pic: Louisa John-Krol and Anne E Stewart
A number of Vic Storytellers gathered at the Trades Hall Bella Union Bar for an event to celebrate the publication of Griffith REVIEW 42, Once Upon a Time in OZ.
The panel of writers was asked to ponder the question: Is there any Australian fairy tale tradition?
I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion and was glad I made the trip into the city however I was disappointed that the panel didn’t pick apart the question, rather they discussed the substance of their essays in the Griffith REVIEW and these were not necessarily related to the topic. Or perhaps it was that my expectations were not met, a slip between what was on offer and my anticipation. I imagined I would learn something about the two Olgas - Olga Cohn, Olga Ernst and Katie Langloh Parker and perhaps some exploration of Bunyips? Did you know William Buckley claims to have seen several during his 30 years in the bush in the early 1800s - the first being in Lake Modewarre?
I understand that the REVIEW is a literary publication, but I was in attendance with four of Victoria’s finest storytellers working in the oral tradition. We have a tendency to leap between tales with roots in the oral tradition and the literary. I would loved to have unpacked the dilemmas we face when attempting this with old Australian tales.
I bought a copy of the REVIEW and I’m devouring it with pleasure. The essays, in particular have provided me with some substantial food for thought. Now I’m looking forward to the inaugural Australian Fairy Tale Conference in NSW in June 2014. And there, I’m sure I will get my dose of some serious Bunyip and Banksia Men analysis.
Panel L- R Carmel Bird, Lucy Sussex, Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario, Jane Sullivan, Ali Alizadeh
One last thing, JB Rowley’s version of the The Hobyas can be read HERE. If you don't know the Hobyas, I urge you to investigate.