Packing a Suitcase - Take a Journey of Healing

The play 'Stolen' examines one of the most important and complex issues for contemporary Australia, the heartrending stories of the Stolen Generation. The playwright, Jane Harrison, provides an opportunity to think about the powerful meanings of these experiences.

Sandy, the character who can never calm down because he's always on the run from the Welfare, carries his life in his suitcase. Sandy is a story teller and it is reasonable to presume that he carries some of his stories in the battered old case that he carries on to the stage.

VCE students at LaTrobe Secondary College, who are studying the play as a part of their study of English, are gathering together items to put into a suitcase as a part of their study of this play.

The first step is to acquire a suitcase. Responses to exercises are stored in this suitcase.

We suggest that students find older suitcases, or use small suitcase style lunch boxes. Of course they could use an old hatbox or even a Gladstone Bag. What will you use?

Suitcase Exercises related to the play 'Stolen'


Write a case history for one of the characters in Stolen. Prepare it to present to The Bringing Them Home report.

Make footprints for each of the characters in Stolen. Take off your shoes. Trace your foot in your visual journal. Inside the footprint, write about the footprints these characters have left behind. Make one for the playwright, Jane Harrison, and consider what footprint she is leaving, what she will be remembered for.

Suitcase Exercises for Personal Suitcases

Collect all sorts of flotsam and jetsam that has a story behind it to put in your suitcase. You may include certificates, pictures you drew when you were little, a favorite toy, photographs, school reports, cards, letters. One student, whose suitcase is photographed here, included his grandfather's shoe in his suitcase, along with a handkerchief tied in four corners to form a makeshift hat. These pieces enabled him to speak about his grandfather's origins and work when he arrived in Australia.

Make personal footprints . What will you be remembered for? Use footprints to set goals, to determine what you want to be remembered for.

Make Descansos. Construct a Hiss-tory snake or use the plains Indian War Bonnet to tell your story. Use this material to write a Suitcase tale - a piece of personal writing.