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Bunyips in early Australian fairy tales

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It has been suggested that the jokey humour of ‘Mr. Bunyip’ set the tone for the description of bunyips in later books.  To an eager Mary Somerville who has strayed from the path in a ‘Red Riding Hood like’ ramble Mr. Bunyip is not a monster who wants to eat her but is a kind hearted chap giving her some social and historical pointers. The Murray River and Melbourne contrast with the magic of the talking beast and references to the old country (England).
Mary has all the qualities needed to be the 'perfect' Colonial gal. She is a good scholar, winning school prizes, obeying her father, is trustworthy, neat, prayful and rises early. The disparity between her goodness with Mr. Bunyip’s admission of alcoholism and wife beating is thought provoking. Mr. Bunyip is forgiven by his wife for this lapse into the unacceptable practice of thrashing one’s wife as he was under the influence of the evil alcohol.   However, the fish in the river who become silly and meander stunned and dazed …

Placing 'Australia' in fairy tales

At Brighton Historical Society (Bayside Art of Words Literary Festival)  today I began my talk about Olga Waller (Ernst) who was a resident of Brighton, with a brief exploration of early Australian fairytales. A small group of Australian writers realised the importance of setting narrative firmly in distinctly recognisable localities for Australian children. Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce, contemporaries of Ernst, chose a different genre. Of the total children’s books published between 1870 and Ernst's Fairytales of the Land of the Wattle only about a dozen were fairy tales. 
The fairies in Rosalie's Reward live in the rundown flower garden of a cottage near the Ballaraat goldfields and when the 'fairy godmother' appears it is in the form of an old (and rich) miner. J.R.Lockeyeare’s  Mr. Bunyip is a kind hearted chap giving some social and historical pointers to an eager Mary Somerville who has strayed from the path in a ‘Red Riding Hood like’ ramble. Charles Marson …

Mr. Bunyip - an early Aussie children's book 'character'!

It has been suggested that the jokey humour of ‘Mr. Bunyip’ set the tone for the description of bunyips in later books.  To an eager Mary Somerville who has strayed from the path in a ‘Red Riding Hood like’ ramble Mr. Bunyip is not a monster who wants to eat her but is a kind hearted chap giving her some social and historical pointers. The Murray River and Melbourne contrast with the magic of the talking beast and references to the old country (England).
Mary has all the qualities needed to be the 'perfect' Colonial chick. She is a good scholar, winning school prizes, obeying her father, is trustworthy, neat, prayful and rises early. The disparity between her goodness with Mr. Bunyip’s admission of alcoholism and wife beating is thought provoking. Mr. Bunyip is forgiven by his wife for this lapse into the unacceptable practice of thrashing one’s wife as he was under the influence of the evil alcohol.   However, the fish in the river who become silly and meander stunned and daze…