Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2012

A look at how Australian fairytales were received contemporaneously

The small number of authors who decided to create an 'Australian fairyland' before Ernst wrote her book were well received by reviewers who measured the fairytales against their European counterparts and found them suitable for children. 
One reviewer even suggested that Australia offered a better environment for European fairies who had migrated for a better life. ‘It may be mentioned that it has transpired that the fairies were so much disturbed, during the last 50 years, by iron railways and ploughing in the Old Country that they left it for Australia, and it is told in the most interesting and simple language how much good they did in this country.’ 
Connecting the introduction of fairy folk into Australia as almost as unavoidable as was the rabbit and the sparrow but with pleasant consequences, a reviewer explains, ‘Though injudicious acclimatisation, as of the rabbit and of the sparrow, has its dangers, the introduction of the elves and gnomes of old-world legend into Aust…

The Stranger

Working my way through timetables and calendars for the term, a phonecall from Joe led to an interesting conversation about the sea wall of demolished Pentridge goal bluestone walls that had been burial markers. Helen's uncle believed he'd seen Ned Kelly's marker on a walk but he couldn't find it again to show her. 
THE STRANGER  My great grandmother, Harriet Spear, died when I was ten years old but I have fond memories of her sitting in front of our gas fire and telling 'family stories'.  She was very fond of saying 'There's bad in the best of us and good in the worst of us', and would always start my favorite story in this way. The track was rough and uneven.  My great-grandmother in her schoolday dress, curly, unruly hair disciplined into neat, conforming plaits plodded on as her brothers walked impatiently ahead.   It took an hour to make the four mile walk from Sailor Falls to the school house.  Perhaps daydreaming, she allowed herself to fall beh…

More mysteries than solutions at the PROV

Spent the day at the Public Records Office, Victoria with Susan finding more to intrigue. Found Julius Theodor Ernst  (Olga's father) on the Colony of Victoria Pharmaceutical Registers from 1884-1888 also confirming he was educated at the University Leipzig.  His brother Martin appears as an apprentice registered in 1890.

We were unable to find Julius in the large photographic record of those who worked at the German Court in the Melbourne International Exhibition 1888 (as Helen suggested he had) . He was reported to be a 'judge'. Did find 'C.Heyne' (photo 99) under the title 'Assistants'. Is he related to the Heynes of Adelaide? Apparently not I have on the authority of a descendant!

Melbourne in Autumn

As a reward and as a 'physical' full stop to the draft of chapter 3, which I worked hard to complete so that Pam could have it for inflight reading, the Librarian and I spent a couple of nights being tourists in Melbourne. I love Melbourne in autumn, crunchy leaves underfoot, 28 degrees one day, soft shell jacket needed the next and ... trams. Of course the eclectic mix of buildings is an easy partnership - original buildings proudly displaying their construction dates (1888, 1889, 1913 ) nestled between intriguing monoliths of concrete and steel. Ernst's life one building, mine the next. Eavesdropping I hear a tourist proclaiming that Fed Square had just been rated the 8th ugliest building in the world - I disagree.  Like a meandering river it flows down to Flinders Street Station where the 1910 building and its much loved clocks stand as a guardian of the city.