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Showing posts from December 22, 2013

A poetic connection with Portarlington

‘Say not – when yesterday you gave Your child to sleep beneath the wave, That could it lie beneath the sod ‘Twould nearer seem to you and God” Written for Mrs. Calhoun on the day of my departure from Portarlington.  With love from Olga Straubel’. 16/6/81.   Retired second-hand bookseller Ted showed me a poem by Olga Straubel in an old scrapbook he had acquired fifteen years early. Many of the pages are filled with symmetrically placed die-cut Victorian paper ornaments of flowers and animals printed in Germany. Occasionally there are pressed ferns. Ted contacted me, not because of the scrapbook, but because there are also two carefully handwritten poems that seem somewhat out of place. One is signed by Olga Straubel, an early teacher of Portarlington and Ernst's mother. A brief history of Olga Straubel Johanna Maria Olga Straubel (known as Olga all her life) was born in 1860 and lived in Richmond. Her family were staunch members of the Melbourne German Lutheran Community. Olga took up a p…

What's your favourite fairy tale?

Invited to join the conversation on fairy tales on Life Matters on Friday with Jack Zipes, eminent fairy tale researcher and Kate Forsyth, author of one of my favourite books, The Wild Girl, I was challenged to name by favourite Australian fairy tales by a Glen Iris Primary parent who had listened to the conversation on my return to school. Life Matters Of the classics I choose Cinderella, fascinated by the way inanimate objects such as pumpkins turn into golden coaches and the importance of finding some-one with the 'right fit' for a relationship (if only by the tangible and symbolic search via glass slipper).  My Australian choice is a small book of which there is only one known copy in the State Library, Victoria: Rosalie's Reward; or the fairy treasure. It has some of the elements of the Cinderella fairy tale: an impoverished child abandoned (through financial necessity) by her mother, a Prince who rescues her and a group of fairies who do the work of the traditional sin…