One hundred miles inland of Perth, York served as the gateway for inland settlement from 1830. It is now haunted. The 1895 hospital has a reputation for spectral events, while York was one of many centres of conflict between white settlers and Indigenous Noongar. In 1837, for example, journalistsin The Perth Gazette and The Swan River Guardianapplauded the “activity and zeal” applied in “punishing the natives” though “none had previously been tried” and “The innocent has suffered for the guilty, the defenceless woman and helpless child”.

York Black Swan State Theatre Company York

Playwrights Ian Michael and Chris Isaacs have layered York’s dark histories together, using the hospital as the setting for three acts set in ever receding periods. These are today, the 1980s, immediately after World War One, and the killing times of early white settlement. The script provides resonances and links between these, with lines or phrases from one act echoing and acquiring further resonance as we go back in time.

Each act...