The Harp in the South
The Harp in the South is a novel (ISBN 0-14-010456-9) by New Zealand born Australian author Ruth Park. Published in 1948, it portrays the life of a Catholic Irish Australian family living in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills, which was at that time an inner city slum.
Married to Margaret Darcy. Hughie often becomes drunk after work and his best friend is Patrick Diamond, even though Patrick is Protestant and he is Catholic. Father of Rowena and Dolour. Hughie wants to get out of Surry Hills and back to the bush but he has a family to support so is trapped.
Mother of Rowena and Dolour, Mother-in-law of Charlie Rothe. She is a devout Catholic and although generally accepting, sometimes fights with Patrick Diamond (their lodger) over his religious beliefs.
Rowena "Roie" Darcy:
Married to Charlie Rothe, they have one child, Moira. In her youth, she was courted by Tommy Mendel, but after sleeping with her, he disappeared. Roie secretly worked at two jobs to save enough for an abortion when she discovers she is expecting Tommy's baby but at the last minute cannot go through with it. On her way home, she is attacked and savagely beaten by a group of sailors and loses the baby.
Charlie is assumed to be part aboriginal although he doesn't know his parents as he was taken away as a baby and put in a home. He is married to Rowena Darcy whom he met when her younger sister, Dolour took part in a radio quiz show, "Junior Information Please". Roie was feeling sick and he helped her outside for air. Charlie knew there was no racial prejudice with Roie but . Margaret did not accept him at first and Dolour was angry with him because he was stealing Roie from her.
Dolour is the youngest in her family. A very bright girl, she aspires to get a good education and escape from Surry Hills. She is aunty to "Motty" Roie's child and good friends with elderly Chinese greengrocer, Lick Jimmy.
Protestant. Every St.Patricks day, he will get drunk and abuse (verbally) Mrs.Darcy. When he suffered a stroke, Lick Jimmy performed an emergency 'bleed' by cutting open a vein to ease the pressure. Pat was unaware of this, as he had passed out because Hughie, also drunk, had hit him.
Mother to disabled Johnny Sheily, she constantly abused him. When he was knocked down and killed she seemed relived rather than upset. Later, Roie saw her flagellating herself and crying Johnny's name. She marries a Swedish man named Gunnarson.
Sequel and Prequel
|Poor Man's Orange|
|Directed by||George Whaley|
|Produced by||Anthony Buckley|
|Written by||George Whaley|
|Original channel||Network Ten|
|Original airing||14 September 1987|
|No. of episodes||2|
The Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange were both adapted into TV miniseries, the former in 1986, the latter in 1987.
|Anne Phelan||Mumma Darcy|
|Martyn Sanderson||Hughie Darcy|
|Anna Hruby||Roie Darcy|
|Kaarin Fairfax||Dolour Darcy|
|Gwen Plumb||Grandma Kilker|
|Syd Conabere||Pat Diamond|
|Melissa Jaffer||Miss. Sheily|
|Shane Connor||Charlie Rothe|
|Brandon Burke||Tommy Mendel|
|Ken Radley||Johnny Sheily|
|Lois Ramsay||Mrs. Campion|
|Cecil Parkee||Lick Jimmy|
|Carole Skinner||Delie Stock|
|Charles Tingwell||Father Cooley|
- Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford Uni Press, 1996 p229