Delivered as part of the LAMP Residential IV Milson Island Jul 06

Created by  Gary Hayes & Jackie Turnure © 2006 other title – “Voices from the Past”


This 1.5 hour exercise is both an ice breaker and an introduction to the Island’s history. The game is designed to immediately get the group thinking about the user journey, stories in games, pitching dramatically, and how to collaborate. Building on historical events, the game is made up of a combination of puzzles, riddles, physical tasks, online research and theatrical presentation. Four teams of 6 will solve, research and create a five minute story that they will perform to the group.

User Journey:

Step 1 – Intro and Teams

After the initial introduction and presentations, Jackie introduces the exercise, explaining that this Island has a rich history and today’s exercise will allow the Island to introduce itself. Each participant will then be given a random envelope that contains four jigsaw puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces make up part of one of four puzzles, each with a different image (Polar Bear, Zebra, Koala and Lion).The teams are also told that they must incorporate this animal in their final story (just before they present).

The participant must find the other puzzle piece holders and join up with them. They are then directed to the outside tables (marked with the corresponding puzzle icon) where they assemble their puzzles.

Step 2 – Location Riddle

Each of the four teams will work together to put their puzzle together and then must work out how to turn it over so they can read the riddle on the back. Once they do they read a cryptic poem/riddle that reveals there is a map under the table, a clue that once solved corresponds to one of four locations on the map (wharf, mental asylum, oval, campground) The teams are then directed to split into pairs and each pair must find one of three story “seeds” hidden in their location at one of the three icons.

For example, the ferry wharf team: Well done, a difficult test Now on to the next stage of this quest. A map you will find beneath this table On it, four places and only one you must travel. Where to go? What to do? Heres the clue HER WRY RAFF Once there in a box coloured red Will be three challenges for body and head Break into twos, find fragments of story Come back, browse the web, tell us all your journey

The four location anagrams are: GO RUMP DANCING – camping ground PORK LAVA – oval park HER WRY RAFF – Ferry Wharf MY LLAMA TUNES – Mental Asylum

Step 3 – Story Seed

Each pair goes to one of four locations where they find a red box with instructions inside it. They must accomplish a physical task to get the story seed and at the bottom of each story seed is part of a url that once put together reveals a web address. Following are the 12 locations, physical challenges and story seeds.


1. “Message in a Bottle” The captain of the HMAS Parramatta has written a note and stuck it in a bottle. It’s bobbing offshore. The pair is given a Captain’s bag that has fishing wire, a stick, hooks etc etc to use to get the bottle.

Red Box Direction: Floating in the water is a message in a bottle. Two of you use this fishing bag to retrieve the message.

Story Fragment: “June 9, 1934. Thick fog. At 21:38 the HMAS Parramatta struck the mudflat opposite Milson’s Island and now she’s sinking. The radio is dead and the flares won’t be seen in this weather. After a proud history serving in the Dardanelles and PNG now it comes to this. Please send help. Captain Robert Squires.”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Note, jar, fishing wire, fishing net, bag, stick, etc.

2. “Buried Treasure” A pirate’s diary entry is buried under the sand. The pair is given a pirate’s map that tells them 4 steps north turn etc etc to reveal the location where to dig.

Red Box Direction: Here is a pirate’s map. Two of you follow the steps to retrieve a buried message.

Story Fragment: “I ain’t seen none of the gold that was sposed to be buried in this god forsaken place but I have seen a lot of bones. I thinks this was a burial ground for the original inhabitants and their spirits still walk the island. They are not happy to be disturbed so let this be a warning to ye.”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Pirate map, box, diary entry

3. “Out of the Frying Pan…” A prisoner tried to escape by leaping off the barge as he was being transported to the island. Hidden on the wharf is an eyewitness account of what happened to the prisoner (a gruesome shark attack). The pair must locate the note hidden under the wharf railing (tbc).

Red Box Direction: A tragedy occurred here. Two of you search the wharf for an eyewitness account.

Story Fragment: “I, John McIntyre, do solemnly swear that I witnessed Albert Sneed jump off the arrivals barge into the water off Milsons Island. He was a strong swimmer but before he had swum ten yards a massive shark rose up and bit him in two. The water all around turned red, and I lost my stomach. The guards looked mighty queasy too and warned all us other prisoners to watch our step. Feb 14, 1973. ”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Note, drawing pins


1. “A Crazed Poet” A nurse has been murdered by a crazed inmate who declared his undying love to her in a poem that he wrote on a piece of wood and threw out the window. The pair must locate the piece of wood/poem on the outskirts of the asylum.

Red Box Direction: A spurned lover murdered the object of his desires. Two of you search the perimeter of the building for a message he wrote to her on a piece of wood.

Story Fragment: “I hate this place – only you make it bearable, my love. The way you look at me, touch me, I know you feel it too. My desire for you burns never brighter than now. I will have you, sweet Nurse Lorraine, for our destinies are forged in a holy smelter and if I cannot have you then no-one will!”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Piece of wood

2. “Home Sweet Home” A prisoner has left a note to his brother hidden in the caves where he used to sleep near the prison. The pair must find it wedged between two rocks in the cave.

Red Box Direction: Prisoners used to sleep in the nearby caves. Two of you search the caves for a hidden letter.

Story Fragment: “Dear Gary, If you get this then Stevo has done his job and I’m on the other side. I paid him the last of the hash money and he’s promised me a ticket out. He’s a good guy – we’ve been hanging out, sleeping in the caves. The dorms are just too bloody noisy. You know how I am with my sleep. Anyhoo, I’ll be at our spot at 8:00pm on Sunday night. Don’t be late! Tell Mum I’ll see her soon, BH”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Note

3. “Lonely at the Top” A doctor working at the rehabilitation hospital stuck a message into a tree before he hung himself. The pair must work out how to get it down using some rope and branches.

Red Box Direction: The rehab hospital housed many sad people. Two of you search the tree for why a body was found hanging.

Story Fragment: “Mum, I’m so sorry. I just can’t do it anymore. The soldiers are suffering and there’s nothing I can do for them. They look at me with hope in their eyes but I can’t perform miracles. I wish I still had my faith, but I don’t. I’m sorry if this pains you. Your loving son, Jack. Dec 21, 1914.”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Note, branch/pole.


1. “Road to Ruin” A prisoner grafitti’d a message on a rock to his sweetheart whilst building the road of rubbish. The pair must locate the rock which is facing the other way, through a clue on the map (near a large tree etc).

Red Box Direction: Two of you look for a large rock on the rubbish road and you will find a prisoner’s message to his sweetheart.

Story Fragment: “Janine – Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, if I get ever get out, I will come and find you. Bitch. How could you do that to me?”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Rock carved with message

2. “BBQ Mary” A mental asylum patient rumoured to be a witch used to dance around the rubbish fires on the oval. She burned to death when she “accidentally” fell in, but not before burying a chant she used to sing. The pair must locate the chant under one of the three rubbish piles. It is black.

Red Box Direction: Two of you look for a small box under the rubbish piles. It holds the chant of a mental asylum patient accused of being a witch. She dies when she “accidentally” burned to death. Story Fragment: “Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in black black black with silver buttons buttons buttons all down her back back back She asked her mother mother mother for fifty cents cents cents to see an elephant elephant elephant jump over the fence fence fence He jumped so high high high he reached the sky sky sky and didn’t come back back back til the fourth of July ly ly” Additional: url fragment Props Needed: Small box, chant

3. “Breathless” A juvenile delinquent wrote a plea for his release and floated it up high in a balloon which got caught in what is now the flying fox. One of the pair must scale the pole, untangle the balloon and zoom down the flying fox.

Red Box Direction: A juvenile delinquent desperate to get away used a balloon to get his message out. It never made it as it got caught in the flying fox. Two of you retrieve the letter.

Story Fragment: “Uncle J, you have to get me out of here. I’m going mad. Mum and Dad won’t talk to me no more. You gotta tell them I won’t do anything bad again. I’ll go straight, I’ll get a job. I’d even go back to school. I can’t stay here, that’s all I know. I’ll die if I stay here! You gotta help me! Matt.

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Note, balloon.


1. “Mixy the rabbit” A scientist wrote a report on the myxomatosis testing they were doing on the island but the wind scattered the pages across the campground. The pair must find the pieces and put them together.

Red Box Direction: The island was once a test ground for animal disease. Two of you find the scientists report and discover what the disease was. Story Fragment: “It is a dreadful disease that causes immense suffering: affected rabbits can take a fortnight to die and treatment is usually futile, which is why euthanasia is usually recommended. Classic myxomatosis starts with runny eyes and in the very early stages can be confused with other causes of conjunctivitis but in addition, the genitals are also swollen. It rapidly progresses to a severe conjunctivitis which causes blindness and is accompanied by swelling of the head and genital region, plus lumps on the body. Thick pus discharges from the nose and swollen eyes.” Additional: url fragment Props Needed: Scattered notes.

2. “Footy Fever” The prisoner footy team that got to the finals used to train at the camp ground. One of the footy players wrote the final score on an old training shirt. The pair must find the shirt and fill in the missing letters so that it makes sense.

Red Box Direction: A football team made up of prisoners played in the Central Coast Group 12 competition. Two of you find one of the teams’ discarded shirts to see what they won.

Story Fragment: “Milson’s Island Prisoners vs Gosford Eagles. Score: 35 – 28. Second Place Overall. Best and Fairest Award!”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Shirt.

3. “Pet Cemetary” A nurse from the mental asylum buried her pet dog in the campground with a small cross and a letter to her dog hidden behind it. The pair must find the grave and recover the letter, using clues on the map.

Red Box Direction: A nurse from the asylum buried her dog in the here. Two of you look for the blue cross to find her message to her pet.

Story Fragment: “Jethro, you were the best friend I ever had. I will treasure our time together and come here every day to see you. I don’t know how I’m going to survive here without you. You were the only sane one here. But don’t worry, I will never love another. Never! Jess.”

Additional: url fragment

Props Needed: Cross, letter, drawing pins.

Step 4 – Story Research

Once the pairs have their story seed they can go to the computer where they combine the url and type it in. They are sent to one of four web pages that contains an obscure image. On the image is a direction to use the image and then combine it with the rest of the six person group to present a five minute story performance. Part of the challenge will be creating the story bridges between their different story seeds.

Step 5 – Story Performance

Each of the four teams creates and presents a five minute story performance (story, scene, poem, song, etc etc), with all members of the group playing some part. Group critiques and discusses.