Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre for Landscape and Language

Article Title

The Union Ticket



‘The union ticket’ is a short story comprising 3,800 words. Set in 1895 with the focus on shearing unionism and brutality of the era contrasted to the apparent calm of the landscape, ‘The union ticket’ tells the story of an orphaned teenager, adopted by his uncle and taken from the city into the bush for work experience in the shearing shed. The uncle wrongly assumes that a union ticket is not compulsory for a young, harmless boy, but the union representatives think differently and the story ends with dire consequences for the boy. The Australian bush sets the scene for the hidden dangers lurking in human community: the question-mark tree, the unseen snake in the bush, the sheep with their dusty coats that blend with the surrounding landscape and the cockatoos that fight amongst the trees. On the surface, a visit to the bush seems to be a quiet respite from the city, but, as the characters discover, bush life can be as savage and unforgiving for animals as it can for humans.


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