Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Australian Children’s Folklore Collection begun in the 1970s ...

This tale begins when I set off to see Riley McCarron's storytelling show,Sleeping Kingdom, Waking Beauty at the Butterfly Club in South Melbourne. Which I have to say is splendid!


Following the show I was snapped.  This might look like an ordinary group of women out for the night but I can tell you they're not!


Let's break it down, starting from the left ... there's my Storytelling Australia (Vic) friend JB Rowley. JB is a writer, storyteller and educator currently enjoying fabulous success in the e publishing world with her books Whisper My Secret and Trapped in Gondwana. You can read more about JB here.


Then there's me squeezed between JB and Dr June Factor, Dr Gwenda Davey and Judy McKinty.


Most storytellers will have dipped into the work of these women which focuses on childhood and children's culture encompassing: colloquial speech, games, rhymes, jokes and insults.


In 1999 Museum Victoria formally acquired from Dr June Factor the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. This enormous body of work contains, not only countless artifacts but over 10,000 card files of jokes, taunts, rhymes .... The handover was celebrated with a few speeches and a fabulous demonstration of hand-clapping and chanting girls who I had the pleasure of directing. Well.. not sure if 'directing' is the right word. I gave the girls pages of rhymes and chants from the collection and together we edited them down to a bracket that took about 8 minutes to perform. In front of a large crowd of children, teachers and Museum dignitaries, the girls gave a stella performance. Further work was undertaken with my colleague Bettina Nissen on the collection to create a soundscape for the Museum - you can read more about that here.


A quick search on the net and you will find much to interest you about the work of Dr June Factor, Dr Gwenda Davey and Judy McKinty. The titles Far out Brussel Sprout, Real Keen Baked Bean, the Dictionary of Australian Children's Words, Expressions and Games, may be familiar to you.


The Australian Children’s Folklore Collection (ACFC) was developed from research begun in the 1970s by Dr June Factor and Dr Gwenda Davey with assistance from volunteer curator Judy McKinty.


I highly recommend you explore this unique Australian collection with a visit to Museum Victoria website here


Jackie Kerin

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