Skip to main content

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

Early Australian fairy tales digitized in TROVE

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 Tale Conference 2018: Gardens of Good and Evil

A garden always has a point. ―  Elizabeth Hoyt (The Raven Prince)  The garden influences the type of fairy tales, folk tales, myths that are seeded in it.

What is the point of the garden, the bush, the landscape in folktales? With my colleagues, and friends, Christine, Phillippa we took our audience down a wonderland ‘rabbit hole’ as we explored the impact of transplanting traditional tales into new natural environments: the garden, the bush, the island. With the aid of illustrations we presented a dialogue (trialogue?) that challenged and questioned if, how and why, various natural settings have impacted on the mannerisms, behaviours and appearance of characters in retold/ adapted fairy tales and mythologies.  ·What is an ‘authentic' fairy garden? ·Does the oral tradition of fairy tale gardens and forests preclude all other variations? ·How do socio-cultural factors impact on the portrayal of the natural setting?
Reilly McCarron's definition of fairy tales is a worthy starting poin…