Australia in 1878 as depicted on the show.My Place
is probably the most ambitious children's story ever written about Australian history. It spans from the modern day, to before the colonisation of the continent. The story was first told in a book by Nadia Wheatley, and later adapted for TV by ABC3
and the Australian Children's Television Foundation. It would be more accurate, however, to call it a loose collection of short, interlinked stories.My Place
takes pains to accurately portray the periods involved
. Each episode provides a brief window into a different decade. Despite being a kids' show, it does not soften what life was once like - children are forced to work hard, experience racism, are mistreated by heartless masters, go hungry and even die of whooping cough. However, it's not all grim, and often heartwarming or even quite funny - the tales range from escaped convicts to conquering cricket.
Most of all, though, the focus is kids being kids - whatever the era, the kids will misbehave, or screw up, and ultimately seek sanctuary in their hideaway - the same huge fig-tree. Whether it ends happily or sadly depends on the episode.
This series provides examples of:
- Back to Front: The series opens in 2008 and travels back to pre-1788.
- Baseball Episode: Cricket Episode.
- Binocular Shot: Near the beginning of Michaelis' episode as he spies on his neighbours watching 'The Adventures of Robin Hood'. Unlike some examples however, we actually see one circle instead of two.
- Continuity Nod: Objects that had significance in previous episodes will sometimes show up again. A boy finding an old horseshoe in his backyard, is one such example.
- Culture Clash: Various examples, between Aboriginal Australians and Caucasian Australians, Asian Australians and Caucasian Australians, but perhaps the most interesting example is between a Vietnamese girl and her Vietnamese Australian cousin, who initially do not understand each other for cultural, but also personal reasons, at all.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Used, despite it being a kid's program. Most memorably, a bastard little girl is shunned by many in her community, meaning she can't even sell her vegetables to get by in life, and also a character who treats Australian Aborigines like wild animals. Also features a child convict who is treated like crap.
- Due to the Dead: Lorna's funeral at the end of the 1928 episode.
- Generational Saga: A couple are shown (in reverse) over the show's run.
- Sam and Sarah are two convict children who initially long to return to the old country. They eventually marry and stay in Australia, having descendants with no memory of England and who feel right at home down under.
- Michaelis' parents migrate to Australia from Greece. He grows up with English as his first language and marries an Australian woman. His son Mike is indistinguishable from his peers, apart from having grandparents who speak mostly Greek.
- Historical Fiction: Only the first few episodes are set in the modern era.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is named after the year in which it takes place.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The series stretches across 220 years, so naturally. Many characters are seen from old age to early childhood, and they come from many different backgrounds, although most are Anglo-Australian for historically logical reasons. Because of having a different child protagonist per episode, it also clocks up at 22 central protagonists, with even more main characters. Protagonists are often secondary characters in other kids' stories however.
- Loveable Rogue: Many, but particularly the Irish convict.
- Motifs: The fig tree, the house.
- Parental Abandonment: One of the characters is a bastard little girl, and totally abandoned by her father. He happens to be rich, and tells her to her face that she was a mistake he fervently wishes never happened.
- Slice of Life - The stories mostly focus on characters going about daily lives in the particular era. Many feature a pivotal moment in the character's life, but others are just pure Slice of Life.