231 & 232
Original -- Jun 12/13, 1984
Showcase -- May 17/18, 2000
Joan Sydney (Matron Sloan)
Wendy Strehlow (Sister Judy Loveday)
Emily Nicol (Chloe Jones)
Christine Anketell (Emma Hutchison)
Athol Compton (Joe Fisher)
Graham Moore (Dennis Fisher)
Mark Spain (Robbie Quinn)
Kit Taylor (Farmer Gunn)
Dean Nottle (Bruce Hatfield)
Greg Peters (Gary)
Brendan: I want something about me that people will notice.
Molly: Well, put an egg on your head!
Molly dropped out of university. She went to uni in Adelaide (therefore either The University of Adelaide, University of South Australia or Flinders University)

Robbie wears a T-shirt that says "Mighty Quinn", the name of a Bob Dylan song that was covered by Manfred Mann in the early 80's

One of the books Dennis reads is the story of "Turramulli the Giant Quinkin"

Mark Spain reprises his guest role as Robbie Quinn. He first appeared in episodes 133-134

Plotlines, characters, dialogue quotes, hospital name, house image, show photos, & show-specific details JNP Productions. The wording and presentation of the information on this site and all of the ACP graphics 1998-2003 Kitty MacAlpine (unless otherwise noted).

Thanks to Lousie O. for the description and information for this episode.
"An Axe to Grind"

Brendan is late coming down for breakfast, since he took so long shaving. He is trying to grow a mustache (it's a bit sparse at the moment) but Molly hates the idea. She tells him that her friend from uni, Emma Hutchinson, is coming to stay with them for a few days. She's an anthropologist now, studying for her PhD. A young aboriginal boy washes himself in the dam. Robbie Quinn comes up and confronts him about being in 'his' fishing hole. The two boys start chatting. Robbie is taking a sickie from school to go fishing, and Dennis is in town with his father for the fruit-picking season. They are staying in a caravan by Gully road. At the hospital, Esme complains to Shirley and Terence about the fruit pickers lowering the standards of the district. She is especially upset that they don't all stay in the caravan park, but choose to camp by the road instead. Some of them are Aborigines, and Esme is sure they will cause problems. Vicky brings a kangaroo joey to Molly for her Farmland - its mother was run over by a car. She sees Brendan's mustache, but to Molly's disgust says she likes it. Emma arrives and is greeted enthusiastically by Molly. Vicky is less than impressed when Emma immediately asks about 'the local talent.'

Dennis takes Robbie back to his caravan to meet his father, Joe. Dennis asks his Dad if he has got a job with one of the farmers yet, but Joe says he likes to start slowly. When he leaves, Dennis tells Robbie that his father gets offered more work than he can handle. Robbie brags that his father is the same - he is a truck driver, with a big 24-wheeler, and is hardly ever home because he is so busy. He thinks it must be exciting to live in a caravan, not having to go to school. Dennis says that they have traveled all over the country since his mother died. Emma tells Molly that marriage seems to agree with her, but won't consider it for herself. She doesn't want anyone interfering with her freedom. Vicky drops by to invite Molly and Emma to the club for lunch. The conversation about marriage versus career starts up again. Emma believes it is impossible to combine both, even though Vicky insists that it can be done. Molly is oblivious to the tension between her two friends, and is glad they get on so well. Sargeant Gilroy visits Dennis at the caravan. His father got into a fight at the hotel, and Frank is keeping him at the station until he sobers up. Although Robbie tried to hide, Frank sees him and asks him to introduce Dennis to the school teacher. After Frank leaves, Robbie consoles Dennis, telling him that his father isn't so great either. He doesn't have a 24-wheeler - he drives a smaller truck for someone else. Brendan starts work but everyone pretends not to notice his mustache, much to his dismay. He tells Simon about Emma - "one of those rare combinations of brains and beauty." Judy is disgusted at their immature attitude (in her opinion, anyway). Brendan invites Simon and Vicky over to the farm for dinner.

Brendan comes home from work. Molly tells him that he won't get any kisses from herself or Chloe until he gets rid of "that furry slug on your top lip." Emma likes it, though. Molly tells him that a neighbouring farmer, Tom Gunn, came over. He is starting a dam tomorrow, and has promised Molly a whole paddock for her sunflowers. Brendan asks Emma about her research. Her thesis topic is "A study of the mythology and philosophy in the oral and visual art of the Bungadingi of northern New South Wales." She says Aboriginal mythology is her favourite area, but Brendan replies they are not his favourite patients, tending not to take medical advice. Emma says they don't trust white people, and he agrees that he can't really blame them for that. Joe makes dinner for himself and Dennis - tinned spaghetti and toast. Dennis tells him that he went to school, which he enjoyed. Joe insists that he doesn't have to go if he doesn't want to, despite what the police might say. Joe advises him to stick with his own people. He isn't happy to see that Dennis is reading a book about Aboriginal legends that he got from the school library. He says that he knows more about those things than any school teacher, but Dennis replies that he never talks about it. He storms out, yelling, "I don't even know about my own people!"

Simon tells Vicky about Brendan's invitation to dinner. She doesn't think they should go, since Emma has only just arrived, but he is keen to meet her. He puts on a huge, fake handlebar mustache to tease Brendan with. At dinner, Emma pays a lot of attention to Simon, which he laps up to Vicky's annoyance. He claims to have considered studying anthropology himself, but family tradition won out in the end. Tom Gunn starts bulldozing the site where his dam is to be built. Molly shows Brendan the paddock where her sunflower crop will be planted. She's done her research, and this time has picked something that is commercially viable. Robbie comes into the caravan in the morning to pick Dennis up for school. His arrival wakes Joe, who is not very welcoming. Dennis told the teacher that his father knows about traditional dances and local sacred places, and Joe is angry to hear that. Matron Sloan tells Terence that she has just about given up looking for a house. At Judy's prompting, Terence asks Brendan to look in on a patient he left in the examination room. Brendan fins the patient lying on a bed, completely covered by a sheet. When he removes it he sees that the 'patient' is a skeleton with an exceptionally large mustache. Later in the day, Joe is still in the caravan, drinking. He gets up and stumbles to the door. Tripping on the steps, he falls face-first to the ground and is knocked unconscious.

Joe is taken to hospital with a bad cut on the forehead. Frank found him and brought him in. Terence notices an ulcer on his leg that needs dressing, and tells Frank that he will have to be admitted to hospital for a couple of days. Brendan offers to take care of Dennis until his father is released. Emma goes for a walk, coming across Robbie and Dennis fishing. She says that Molly told her that Robbie is the local expert on the fishing hole, and decided to talk to him. She tells them that she is interested in Aboriginal artifacts - tools, weapons, and rocks with paintings or carvings on them. Robbie replies that he and Dennis can find lots of things like that, for a price. Matron Sloan and Dr. Elliott discuss Joe Fisher, and the health problems facing Aborigines. Under Robbie's instruction, Dennis paints a rock with water colours. Dennis thinks Robbie would do a better job, but he insists it has to be authentic!

Dennis visits his father in hospital. Joe tells him that as soon as he gets out of hospital they will leave town, since there's no work there anyway. He asks his son to do something for him. Terence meets Dennis in the hall, and trying to be friendly, says it was bad luck about the broken step. Dennis reacts angrily, insisting that it had nothing to do with bad luck - his dad is just a rotten old drunk. Shirley and Frank visit Simon and Vicky at the flat. While in the bathroom, Frank is bitten by Fatso, and reacts out of all proportion. Matron Sloan catches Joe drinking a bottle of beer and confiscates it. She tells him that the ulcer on his leg isn't healing because he drinks too much. Joe tries to leave, but she won't allow it until Terence gives his permission. Brendan shows Emma the rock painting that Robbie brought over. He's asking ten dollars for it. Emma is very amused, but after inspecting the reverse side becomes genuinely interested. She thinks it may be a grinding stone - a legitimate Aboriginal artefact!

Frank hauls a local teenager in to the police station. Gary stole a car to go joyriding and had a minor accident. Frank threatens to charge him and have him sent to reform school, but instead has arranged for him to work at the garage until the cost of the repairs are covered. Bob has returned from his trip to Walgett, and comes into the station to have his license renewed, two weeks late. When Frank sees that Bob's ute is parked in the "police vehicles only" spot, he insists that he move it, even though parking there has never been a problem in the past. Molly and Emma walk through the bush trying to find the spot that Robbie and Dennis got the stone from. Emma is excited at the prospect of finding a new aboriginal site - it would give her an instant PhD topic. The boys come down to the waterhole to fish, and she tells them that she's looking for more rocks like the first one. They say that their rock, and lots of others like it, came from the area where bulldozers are now moving in to excavate Tom Gunn's dam.

Emma tries to convince Tom to stop the bulldozer and build the dam somewhere else. He replies that this site, being on a natural watercourse, is the only place that is appropriate, and insists that he be allowed to continue. Since she can't make him see her point of view, she informs him that she will ring the National Parks and Wildlife department and contact the police. If he knowingly destroys what could be a significant archaeological site he faces a huge fine. At the police station, Emma tells Frank that he must stop Gunn from digging any further. He is reluctant to get involved, even after she explains the evidence, and comments that she is not a qualified archaeologist. She replies that National Parks and Wildlife have been contacted and are sending in one of their archaeologists to inspect the site. While she is still talking to him, Tom enters the station accompanied by Vicky. He tells Frank that he has been threatened with legal action, and asks what his rights are. Frank replies that he'd better wait for the government inspector, just in case, although it could turn out to be nothing. Emma doesn't think so, though. Simon has been waiting for Vicky at the club for quite a while. She comes in and as Tom goes to the bar, she explains the situation to Simon. Tom says that he is disappointed with Molly - she could have doubled her sunflower crop using the water from his dam, but instead let her friend stop it going ahead. Simon suggests that he would surely be compensated by the government for the loss of his land, but Tom asks how someone can put a value on water for the next 20 or 30 years. When Vicky tells him that he may never get use of the land back, he decides to go back to his farm and build the dam until he is arrested.

Vicky and Simon go out to the Jones' farm to tell Emma that Tom will carry on with the excavation. Emma can't believe his attitude towards the country's heritage, and doesn't have any understanding of the farmer's point of view. Vicky tries to explain how important dam building is for getting through droughts, and for a farmer's entire livelihood. A heated argument breaks out, and Molly is reluctant to take sides. Outside, Robbie and Dennis discuss what they've overheard, and decide that they must do something to save the site. Robbie suggests they steal the bulldozer and hide it in the bushes near the waterhole. Judy and Brendan are worried about Joe, who is very subdued. Brendan tells him about the site that Dennis and Robbie found, but he isn't interested in his people's heritage any more. Shirley and Frank arrive at the club for dinner. They were planning to go to Burrigan but at the last minute Frank decided he didn't want to go. While Frank is in the men's room, Bob asks Shirley is he is alright - he has noticed that he's been rather cranky lately. Shirley becomes even more worried when Frank orders a brandy and drinks it straight. The next morning Frank and Tom go to the Jones' and tell them that Tom's bulldozer has been stolen. Tom accuses Molly of taking it, but she thinks Emma must be responsible. To show that she is a real farmer, Molly tells Tom that she supports him, not Emma as everyone had expected.

At breakfast, Vicky complains to Simon about know-alls from the city who have no idea about the realities of country life. When he asks why the dam can't be moved a few hundred metres, she explains that due to the structure of the land, any other area would be extremely hard to excavate. Simon wonders why she is so negative towards Emma, then realises that she is jealous of the attention she gives to him. Emma confronts Molly about her change in attitude - she says she used to have ideals. Molly replies that she made a commitment to farming, and she has worked hard at it, to finally see some results. She makes an angry remark about stealing bulldozers, which Emma denies doing, but Molly still doesn't believe her. They argue in front of Robbie and Dennis, who finally admit to taking it. Robbie tells them that he lost control of it, and the bulldozer rolled into the waterhole. Esme tells Shirley that she asked Frank about the fruit pickers and he "literally" bit her head off. Shirley later tells Simon that she is worried about Frank, who hasn't been sleeping, but she doesn't think he would be willing to see a doctor. At the police station Frank tells Robbie and Dennis that the bulldozer has been pulled out of the water, but it will cost a lot of money to repair. He tells them that they will have to work for Tom Gunn every day after school for a month, although Dennis thinks he and his father may have moved on before then. Dr. Elliott tells Joe that he can go home in the afternoon, and asks him to drink less alcohol and improve his diet. He reminds him that he needs to be in good health to look after his son. Emma comes into his room and asks him to come out to the site, in case he remembers something from when he was growing up in the area. After some hesitation he agrees, but tells her not to expect any Dreamtime stories.

Molly is frustrated that she hasn't had any replies to her Farmland as yet. Brendan is happy that she seems to have gotten used to his mustache, but she gives him a dustpan and asks him to clean his face. At the club, Bob asks Tom about the dam. He says that the inspector found that the site was legitimate, and he will have to build the dam somewhere else. Bob agrees that the government shouldn't be allowed to interfere with someone's private land, and Tom says that he will be writing letters of complaint to the appropriate ministers. Esme suggests he secede and form his own country. Emma, Molly, Joe and the boys visit the aboriginal site. Joe tells them that he used to go there as a child, and explains the meaning of some rock arrangements and paintings. He says that a sacred place is further away downstream. He was taken away from his family before he became old enough to participate in sacred rituals. Matron Sloan receives a telephone call from her landlord. Hearing that she was looking to buy a house, he assumed that she would vacate her flat and promised it to relatives. She has been given notice to leave by the end of the month. Simon asks Terence to have a drink with him at the club after work - he wants to introduce him to Emma. To their surprise, Judy appears to be jealous of the attention she receives from the local men (they all think she's very good looking, but it must be an 80's thing). Tom Gunn drops in to see Molly and tells her about the letters that he plans to write. He wants her support, but she tells him that she has changed her mind since realising how much the site meant to people like Joe. She offers to let Tom use the water from her own dam until his compensation comes through.

Dennis tells Robbie that he and his father are moving on. Emma gave him some books on Aboriginal legends, and he gives one to Robbie. Joe packs a box of beer bottles into the car and they leave, Dennis somewhat reluctantly. At the club, Terence asks Emma if she'll be staying in town, but she has a lot of work to finish in the city. Esme asks if the public will be allowed to see the site, and Emma assures her that once it has been protected there will certainly be public access. Molly goes home, leaving Emma to celebrate. Frank visits Simon, who is cooking dinner. He seems nervous and tries to ask Simon about something, but is interrupted when Vicky comes home and leaves quickly. In the middle of the night Brendan is called to the hospital to assist on an emergency operation. Molly is reluctant to wake him up, but he hears the phone anyway. When Judy sees him she barely manages to stop herself from laughing, and he discovers in horror that Molly shaved off his mustache, but only got the job half done!


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