When I was growing up I always found fairies at the bottom of our garden. I could see them everywhere. My favourite book was 'Jennifer and the Flower Fairies' by Annette Mills. I still have it.
I guess it was the English version of our very own May Gibbs' 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie' and 'The Gumnut Babies'. Gathering Gumnut hats was always a favourite of mine - and when I see them now I am still taken back to my childhood with the Gumnut Babies. Her home Nutcote in Sydney's Neutral Bay is open to the public. But there is an entry fee.
|Gumnut Poster - available on line from Nutcote|
In Melbourne we are lucky to have our very own Fairies Tree in the gorgeous (and free) Fitzroy Gardens. The tree was carved by Ola Cohn from 1931 to May 1934 for the Victorian Centenary year.
|Australiana Fairies Tree|
The following is an extract from her book The Fairies Tree written in 1933:
"I have carved in a tree in the Fitzroy Gardens for you, and the fairies, but mostly for the fairies and those who believe in them, for they will understand how necessary it is to have a fairy sanctuary - a place that is sacred and safe as a home should be to all living creatures."
Ola Cohn has also left her mark in nearby East Melbourne. On her death in 1964 she bequeathed her home and studio in Gipps Street (opposite the Darling Square Park - bounded by Gipps, Simpson and Grey Streets) for all who wish to take courses in art, sculpture, writing and other creative ventures. It is run under the auspices of CAE (Centre for Adult Education).
|The family - tucked in the tree base|
Annette Mills, May Gibbs and Ola Cohn have allowed children to continue to dream and imagine. How lucky that the Fitzroy Gardens are so close to Bowen Cottage! I encourage you to visit - with or without children. And take your child within! You never know what or who you might see!