In Sydney in 1925, Caddie (Helen Morse) gets a job as a barmaid in an inner-city pub after walking out on an unfaithful husband. She has no money and two children to feed.
There are fights, foul language and men throwing up on the floor, and the working conditions are appalling. But she learns the trade, with help from fellow barmaid Josie (Jacki Weaver).
A brief affair with Ted, an SP bookmaker (Jack Thompson), ends badly, but she gets a job in a classier pub and falls in love with Peter (Takis Emmanuel), a charming and sophisticated Greek dress manufacturer, who’s also still married.
He is called back to his dying father in Greece just as the Depression hits, but he promises to return soon. Caddie is once again alone, without a job or the money to feed her children.
Her struggle continues. Caddie is befriended by friendly Rabbito Bill Sutton (Syd Heylen) who helps her and her children when she is suffering from malnutrition.
Working again, she takes on SP betting at a bar for Paddy Reilly (John Ewart), where she evades the police by keeping the betting slips up the leg of her bloomers.
With her own divorce pending, Caddie gets word from Peter in Greece that he is now divorced and wants her to join him in Athens. She realises that if she goes she could lose the children, and so she stays in Australia.
This Australian film was based on the real story of a young woman and her two children during the 1920s and 30s. It took her seven years to complete the book but the identity of the real ‘Caddie’ is still a closely guarded secret.
Rabbito Bill Sutton