In Darkness and in Secrecy

"I don't see how it is possible to contemplate (murder) without acknowledging the existence of evil; of something savage that persists in people despite all our enlightenment and our social engineering and our safety nets, something that only philosophy, religion or art can handle:  the worm in the hea rt of the rose"  Helen Garner, On Murder.

Rebecca Lister wrote  In Darkness and In Secrecy for Salamander Theatre in early 2001.  It was written with the assistance of an Arts Victoria Regional Arts Grant.

In Darkness and In Secrecy is based on the 1864 murder of Margaret Graham, which unfolded in the towns of Daylesford, Castlemaine and Ballarat. This was the thirteenth murder in thirteen years on the Daylesford Gold Fields. The person who stood trial and was subsequently found guilty and hanged for the murder in 1866 was a vagabond traveler named David Young.  Young was the first person to be hanged at the Castlemaine Gaol. This story has always created community debate as to whether Young was in fact guilty.  According to community folklore and the newspaper of the time, “The Daylesford Mercury”, Margaret’s husband George allegedly confessed to the murder on his deathbed. 

In Darkness and In secrecy opened in March at the Old Castlemaine Gaol as part of the Castlemaine Fringe Festival.  The play was specifically written for the old gaol setting but also needed to be adaptable for other venues, when it was staged during it's Victorian Central Highlands Tour.

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Script extract

Original cast and crew

Writer/Director: Rebecca Lister

Dramaturge: Cate Kennedy

Lighting and Set Design: Aaron McMurray

Administration: Peta Dando and Lisa Male


Act One

Maggie:  Elizabeth Stewart

Maureen:  Beverley Geldard

George: Ken McLeod

Brigid:Lisa Male

Joe: Clay Ravin

David Young:  Clay Ravin

Priest: Clay Ravin

Act Two

Judge Redmond Barry/Maureen: Beverley Geldard

Gossip/Constable Irwin/ George/ Mr Wolfe/ Newspaper Reader: Ken McLeod

Gossip/Brigid/Dr. Rankin/Juror: Lisa Male

Gossip/Mr Thompson/ Mrs Sprinks / Jurror: Elizabeth Stewart

David Young: Clay Ravin


The music used in the original production was taken from old Irish Folks songs and music from the Gold Fields.

"Early One Morning"

"Marble Halls"

"She moves through the Fair"

"Scrumptious Young Girls"

"Marie's Wedding"

"Never Marry An Old Man"