Wed by the Wayside

Alana Valentine

Wed by the Wayside
Pantera Press
4 June 2024

Wed by the Wayside

Alana Valentine

Can marriage be an act of rebellion? This is the story of Wayside Chapel, a quiet revolution from a side street of Kings Cross, Sydney.

Alana Valentine’s mother, Janice, was remarried in 1969 at the Wayside Chapel, run by the charismatic and controversial minister Ted Noffs and his wife Margaret. Many years after her mother died, Alana found the wedding photo, and the longing to speak to her mother about that day drove Alana to seek out others who had begun new chapters of their lives at Wayside.

What Alana found was a remarkable group of people, whose stories are told here with kaleidoscopic effect. Brought together, these Wayside stories 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.

Told with grace and insight by one of Australia’s most acclaimed playwrights, Wed by the Wayside is a deeply personal quest, as Alana searches for her own origin story. It is also a celebratory ode to the different, the discarded, the broken and the brave who changed the world from Kings Cross.

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