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The White Earth is a Miles Franklin Award-winning novel by Australian author Andrew McGahan.

The White Earth
First edition
AuthorAndrew McGahan
PublisherAllen & Unwin, Australia
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages376 pp
823/.914 22
LC ClassPR9619.3.M3234 W47 2004

The stage version, adapted by McGahan and Shaun Charles, premiered at Brisbane's La Boite Theatre in February–March 2009.



The book follows a dual narrative between the perspectives of William and John, where William's takes place over the time period of late 1992 to 1993 and John's takes place from his childhood up to the present of 1993.

William's narrative follows his father dying in an explosion and William and his mother being invited by John to Kuran Station. At the station, William learns from John some stories of the land and is introduced to the water hole. John then organises an anti-Native Title rally, which ends in disaster as it gets out of control. At the rally, William sees a burning man in nausea and John is injured in the chaos. After the rally, John's daughter, Ruth, arrives in awareness of John's injury, and the daughter and father are shown to have a bad relationship. After an argument between John and Ruth, William experiences a moment of realisation and leaves for the water hole. At the water hole, he finds it to be empty, despite it being described as always flowing. After William is driven back to Kuran House by Ruth, he realises that there were bones inside the empty water hole. John drives William to retrieve the bones and proceeds to burn them, resulting in the entire house catching fire.


Dedication: For my parents, whose life this isn't.

Author's note: This is a work of fiction. While the Darling Downs are real enough, the northern parts of the region do not exist as described here. This story is not meant to portray any actual place, person or event.



Stage versionEdit

La Boite Theatre Company, Brisbane, Australia.

23 February-21 March 2009

Adapted and Directed by Shaun Charles and Andrew McGahan
Designer Greg Clarke
Lighting Designer David Walters
Sound Designer/Composer Guy Webster
Cinematic Design Markwell Presents
Cast Stace Callaghan, Dan Eady, Penny Everingham, Kathryn Marquet, Veronica Neave, Anthony Phelan & Steven Tandy

External linksEdit