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Wed by the Wayside

Alana Valentine

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Pantera Press
04 June 2024
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The fascinating true story of Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, Sydney – a quiet revolution in Australian history, from a side street of the red-light district.

Alana Valentine's mother, Janice, was married by the charismatic and controversial Methodist minister Ted Noffs at the Wayside Chapel in 1969. Not long after that, however, Janice died, leaving behind many unresolved questions for her family. Years later, Alana found a photo of her mother on her wedding day, and the longing to speak to her about that day – a day when her mother radiated hope for a new beginning – drove her to seek out and find others who had begun new chapters of their lives at Wayside, an institution that is etched into the folklore of Sydney and this country more generally.

As part of the research process for the play that was to become Wayside Bride, staged at Belvoir Theatre in 2022, Alana set up a website where people could upload stories and photos of their own marriages. This book contains many of the remarkable stories that didn't make their way into the play, stories that reshape our understanding of this country's social history, from a uniquely Australian institution where people have been welcomed for decades in spite of social taboos around race, class, religion and sexuality.

This book is also a deeply personal and emotional quest, as Alana searches for her own origin story and what really happened on that day in 1969. Wayside Bride is a celebratory ode to the different, the discarded, the broken and the brave who changed the world from Kings Cross, Australia.

'Compelling ... evocatively captures why the Wayside Chapel is the beating heart of our community.' – Indira Naidoo, Wayside Ambassador and broadcaster

'This mosaic of memoir, reportage and social history is – like the man and community at its centre – warm, spirited, inclusive and gently but unapologetically radical.' – Emily Maguire, author of Love Objects

'Alana Valentine's extraordinary body of work is animated by her big-hearted curiosity and wry intelligence. In Wed by the Wayside, the voices of Sydney's outliers and heretics join chorus with Alana, as her childhood returns via objects, personal catechisms, a tangy city street. Here is her dry-witted, chain-smoking mother. Here are the oil refinery towers and fragrant local vernacular of her childhood. Poignant and compassionate, this vivid portrait of Sydney's rulebreakers asks vital ethical questions about longing, belonging, belief and love.' – Mireille Juchau, author of The World Without Us
Imprint:   Pantera Press
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   394g
ISBN:   9780645818017
ISBN 10:   0645818011
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Alana Valentine is one of Australia's most acclaimed playwrights. She is the author of more than 20 published works, including two books of non-fiction. Alana's plays include Wayside Bride (Belvoir), Watershed: The Death of Dr Duncan (co-written with Christos Tsiolkas), Wadjung: Not the Past (Bangarra, co-written with Stephen Page) and Barbara and the Camp Dogs (Belvoir).

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