Some carts and traps, including the Caddagat buggy, are hitched
outside. A number of locals are also awaiting the arrival of the
coach. Chased by dogs and small boys, it rumbles up to the front
of the store.
A MAN goes to hold the horses, and BILL BUTLER, the storekeeper,
comes out and calls a greeting to the driver who throws him the
mailbag. There is some bustle and excitement as the steps are
put down and some passengers descend and are met.
FRANK, a young man, dandified, fresh-faced, an obvious "new
chum", scans the arrivals, looking for someone. HE eyes a
stately well-dressed young lady and goes forward expectantly,
but she is met by someone else. HE peers into the coach, then
looks around perplexed. He calls to the DRIVER.
I say, driver!
I believe Mrs. Bossier's granddaughter
was supposed to have been on the coach.
The DRIVER motions with his hand to SYBYLLA, beside him on the
driver's seat. She has been disentangling her bag from the luggage
on top. Hearing FRANK's query, she grins happily down at him.
That's me ...
SHE throws her bag to him and jumps down ... sunburnt, wind blown
FRANK is taken aback. This isn't what he expected. But he
remembers himself and takes off his hat.
Oh -- Miss Melvyn?
Yes. Where's Uncle J.J.?
He's away on business ...but -- um -- I'm
What are you?
A jackaroo ...
Yes ... um ...
(Calls to driver)
The stage starts up again, as FRANK, looking somewhat disappointed,
picks up SYBYLLA's bag and leads the way towards his buggy at the
side of the store.
25. EXT. HILLY COUNTRYSIDE. DAY
The buggy goes higher into the countryside.
SYBYLLA looks at the distant mountains with excitement. SHE
becomes aware of FRANK's glances.
You're a new chum?
Certainly not. I've been in the colony
well over three months.
Still wet behind the ears!
FRANK feels affronted.
26. EXT. ROAD TO CADDAGAT. DAY
They are driving through high, rolling countryside of green
valleys, great stands of gums, and soft distances of mountains
merging with blue sky.
SYBYLLA is devouring the scenery with her eyes.
FRANK looks at her speculatively.
I certainly was surprised back there...
your being Mrs Bossier's granddaughter.
(Not taking much notice)
Yes ... I mean you're not at all like them.
Mrs Bossier or your Aunt -- Mrs Bell.
They're so awfully good looking.
SYBYLLA turns to him as this registers.
Um. Never mind. You seem like a good
sort. We'll have some fun.
I'm glad I meet with your approval Mr
Hawden, in even a small degree.
FRANK happily accepts this at face value.
27. EXT. THE HILLSIDE ABOVE CADDAGAT. DAY
The buggy comes over the crest of the hill. Down in the hollow,
surrounded by beautiful shady gardens, is a gracious old homestead.
In the buggy, SYBYLLA suddenly stands up, throws out her arms
and shouts ecstatically.
28. EXT. CADDAGAT HOMESTEAD. DAY
The drive leads through the garden to the front of the homestead
... a rambling, single storey building, surrounded by a creeper-
FRANK pulls up the buggy in front of the main entrance, and
GRANDMOTHER, a stately dowager in her sixties, comes forward to
embrace SYBYLLA as she gets out.
With GRANDMOTHER is AUNT HELEN a beautiful, graceful, sad-faced
woman in her late thirties.
A young MAID in uniform, BIDDY, and a YARDMAN come forward to
collect the luggage and take care of the horse.
Sybylla! Welcome, my dear, welcome.
Grandma! ... Aunt Helen ...
AUNT HELEN, in turn, hugs SYBYLLA, warmly.
29. INT. SYBYLLA'S ROOM. DAY
It is a pretty, sunny, feminine room, opening onto the veranda,
with elegant furniture. With the paintings and ornaments are some
childhood rememberances, including a rocking horse. SYBYLLA, with
AUNT HELEN, is looking around delightedly, remembering her
Oh, I remember this!
AUNT HELEN smiles at her.
30. INT. THE DINING ROOM. NIGHT
The dining-room is lit by candlelight which shines softly on
glistening silver and glass and the crisp white linen on the
large dining table -- in the centre of which is an elaborate
centrepiece of luscious fruit.
At the table sit FRANK, GRANDMOTHER, AUNT HELEN and SYBYLLA, who
is overwhelmed by this opulence, the formality, the graceful
manners of the others and the deft service of ETHEL, the uniformed
GRANDMOTHER gently attracts her attention, and says grace.
For the gracious bounties we are about to
receive, may the good Lord make us truly
GRANDMOTHER carves the joint and passes the plates while
ETHEL offers vegetables.
SYBYLLA feeling self-conscious and awkward, helps herself frugally.
Take some more, dear.
SYBYLLA does so, aware of FRANK's eyes on her while GRANDMOTHER
hands him a plate of meat ...
Will this be sufficient for you Frank?
Thank you, Mrs Bossier.
HE turns to help himself to vegetables with a conscious, self-
assured flourish -- for SYBYLLA's benefit.
Under, GRANDMOTHER chats on.
Helen, were there any patterns you liked
in the catalogue?
There were two lovely ones for Sybylla.
That's a good idea ... What colour do you
Sky blue or pretty pink?
And what would you like, Sybylla?
FRANK raises an eyebrow.
31. INT. CADDAGAT DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
It is another spacious, elegant room. FRANK, GRANDMOTHER and
AUNT HELEN are drinking after-dinner tea while SYBYLLA sits at
the grand piano happily playing her favourite piece now
without aggression and with evident enjoyment.
She plays well. GRANDMOTHER exchanges an approving glance and
nod with AUNT HELEN. FRANK also evidently approves.
32. INT. SYBYLLA'S BEDROOM. NIGHT
AUNT HELEN is placing a lighted lamp beside SYBYLLA's turned-down
SYBYLLA, in her night-dress, is looking at two framed photographs
on the mantelpiece ... a handsome young man and a beautiful young
Oh, Aunt Helen, you look so beautiful.
Don't you recognise your own mother? This
was her room, remember, when she was
young ... That's your father -- before
they married. They made a handsome couple.
SHE kisses SYBYLLA who stares at the photographs.
I'll see you in the morning. Sleep well.
SHE kisses her, picks up a second lamp and goes out. SYBYLLA
continues to look at the photograph of her mother.
33. INT. THE KITCHEN, POSSUM GULLY. NIGHT
MOTHER sits before the dying fire in the stove, mending by
the light of one small lamp. She pauses to give the stove a
poke, and the light glows on her tired, worn face, the
hopelessness, the poverty ...
34. EXT. THE VERANDA, CADDAGAT. NIGHT
AUNT HELEN is passing along the veranda, carrying a lamp. She
pauses at the window of SYBYLLA's room (where the lamp is
still lit) and glances in through the softly billowing
35. INT. SYBYLLA'S ROOM. NIGHT
SYBYLLA is sitting on the edge of the bed holding the photo of
her mother, quietly crying.
AUNT HELEN comes through the French windows, goes to SYBYLLA,
sits beside her and puts her arm around her shoulders.
What's all this about?
Mother ... And I'm useless -- and ugly.
And nobody loves me ... You don't
understand ... no-one does ...
Oh, Sybylla ... stop all this and into
bed with you!
SHE helps SYBYLLA into bed, and sits beside her.
I do understand, Sybylla ... There's any
amount of love and good in the world, you
know ... but it doesn't just come to you.
You have to search for it ... And being
misunderstood is a trial we must all bear
... You have a wildness of spirit which
is going to get you into trouble all your
life. So you must learn to control it --
and try to cultivate a little more
feminine vanity, eh?
(A wry grin)
I've given up.
Plain looks never stopped anyone from
being intelligent, or witty, or making
friends ... Being beautiful is no
guarantee of success in anything.
But it does help a little. Now -- I
have a plan.
You'll never make me more than middling ugly.
We'll see. But first of all, no more
looking in the mirrors ...
AUNT HELEN rises and covers the mirror.
... and no more thinking about yourself.
36. INT. SYBYLLA'S BEDROOM. DAY
BIDDY enters carrying a tray. SYBYLLA is sitting in bed with a
ghostly face mask and gloved hands.
BIDDY stares at the apparition. SYBYLLA jokingly makes "ghost"
noises at her. BIDDY laughs.
SYBYLLA is sitting at her shrouded dressing-table, her hands
soaking in a bowl of water containing slices of lemon. She has
a book propped in front of her, and is trying to read, while
BIDDY brushes her hair.
78, 79, 80, 81 ...
I can't read!
It's your face you should be attending to
not that there book!
... 82, 83, 84, 85, 86 ...
37. EXT. THE BOTTOM OF THE GARDEN. DAY
On the banks of a creek, SYBYLLA, in a hat and gloves, is
sitting under a tree reading poetry to herself, enjoying
the lushness and the peace.
FRANK peers around a bush, sees her and starts tiptoeing
towards her. He holds a small bunch of wildflowers. SYBYLLA,
annoyed by the interruption, glares as he confronts her.
FRANK produces the flowers with a smug flourish.
Oh, Mr Hawden.
HE presents the flowers which she takes as though overwhelmed.
How terribly kind.
Not at all.
FRANK bows and goes, leaving, he feels, a good impression.
SYBYLLA makes sure FRANK has gone, then throws the flowers in
the creek ... and returns to her book.
C.U. of the flowers floating away on the smooth surface of
The surface begins to be pitted with rain drops ... The sun is
clouded over and suddenly the rain begins to pour down. There
is some thunder.
SYBYLLA has dropped her book under the tree ... and is running,
dancing, whirling in the downpour, arms outstretched, face
Rain! Rain! Rain!
38. INT. SYBYLLA'S BEDROOM. DAY
SYBYLLA is in bed with a cold, sneezing. GRANDMOTHER is beside
the bed, stirring a hot drink.
Now you see the consequences of wild and
You'd have done the same if you hadn't
seen rain for years!
Hm. Well, a few days in bed will keep you
out of mischief.
GRANDMOTHER hands SYBYLLA the drink.
AUNT HELEN comes in carrying a basket of apples which she
puts on the bedside table.
Harry has brought you some apples, all
the way from Five Bob Downs.
You remember Harry, dear?
SYBYLLA takes an apple from the basket and begins to eat it.
Sybylla! Harry and Miss Augusta are the
most important people in the district!
Too good for me then! I'm only good
enough for the local boy who has pimples
GRANDMOTHER and AUNT HELEN exchange slightly shocked glances.
I shall make quite sure my granddaughter
will never marry a man unworthy of her.
I don't. I'm not marrying anyone. I'm
going to have a career.
(A little tartly)
A career? What in?
SYBYLLA pauses in mid-bite, and shrugs.
Oh, literature, music, art -- maybe the
opera. I've not made up my mind yet.
39. EXT. CADDAGAT VERANDA. DAY
GRANDMOTHER and HELEN are coming from SYBYLLA's room.
GRANDMOTHER is carrying the basket of apples ... and
I fear, Helen, we underestimated her
mother's problem ... I wish Julius were
here. She needs a man's hand.
SHE Sees ETHEL nearby and hands her the basket of apples.
40. EXT. CADDAGAT PADDOCK. DAY
A good looking young horseman, HARRY BEECHAM, is coming through
the hills into the Caddagat home paddocks.
As he nears a large flowering tree, he becomes aware of someone
singing and reins in. The song, Irish and rather lewd, is coming
from somewhere among the branches. HE dismounts to inspect.
In the branches, SYBYLLA is sitting, picking the blossom and
singing loudly, happily to herself. HARRY looks up at her,
Do you need a hand?
SYBYLLA is jolted our of her reverie. She looks down at his
smiling face beneath her, and hastily adjusts her skirts.
No, thank you.
SYBYLLA starts climbing out of the tree.
You're new here, aren't you? Do you work
at the house?
(With an Irish accent)
I'd be obliged to you, sir, if you'd take
yourself out of the way, unless you want
me feet in your big fat face.
SHE jumps down. HARRY catches her. SHE tries to pull away.
How about a reward?
Let me go!
HARRY lets her go, with a token smack on her bottom. She glares
as he stoops to help her pick up the flowers.
You should be ashamed, a gentleman like
yourself peeping and prying on innocent
girls! You'll have me sacked, you will!
SYBYLLA starts to run off. HE calls after her.
What's your name?
Wouldn't you like to know?
41. INT. SYBYLLA'S BEDROOM. NIGHT
SYBYLLA, her hair arranged attractively, is wearing a beautiful
new gown. She is being fussed over by BIDDY who fastens the
last hooks, and AUNT HELEN who settles the last strand of hair.
They look at their handiwork with approval.
How does it look?
It's a picture you are!
Can I see?
What do you think, Biddy?
Well, ma'am, I don't think the glass will
They chuckle... and AUNT HELEN uncovers the mirror.
Biddy, I wouldn't ...
SHE sees herself ... and is momentarily struck dumb. In the
mirror is a stranger.
I hope you can say something to your
Uncle J.J? He's here? ...
Diverted, she starts for the door ... then flings her arms
Oh, Aunt Helen ... thank you!
AUNT HELEN hugs her.
You see? Beautiful.
42. INT. CADDAGAT DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
SYBYLLA opens the double-doors, looking for UNCLE J.J.
AUNT HELEN follows her.
UNCLE J.J., a jolly, bearded, middle-aged man, is talking with
GRANDMOTHER, who looks up as SYBYLLA enters.
Oh Sybylla ...
There she is!
SYBYLLA goes to UNCLE J.J. and hugs him.
By George, eh! You've grown into a
goodlooking young lady!
HE kisses her.
You've changed, no doubt about that.
You haven't. Your kisses still smell of
whisky and cigars.
That's what makes 'em irresistible.
They laugh together -- it's an old private joke.
The door opens and FRANK and HARRY, dressed for dinner, enter.
Ah, come in, gentlemen. Harry, I'm
delighted you could join us this evening.
HARRY sees SYBYLLA and stops in astonishment. SYBYLLA recognises
HARRY and is just as surprised.
Well, for goodness sake! Frank, get him
a drink. Sybylla, this is our dear friend,
Harry Beecham. Harry, you remember my
Miss Melvyn. I never would have
SYBYLLA is overpolite, playacting her social role.
Nor I you, Mr Beecham. I believe I have
to thank you for the apples you sent
when I was ill.
SHE turns to FRANK, gracefully including him.
... and Frank ... he's very good at
giving me flowers, aren't you, Frank?
FRANK looks embarrassed, not knowing how to take this.
Yes ... well ... yes.
43. INT. CADDAGAT DINING ROOM: NIGHT
There is general conversation at the dinner table -- while HARRY
and SYBYLLA look at each other surreptitiously. SHE is amused
at his evident discomforture.
The drought up country's not broken yet.
Things are worse. Saw a lot of
unfortunate fellows on the road heading
Yes, we've noticed more of them calling
in here for food.
Very bad, very bad.
(With a glance at Harry)
I was approached by one of them today ...
a very ill mannered sort ... while I was
HARRY glances at her, apprehensively.
He was very forward. He wanted to kiss me.
You should have called me. I'd have taken
care of him!
(Smiling at him cheesily)
I'm sure you would have, Frank. But I
can look after myself.
Good girl! That's the sort we want, eh,
Under, ETHEL has come in hurriedly. SHE goes to GRANDMOTHER and
whispers to her. GRANDMOTHER nods and starts to get up.
I fear Mrs Hickey's decided that now is
an appropriate time to have her baby. I
promised to help. Excuse me.
The GENTLEMEN rise.
Mother, can't I go?
No, no, dear ... Enjoy yourselves.
UNCLE J.J. kisses her on the cheek.
There is a chorus of "goodnights" as she goes. The MEN sit
down. THEY all visibly relax.)
HE pours a large glass of wine for SYBYLLA and turns to
AUNT HELEN who looks hesitant.
HE waves objections aside and pours her a large glass,
then passes the decanter to HARRY.
Help yourself, Harry!
44. EXT. CADDAGAT VERANDA. NIGHT
BIDDY runs up The veranda carrying a full decanter and enters
the French doors to the drawing room ... whence comes the
sound of everyone singing "Ta-ra-ra-boom-di-ay':
45. INT. CADDAGAT DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
BIDDY goes to a table and replaces an empty decanter with the
full one. Nobody takes any notice.
AUNT HELEN, rather flushed, is at the piano playing with panache.
FRANK is watching SYBYLLA and UNCLE J.J. dancing
enthusiastically. All are singing happily, except HARRY, who
watches, drink in hand, smiling broadly.
The song finishes with a flourish. THEY all laugh and applaud.
(Mopping his brow, laughing)
Your turn for a song, Harry.
I don't know any.
I can give you a song.
SHE grabs FRANK and dances with him while she sings her
bawdy Irish song. UNCLE J.J. raises his eyebrows and shouts
to her, mid-verse.
Where on earth did you learn that?
In the pub, of course!
She continues singing and dancing with FRANK who is bemused
and not sure he should be enjoying it ...
AUNT HELEN giggles a little, embarrassed, and HARRY grins.
She's got hidden talents!
You never know what she'll do next!
I seem to recall -- you never could.
SYBYLLA finishes her song and dance ... and collapses
laughing onto a couch, pulling FRANK after her.
46. EXT. CADDAGAT VERANDA. MORNING
GRANDMOTHER, UNCLE J.J. and FRANK are having breakfast.
From what I hear, Julius, last night was
little short of a ... Bacchanalian
FRANK keeps his eyes down, disassociating himself from all this.
Mother, who told you that? You ask Helen ...
Helen has one of her sick headaches.
SYBYLLA breezes along the veranda to the breakfast table.
Ah ... Sybylla.
Good morning, grandma ... Uncle J.J... .
FRANK doesn't look up.
(Trying to send her
SYBYLLA looks around as she sits down.
He left early...I gather your behaviour
last night, young lady, left a lot to be
I'd have said Harry enjoyed himself.
That's not what I heard.
FRANK hastily gets up.
HE leaves them.
to get over it)
Anyway, mother, Syb solved one problem
Her future. She could be an actress.
Are you suggesting -- my granddaughter --
on the stage?
She certainly has the talent for it. I
could introduce her to ...
I'd rather see her with her hair shorn
off and shut up in a convent! ... Don't
ever mention the subject again!
UNCLE J.J. and SYBYLLA exchange silent glances. UNCLE J.J.
casts his eyes down and gets on with his breakfast.
47. EXT. CADDAGAT YARDS. DAY
SYBYLLA, disgruntled, is walking down to the sheep yards.
FRANK comes up to her ...
I say ... I enjoyed myself last night. I
thought we got on jolly well together,
SYBYLLA gives him what should be a quelling look. He doesn't
notice and continues happily.
Miss Melvyn ... Sybylla, I've been
thinking. Well, looks aren't everything
and um ... well ...
(To get rid of him)
Come to the point!
Well, now that this fellow Harry has
gone, you should pay some heed to my
Attentions or intentions?
At the conclusion of the coming year,
I'll be returning to England. I expect
you to return with me as my wife.
SYBYLLA stops, looks at him incredulously, then, with a
dismissive snort of laughter, turns away and perches
herself on the yard fence. FRANK thinks she is shy and
overwhelmed. HE joins her on the fence and puts his arm
Well, what do you say, eh?
Frank -- let me go!
Not until I have your answer.
HE gives her a squeeze.
Losing her temper and beyond words SYBYLLA shoves him off.
HE falls backwards among the sheep ... who scatter noisily.
SYBYLLA doesn't give a backward glance as she stalks off ...
leaving him to scramble out, dusty and furious.
48. INT. CADDAGAT DRAWING ROOM. DAY
GRANDMOTHER, enthroned, with AUNT HELEN beside her is
lecturing a stormy-faced SYBYLLA.
Well, there is this in your favour, you
don't say you're sorry when you're not!
Why should I pretend about a person like
You are not prepared to apologise?
He's a conceited fool ...
We were under the impression you liked
He appears to be extremely fond of you.
SYBYLLA gives a short laugh of derision. GRANDMOTHER's lips
Now listen to me, Sybylla. In a few years
he'll come into quite a large fortune in
England. He comes of a very good family
... and would make someone an excellent
Well, it won't be me!
Be realistic, child!
I am! To begin with, I don't love him.
That is not the point!
It is to me!
Do you want to be a burden on your family
forever, with no status in decent society
... nor a home of your own?
I will not be married off to someone I
detest, by you or anybody!
GRANDMOTHER, taken aback, pauses. SHE gets up.
At times I fear for you, my girl. You are
rude to your elders and betters and lack
all gentility! ... Very well. You may not
be prepared to apologise to Frank, but I
expect you to apologise to me... when you
have regained your humour and your
GRANDMOTHER nods to AUNT HELEN and leaves the room.
AUNT HELEN smiles at SYBYLLA as the door closes.
You must learn not to shout at your
I didn't mean to. It just surges up in me
when she starts on about marriage. She
doesn't seem to understand!
Sybylla, dear, sit down, please. I want
to talk to you.
SYBYLLA sits on the couch next to AUNT HELEN.
Believe me, Sybylla, the best kind of
marriage is not love marriage, but
(With some difficulty)
You see, your mother married for love and
-- I, too, married for love ... My
husband isn't dead. He left me for
someone else ... left me to live the rest
of my life with the shame of being neither
wife nor widow nor maid.
But why should you be ashamed?
Marriage gives us respectability, as
That is just what men want us to believe
... stupid idiots, like Frank Hawden.
SHE gets up, angrily.
Well, I won't be caught up in it! Not by
him or anyone!
Aunt Helen, please, please stop trying to
marry me off!
AUNT HELEN sighs. Then she reaches to pick up a card from a
Well, I suppose I should tear up this
invitation then, from Miss Augusta ...
for you to stay a few days at Five Bob
... Shall I?
(Grins, a little sheepishly)
49. EXT. THE ROAD TO FIVE BOB. DAY
HARRY is driving his sulky along a road through the hills.
SYBYLLA sits beside him, enjoying the scenery and the company
-- except that now they are alone, she doesn't know what
to say nor, evidently, does he. SHE tries to make
conversation to break the silence.
It must have been hard when your father
died, Mr Beecham.
I hear you've made some changes?
Yes, Miss Melvyn. Quite a few.
(Abruptly changing the subject)
Can I drive?
HARRY hesitates, then gives her the reins. SYBYLLA takes
them, and puts the horse into a brisk canter. HARRY holds his
50. EXT. FIVE BOB DRIVE/EXTERIOR. DAY
Where Caddagat was beautiful and cosy, Five Bob Downs is
grand and impressive. Acres of gardens and parklike paddocks
surround the old two storeyed colonial stone house with its
separate kitchen wing and numerous outbuildings.
A long tree-lined drive sweeps up to the imposing front entrance.
SYBYLLA has reined back to a respectable trot and HARRY relaxes
... as they come up the drive to the doorway.
Whoa, boy, whoa!
The front door is opened by a BUTLER and AUNT GUSSIE, a formidable
looking elderly spinster with an abrupt manner, who comes from the
front entrance to meet them. She carries a small dog.
A MAN takes charge of the sulky, and HARRY and SYBYLLA alight, as
a MAID comes to collect the luggage.
Dear Lucie's daughter .. . Hm. There's
No. I'm sorry.
A pity. Well, come in.
GUSSIE turns to walk into the house. SYBYLLA, annoyed, hesitates.
Come along, child, I'm not going to eat you!
GUSSIE walks into the house. HARRY and SYBYLLA follow.
51. INT. FIVE BOB DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
It is a large, beautifully furnished room. There is a roaring
fire in the baronial type fireplace.
HARRY stands in front of the fire finishing his port after
dinner. SYBYLLA has AUNT GUSSIE's dog on her lap -- as she
looks around, impressed.
SHE smiles up at HARRY ... and is not aware of AUNT GUSSIE
eyeing her shrewdly.
I'd forgotten all this. It's like
something out of a book!
HARRY smiles at her, then exchanges a look with GUSSIE, and
finishes his drink.
Well, I think I'll turn in ... Early
start tomorrow. Goodnight, Aunt Gussie.
HE goes to her and kisses her goodnight.
Goodnight, Miss Melvyn.
Goodnight, Mr Beecham.
HARRY leaves them. There is a short silence.
He always seems so quiet and composed.
You don't have to live with him.
This must be the most beautiful house in
Too big, too many corners to dust ...
Fancy living in it, do you?
No! I'd get lost. I wouldn't know what to
do with all those servants. I wouldn't
even know what groceries to order!
GUSSIE pauses, then suddenly smiles.
I think another glass of port won't hurt
SYBYLLA returns GUSSIE's smile and hands over her glass while
GUSSIE picks up the port decanter beside her.
52. EXT. FIVE BOB GARDENS. DAY
SYBYLLA and GUSSIE, carrying a small basket, enter a large
ornate bird-cage in the gardens.
Many beautifully coloured parrots sweep around them screeching.
Poor caged-up things!
They're happy enough. Good shelter,
plenty to eat, someone to look after them.
Sounds like marriage!
You think so, hm?
Grandma's trying to get me married and
out of everyone's way ... She's going to
have a job!
GUSSIE, who is picking up coloured feathers from the floor
of the cage, looks up and returns SYBYLLA's grin.
53. INT. FIVE BOB MORNING ROOM. DAY
This is GUSSIE's own room. Around the walls are evidence of her
work in water colours. She is currently working on a "painting
in feathers", using coloured birds' feathers to create a
landscape which, although in the Victorian mode, is very good.
SYBYLLA, now obviously at ease with GUSSIE -- who is providing
a sympathetic ear -- moves around the room, enchanted by it,
I think parents of ugly girls should be
made to strangle them at birth ... I was
born with three defects ... being a girl,
being ugly and being clever.
Oh? Clever are you?
I hope so! I'm done for if I'm not ...
There has to be something I'm good at.
Sure to be!
SHE smiles at SYBYLLA warmly.
54. EXT. ON THE RIVER. DAY
HARRY is unsteadily poling a small dinghy near the banks of
a reedy river, while SYBYLLA lies back, elegantly, under a
sunshade, and dramatically recites.
"The cool breeze ripples the river below,
And the fleecy clouds float high,
And I mark how the dark green gumtrees match
The bright blue vault of the sky"
I haven't done this for years.
SYBYLLA looks at HARRY who is quietly relaxed and contented.
Suddenly SHE decides things need stirring up. SHE starts to
rock the boat. HARRY looks at her surprised, trying to keep
SYBYLLA grins and rocks harder. The boat tips, and they both
land in the water.
THEY surface on opposite sides of the boat. HARRY looks around
HE sees her splashing on the far side and swims to her.
Spluttering, they make their way to the bank and stagger
ashore. He helps her up.
They are in each other's arms, half-laughing, breathless. Their
eyes meet and suddenly they are serious, staring at each other,
aware of an awakening of strange emotions. Abruptly SYBYLLA
pulls away from him, and starts running...
Race you home!
HARRY stands watching her.
55. EXT. FIVE BOB DOWNS VERANDA. DAY
GUSSIE sits embroidering. SYBYLLA comes out of the house and
goes to sit beside her ... GUSSIE notices SYBYLLA's wet hair.
You didn't stay long at the river. I see
you've washed your hair. It'll never dry
Perhaps I should cut it all off!
It'd be a pity to lose your finest asset.
My only asset, more like!
I wouldn't go quite as far as that.
HARRY comes from the opposite end of the veranda, changed and
dry except for his hair. He flops into a chair beside GUSSIE.
Hm, must be contagious.
Washing one's hair ... or did you by
chance both have an accident at the
river? No, no I don't wish to hear the
Well, as you both seem able to entertain
yourselves, I'll see to dinner.
GUSSIE leaves them. There is a short, awkward silence. HARRY
catches her eye and smiles a little shyly at her.
I was worried when I couldn't see you ...
I thought you might have drowned.
What a terrible loss to the world.
Yes, it would've been.
THEY exchange a look, slightly embarrassed, aware of what has
happened between them.
56. INT. FIVE BOB DOWNS DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
SYBYLLA and HARRY are sitting together at the piano, playing
a "fun" duet (such as Chopsticks) ... enjoying themselves, and
their closeness. Laughing they lean across each other, their
57. INT. FIVE BOB DOWNS STAIRCASE/LANDING. NIGHT
SYBYLLA and HARRY are going up the staircase together. They
are now very aware of each other.
HARRY looks at SYBYLLA who stares ahead, embarrassed. THEY
stop outside the door of SYBYLLA's room, and pause.
Goodnight, Miss Melvyn.
Goodnight, Mr Beecham.
HARRY gives her a slight bow and goes. SYBYLLA enters her room.
58. INT. SYBYLLA'S FIVE BOB ROOM. NIGHT
SYBYLLA closes the door behind her ... and leans against it
trying to sort out her tangled, unfamiliar emotions. She isn't
sure what is happening to her -- nor whether she likes it.
She is mixed-up, afraid ... and strangely excited. In an
anguished uncertainty she gives a little yelp and bites her
59. EXT. YARD AREA. MORNING
HARRY is feeding a dog.
A pillow flies out from the direction of SYBYLLA's window,
above him, landing on his head. HE looks up, then picks up
the pillow and runs inside.
60. INT. FIVE BOB HALL/STAIRWAY. MORNING
A MAID is polishing the floor. HARRY runs past her with the
pillow and starts up the stairs.
SYBYLLA is waiting for him beyond the landing. She whacks him
with another pillow and runs past him down the stairs, past the
startled MAID and across the hall. HARRY picks himself up and
At the top of the stairs GUSSIE looks down wondering what is
happening ... and is not surprised.
61. INT. THE HOUSE. MORNING
HARRY, carrying the pillow, runs through the house, peering
into rooms, looking for SYBYLLA.
62. EXT. FIVE BOB GARDENS. MORNING
SYBYLLA runs down a garden path, then stops and turns to see
if she is being followed.
HARRY comes from the house looking for her. He stops, seeing
her waiting at the end of the path, and advances slowly,
cautiously. When he is within range, SYBYLLA lifts her
pillow, nearly knocks him over -- and runs. HE follows.
Another part of the garden. Dogs have joined noisily in the
chase. They dodge around trees, and between shrubs
until, almost exhausted, they both fall over, laughing.
HARRY lies on his back, panting. SYBYLLA gets up to have
another go. HE pulls her over on top of him. SHE rolls
clear and they both lie exhilarated and exhausted ...
63. EXT. THE LAWN, FIVE BOB. AFTERNOON
SYBYLLA is swinging high on a swing hung from a large old
tree on the lawn.
Nearby, a MAID, serving tea to AUNT GUSSIE at a table,
leaves as HARRY joins AUNT GUSSIE. They watch SYBYLLA.
She was a precocious child. There's an
improvement, but not much. Still too
HARRY smiles, his eyes never leaving SYBYLLA on the swing.
She's very young, Harry, and spirited.
Take care. Don't rush anything.
64. EXT. FIVE BOB FRONT ENTRANCE. DAY
UNCLE J.J. is talking to AUNT GUSSIE beside the buggy. A
MAID is putting SYBYLLA's bag in the buggy. SYBYLLA and
HARRY come from the front door onto the porch.
How long will you be away?
Quite a few weeks. I have to go to the
Queensland property first. Then there's
the shearing on the Riverina. I'll come
over and see you as soon as I get back.
THEY go to the buggy ... where a MAN is holding the horse.
There we are!
AUNT GUSSIE gives SYBYLLA a peck on the cheek. There is
now a warmth between them.
Bye bye, my dear. Have a safe trip home.
(Smiling at her)
Thank you -- Aunt Gussie.
HARRY helps her up, while UNCLE J.J. gets into the driver's
Thanks, Gussie ... Harry.
Bye, bye J.J.
The buggy pulls away and starts off down the drive.
HARRY and AUNT GUSSIE watch them out of sight.
65. INT. CADDAGAT DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
AUNT HELEN is playing the piano accompaniment while FRANK
sings "Jerusalem" with appropriate dramatic gestures.
Nearby GRANDMOTHER, sipping tea, listens with appreciation.
UNCLE J.J. is sitting near the fire with SYBYLLA who gazes
into it, deep in her own thoughts.
"Last night as I lay sleeping,
There came a dream so fair,
I stood in old Jerusalem
beside the temple there.
I heard the children singing,
and ever as they sang
We thought the voice of angels from
Heaven in answer rang.
lift up your voice and sing ...
Hosannah, hosannah, hosannah to our king ..."
UNCLE J.J. is looking quizically at SYBYLLA, and takes
the opportunity while FRANK draws breath, to talk to her,
He's a quiet cove, Harry. Must have been
pretty boring for you at Five Bob?
(Smiling into the fire)
Oh, I survived.
66. EXT. CADDAGAT HOMESTEAD. NIGHT
The rain is pouring down ...
67. INT. CADDAGAT DRAWING ROOM. DAY
The spring sunshine is streaming through the open French
SYBYLLA is at the piano dreamily playing the trite tune of
their duet. Her thoughts are far away.
AUNT HELEN, with a posy of spring flowers from the garden,
comes through the French windows. SHE passes SYBYLLA.
Spring flowers. Such a heavenly scent!
SYBYLLA smiles, hardly noticing, continuing to play.
Really, dear, must you play those vulgar
songs. There are so many really nice
ones, aren't there?
SHE goes out, leaving SYBYLLA to her dreaming.
68. EXT. CADDAGAT YARD. DAY
A SWAGGY is at the yard gate. SYBYLLA is giving him a
sugarbag of rations.
In the background, UNCLE J.J. is beside the buggy watching,
smiling, while FRANK checks the harness of two lively
That ought to keep you going for a while.
The SWAGGY takes the bag, touches his hat gratefully and goes.
We'll have to watch her. She'll give away
half of Caddagat to those fellows.
SYBYLLA comes to them.
There's so many out of work. Can't
something be done for them?
SHE takes his arm and they start towards the house.
You see? She'd carve up the place among
them and send me on the wallaby.
GRANDMOTHER comes from the house with an envelope in her
hand, and a mail bag.
Frank, here's the mail ... unless you
have something more?
No, thank you, Mrs Bossier.
HE takes the mail bag and puts it in the buggy.
Make sure Butler gives you the right
gauge wire this time, eh?
Of course, Mr Bossier.
GRANDMOTHER is about to give the envelope to Frank.
Our acceptance for the ball. Harry will
probably be collecting their mail, so you
can give it to him.
Harry? Harry Beecham? He's back?
Oh yes. Has been for a couple of weeks.
As he is about to take the envelope, SYBYLLA snatches it.
Can I take it?
Well, I suppose Frank wouldn't mind a
I'd like to go by myself.
Not on your life, Syb ... not with those
69. EXT. ROAD TO BUTLER'S. DAY
SYBYLLA and FRANK in the buggy travel briskly on the track
along a ridge. The mountains rise in the distance. FRANK
eyes her smugly ... as they come towards a boundary gate.
Strange that Harry's not been over.
Obviously has no time for you.
Excuse me. Don't go through the gate.
HE looks around and hastily pulls up the horses. HE continues
to talk as he hands the reins to SYBYLLA and gets out to
open the gate.
You'll soon realise, you can't do better
HE unhooks the gate and pulls it open ... as he continues.
I'd love to see the looks at home.
Won't it surprise those English girls.
SYBYLLA drives the buggy through the gate...and shakes the
horses into a trot, leaving FRANK behind. FRANK looks up
from closing the gate and runs after her, shouting.
Hey, wait! Wait, damn you! Stop!
70. EXT. BUTLER'S STORE. DAY
There are a number of PEOPLE moving in and out of the store.
It is mail day. Horses and horse vehicles are tethered
outside as previously.
TWO MEN come from the store with a roll of fencing wire and
put it in the back of the Caddagat buggy.
SYBYLLA comes out, carrying parcels, followed by HARRY
carrying more of her shopping. She goes to the buggy and
starts loading the parcels, tight-lipped.
HARRY is hesitant and defensive. HE tries to ease the tension.
Well -- how have you been?
I'm well. As I was two weeks ago.
I'm pleased to hear it.
Angrily SYBYLLA shoves parcels in the buggy.
You promised to come to Caddagat as soon
as you got back.
I've been busy ... Won't you listen?
MRS BUTLER, the storekeeper's matronly wife, comes to her,
carrying a large dressbox.
Tell Mrs Bossier we still haven't got
that muslin she wanted. It'll be here
I'll tell her.
MRS BUTLER gives the box to SYBYLLA who busily packs it,
There, that's everything, Miss Melvyn.
Thank you, Mrs Butler.
See you next time.
SHE goes back into the store.
Like all men!
I hear you're like other girls, too.
Flirting with every man around ...
Who told you that? Frank? And you
SYBYLLA snorts angrily and, climbing into the buggy, starts
off in a cloud of dust. HARRY watches her go.
71. EXT. THE TRACK FROM BUTLER'S. DAY
SYBYLLA is driving the buggy at a furious pace. The horses
are almost out of control.
Behind her, on horseback, HARRY notices, and gallops after
HE catches up and stops the horses.
SYBYLLA sits stonily as HE rides back to her, a little
breathless. HE pauses.
So you should be!
I thought we were mates.
HE hesitates, then turns his horse.)
I'll see you at the ball.
SHE watches him ride off ... with some exasperation.
72. EXT. CADDAGAT VERANDA. DAY
The table is covered in letters, parcels and magazines.
GRANDMOTHER, UNCLE J.J. and AUNT HELEN are going through
their mail. UNCLE J.J. is chuckling.
Poor old Frank -- four miles ...in those
It's no joking matter, Julius.
No, mother, no, no.
(But he sniggers
Serves him right, though.
That girl must learn to behave. I've
sent her to her room.
73. INT. SYBYLLA'S CADDAGAT BEDROOM. DAY
SYBYLLA sits at her desk moodily, writing.
AUNT HELEN knocks quietly and opens the door. SHE spies
the large dress box Sybylla brought from the store. She
puts it on the bed. SYBYLLA ignores her.
Well, ah, did you see Harry at Dogtrap?
You know ...
(Short embarrassed laugh)
I -- I think you might be in love with
SYBYLLA stops writing.
We're friends, that's all. Nothing else.
Be careful ... how you treat him.
What do you mean?
Oh, you know what they say: heed the
spark or you may dread the fire.
For heaven's sake!
Sybylla, he is a man of the world. He has
quite a reputation with the ladies in
I'll bet he has!
It has always been taken for granted that
he would eventually marry into one of the
best families. Aunt Gussie will make sure
Aunt Helen, I know! I know Harry can
marry anyone. I know he wouldn't want to
marry me -- if I wanted to get married,
which I don't. He'd never ask me in a
(A little taken aback
by the outburst)
So long as you know...
In the box, there's a surprise for you. A
lovely new dress for the ball.
Getting no response, AUNT HELEN, thankfully, goes out.
SYBYLLA, after a moment, rises and moves towards the bed
and opens the box.
She takes a beautiful dress from the box -- and throws it
74. EXT. WOOLSHED. FIVE BOB DOWNS. EVENING
Outside the big Five Bob woolshed a bonfire has been lit.
CHILDREN chase each other around it, MEN and WOMEN from
neighbouring properties exchanging greetings in its light,
and move on to the woolshed ... whence already comes the
sound of a bush band.
Beyond, the homestead is ablaze with lights.
75. INT. FIVE BOB DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
In the large, brightly lit room, the gentry in evening dress
stand around in low-key conversation -- in contrast to the
noise and vitality at the woolshed -- sipping pre-dinner
AUNT GUSSIE chats with SYBYLLA and GRANDMA. HARRY is nearby
talking to MRS DERRICK, a Melbourne matron, and her tall,
statuesque daughter, BLANCHE, who is obviously a special
friend of HARRY's. FRANK is engrossed with a MISS BENSON,
a local horsey type.
The BUTLER approaches AUNT GUSSIE.
Excuse me, ma'am. Dinner is served.
She raises her voice to make herself heard.
Will you come into dinner, everyone?
UNCLE J.J. proffers AUNT GUSSIE his arm.
Gussie. Allow me.
HARRY moves forward to SYBYLLA, but is stopped by MISS
DERRICK who clutches his arm and sweeps him away, leaving
SYBYLLA standing alone. An elderly gentleman GUEST takes
her arm and escorts her in to dinner.
76. INT. FIVE BOB DINING ROOM. NIGHT
HARRY sits at the top of a large table. On his right is
MISS DERRICK who is monopolising the conversation.
Farther down the table the elderly gentleman GUEST is
talking to SYBYLLA but her eyes are on HARRY and MISS
Snatches of conversation regarding wool prices, the weather,
etc. emerge, while the guests are being served.
I see that Furlow has bought himself a
very fine bull.
Opposite, SYBYLLA looks up.
(Loudly: unable to help herself)
That should make a few cows happy!
There is a brief pause. The elderly gentleman GUEST beside
her tries to stifle a laugh. MISS DERRICK looks down her nose.
GRANDMOTHER, opposite, exchanges an agonised glance with AUNT
HELEN. AUNT GUSSIE can't suppress a small, carefully
HARRY looks at SYBYLLA. SHE meets his eye blandly.
77. INT. FIVE BOB BALLROOM. NIGHT
On a small dais, an elderly LADY is playing the violin while
SYBYLLA plays a simple accompaniment on the piano. She is
rather sour faced and glances up as HARRY and MISS DERRICK
Most of the GUESTS are dancing, others chatting. FRANK is
deep in discussion with MISS BENSON.
And on my mother's side, we are a
connection of the Rutherfords ... that is
the ducal family of Rutherfords, of
MISS BENSON is very impressed.
The music and the dance come to an end. There is some
applause. SYBYLLA rises and leaves the dais. Someone else
takes over the piano.
As HARRY is about to go to her, she starts dancing with
another YOUNG MAN.
78. INT. FIVE BOB DRAWING ROOM. NIGHT
AUNT GUSSIE and GRANDMOTHER come in. AUNT HELEN is sitting
reading to some children. Some older girls are watching the
dancing from the door.
Go in, girls, and dance with the grown
SHE and GRANDMOTHER sit down for a chat ... as SYBYLLA comes
in and joins AUNT HELEN. AUNT GUSSIE smiles across at her.
(A little anxiously)
I'm afraid she's a bit of a handful! I do
hope she behaved herself while she was
Why not? Charming girl.
GRANDMOTHER is relieved -- if unbelieving.
HARRY comes in and goes to speak to SYBYLLA. She rises and
walks out. AUNT GUSSIE notices ... as HARRY turns away
79. EXT. FIVE BOB YARD. NIGHT
The sound of the bush band playing traditional dance tunes
comes from the woolshed.
Around the bonfire, children are playing and groups of
guests stand talking, laughing and drinking.
SYBYLLA stalks past them, unnoticed, towards the woolshed.
80. INT. THE WOOLSHED. NIGHT
It is gay with streamers, flowering wattle branches, and
young gum tips, and hanging lamps.
A small BUSH BAND of fiddle, concertina, bush-bass, bones
and banjo are playing a vigorous tune -- such as "Eubalong
Ball" -- to which the Five Bob "hands" and staff and those
from neighbouring properties are dancing vigorously and
with open enjoyment.
Among the visitors are BIDDY and ETHEL.
At the other end of the shed are trestle tables on which a
lavish amount of food is being arranged by some of the women.
Nobody notices as SYBYLLA comes in. SHE sees JOE, a Five Bob
hand, and goes to him. He grins at her.
How are you going, miss? Having a good time?
Will you dance with me?
He hands his drink to someone, and they move onto the floor
and join in the dancing.
They're too stuffy back there.
Forgotten how to enjoy themselves.
(He sings with the tune)
"I look upon the nobles
with their lineages old ..."
Know Henry Lawson?
SYBYLLA grins and sings the next line as she dances.
"I looked upon their mansions
and their acres and their gold ..."
"I saw their women radiant
in jewelled gowns appear ..."
JOE and SYBYLLA
"And then I joined the army
of the outcasts in the rear ..."
Laughing together, they whirl around the floor ... as
uninhibited as the rest.
Led by HARRY and AUNT GUSSIE, the GUESTS arrive to watch.
Some chairs have been arranged for them on the edge of the
AUNT GUSSIE motions GRANDMOTHER to sit beside her.
Some, including UNCLE J.J. with MISS DERRICK, join in the
HARRY sourly watches SYBYLLA dancing with JOE.
GRANDMOTHER also sees, with dismay, and draws AUNT HELEN's
attention. AUNT GUSSIE follows their gaze -- and looks amused.
HARRY, with mounting anger, pushes through the dancers and tries
to cut in, tapping JOE on the shoulder. JOE doesn't seem to
notice -- and they wheel away. HARRY follows as SYBYLLA swings
out from JOE, he seizes her and pulls her aside roughly ...
leading her through the dancers towards the door.
AUNT GUSSIE notices with some concern.
81. EXT. FIVE BOB YARD/HOUSE. NIGHT
Beyond the bonfire, SYBYLLA is struggling with HARRY.
Let me go!
HARRY ignores her, dragging her after him towards the house.
HE opens a side door and pushes SYBYLLA in to what is
evidently his office.
82. INT. HARRY'S OFFICE. NIGHT
HARRY pushes SYBYLLA in and turns to close the door. It is a
working manager's room with HARRY'S paraphernalia around.
His riding crop is on the desk on top of accounts and papers.
HE lets go of SYBYLLA who is furious.
Didn't you like me dancing with the
peasants? I'm one of them, you know.
I'm not going to make a long yarn of this ...
Shocked you, did I?
In a few days I have to go away ...
Oh, more shearing somewhere else?
SHE picks up the riding crop, unconsciously, and plays with it.
... and I must be told is it yes or no?
What's the question?
I thought ... I thought we might get
SYBYLLA is taken by surprise and hesitates a moment. Then she
flares back at him.
Well, what a handsome proposal! How could
anyone say no?
At the end of his tether, HARRY grabs her.
(Grating it out!)
How dare you!
HARRY suddenly pulls her to him as though he is going to kiss
SYBYLLA raises the riding crop and slashes HARRY across the face.
HARRY, stunned, steps back putting his hand to his cheek.
SYBYLLA stands, appalled at herself.
A beat -- and HARRY wrenches the crop from her and throws it
aside. HE puts a handkerchief to his cheek.
SYBYLLA doesn't know what to say.
Harry, I'm ... I'm ... I didn't ...
My fault ... It was stupid of me ... I
really should get back to my guests.
He turns and goes out.
SYBYLLA looks after him, shattered by what she has done.
Tears run down her face.
83. EXT. THE FIVE BOB GARDEN/VERANDA. NIGHT
AUNT GUSSIE hurries through the darkness towards the house.
SYBYLLA is sitting on the edge of the veranda, her face
streaked with tears. She looks up as AUNT GUSSIE comes to
her and puts her arms around her.
The boy's an idiot ... But you did lead
I didn't mean to. Why didn't he lose his
temper anything ...
He wants to marry you.
He couldn't! I'm a misfit, a larrikin ...
my nose is even the wrong shape ...
Then why me?
Because he loves you, and I think you
love him ...and you make all the other
misses who've been through here look like
so many pale, insipid nobodies, which
they undoubtedly are.
But why does it always have to come down
Don't be foolish, child. It's natural --
to want someone as part of you, part of
I don't want to be part of anyone. I want
to be myself!
Do you imagine you're the only female on
earth to have such notions? ...
Loneliness is a terrible price to pay for
independence... Sybylla, don't throw away
reality for some impossible dream.
It's not impossible! It's not.
84. INT. FIVE BOB DOWNS BEDROOM. DAWN
SYBYLLA sitting by the window, looking out at the dawn.
From below come the sounds of the last visitors leaving.
85. EXT. FIVE BOB YARD. DAWN
HARRY in his shirtsleeves is leaning on the rail, smoking,
looking out over the paddocks.
SYBYLLA comes up to him.
Hello, silly Syb.
There is a silence between them.
I've got to leave all this, Syb. We're
closing the house. I'm going north to see
to the other properties.
Why? What's happened?
The bank wants its money, and I haven't
They couldn't take everything?
How long have you known?
Quite a while.
Why didn't you tell me?
I'm sorry, I should've ... I was afraid
of losing you as well.
Oh Harry, I'm sorry.
86. EXT. BY THE RIVER. DAWN
SYBYLLA and HARRY are walking along the banks of the river.
Now you know. There's no need to feel
tied... I mean I shouldn't have asked you
... I had no right. I'll be a poor man.
But we'll be friends -- mates, won't we?
SYBYLLA takes his arm.
Of course ... Do you think I cared for
you just because you were rich? ... Harry,
there's something I must say ...
They stop and turn to each other.
I wish I could help you ... Could you...
can you give me a bit of time -- maybe
two years? You see, I'm just not ready
yet. Last night -- I don't know -- I
think I was trying to hurt you ... make
you let go, do something ... Harry, give
me a chance to find out what's wrong with
the world -- and with me ... who I am...
everything. Then I'll marry you -- if you
need me ... and I can help. You do
understand, don't you?
Of course I do.
SHE puts her arms around him.
I knew you would.
THEY hold each other ... and kiss, gently, then more
87. EXT. CADDAGAT GARDEN. DAY
SYBYLLA is sitting in a tree, writing in her exercise book,
BIDDY comes down the path looking for her. SHE stops beneath
I don't know what you've been up to now,
but Mrs Bossier wants to see you.
Oh, Biddy! Can't they wait?
She says now. They're all waiting. Mr
Julius and Mrs Bell. You better hurry.
BIDDY goes as SYBYLLA climbs out of the tree, annoyed by the
88. INT. CADDAGAT DRAWING ROOM. DAY
GRANDMOTHER is sitting with AUNT HELEN while UNCLE J.J. paces
impatiently, as SYBYLLA comes in. GRANDMOTHER holds a letter.
Come in, dear, and sit down.
SYBYLLA, surprised, sits down nearby.
I'll come straight to the point, Sybylla.
It seems your father has got himself into
difficulties again. Money, of course.
He borrowed 500 pounds from a chap called
McSwat ... and put the farm up as security
at four per cent interest. That's twenty
pounds a year. Very fair.
What's this got to do with me?
Well, your mother says she's tried, but
there is no way they can pay it.
And this McSwat chap's made a very
generous offer ... He'd be worth a few
bob I'd say.
Julius! So it's been arranged that instead
of the interest ... he will accept your
services as governess to his children.
Arranged...for me? ... Don't I have a say?
... I won't go! I won't!
SYBYLLA storms out.
There is an awkward silence. UNCLE J.J. clears his throat.
Well...Life round here will certainly be
uneventful when she's gone.
Do her the world of good ...make her
think of other people, instead of
89. INT. THE MCSWAT SCHOOLROOM. DAY
The "schoolroom" is a shed in the McSwat's backyard. It has an
earthen floor and slab walls through which the wind and dust
blow freely. It is also used as a store room, with bins of grain
and pollard, and bits of farm machinery stacked against the
walls. It is also a comfortable home for dozens of rats. The
children's "desk" is a long trestle table behind which is a
battered collection of old chairs or boxes. The "teacher's desk"
is a small table made from kerosene boxes, with a ricketty chair
behind it. The blackboard is a piece of painted plywood with
bits peeling off.
The CHILDREN -- LIZER (about thirteen), JIMMY (about eleven) and
in descending ages; SARAH, WILLY, TOMMY and MARY ANNE are seated
at their table in various attitudes of boredom. They are ragged,
dishevelled and dirty. They watch as SYBYLLA writes her name "Miss
Melvyn" on the blackboard.
This is my name. Miss Melvyn.
Old boozy Melvyn's daughter!
The CHILDREN laugh. SYBYLLA tries to rise above it.
I'll have no more impertinence, thank
you! Now sit up straight and attend!
Er -- James -- fetch the text books,
Ain't got none.
Rats got 'em. Pa says you can teach out
of your head.
Miss Killen couldn't. She was as mad as
a tree fulla galahs.
And the one before her only stayed a week
... and ran off into the bush and we never
seen her again. And the one before her ...
Suddenly TOMMY jumps up and points beyond SYBYLLA.
Rat! A whopper!
The CHILDREN, yelling, jump up to chase it. JIMMY jumps over
the table, knocking it over, pushes SYBYLLA aside and runs
out the door. SHE shouts in vain.
Sit down! Sit down! This instant!
THEY ignore her and follow JIMMY. SYBYLLA goes to the door.
90. EXT. MCSWAT'S HOMESTEAD. DAY
The children chase the rat out of sight across the yard, yelling,
with chickens and pigs noisily getting out of their way. SYBYLLA
stands outside the shed feeling desperate -- and helpless.
The landscape is treeless, rocky and dry. The "homestead" is
comprised of a collection of ramshackle rough weatherboard or
slab buildings -- the "house" having originally been a slab hut
to which have been added shaky extensions.
The yards with their broken fences, are scattered with bits and
pieces of old carts, implements and farm machinery, rusty cans,
broken cases ... and an assortment of scraggy animals and poultry.
Fowls, pigs, goats, geese, sheep and dogs wander about at will.
Drying rabbit skins festoon the fences along with drying and
stinking sheep skins.
MRS MCSWAT comes from the fly-ridden extension to the kitchen
where she has been chopping some meat, to see what is going on.
She is a large, untidy, dirty woman in men's boots, ragged
skirt and bag apron. She hoists a squalling, filthy baby onto
her hip as she looks out -- and decides to do nothing about it.
91. INT. MCSWAT KITCHEN. DAY
The kitchen is a large dingy all-purpose room -- once the entire
"house" -- also built of slabs. It has no range but an open
fireplace where everything is cooked -- with a spit, a camp oven,
etc. In the middle of the room is a large table, surrounded by
various seats -- old chairs, boxes etc. Above from the rafters,
hang a couple of kerosene lamps. There is no ceiling.
At the fire, MRS MCSWAT is holding a baby while she stirs the
stew -- a greyish, glutinous mess in a large black pot. Around
her the CHILDREN are fighting and yelling, while various animals
and fowls get underfoot or have to be chased off the chairs, as
they fight for their places at the table ... and grab whatever
is available in forks and knives etc. and tear pieces off a large
loaf of bread.
SYBYLLA sits at one end of the table trying to stop them,
MR MCSWAT and his eldest, PETER, come in from outside, to take
their places at the table. MR MCSWAT an untidy slob of a man,
has an unshaven, unwashed but good-natured face. PETER is
eighteen, lanky, gawky and obviously hungry. He joins in the
scuffling at the table.
MRS MCSWAT calls LIZER to take the baby, while she carries the
pot of stew to the table ... and begins serving, sloshing great
spoonfuls of the mess onto the plates.
Ravenously JIMMY attacks the stew, slurping it up on his knife.
Sitting next to him, SYBYLLA, trying to hold herself in, tries
to stop him.
Jimmy, I've told you before ... use the
fork to put the food into your mouth.
Ain't got one.
The Lord made fingers before he made forks!
Just don't use your knife!
Why not? Pa does.
And I can say I'm a richer man today than
them that don't!
You're right there, Pa.
Yeah, you're right, Pa.
Well, your Pa doesn't talk with his mouth
Me Ma does!
You're gonna have your work cut out with
92. EXT. CADDAGAT VERANDA. DAY
AUNT HELEN and GRANDMOTHER are sitting having tea while they
read their mail.
Hm, I see you've received another one of
these too. Really, how can she expect us
to believe all this nonsense.
GERTIE and FRANK come from the garden, carrying Tennis racquets.
Of course you won. I didn't stand a
Oh yes you did.
I did not.
I did not!
FRANK pulls the chair out for GERTIE who sits.
Ah, Gertie, Frank, just in time for tea.
Did you have a good game? Who won?
I think Frank was being rather gallant.
FRANK smiles smugly as he helps himself to cake.
93. INT. MCSWAT SCHOOLROOM. DAY
The CHILDREN are sitting, bored, while SYBYLLA is at the
Today I want to show you another very
important letter, the letter "h". "H"
follows the letter we learnt yesterday,
"g" ... "H" as in h-ot ...
SYBYLLA writes on the blackboard. AUNT HELEN's voice starts
Sybylla, we cannot interfere with your
mother's wishes. The time will soon pass
... You would hardly recognise your little
sister. She has blossomed into quite a
young lady ... Try and do well where you
are, dear. We cannot always get what we
would like in this world.
... "h" as in ...
JIMMY aims his slingshot at SYBYLLA's back as she writes on the
blackboard. A spit ball hits her. SHE stops and turns. The
Grimly SYBYLLA picks up a stick she has on the desk and goes to
JIMMY and grabs him by the collar. HE yells piercingly as
SYBYLLA bends him over and whacks his bottom.
HE wails; the CHILDREN yell.
LIZER goes to the door and yells.
Ma! Ma! She's gunna murder him! She's
killing our Jimmy! Ma!
SHOT of MRS MCSWAT lying on her bed, playing with the BABY. SHE
hears the yells and sits up, putting the baby down.
94. EXT. MCSWAT YARD. DAY
MRS MCSWAT hurries from the house, to the door of the schoolroom.
95. INT. MCSWAT SCHOOLROOM. DAY
In the schoolroom, SYBYLLA, ignoring the shouting CHILDREN, is
whacking into JIMMY who is screaming at the top of his lungs.
MRS MCSWAT looks in.
Ma! Ma, get her off me!
Stick in hand, SYBYLLA pauses to look at MRS MCSWAT defiantly.
The CHILDREN fall silent.
MRS MCSWAT looks at SYBYLLA... then drops her eyes and turns away.
MRS MCSWAT walks away. The CHILDREN become silent.
SYBYLLA pulls JIMMY back to his seat -- and puts out her hand for
the slingshot. JIMMY, admitting defeat, gives it to her.
96. INT. MCSWAT KITCHEN. DAY
The MCSWATS are grouped around a dilapidated, very out of tune
piano singing "Beautiful Dreamer" while SYBYLLA plays and sings
along with them. The tune is almost indistinguishable and the
MCSWATS seem to be tone deaf, but MR and MRS MCSWAT sing
sentimentally and happily while the smaller CHILDREN listen and
watch open mouthed. The noise is awful.
97. INT. SYBYLLA'S MCSWAT ROOM. NIGHT
SYBYLLA's room is small, draughty and basic but it has the
distinction of being wall-papered ... with old Bulletins,
magazines and newspapers.
Standing on a chair, while LIZER holds a lantern, SYBYLLA is
giving a dramatic reading from an old Bulletin page. The
CHILDREN sitting on the floor listen entranced. THEY are now
washed, tidied and in clean clothes.
"Now Harry speaks to Rover,
The best dog on the plains,
And to his hardy horses
And strokes their shaggy manes ..."
... page 25 ???
The OLDER CHILDREN quickly look at the walls for Page 25.
LIZER finds it...somewhere on the wall above SYBYLLA's bed.
SYBYLLA climbs up on the bed with LIZER and as many as can join
them, and she starts to read again while LIZER holds the lantern.
"We've breasted bigger rivers,
When floods were at their height,
Now shall this gutter stop us
From getting home tonight!"
LIZER, holding a lantern, is reading from high up on the wall. MRS
MCSWAT with the BABY has joined the CHILDREN. SHE is very affected
by the poetry. SYBYLLA nurses one of the CHILDREN.
"And I the one
that have loved him the best,
Have grown to be ... past carin'.
I've grown to be past carin' ...
Past waiting ... and past wearin' ..."
SYBYLLA is alone, sitting on her bed, trying to write a letter
to Harry by the light of the lamp.
C.U. on page with her writing "Dear Harry ..."
Her mother's voice encroaches on her thoughts ...
I suppose I should thank God for one
agreeable daughter. If Gertie marries
Harry Beecham it will be a blessing.
SHE pauses ... Her mother's voice continues ...
Your grandmother says he has come back.
He's managed to save Five Bob Downs ...
and seems to spend most of his time with
SYBYLLA screws up the letter ... and closes her eyes, trying to
stop tears of pain and hopelessness.
98. EXT. BEYOND MCSWAT'S BACK YARD. NIGHT
SYBYLLA is walking alone among a high outcrop of rocks where
McSwat's backyard ends. It is a crisp, clear night. SHE sits on
a rock to look at the stars. SHE looks up as she hears the sound
of a horse behind her.
PETER on horseback comes around the rocks and starts as he sees
her. He pulls up his horse.
I thought you was a ghost. What're you
doing out here?
HE gets off and joins her.
Just thinking ... You've been over to
see Susie Duffy again?
PETER grins. THEY start walking down to the yards together.
Third time this week.
99. EXT. MCSWAT'S BACKYARD. NIGHT
Beneath them, in the backyard, the McSwat dunny is visible in the
moonlight, and in it, with the door open, is MR MCSWAT peering at
a newspaper ... HE looks up as he hears their voices ... and sees
the forms of SYBYLLA and PETER talking together, coming down the
hill towards the house. HE keeps still and silent.
100. EXT. MCSWAT CLOTHESLINE IN YARD. DAY
SYBYLLA is pegging our clothes on the line. LIZER is nearby
helping, and the other CHILDREN are playing in the background.
MR and MRS MCSWAT approach her a little hesitantly.
We want to have a serious talk with you,
SYBYLLA stops and turns to her. MRS MCSWAT looks uncomfortable.
Now... well ... you see ... we want you
to know that we like you and you being a
It'd be different if you had some
SYBYLLA looks at them, puzzled.
You see, our Peter ... he's almost as
sure as made it with Susie Duffy.
What are you talking about?
We've seen you going out at night.
We can't say we blame you. He's a good
SYBYLLA is beginning to understand and is openmouthed.
But you don't have any property, see,
like I said.
You don't think that ... you can't ...
SYBYLLA is appalled and almost speechless. Suddenly all her
bottled up frustrations get the better of her ... and she
starts to giggle and laugh a little wildly.
Oh no! Oh, no, no, no!
MRS MCSWAT misinterprets the near hysteria and gently puts her hands
on SYBYLLA's shoulders.
There, there lovey ...
(SHE turns to her husband.)
I told you it'd be too much of a shock for her.
SHE puts her arms around SYBYLLA to comfort her.
Come on, now, lovey, no-one ever really
died of a broken heart.
So you see, girlie, things being as they
are ... we've got to send you home.
SYBYLLA turns to look at MR MCSWAT ... who clears his throat and
takes a piece of paper from his pocket.
I've wrote a bit of a letter for you.
Just to tell your Ma.
Saying you wasn't well, like, and they
don't have to worry about the money --
not until things look up.
Now don't you take it so hard. There's
plenty of other nice fellows in the world.
SYBYLLA hugs MRS MCSWAT.
The CHILDREN who have come to see what was going on, all join in
a communal hug.
101. EXT. POSSUM GULLY. DAY
Crows are wheeling in a hot midsummer sky. At Possum Gully, the
102. EXT. MILKING SHED. DAY
MOTHER wearily takes the milk pail from underneath a cow, hands
it to STANLEY, picks up a new BABY lying in a box nearby and
starts towards the house ... pausing to look out at the hopeless
blue sky, and the dry, bare paddocks.
103. EXT. HOME PADDOCK. POSSUM GULLY. DAY
The dam is almost dry. A calf is stuck in the mud -- while a cow
moos mournfully on the bank nearby.
SYBYLLA, sunburnt, wearing old ragged clothes with an old hat
tied on with a scarf, is trying to pull it free by its back legs.
Come on, out you get! Come on!
SHE pulls the calf free, almost collapsing in the mud herself.
Unseen by her, HARRY, on horseback, comes to the edge of the dam.
Smiling, he watches her, and dismounts.
Do you need a hand?
SYBYLLA turns to see him.
(Smiling, with Irish accent)
Peeping and prying again, are you?
SYBYLLA helps the calf out of the mud, and, extricating herself,
plods towards him, with mud up to her knees and smearing her
face. She grins at him, feeling selfconscious.
It's good to see you again, Syb.
THEY start walking back towards the house.
(Trying to appear casual)
We had a letter from grandmother. She
said you might be coming down ... I must
look a sight ...
(She wipes the
mud off her face)
I'm glad you saved Five Bob.
I was lucky, that's all. Did you find the
answers to all those questions? I mean
what was wrong with the world and
Yes. Partly me.
HE smiles at her.
Well, here I am ... Aunt Gussie sends her
love. She's very keen on me getting
I think it's a good idea too.
Oh, Syb, do you?
Gertie is just right for you. She's
everything I'm not ... I've got to change
... Father's down the paddock.
SHE breaks into a run, leaving him. HE calls after her.
Syb, it's not Gertie! It's you. It's you
I want to marry!
SHE stops and slowly turns to him. There is anguish in her face.
104. EXT. A SCRUBBY PART OF THE PADDOCK. DAY
A hot, blustery wind has come up. The horse is tied to a bush
HARRY is facing SYBYLLA bewildered and choked with emotion.
You promised -- if I needed you ... I do,
Syb. I love you, I want to marry you.
Trust me, Syb.
It's me I don't trust! Can't you see? ...
The last thing I want is to be a wife out
in the bush, having a baby every year.
You can do anything you want! We can go to
the city as much as you like ...
SHE puts her arms around him.
Dear, dear Harry. Maybe I'm ambitious,
selfish, but I can't lose myself in
somebody else's life, when I haven't yet
lived my own I want to be a writer. At
least, I'm going to try. But I've got to
do it now ... and I've got to do it alone.
Please try to understand.
I thought you loved me.
Don't you love me, even a little?
I'm so near loving you ... but I'd
destroy you ... and I can't do that.
SYBYLLA kisses him gently. For a moment he clings to her.
105. INT. SYBYLLA'S ROOM, POSSUM GULLY. NIGHT
AURORA, the little sister, is asleep in what had been Gertie's
bed. SYBYLLA is sitting at a small table by the side of her bed,
writing in an exercise book by the light of a candle. On the table
beside the inkwell are several more exercise books, in a pile.
SHE stops to consider what she has written. Then under, she
continues her writing.
So now I've written it all down... Why?
To try and make sense of it. It may come
out sounding like a couple of nails in a
rusty tin pot. My ineffectual life may be
trod in the same round of toil ... but I
want to tell everyone about my own people,
how I love them and pity them ... pity
all of us ...
SHE looks towards the window where the first rays of the sun are
visible. Her VOICE continues under.
The sun is shining on another day and
hope is whispering in my ear ...
With love and good wishes to all ...
goodnight ...goodbye... Amen.
SYBYLLA looks at the page for a moment, then puts down her pen and
leans back ... as the sun through the window becomes brighter.
106. EXT. MELVYN HOUSE. EARLY MORNING
The magpies are beginning their dawn chorus.
SYBYLLA comes from the house carrying a large brown paper parcel
tied with string. SHE starts down towards the gate.
107. EXT. MELVYN GATE. EARLY MORNING
SYBYLLA comes to the gate, carrying her parcel. SHE looks at it.
C.U. on address written in capitals on the parcel.
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, GREAT BRITAIN
SHE kisses it for luck, and puts it in the old drum which acts as
SHE leans on the gate, looking into the sunrise.
HOLD ... then SUPER:
"'My Brilliant Career' was published
in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1901."
Screenplay by Eleanor Witcombe