On Our Selection

by Steele Rudd

Dad Rudd is having a tough time on the selection. Old man Carey is demanding money that he just doesn’t have, but Kate is heading off to Brisbane to bring home the bacon from the big city.



Dad Rudd is having a tough time on the selection. Old man Carey is demanding money that he just doesn’t have, but Kate is heading off to Brisbane to bring home the bacon from the big city.

If it wasn’t for loveable farmhand Sandy, Kate would have no trouble with leaving, after all the bush life has never been for her. But with young Jim Carey and Sandy both vowing for her attention, someone has to come off second best.

When Sandy and Jim get into a fight, someone is killed – but who is responsible? Will an innocent man be framed for a crime that he did not commit and send the Rudd family into dissent?

With the big election coming up, there’s only one man for the job to look after the blokes on the selections, but will revenge get in the way, and will money and influence prevail or will Dad’s fighting spirit win the hearts and votes of the electorate?

In this four act play, On Our Selection follows the trials of Dad Rudd in his fight to beat drought, fire and flood alongside the perpetual struggle against the greedy but influential John Carey. One of Australia’s most loved folk plays, the classic story of the bush battler and his foray into politics will continue to live on in the hearts of Australian’s long into the future.

Historical Significance

One of the oldest plays in the Australian cannon, and still it resonates with audiences. This play’s grit, wit and gumption characterise Australia’s national identity.

Steele Rudd (real name Arthur Hoey Davis) came from humble beginnings, but had a surprising amount of commercial success during a time when even Australians weren’t interested in Australian work. He based On Our Selection off his experiences on the selection (farm) he grew up on. Just like the Australians it depicts, the play itself is an embattled story mixing farce, wry humour and realism. Rudd deftly conjures up snapshots that characterise Australia at a particular moment in its history, those who peopled it, and the public opinion of the time.

On Our Selection is a classic story of the embattled Australian stockman, and has a history to match. The underdog narrative is threefold. First within the play itself; the fighting spirit and will to overcome is manifested in the Rudd family, particularly in Dad Rudd. Second is its history as a play. It was first produced by none other than the JC Williamson company, who spurned anything that wasn’t written in New York or London. Then it was swindled from Rudd by a trusted colleague, who leveraged a copyright loophole. Thirdly is the biographical aspect. Arthur Davis came from nowhere special and had next to nothing, and yet here he and his stories sit with pride of place at the cornerstone of our nation’s identity narrative.

“On Our Selection is the earliest Australian play still to hold a place in the national repertoire … this new Playlab edition will contribute to further new understandings of a key narrative of Australia’s past,” Richard Fotherigham.

Production History

On Or Selection took on its first form as a book written by Arthur Hoey Davis (known as Steele Rudd) in 1899. Hoey Davis was born in Drayton in the Darling Downs area of Western Queensland, his story of Dad Rudd and the Rudd family comes form his own experiences growing up and working on the farming selections of the area. On Our Selection was adapted as a play by Hoey Davis and Adelaide publisher Frank Beaumont Smith in 1907, which was later taken on by Bert Bailey and Edmund Duggan in 1912.

Print-on-Demand (POD)

Print-On-Demand (POD) is a service Playlab offers to help cater to customers who prefers/needs to have a physical printout of a digital script. We can also provide the hardcopies to suit a variety of situations that includes rehearsals, studies and/or libraries to have on their shelves.

Please note that:

  • POD Copies are charged at a flat rate of $9.00 each in addition to the digital price of the text (Not including sale prices).
  • A POD copy is a thermal fastback binding copy as depicted in the pictures below, it is not the same as a standard hardcopy script offered by Playlab.


POD Sample

Photocopy Licences

A Photocopy Licence is required to make copies of any purchased digital play script. Should you wish to make additional copies for a cast to rehearse or a class to study, you will need to purchase the necessary licence by:

  • Adding the Photocopy Licence to your shopping cart when you purchase a digital script. OR
  • Downloading the ‘Photocopy Licence and POD Order Form’ below and returning it to Playlab digitally to info@playlabtheatre.com.au or via mail to PO Box 3701 South Brisbane B.C, 4101.


Photocopy Licence and POD Order Form


Please note:

  • Photocopy Licences are not available for hardcopy scripts.
  • Educational institutions covered by a Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) licence should take note that their CAL licence only allows them to copy a maximum of one chapter or 10% of a script whether it is in digital or hardcopy format.
  • A Photocopy Licence does not include the right to on-sell copies of the script printed under the licence.
  • Playwrights receive royalties from the sale of licences.

Performance Rights

Let Playlab help you obtain the performance rights for your production. Simply click on ‘Performance Rights Enquiry Form’ below and we will get you on track to having your production off the page and onto stage.

Performance Rights Enquiry Form

Any performance or public reading of any text published by Playlab is forbidden unless a licence has been received from the author or the author’s agent. The purchase of a Playlab publication in no way gives the purchaser the right to perform the play in public, whether by means of a staged production or as a reading. Please direct all inquiries concerning performance rights, publication, translation or recording rights to info@playlabtheatre.com.au or call us on (07) 3220 2763.