(Nibago) Julie Janson
An introduction to Black Mary and Gungies, both plays written by award-winning Aboriginal playwright, Julie Janson, provides interesting historical background. Centring on different aspects and periods of Aboriginal life and people, both plays are illustrated with photographs. They are recommended for Years 7 to 12 Australian history, Aboriginal studies drama and literature.
Black Mary tells the story of Aboriginal bushranger Mary Ann and her partner, Captain Thunderbolt, roaming northwestern New South Wales in the mid-nineteenth century. Dressed like the men, Mary Ann is one of the gang, managing to survive in the outback and to elude capture most of the time. She dreams of returning with Thunderbolt to live with her people but instead witnesses their massacre and plots revenge. The play performed in Sydney by Belvoir Street Theatre
A contemporary play, Gunjies combines family life, young love, a football match and a debutante ball with political activism, racial discrimination and uneasy relations with police (the gunjies). Janson's characters are ordinary people-warm, funny, resilient-who are suddenly involved in tragedy. First performed in 1993, the International year of Indigenous People, Gunjies was highly commended by the Human Rights Commission and was also nominated for an Australian Writers Guild award.
Julie Janson has worked as a playwright, screenwriter, producer, script editor, and assessor in Sydney and internationally. She has received numerous grants and fellowships and is a long-time elected member of the NSW Committee for the Australian Writers Guild