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Early Australian Fairy Tales excerpts as presented at The Australian Fairy Tales Society Conference

AND why not fairies in Australia? Why should not our innumerable ferny glades, romantic valleys, mountainous passes, and lonesome glens, be peopled with fays and elves? Why should not Robin Goodfellow be found sitting jauntily astride the gorgeous waratah, or chasing the laughing jackass from its favourite bough? But all in good time. In the generations yet to come, unless the State schools make the little ones too learned, we shall have Australian fairy tales, stories in which goblin, kangaroos and emus, graceful sprites, and bearded magicians, will be found on every Fairyland in Australia. (1880, December 18, Illustrated Sydney News and New South Wales Agriculturalist and Grazier, p. 3)
Excerpts presented at The Australian Fairy Tales Society Conference, 2016
KING DUNCE. Australian Fairy Tales by Atha Westbury https://archive.org/details/australianfairyt00westiala Noel Biffin, son of a tinsmith, wants to be a king, and neglects his schoolwork but is chosen to be a king by the fairy Sir…

Pseudonyms and Apologia

While reviewers differentiated between the worth of the books based on gender expectations, women writers also approached their audiences differently to men modifying their approach to meet critical reception. These women suggest that they write to amuse and entertain, and as a genteel leisure time pursuit. Apologia in the Preface or Note to the Reader written, perhaps to pre-empt some of the criticism they believed may be levelled at them.Gumsucker (Sarah Roland) begins Rosalie’s Reward or The Fairy Treasure by saying demurely: Should this story be favourable (sic) received by the little folks for whom it is written, it is the Author’s intention to publish a series of Tales, so that the merry children of the fair South may revel in dreams of their own Fairy Lore.Wilcken (1891) also revealed that it was only that under pressure from friends that she printed her stories and that ‘it seemed ungracious to refuse such a request’. (Preface)
Another way of avoiding criticism was to use a pseu…

An Australian Prince

The 'princes' of Australian fairytales were often miners and stockmen glorifying the bushman character. Reflecting the appeal and allure of the outback male we find that in Australian Fairytales (Frank Atha Westbury, 1897:35) the 'prince' is a shy youth called Nugget with an appealing bush toughness and lack of social graces. He rescues a princess whose hand in marriage is well above his station and is quite 'smitten.'                                                                            'It was amusing to see the attention the Nugget bestowed upon the fair young creature by his side, and to note the tell-tale blushes which ever and anon suffused her face as their eyes or their hands chanced to meet.' This princess is transported home, not on a magic carpet or coach but on a means of transport common in the colonies - a donkey! Rather than castles, Australian palaces were more likely to be a mansion in Toorak (in Melbourne) or Valcluse (Sydney) -  the…