It is May 1942.
The Japanese are striking out against the Allied Forces on land, sea and air, the defense of Port Morseby on the Kokoda Track is about to begin, the declared pacifist, John Curtin, is Prime Minister of Australia and a murderer stalks the Melbourne blackouts, killing women at random.
Produced by Incognita Enterprises, 'Till The Boys Come Home, originally staged as a theatrical play, but now being brought to the screen, tells the individual stories of thirteen different people, caught up in the chaos and uncertainty that was World War Two. It specifically focuses on the Home Front in Melbourne during May of 1942 - a time of heightened fear and anxiety for all Australians, but particularly Melbournians.
Not only were the Japanese engaged in a large sea and air battle off the coast of Queensland with the Allied Forces, later to become known as the Battle of the Coral Sea, bringing with them the threat of invasion which affected the whole country, but in the city of Melbourne, a murderer was at large, assaulting and strangling women under cover of the blackouts. This murder spree, the first of its kind in 20th Century Australia, would be labelled as “The Brown Out Murders” by the popular press.
At a time when women were given unprecedented freedom - able to join the military via the women’s auxiliary forces, live away from home without being married, go out to work every day, socialize unchaperoned at night, be independent and begin to establish an equal footing with the men - they were also being hunted by not just the prejudices of the past, but also by a man who was killing at random. Fear of the Japanese was heightened by fear of one of their own.
Over sixty years after these events took place, this series is a celebration of an amazing generation of women - our mothers, aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers - who kept the home fires burning and saw Australia through one of the darkest times of it's young European history.
Photo: Nadine Garner as "Emily" with Sally McLean as "Elsie" from the series 'Till The Boys Come Home. Photo by Shaun Herbertson.