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Showing posts from July 15, 2012

Placing 'Australia' in fairy tales

At Brighton Historical Society (Bayside Art of Words Literary Festival)  today I began my talk about Olga Waller (Ernst) who was a resident of Brighton, with a brief exploration of early Australian fairytales. A small group of Australian writers realised the importance of setting narrative firmly in distinctly recognisable localities for Australian children. Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce, contemporaries of Ernst, chose a different genre. Of the total children’s books published between 1870 and Ernst's Fairytales of the Land of the Wattle only about a dozen were fairy tales. 
The fairies in Rosalie's Reward live in the rundown flower garden of a cottage near the Ballaraat goldfields and when the 'fairy godmother' appears it is in the form of an old (and rich) miner. J.R.Lockeyeare’s  Mr. Bunyip is a kind hearted chap giving some social and historical pointers to an eager Mary Somerville who has strayed from the path in a ‘Red Riding Hood like’ ramble. Charles Marson …