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About me

I am a primary school assistant principal and sessional  lecturer in the Department of Education, Faculty of Health, Arts and Design at Swinburne University of Technology.  My research interests are diverse and include the fields of Australian children’s literature and literacies in primary years education, STEM education and inclusive and differentiated curriculum. I have taught children at all levels, pre-school to secondary, as well as the specialist areas of physical education, art and information technology in various educational settings. I am currently teaching 'Ready to Teach' for 4th year pre-service teachers and mentoring graduate teachers in my current school.

 My PhD research examined the establishment of distinctive Australian environs in the fairy tales, philosophical essays and children’s songs of Olga Ernst (1888–1972). Applying a new historicist methodology to deconstruct the sociological and historical orientation of Ernst’s texts the interplay between social, political and cultural forces and her construct of national identity through landscape in her stories was demonstrated. The close analysis of Ernst’s works allowed a focus on the fashioning of her stories to reflect the cultural context of her early life, and a later shaping through education to create an Australian identity grounded in the environment. 

I have presented aspects of my doctoral research findings at the AFTS Conferences in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and pre-completion findings at Kassel University, Germany in 2010.  In November 2018 I will be presenting my research at the Sussex Folklore Society Centre
at the University of Chichester, UK.


Popular posts from this blog

Australian Christmas Carols

A phone interview with a Junior Red Cross member who was in Ernst's Red Cross Circle led me on another research track. She told me that Ernst's pride in Australia was obvious at Christmas time with the regular singing of Australian Christmas Carols. I was given two clues:  
a) written by a Melbourne man  
b) one carol was about 'Brolgas dancing'. 
I believe the lyrics they sang were those written by ABC staff writer John Wheeler to music by William James.
1. Out on the plains the brolgas are dancing
Lifting their feet like warhorses prancing
Up to the sun the woodlarks go winging
Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing
Orana! Orana! Orana to Christmas Day.
2. Down where the tree ferns grow by the river
There where the waters sparkle and quiver
Deep in the gullies bell-birds are chiming
Softly and sweetly their lyric notes rhyming
Orana! Orana! Orana to Christmas Day. 3. Friar birds sip the nectar of flowers Currawongs chant in wattle tree bowers
In the blue …

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.

Except from 'True to the last or Aunt Milly's Christmas Box' Chapter 2

A very early fairy tale based around the Blowhole at Kiama by F. S. Wilson (Frederick Sydney Wilson, 1830-1901) who was a journalist and poet who contributed pieces to various colonial publications until the mid-1870s when he joined the Anglican ministry later becoming Archdeacon of Bourke, New South Wales.
"To thee the love of women hath gone down. Dark roll thy tides o'er manhood's noble head, O'er youth's bright locks, and beauty's flowery crown;  Yet must thou hear a voice-Restore the dead !  Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee; Restore, restore the dead, thou Sea!" HEMANS
The sunlight glinted right joyously over the undulating line of western hills rilling in the background as you glanced from seaward over the quiet little town of Kiama. Here, the dusty red band of road leading inland, stretched abruptly from the foot of the town to the ridge of Pike's Hill, and then fell away quite as suddenly to the green mountain belted slopes and flats…