For some time now, I’ve been collecting unique Australian stories and working them into shapes for storytellers. I’ve recorded a couple for you to enjoy..
- Edith’s Lyrebird
- Phar Lap the wonder horse
- A boy call Ned Kelly
- Blanche Barkly
- No horse, no cart, no shoes
- Split Dog
Mrs Edith Wilkinson lived alone on the slopes of Mt Dandenong on a strip of forest that she kept as a sanctuary for wildlife. She cleared only enough land for her house and to grow flowers. In February 1930 she met a young, male Lyrebird.
Stories about sharks, spiders, snakes and crocodiles are part of growing up in Australia. When I was little, my friends and I were frequently told to swim safely behind the bars in the sea baths as sharks were known to live in *Port Phillip Bay. Our grandparents repeated cautionary tales about disobedient children who had been swallowed by cruising monsters. There was some truth to these stories as this you will see.
The offending creature in this story was displayed for many years in the Melbourne Museum.
* The city of Melbourne is situated on the Yarra River which flows into Port Phillip Bay
Shark! is looking for a publisher.
This is a true story given shape in the style of a bush ballad – a genre that once flourished in Australia as a way of spreading the news.
Phar Lap the Wonder Horse is published by Museum Victoria.
Ned Kelly (1854 - 1880) is Australia’s most famous outlaw.
He was hanged for the murder of two policemen.
A story from the Gold Rush. In 1857 a huge gold nugget was unearthed in Victoria. The diggers who found it, named it after the Governor's daughter, Blanche Barkly.
Gold! is a scripted version of the previous tale, Blanche Barkly. With bite sized sentences and repetitious chorus, Gold! was created with children and maximum participation in mind.
This story is from South Australia and recalls the adventures of the courageous German women and girls of Hahndorf. Fleeing religious persecution, they sailed with their families from the other side of the world and struggled to build a new life.
In his book, Great Australian Stories, Graham Seal tells us that Split Dog ‘…is ‘One of Australia’s most popular bush tall tales – and one also widely told in Britain and America …’ He is sometimes depicted as Davy Crockett’s dog. In my stories he is the faithful companion to Ol’ Joe. These are my Split Dog Tales.
Visit my kamishibai page and see the story of Split Dog
I hope you have enjoyed these Tellable Tales. There are more in the making.
Thankyou to Susan Pepper for the idea, and to storytellers JB Rowley, Graham Ross, Bettina Nissen, Gael Cresp, and Nan McNab for their editorial support.
I acknowledge the work of the inspirational and indefatigable storyteller/anthologist Margaret Read MacDonald whose book Twenty Tellable Tales remains the staple text for so many storytellers around the world.