The Cook the Queen and the Kelly


Frog Hollow Park, Darwin City

August 11 - 15 & 18 - 22, 2010
Darwin Festival

Tall Territory Tales!

Who taught Ned Kelly to use chopsticks and why?
What was the Queen really doing in the Tanami Desert in 1954?
How did Captain Cook arrive in the Red Centre and who are the Sons of Cook?

All will be revealed when Tracks Dance Company divulges three untold Territory ‘truths’ in typical Territory style! ‘The Cook, The Queen, and The Kelly’ is a magical outdoor performance, set under the stars in the beautiful Frog Hollow Park and featuring a cast of 30 dancers and actors.

Worlds collide, cultures connect and folklore becomes fact in this comic celebration of twisted history!

Director's Notes

Someone tells you a story. At first, it seems far-fetched, then you hear another, and another, until the ideas of fact & fiction are challenged. Is truth what we see, hear and sense, or is it something that we make up? Is it what is left after years of telling the story? In the Cook The Queen and The Kelly we look at stories we have collected over the years, well founded with elements of truth, which lead us to an understanding of how we live in the Territory. What is our connection to this place and our responsibility to care for it? No matter how tall the tale may seem, a cheeky self-reflection goes on.

Ned Kelly escapes the noose, arrives in Darwin, marries a Chinese woman, and all his descendants are Irish Chinese. Captain Cook navigates his way through the inland sea, leaving progeny in his wake, declaring an inaccurate “nullius” for this “Terra” and laying claim to the right to populate it with the Sons of Cook. Queen Elizabeth, the first reigning Monarch to set foot on Australian soil, is affected by the similarities of symbols used in her colony both by the Westerners and the Warlpiri people of the Tanami desert – two strong laws existing in the same land – what a concept.

Our creative team, cast, and crew comes from the enormous talent pool Tracks draws on in Darwin, the Northern Territory, and beyond: all of them have a history of working with Tracks, and all of them have added to our sense of local stories. A Tracks show utilises many volunteers and we thank them for their huge contribution to the development of Territory Culture.

David McMicken

Many years ago David and I were working in Alice Springs. I remember we were chatting to Elder Kumanjayi Rebuntja and he mentioned Captain Cook travelling through Alice. I have ever since had an image of the Endeavour sailing past Uluru.

I grew up in Kelly country. As a kid playing in the bush near Glenrowan (the place of Ned’s final shoot out) I was haunted by the story of this wild bushranger, his armour, guns and ability to kill. I would pick up a piece of rusted metal off the ground, hear a sound as if his ghost was coming and run for my life. Later I read writing's by my Dad’s eldest brother, (a collector of family stories) of how my great, great, great, Grandfather (a blacksmith) helped make the Kelly Gang’s armour. (This had been hushed up, as our family didn’t want to be seen as Kelly sympathisers.) From his wife we heard that her great, great, Grandfather, (a magistrate) believed that Ned had been substituted by another at the gallows and it was not he who had been hanged. We also found information that it was believed Kelly had been inspired by a touring exhibition of Chinese warriors’ armour and that his armour was founded on this.

Working in the Aboriginal community of Lajamanu we were developing the Milpirri performance based on one of the tribe’s most powerful ceremonies - Kuridji. It contains the symbols of the kangaroo, emu, shield, morning star and two leafy branches. At the time a key community person went to Canberra. As he entered Parliament House he looked up and saw the symbols from this ceremony in the form of the Australian Coat of Arms. On his return there was excitement amongst the elders as they heard the story of how the country’s place of ‘white fella’ law carried the Warlpiri’s most powerful symbols, which they saw as an acknowledgment of equality of the two laws of this country. Later it became a joke as one man kept asking, “How did the Queen steal our symbols to make that Coat of Arms?”

Tim Newth

Creative Personnel

Direction: Tim Newth, David McMicken
Choreography: Joanna Noonan, Jess Devereux, Nick Power, Rosie O’Reilly in collaboration with dancers and directors
Writer/Dramaturge: Gail Evans
Original Music/Soundtrack: David McMicken
Design: Tim Newth
Costume Designer/Supervisor: Lynn Ferguson
Lighting Designer: Chris Kluge
Lead Performers: Jess Devereux, Nick Power, Daniel Cunningham, Gail Evans, Kin Leong and Yoris Wilson
Guest Performer: Myra Nungarrayi Herbert

Production and Promotions Personnel

Production/Stage Manager: Kelly Blumberg
Production Manager: Suzi Cordell
Sound Engineer: Matthew Cunliffe
Sound Operator: Eugenio Hallen
Lighting Operator: Dorian Aberasturi
Follow Spot Operator: Emma Stocker
Assistant Stage Manager: CJ Fraser-Bell
Properties and Stage Construction: Don Whyte Framing, Kelly Blumberg, Tim Newth, Chris Kluge
Wardrobe Assistants: Marie Nitsche-McGregor, Sam Edwards, Brenda Lord
Promotions/Publicity: Gail Evans, Fiona Carter
Poster Image and Design: Mark Marcelis
Graphic Design: Narelle Sullivan
TV Advertisement: Todd Williams - Cutting Edge
Photographic Documentation: Peter Eve
Film Documentation: Todd Williams, Ian Redfearn
Front of House Manager: Nicola Jackson
Head Steward: Charlie Marengo


Mr. Ken Lee, Local Darwin Man: Kin Leong
Marshall Cookson, The Astronomer: Yoris Wilson
The Queen: Gail Evans
Ned Kelly: Nick Power
Captain Cook: Daniel Cunningham
The (24-year-old) Queen: Jess Devereux
Queen of the WarlpiriMyra Nungarrayi Herbert.

Dancers: Vera Tabuzo, Kathryn Lawrence, Shaan Myall, Jenelle Saunders, Sasha Lai, Stevie Kirke-Groves, Katena Valastro, Stuart Fong, Aaron Lim, John Rigas, Andy Lay, Sean Morrison, Paul Coleman, Ricky Borg, Bree McCutcheon, Kate Boyd, Elle Chandler, Siobhan Evans, Rosie O’Reilly Caleb Japanungka Patrick, Gerard Japanungka Scobie 



Where we meet our players: Ken Lee makes offerings to his ancestors; Marshall Cookson guided by a lost logbook, retraces a secret inland voyage of Captain Cook; the Queen, incognito, awaits her Aboriginal Sister on their way to meet the Prime Minister.

Kelly Story

Country Victoria 1870’s, the Irish and Chinese celebrate, are harassed, battle the law & form the Kelly Gang - The Last Stand - Escaping the Noose – A Darwin romance.

Queen Story

The Aboriginal Sister – A young Queen drives across the desert, practising her speech - Young men cross the desert recognising totemic symbols – A stolen symbol leads to the sisters meeting and acknowledging two strong Laws of this land.

Cook Story

Navigating by the stars – Cook sails inland, populating an apparently barren land with the Sons of Cook - Returning to the Mother Country.


Law of the Land.


Oh Danny Boy: Traditional – Wetherly Fred
Suite For Cello No 6 In D (Bwv 1012): Bach Johann Sebastian
God Save The Queen Aka British National Anthem: Arne Thomas Augustine
Policeman's Song: Gilbert Arthur/Sullivan William
Showtime: Anderson Ashley
Break Up: Anderson Ashley
Dangerous: Anderson Ashley
Jump Around : Schrody E/Muggerud L/Relf R/Nelson E
Wasteland: Martin/Savona/Tremlett/Douglas/Goyma/Kor
Stor Mo Chroi: Trad/Arr/Moloney Paddy
Abbys Of Misery: Trad/ Wu Xiaozhong
Zatouichi - This Is O-Kagura: Suzuki Keiichi
Where’s My Love: Tong Li
Slowly: Waldeck Klaus
On A Clear Day, You Can See Forever: Lane B/Lerner A
Between Me And You: Lajamanu Teenage Band
Someday My Prince Will Come: Churchill F/Morey L
Happy Days Are Here Again: Ager M/Yellen J
Abandoned Ship Bells: Smarason O/Tynes G/Valtysdottir K
Symphony No 104 In D (London): Haydn Franz Joseph
Toorali: Levinson/Kennedy/Sabir/Williams/Harrison
Botany Bay: Pascal, Florian, (Joseph Williams, Jr.) 1847-1923

Thank You

Paul Wan, Tom Newth, Liz Gammon (Cavenagh Theatre Co.), Holly Ferguson, Charles Darwin University, Cristina de Mello, Front of House Volunteers, Darwin City Council, MAGNT, Gavin the Gardener, The Tenants at Frog Hollow Centre for the Arts, Frog Hollow Backpackers, Mirambeena Resort Darwin, The Darwin Entertainment Centre, Total Event Services, Audio Technology, Corrugated Iron Youth Arts, Wako Kwickform, TFH, Force Rentals, Perkins Shipping, Palm Springs, Correctional Services, City Wreckers, Wormald, The Northern Territory Police, Eyesight Security, AJ’s Mini Earth Moving, and Tracks’ family and friends.


Darwin City Council, Southern Cross Television, Newmont, Rio Tinto, Granites Mine Affected Area Aboriginal Corporation

Funding Bodies

Tracks is assisted by: the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; and the Northern Territory Government

Tracks 2010

Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
General Manager: Fiona Carter
Dance Animateurs: Julia Quinn, Jess Devereux
Administrator: Gail Evans
Bookkeeper: Julie Ann Stark
Development Consultant: Suzanne Fermanis
Milpirri Executive Officer: Susan Congreve
Production Manager: Kelly Blumberg

Committee Members: (Chair) David Taylor, (Vice-Chair) Jill MacAndrew, (Treasurer) Glenn Bernardin, (Secretary/Public Officer) Michael Grant, (Ordinary Committee Members) Ken Conway, Nick Papandonakis, Joanna Barrkman, Stephanie Cvirn, (Ex-Officio Members) David McMicken and Tim Newth

Public Fund Trustees: Rev. Steve Orme, Dr Anita Toth, Paul Wan

Patron: His Honour Mr Tom Pauling QC, Administrator of the Northern Territory and Mrs Tessa Pauling






Explore Further

Iconic Tracks Works

Lajamanu / Milpirri Home Page

Media Response

“Tracks Dance is well known for its dramatically left-of-centre style of telling unconventional stories in unexpected spaces. They delivered yet again ... the most delicious combinations of dance moves I’d seen on an NT stage.”  Daniel Bourchier, Northern Territory News

Audience Response

“Fabulous dancing, original storyline and a great visual treat with comic overtones.” Peter Zagorski

“Real three-dimensional characters drew me into the dancing as I studied each gesture, move and trick! for it’s deeper meaning. To be able to enjoy dance on this level within the context of such an epic production, with a large cast and bigger choreographic pieces was a delight.”  Mischa Baka

“I thought it was one of the best yet. I loved the theme of family stories and the passion and imperfections of the human form. I loved the variety of dance, the choreography, the humour and the resonance of the performance with Darwin and its people.”  Derek Farrell

“The story was interesting, quirky and funny. I loved the weaving together of local tales with historical events/speeches.”  Darren Jones

“I cried, I laughed and I was awed by the dancing.”  Kylie McMartin

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