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Hollow – a drama #threelostchildrenofdaylesford

July 3, 2017

lost children

The world wide premiere of Hollow, a drama depicting the story of  Three Lost Children of Daylesford was performed at the Daylesford Town Hall over the past weekend.

There is no way I would have missed seeing this performance, as I was involved for a short time when research was being done, having had an interest in this tragic tale for a few years now. When I first stumbled across it, my three grandsons, brothers, were about the same age as these boys who became lost. I can’t help but think  of what it must have been like for three little boys of this age to be lost in the Wombat Forest in June when the nights are extremely cold.  Over the past few nights, temperatures have got down to -4 and -5. Can you imagine a small child being lost in the Australian bush in those low temperatures?

The play was performed by Tripwire Theatre Inc with Megan Riedl the writer/director.   The following paragraph is taken from the Director’s Note that appeared in the program for Hollow. Megan’s words convey better than I could, the angle that the play took to tell the story.

From the first time I read about the disappearance of three little boys in Daylesford in 1867, I knew this story had to be told in theatrical form.  An idea to stage a historical re-enactment of linear timeline of the events on June – September 1867 was floated to me, but it was the behind the scenes moments, which don’t make the newspaper, which interested me more.  What would the mothers be thinking while their husbands went to search every day?  What would happen to a normal neighborly friendship when one woman’s son was spared and the others were lost?  What was the real reason the boys never heeded the advice to return home, given by two neighbors that fateful Sunday?  Why did the community continue to search for weeks, knowing the cause was lost?  The lack of detail about the women – their lives, their reactions and even their first names – was striking and saddening.  I wanted to recreate this story with a shift in focus to those usually left behind from Australian history – women, children and indigenous people. 

Big congratulations have to go to Tripwire Theatre Inc and especially Megan the writer/director, for the sensitive and touching approach taken. The roles were also perfectly cast.  The despair and sadness of the two mothers really touched my heart. I found myself trying and not succeeding, to hold back the tears more than once. I did hear a few other sniffles around the theatre also.

I was surprised to feel quite emotional to see this story that I have researched for so long, being played out in front of me on the stage.

If you are interested to follow this tragic tale I have a Facebook page dedicated to the Three Lost Children.

Three Lost children

The three lost boys


Graham parents

Parents Sarah and William Graham


Burman parents

Parents Elizabeth and Benjamin Burman

 Cast
Sarah Graham – Nell Jeandet
William Graham Snr – Thomas Aston
William Graham Jnr – Drusilla Dickenson-Bray
Thomas Graham – Pepper Eisner
Elizabeth Burman – Liana Skewes
Benjamin Burman – Paul Pearman
Alfred Burman – James Dawson
Missy Burman – Kira Dawson
Mrs Griffiths – Emily Wilden
Griff – Quinn Le Fevre
Councillor Bleakley – Darcy Oliver
Reverend Main – David Mark Farrington
Geo H. Jamieson / Dr McNicoll – Mark Collins
Tommy Farmer – Jacob Honeychurch
A Bush Spirit – Perri Eaton
A Traveller – David Elias


source and photos: Tripwire Theatre Inc and the official Hollow program

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2 Comments
  1. Beck permalink

    Congratulations on the world premier of your theatrical performance of ‘Hollow”. I agree that this is one of the saddest events to have occurred in Australian history & that there are so many unanswered questions.
    Having discovered the Memorial Cairn in the town of Musk I was fascinated as to why this event seems largely unknown. As part of my research I obtained a copy of the Coroners Inquest which certainly adds to the many questions already raised in regards to what really happened to these three young boys. I am cautious as to how to proceed when writing about this event as out of respect for any living relatives & descendants I hesitate to openly document my thoughts what I believe may have actually happened to William, Thomas & Alfred.
    Suffice to say the Statements made at the time of the Inquest in 1867 bring to light details that I had not previously seen in any of the articles already in the public domain. Some examples are that the boys were seen going into someone’s house, & again later at the rear of the property. A woman came & offered them a meal, witnesses contradict each other & other statements are oddly near on identical. There is additional details as to the state of their clothes & how the older boy was crying, not all full of knowledge as to their location & bravado as we are led to think. Two additional men are mention in the Inquest the names of which I had not come across before & it seems they interacted with the boys at length.
    I will not continue to outline any further what I have since read as the details are rather delicate.
    Suffice to say with all due respect my personal opinion – and it is just that, a point of view – is that the boys were alive for longer than the first day, they had been put into the hollow or the tree at a later date after sadly having met with an end at the hands of another.
    My prayers go out to all the relatives of the children as well as those whom diligently assisted in the search & whose lives were touched by this sad event.
    Thank you.

    • I can see you have researched the story well Beck. I only publish what can be documented. I also have many ideas that cannot be published as there is no proof at all.

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