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Showing posts from 2015

An Australian Fairy Tale (1896) By Carneil

Here's an Aussie fairy king with a slouch hat, who speaks slang, bets on the horse fly races, has subjects who get 'eucherd' and thinks moonlight is washed-out. 
Some children assert that there are no fairies in Australia. Wait until you read this story, and then you shall judge for yourself.  It was summer; there had been no rain for many months; hardly a blade of grass was to be seen; the little left was of the colour of stubble. The once full-flowing creek was a chain of water-holes, very muddy, and harrowed with hoof-prints. The cattle and horses made tracks through the puddles night and morning. These thirsty half-starved animals came long, weary marches over the plains to drink, plodding through the water to the other bank in their weary search for grass or anything to feed upon. The only water for miles around was the turbid and scanty supply in the creek-already fast drying up. Settlers brought their tanks on drays, sometimes a distance of ten or twelve miles, takin…

Thesis complete

I have been indebted in the preparation of this thesis to my supervisors Dr Pam Macintyre and Dr Marnee Watkins. Pam’s enthusiasm and passion for literature is contagious while her encouragement and timely suggestions were invaluable in inspiring and challenging me from the very early stages of this research. Marnee’s constructive comments, and her ability to ‘see’ my thesis from a visual perspective nourished an oasis of ideas and possibilities. Above all, Pam and Marnee provided me with enormous encouragement and support in a plethora of ways that has enriched my growth as a student and as a researcher. I thank them for their honesty, and friendship.
This thesis arose from a chance comment by Helen Dixon, Olga Ernst’s daughter in the staffroom at Mt. Dandenong Primary School. I am grateful to Helen and her extended family who generously shared their memories of Olga and their understanding of family history: Henry Dixon, Mary Newham, David Waller, Gwen Winter, Margaret Ford, Trevor M…

A new audience for 'old' Australian fairy tales?

The Internet offers collaborative possibilities as well as the ease of sharing. This blog, maintained as a writing tool for five years, has shared research that may not appear in my thesis. It also explored the personal narrative of a PhD journey as well as my relationship with Ernst’s work. Interested relatives and other acquaintances interstate and overseas discovered my blog through search engines. They have added to the research data available in State and Lutheran archival records and made personal papers and photographs available. Patterson and Lindberg (1991) claim that, ‘the private papers of authors and artists are important to the cause of learning’ (218) on two levels: one to allow insight and understanding about, the creative process of the author and at another as the ‘cultural heritage’ of how an author’s work has shaped or reflected for the reader, their environment. Relatives who have contacted me through my blog have offered further insight through their anecdotes, ph…

Australian fairy tales firmly fixed in the bush environment

In the bush near Olinda Creek Falls we are transported into the 1900s to recreate the atmosphere that inspired Ernst to place her fairies in the bush. This month the Women's History Network published a blog post from me that discussed the life and fairy tales of German national Beatrice Wilcken. Wilcken also set her stories in the bush in New South Wales.

Completion Seminar

What more can I say? This is the beginning of the end. Feeling nostalgic I thought I'd look back and read some of my blogs.... this one had a high number of hits. It was entitled How to do a PhD, work full-time, and still have a family life. Obviously it resonated with PhDers out there. After six years I can say my 'small chunks' plan worked. 
When I began my PhD my good friend R2 (that makes me R1 as in Scrabble) suggested twenty hours a week was the requirement for part-time PhD so that's what I do.  I kept a log for a while to make sure I was on track but as with all procrastination activities the excel spreadsheet eventually gave way to a similar time waster. Here's my grand plan. Not particularly innovative. Small chunks. Bit by bit. Nibble away. Concentrated effort at times of low work pressure; full-time for 50% of holidays and whatever-whenever for the rest. At least 4-5 hours on the weekend if full-time work is full-on and nothing can happen during the week…

Larrikins, bush tales and other great Australian stories

I have just finished Graham Seal's new book Larrikins, bush tales and other great Australian stories. A comfortable 'read' after thesis tomes, full of interesting yarns, tall tales and intriguing details that come to life in a fascinating 'storyscape'. I'll admit I meandered through it with a coffee in hand, choosing chapters at will. I began with the chapter 'After the Kelly's' as it connected me to my own family story of my great grandmother who was given a lift to school by Ned himself. Blog Link to story How many stories such as this are passed down through the generations and beg to be told. Seal has rescued some of them from obscurity.
Seal's comments on Olga Ernst in this book made a late entry into my thesis. His labelling of Australian fairies as 'fairies in the paddock' had a resonance as I agreed that our fairies liked to live on the fringes of the towns, in the paddocks and the surrounding bush not far from human habitation. I…