Searching for my play subject I visit the local barber and get him talking, visit a local hotel in the middle of the day and get no-one talking, work my way to the visitor information centre where I discover Billy ‘Bad Habits’ Field grew up around the corner, and where the once largest playable guitar is housed. Over to the local history museum, a bargain at $2, the co-ordinator is a fountain of stories. This leads me to a telephone chat with historian Jeff Sullivan. Then I visit the library where I discover the still very prominent bush poet Father Hartigan who wrote under the pseudonym ‘John ‘OBrien’ is well-represented. Father Hartigan was Parish Priest of St. Mel’s Narrandera between 1917-1944. CJ Dennis encouraged him to publish with Angus and Robertson and several of his poems sit in the Australian bush canon along Lawson, Patterson and Dennis himself. In March next year there is a John O’Brien Bush Poetry Festival where Brisbane-based performer Noel Stallard performs his work. Much to my surprise, Stallard apparently travels the country being the good priest and makes a living from it! After visiting a memorial plaque up at the church dedicated to the priest slash poet, I realize he may just be a slightly too well-known subject for my intentions. My mind then turns back to the local history museum and to a Miss Riverina who went on to become the Miss Australia of 1954. A dressmaker from Narrandera, Shirley Bliss, had a whirlwind year. 1954 was the first year the competition, which started in 1908, aligned itself with charity work via various spastic centres across Australia, providing a balance between numerous glitzy gala engagements. The search continues today for my subject but Shirley could possibly be the new play I’m looking for.