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Synopsis: Turn on a Light

From a varied work background including a degree in journalism, and working in construction and truck-driving in the north of the State, Robbie Fairfax decides to train as a primary school teacher. Appointed to teach at a small Catholic-supported Aboriginal community school north-west of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the mid-1970s, he challenges, and becomes the target of, conservative forces controlling the region: bureaucratic authority, media power and Italian and Irish Catholicism.16_03_16 Turn-on-a-Light

His challenge to those forces is caused by the unexplained deaths of eleven Aboriginal community children aged four or less in only four years. Prior experiences with death have shaped Robbie in ways that only his ever-supportive mother and the gentle Catholic brothers and sisters supporting the community understand.

His efforts to bring deaths of the little children to the attention of organisations and individuals in the region are consistently rebuffed and his personal welfare constantly threatened, demonstrating the conservative attitudes prevalent in the 1970s.

In addition, there’s his relationship with Tarrie O’Meara, a married high school teacher whose father is a Director of a bureaucratic department. The roller-coaster nature of their connection mirrors the up and down nature of Robbie’s life in the region.

The forces and challenges sorely test his resolve to see the issue through, while remaining true to his values and keeping the commitment he makes to Sister Jane and Brother Sean.26_10_15 Goldfields-bush-(2) 26_10_15 DSC01737sml

The Government Office complex on Hannan Street - the Wardens Court, Court of Justice, Mines Department and Post and Telegraph Office - all built between 1896-1899.