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.
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.
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.