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Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Print Page

About the Athor

Ray Lawler

Encyclopedia Britannica Biography


Interview with the author

A Lucky Play

Sydney Morning Herald- Sept 3 2011

Meanjin interview with Ray Lawler


Australia in the 1950's


About the Play



"Summer of the seventeenth doll' is concerned with what should be a wildly exciting annual reunion bubbling with happiness which instead falls flat and proves to be the last of seventeen such occasions. Thus, appropriately, it begins in a mood of gaiety and joyful anticipation but ends in disillusion and bitterness”.

Peter Holloway (1981



"...the regulars'd stand aside to let 'em through, just as if they was a - a coupla kings."
Olive about Roo and Barney, shows the type of language used.

"Oh yes, that's what they remind me of, she says, two eagles flyin' down out of the sun and coming south every year for the mating season."

Pearl, as she stirs up the group, showing how the layoff has changed for them.

"Middle of the night Olive sat here on the floor, huggin' this and howling. A grown-up woman, howling over a silly old kewpie doll. That's Olive for yer!
Emma to Roo. This shows that Olive's world has been shattered - her life has gone with the lay-off.

"Y'know, a man's a fool to treat you as a woman. You're nothin' but a little girl about twelve years old."
Roo to Olive, re-emphasising the above.

"Funny thing. I imagined this place pretty often. Oh, of course I've never been here, it's just the reputation that's been built up among the boys. I reckon you could say it's almost famous up north."
Dowd on the house and the illusion that Roo and Barney have created for themselves to Bubba.

"I want what I had before. You give it back to me - give me back what you've taken."
Olive to Roo.





Teacher Resources

Belvoir Notes: Including a brief history, character list and synopsis.

Excellent resources on the world of the play.

Subject Guide

Profile Image
Alma Simmonds


Aussie Classic playwright Ray Lawler almost forgot.

Graeme Blundell- The Australian Sept 2 2011

Study guides

What I Wrote: Notes , images and questions on Summer of the Seventeenth Doll to accompany a DVD of an interview with Ray Lawler

Notes on the play including Themes and symbolism



Sydney Morning Herald October 9th 2011

Elissa Blake


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