Cast of Characters


Super Characters

  • The Spirit of Progress (your daring narrator), aka the Blayney kid, aka the Ferret, Railwayman, the Cartographer (my 1959 identity), and the Outlaw (the less said the better).
  • Flame Boy, aka Keith Aloysius Gonzaga Kavanagh, aka the Torch. A kid who need's watching.
  • Wonder Woman, aka Mrs Palmer. James’s mother. A dynamite dame, especially in a pair of bathers. (See 'The Blayney Scale of Beautiful Girls and Ladies').


Non-super Characters

Members of my family

  • Dad. A drinker, not a talker.
  • Mum. She know twenty different ways to laugh without meaning it. (That is a very valuable skill) 
  • Granddad. He knows everyone and everthing. Basically, if something falls off the back of a truck, he's there.
  • Aunty Betty. The woman suspected of starting World War 2.
  • Brendan, my idiot cousin. 
  • Rex, a kid from the bush, also a cousin of my idiot cousin (see My Family Tree).
  • Nanna Blayney, aka the Queen of Richmond. Nanna has two pretend husbands, and knows everything about everyone. Mum hates her; she thinks she is a bad influence, but I think it's about the husband thing. Everyone knows that if Nanna wanted a third husband she'd only have to snap her fingers (that's what Barney says). I'd like to see that. 
  • Uncle Mick, one of Nanna Blayney's pretend husbands, and a professonal punter.
  • Uncle Seb, the other one of Nanna Blayney's pretend husbands, and the pianist in the Hot Potatoes Jazz Band. He is very cool, despite being old.
  • Uncle Seamus. A poet, and the family pest. I'm not sure which side he belongs to. One sniff of the grog and he's legless.


Non-family characters

  • Aunty Daphne. Flame Boy's aunty from Wodonga, and a war hero. Normally, I wouldn't even mention some other kid's aunty, but she stayed at our new home up the hill for a few months, and got involved in a lot of stuff. I like her, though she talks very loudly. She (sort of) fell in love with Uncle Seamus. Apart from that she seemed sane.
  • Aunty Queenie. Granddad's secret best friend, over in South Melbourne. He says he's known her since he was a kid. Once, they even went to America together. Aunty Queenie is stinking rich. Her son is Murphy the cop (don’t ask).
  • Barbara. Veronic Palmer's best friend. James can't keep his eyes off her. (See 'The Blayney Scale of Beautiful Girls and Ladies')
  • Barney, aka Blarney Barnie. Real name: Barnabus Flanagan. Granddad's offsider and general business assistant. Mainly, he helps Granddad collect money from people who have a tendency to forget. Barney has been arrested so many times they have a special cell in the North Melbourne footy team's colours for him the local lock-up. That's what I heard. I once heard Arthur Minto (Granddad's brief) tell Granddad that Barney will never be found guilty of an indictable offence, because it would be impossible to find an impartial jury. He is one of my best friends.
  • Brother Ignatius. A really bad bastard.
  • Charles Dixon, son of Mrs Dixon, the stand-in Darrod's Wheel lady. Charles is one of my best friends, bester than Douggie Quirk or Johnno Johnson. Though he is a fellow Commando, he is not your violent kind of kid, preferring to talk about club rules and what he calls 'procedures'. For that reason, and because our HQ was in his garage, we made him Sergeant.
  • Dave Ryrie. Ryrie's Boxing Gym. One of Granddad's hangouts. 
  • Dex Patterson, aka Sexy Dexy. The sax player in the Hot Potatoes Jazz Band. He has a face like a saxophone. 
  • Douggie Quirk. One of my best friends, and a fellow club member. His sister can turn her eyelids inside out.
  • Father Burke. One of the Blessed Sacrament fathers at St Frank's in the city. I had a run-in with him. I told Granddad. He'll keep.
  • Father Hagen. The PP down at St Felix's. 
  • Father Jackman. The new curate at St Dom's, and a real game little bugger. 
  • Father O'Connor. The curate at St Felix's. 
  • Fergus Kavanagh, aka the Torch (back in the old days). Well-known prison and loony bin escapee, and father of Flame Boy. Mr K's ambition has for a long time been to leave Australia, which was, I thought, one of his better ideas.
  • Francesca De Coney. Johnny's and Mona's mum. She owes Granddad a favour. So does everyone else in Richmond.
  • Gary Turner, aka Chain (because he carries a chain around in his glovebox, in case of trouble). He is a bodgie, which means he has a car, good clothes, and doesn't put up with any bullshit. I like him, though I'm apparently the only person in Richmond who does. 
  • James Palmer, son of Wonder Woman and brother of Veronica. One of my newer best friends, whom I met only late last year. James did not even know what a plainclothes cop was until I educated him. Talk about laugh. 
  • Jimmy Carson. The kid who used to live across the road from me. Me and Tom used to blame him for everything. Barney says you have to blame someone, after all. 
  • Johnno Johnson. Another one of my oldest friends, who lives down in Douggie Quirk's street. His sister got pregnant. I don't think that was supposed to happen. But there you are. 
  • Josephine Thompson. I am (sort of) in love with her, but she doesn't know it. It turns out she is a friend of my new (and first) girlfriend, Mona De Coney. Not the best state of affairs. (See 'The Blayney Scale of Beautiful Girls and Ladies')
  • Lettuce Gettis. A friend of Johnno Johnson's. He has only one ear, and is therefore very mysterious. He has a fondness for coconut ice. 
  • Lucky Martello. Mona's aunty. He real name is Luca followed by about twenty names. She is incredibly gorgeous, collects comics, and drives an MG. Granddad doesn't seem to like her, but I'm prepared to keep an open mind. There's only room for two in her car, so Mona has to sit on top of me. Sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth.
  • Luigi Esposito. One of my best friends. He has about two hundred brothers and sisters. He is from Roma (that's in Italy).
  • Mario Camponi, aka Sidewinder. The captain of the Cobras, to which Raffi and I belong. 
  • Matthew Foster. A pest. We let him into the Commandos, and look what happened. I like his mum, but.
  • Mona De Coney. My girlfriend. She sticks out in places. I was her sweetheart until she promoted me after I stared at Josephine Thompson during Mass. Mona and I do a lot pashing. It's expected. (See ‘The Blayney Scale of Beautiful Girls and Ladies') 
  • Mother Sylvester. A nun with a textbook right cross.
  • Mr & Mrs Sanderson. My only friends who are grown-ups, apart from Barney (whom they take a dim view of). Mrs S is a special copper of some kind, and Mrs S is very lollopy and thinks I am the bee's knees. It's a long story.
  • Mrs Carruthers. One of Mum's friends. Mrs C is keen on Granddad. Some of us have got it, and some of us don't. He's got it.
  • Mr & Mrs Campone. Sidewinder's and Tina's parents. They are very noisy.  
  • Mr & Mrs Foster. Matthew Bloody Foster's parents. They are really nice people, so they must hate living with MBF. Mr F is a baked bean tester. 
  • Mr Brown De Soto. Me and Peanut Hobson blew up his letter box. You had to be there.
  • Mrs Bentley. Dad's girlfriend. Mum has never met her, which is why Mrs B is still alive and kicking.
  • Mrs Hutchinson. The well-known witch. One of Mum's mates.
  • Mrs Kavanagh. Flame Boy's mother. A blind lady and local alky. She and Mum were friends during the war. Mum was blotto when she told me that.
  • Mrs Morgan, aka Aunty Vera. Granddad's next door neighbour and best friend since Grandma Taggerty died a few years ago. She has everything electrical you can think of. 
  • Mrs Radion. Raffi's mother. I like her a lot, and she has finally gotten over her hatred of me, which only lasted until she got to know me, which is normal down our way. 
  • Oby. Brien O'Brien. The school bully. 
  • Peanut Hobson. My across-the-road best friend from my old street. Peanut and me have known each other since we were babies. His mother does not trust me, but. That's okay, because I wouldn't either. 
  • Raffi Radion. My new best friend, from down in Fawkner Street. He looks so much like me that some people think he's Tom (but only when they're on the grog).
  • The Crawleys. The Sandersons' next door neighbour and two very creepy old people. 
  • Tina Camponi. Sidewinder's sister and Raffi's girlfriend. (See 'The Blayney Scale of Beautiful Girls and Ladies')
  • Topsy Turvey. The singer in the Hot Potatoes Jazz Band.
  • Veronica Palmer. James's sister. (See 'The Blayney Scale of Beautiful Girls and Ladies')
  • Victor Bobrov. A Russian troublemaker. 
  • Weedo Huxtable. A blind guy at the blind people's home in Prahran. He has not been blind very long, only since he got his head smashed in at work. They make him do horrible work and wear horrible socks. I want to save him, but what can I do?


A few of the people who get a guernsey, but don't say much

Members of my family

  • Abbotford the cat. He is browned off with life in general, and I don't blame him.
  • Biscuit the dog (dead). Shot by Murphy the copper, who still has to get his comeuppance.
  • Nanna Taggerty (also dead). She was always as sick as a seagull. Her eyes were lavender.
  • Tom. My twin brother. At least he was. 
  • Zac the Wonder Dog. My dog. A black Lab; the the replacement for Biscuit the Wonder Dog.


 Non-family characters

  • Cheeps Rafferty. Mrs Morgan's budgie and a pain in the bum.
  • Chrissie. Raffie's cousin. I'm only mentioning her name because Raffi said she died of leukemia, and he felt bad about it. 
  • Dr Dunnett. Our doctor. I hate him and he hates me. One-all. 
  • Father Green. An old codger who carked it during the heat wave. I was right there when it happened. 
  • Judy Pickles. The girl next door. She kissed me once. Now you know.
  • Leo Thompson. Captain of the Destroyers club. Also, brother of Josephine, after whom I named the island in the river. If Leo knew he would kill me.
  • Lex Pickles. Judy's brother. He said if I kissed him he would give me his watercolour set. It was just the once.
  • Monty. Mrs Bentley's pet galah. He bites.
  • Mr (Ken) Palmer. James's father, and a bad bastard, too.
  • Mrs Dixon. Charles's mother, who looks like a film star. She likes a snifter or two.
  • Sister Bernadette. A nun who shot through. Good on her.
  • The Larsons. Old friends of the Sandersons, long since shot through. 


There are a few others, mainly nuns and brothers, but they don't deserve a mention.



Copyright ©  Peter Twohig. All rights reserved.