What's on online - video transcripts

Macca the Alpaca

Hello. My name's Aunty Nita and I'm going to read you a story.

It's called Macca the Alpaca and it goes like this.

This guy is called Macca. He's an alpaca. He loves splashing in puddles and gives the best cuddles.

Mcca’s days were carefree, filled with giggles and glee until … drama!

A llama. That guy is called Hama, not your average charmer. He's tall, strong and woolly but also a bully.

Hama was mean, quite the worst you have seen. He took Macca's stuff and played very rough.

“You puny pip squeak. I'm strong and you're weak.”

Macca said “No you're wrong. I'm surprisingly strong.”

The pair made a bet and a challenge was set.

“I'll move this boulder.” Hama pushed with his shoulder. He huffed and puffed and nudged till it finally budged. When Macca's turn came, he just used his brain.

See how clever he is? And a much easier way to move that boulder.

“Well why don't you try to reach up this high?”

“Easy done using this.” Hama let out a hiss.

Now that llama was fuming, his nasty mind zooming.

“Okay let's have a race. Try and keep pace. First to the top is the best, full stop.”

They took off in a flash and began their mad dash up the steep mountainside, but then the rocks started to slide.

Oh it looks very scary.

Being nimble and light, Macca made it all right. As he leapt to the summit and saw Hama plummet.

Well it doesn't look very good.

Some might call it karma as that bully of a llama went crash, bang and splat.

And that, my friends, was that.

Hama said, plainly shaken, “Turns out I was mistaken, for you've proved it quite clearly, size doesn't matter really.”

Macca went up to the thug and gave him a great big hug. Because that's what you do when you're a good alpaca. Or just a good person.

Did you like Macca the Alpaca? I did. I'm going to be reading to you again very soon, but until then bye for now.

Braided bookmarks

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries kids craft time, using items from around the home.

Today we're going to make some bright and beautiful braided bookmarks. Please make sure we have a parent or guardian ready to help you with any of the steps.

You will need a piece of paper, a ruler, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, a pencil and any colours you like for your bookmark.

First take your ruler and pencil and mark four one centimetre apart dots and then on the opposite side mark another four dots one centimetre apart.

Using your ruler draw for faint guidelines using your dots to make you strips.

Take your pair of scissors and carefully cut along the fourth line.

And then you can use crayons, pencils or pens to decorate your four strips.

Then flip over your piece of paper and mark another four, one centimetre guidelines.

And then you can colour in the reverse side. You can use different colours if you want to.

And then using your scissors, cut very carefully along your guidelines to make four strips.

Using two of your strips glue the right side strip on the top of the left to make an apex.

Take your third strip of paper and glue it on the left side of the apex strip.

And then using your fourth strip glue it onto the right side of the apex strip.

Fold the left outside strip over the fourth middle strip.

And then press it down firmly in the same direction of the three strips.

Now fold the right outside strip over the two middle strips.

Then press down firmly so you have two strips on each side.

Continue this pattern alternating sides as you go.

Look how colourful your bookmark is already.

Keep going you're almost there and you're doing great.

Then once you get to the end you can trim the bottom towel pieces to make a point.

Glue your last two strips together to hold all of your hard work in place.

And congratulations you're done.

Your bookmark looks amazing and you can use it inside all of your library books to keep your place.

Thank you for joining us today please tune in again next time for another special craft.

Feathered flowers

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries kids crafts.

I'm using materials from around the home. Please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help you because we have lots of cutting out to do today, to make these fantastic feathered flowers.

You will need a piece of paper, a pair of scissors, a ruler, a pencil, some glue and any colours you like for your flowers.

To begin measure 16 centimetres along the edge of your paper using your ruler and pencil.

Then measure 16 centimetres horizontally from the mark you just made.

Using your pencil draw a faint guideline marking the two 16 centimetre points.

This should make a square.

Then take your scissors and carefully cut along the line.

Now your square is ready you can use any colours you like to decorate it and these will be the colours of your first flower.

Your square looks beautiful.

And now we can get ready to fold.

Firstly take your square and fold it in half, to form a triangle.

Fold your triangle in half to make a smaller triangle.

Press along the edges of your triangle and make sure they are all smooth and flat.

Now fold your triangle in half one more time, to make an even smaller triangle.

And don't forget to press down the edges. Well done!

Now take the long folded-over edge up to meet the opposite edge.

And press it down.

Now this part might be a bit tricky.

From the bottom point cut a 90 degree angle to the left.

This will make another triangle shape. You will have two pieces now, but we only need to keep the long triangle part.

Get your scissors ready because we'll be cutting out this smaller triangle and we're almost done.

Turn your triangle to where the two folded pieces meet at the long edge.

Leaving a small space cut carefully along the folded edge almost to the end.

Repeat four more times, getting smaller and smaller but remember don't go all the way to the edge.

Then carefully unfold and unfold, unfold and unfold.

Wow, keep on unfolding until you have a beautiful flower.

You can now measure some different size squares and repeat the steps to add more layers to your flower.

Once you've finished making all the layers you like for your flower you can make the centre.

Cut out a small strip of paper.

Fold it in half.

In half again.

Using your scissors cut some small lines almost to the edge.

And then using your glue stick your layers together.

Congratulations you've made your fantastic flower.

You can decorate your room with them.

You can turn them into hair clips.

You could even make a bunch and give them to someone special.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

Tune in again next time for another special craft.

Friendship bracelets

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries’ kids crafts.

I'm using materials from around the home. Please make sure you have a parent or a guardian there to help you because some of these steps might get confusing.

Today we are making fantastic and brightly coloured friendship bracelets. You will need a pair of scissors, some sticky tape, a ruler and some yarn, string or twine.

For my example today I've selected three different coloured yarns and I'll be working with those.

To begin, you will need your scissors and your ruler and the first color you picked feel string. I've chosen to use white. Cut two strands at 30 centimetres each.

Next just like in the previous step cut two 30 centimetre strands of your second colour of string. I've chosen grey. Then repeating that step one more time, cut two 30 centimetre strands of your third colour of string. I've chosen green.

You should now have six pieces of string in total. For the next part, you will need your sticky tape.

Take all six strings together and tie them in one big knot near the top. Take one piece of sticky tape and tape down the tops of your strings - just above the knot - to any flat surface. This will help your string stay steady while you work.

Now separate your strings into half with three on each side in matching color order, so mine is green on the outside, white in the middle and grey at the bottom. You can see it's the same on the left side.

Now pick up the left top string, mine is green. Lift up that piece of string and move it over to the right-hand side below the three pieces of string that are already there. Now you should see four pieces of string and the very last colour will be the one you just moved, so mine is still the green piece.

Now pick up the top right string which will be the same colour as your previous string, so again mine is still green. Now move that piece of string over to the left-hand side and place it below the two pieces of string that are already there, and now you can see that our strings have all returned to match each other with three on each side and the colours the same.

Now let's repeat those steps together. Pick up the left top string, move it over to the opposite side placing it below the three right side strings, pick up the top right string and move it over to place it below the two strings on the left. So you can see that it matches again, and now all we need to do is repeat and repeat and repeat until your bracelet gets longer and longer and longer.

Your bracelet looks amazing! Keep going until you reach the end of your string and tie another knot and that's it, you're done. You've made your first friendship bracelets. Once you have finished you can then place it around your wrist and tie one more knot wherever it feels most comfortable.

Now you know the technique to making friendship bracelets, you can make some for your friends, for your family or more for you to wear. You could even make an extra extra long one as a necklace.

Thank you for joining us today. Please tune in again next time for another special craft.

Grow Rainbows

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries' kids' craft time, using materials from

around the home. We have a very exciting and different activity for you today

that is half art project and half science experiment. We are going to grow

rainbows! Please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help you when

using water today. You will need one piece of paper towel, one pair of

scissors, two cups of water and five felt pens in rainbow colours. To begin, take

your pair of scissors and your paper towel and cut one strip. It can be as

wide as you like as long as it's not wider then your cup of water. Once you

have your strip of paper towel, take out your five rainbow colours and choose what

order you'd like the colours to be in.


I'm going to begin my rainbow with bright yellow. Colour in one strip at the

beginning of your piece of paper towel and one strip on the opposite side of

your paper towel, just like the picture. For my next colour I'm going to pick

beautiful pink. I'm going to colour in right above both of the yellow strips. My

next colour is fire-engine red. Colour in above your previous strip colours to

continue the rainbow pattern. I've chosen forest green for my next colour. So

continue on the same pattern, colouring in above your previous strips, making sure

you leave enough space for your very last colour. My last colour will be a

beautiful ocean blue. If you've missed any spots on your rainbow you can go

back and colour them in.


Now take your two half-filled cups of water and line them up so they are

approximately at the same distance as your coloured in strips and then very

carefully dip both coloured ends into the cups of water. You will see your

beautiful rainbow start to grow and the colours will get closer and closer

and even closer until they meet in the middle. And all of the colours will

continue to swirl and change. When you're happy with how the colours look on your

rainbow, you can carefully remove it from your two cups of water then you can lay

out your rainbow where it can dry. Once it's all dried you can turn your

rainbows into streamers or ribbons or bookmarks or do drawings on them,

whatever you like. Thank you for joining us today.

Please tune in again next time for another special craft.

Jumping frogs

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries kids crafts time, using materials from around the home.

Please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help you because we have lots of folding today, to make our very funny jumping frogs.

You will need a piece of paper, a pair of scissors, a ruler and any colours you like to decorate your frogs.

To begin measure 15 centimetres down the page and then measure 7.5 centimetres across the page.

Draw a faint guideline to follow.

Take your pair of scissors and carefully cut along your lines.

And now your piece of paper will be ready to fold.

Hold the top right corner and fold to the left making a small triangle and then unfold.

Then hold the top left corner and fold to the right making another triangle.

And then unfold.

Now your triangles are unfolded you will see a cross at the top of the paper.

Now flip over the paper so the cross is at the bottom. And then fold the bottom of the paper up so the cross is in half.

Flip over your paper again so the fold is at the top.

Great job.

Now this part might be a bit tricky pinch the horizontal fold on each side so they meet.

You will see that a triangle starts to form, press it down.

Place your finger in the middle of the triangle to hold it steady.

Then using only the top layer of the triangle fold the bottom left corner halfway to the top this, is your frogs first leg.

And then again using the top layer of the triangle hold the bottom right corner halfway to the top, this is your frog second leg.

And then fold the left bottom layer edge to the middle of the paper.

Now fold the right bottom layer to the middle.

You're almost done.

And then fold the bottom edge of the paper up to the middle this will make a square.

Fold the edge of the paper back down to the bottom.

Now take your pair of scissors and carefully cut a small line in the middle of the last fold.

Fold right side middle corner to the right making a small triangle, this is your frogs third leg.

And lastly fold the left side middle corner to the left making another small triangle, this is your flex fourth leg.

And then flip your Frog over and stretch out all four legs.

Turn your frog the right way up. Press your finger down on the edge of your frogs back and then let go to see him jump.

Oops. Mine jumped and then fell over.

Now you are finished you can colour in your frog any colours you like.

Thank you for joining us today. Please tune in again next time for another special craft.

Paper Bag Puppets

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries’ kids’ craft time. I'm using materials from around the home.

Today we have something special for you: A craft that's inspired by a book! It's called Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas and it's written by Lucinda Gifford.

It's a very funny book about two chickens that go on an adventure and they get to do dress-ups along way, so we're going to make puppets of Whitney and Britney.

Please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help you because we have a little bit of gluing and cutting out today, and at the end of this video we'll have examples of other types of puppets you can make, like monsters and animals.

For this craft you will need a paper bag to make the body of your puppet, some tissue paper in any colours, glue, a pair of scissors, pens, pencils or crayons.

The first thing you will need is your paper bag. Make sure the open part of your bag is at the bottom. Now take the top right hand corner and fold it so it makes a triangle about a quarter of the way down your paper bag. And then take the top left hand corner and fold it to meet your other triangle so it makes a point. It's okay if it's not a perfect point.

And then taking out your glue stick, we'll need to put a dot of glue just where the two pieces meet, right in the middle. And then taking the top point, fold your big triangle in half, pushing down firmly so it sticks to the glue. This is the face of your puppet.

The puppet I'm making today is Whitney the chicken, and I'm going to use a blue pen to colour in her eyes, but you can use any colour you like. Using the fold as a guideline, draw two half circles in the middle of the left and the right triangles, and then colour them in. I'm going to add some lovely lashes to Whitney's eyes and you can too if you like.

And then using a yellow pen, I'm going to colour in the tip of the triangle right in the middle below the eyes. This will make a beak for my chicken.

During the story about chicken divas, Whitney and Britney like to dress up and they put on some jewelry partway through the story, so I'm going to add Whitney's earrings and a beautiful necklace, and then using a darker colour of pen I'm going to go around her jewelry to make it really stand out. And then using a lighter coloured pen, I'm going to draw some squiggly lines in lots of different places that look like a little feathers, and then we've finished colouring in the puppet art.

And now we're going to add some more decorations. For the next part we'll need some tissue paper and a pair of scissors.

Firstly cut a square out of your tissue paper. Now fold your tissue paper in half and then using your scissors trim your tissue paper that's folded over into a shape like half of a leaf, and then very carefully cut a few strips into your half a leaf shape, but not reaching the fold that's down the middle. So leave about one centimetre of space so that you don't cut all the way through it.

Unfold and you'll see that it now resembles a feather that we're going to use to decorate a chicken puppet of Whitney. Repeat the tissue paper steps to make about five or six feathers.

Now taking your paper bag puppet and your glue stick, pop some glue onto either side of your chicken and get ready stick your feathers on. Glue some at the bottom of your bag and then a few more a little bit higher, and then the rest right underneath her necklace.

Now that all your feathers are glued on, your puppet is finished. Well done! You can now slide your hand very carefully inside the paper bag and Whitney is all dressed up and ready to go on an adventure.

Now that you know how to make a puppet, you can follow the instructions again and make her best friend Britney. You can also look through all your spare craft supplies at home, like ribbon or paint, or yarn or stickers, and make a different type of puppet … like beautiful birds or really scary monsters or cute little kittens with ribbons. Anything you can imagine!

Thank you for joining us today. Please tune in again next time for another special craft.


Paper stars

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Region kids craft time, using materials from around the home.

Please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help you especially with the tricky parts.

Today we will be making beautiful 3D paper stars.

You will need a pair of scissors, one ruler and any colours you would like crayons, pencils or pens.

Mark a 1.5 cm wide strip.

Cut very carefully along the line.

Colour in your strips, any colours you would like for your stars.

Get your first strip ready.

And then fold a loop

with a 6cm tail.

Then hold onto your loop, nice and tight.

And then pull your tail through the loop.

Press it down firmly in place.

Hold the base very still with your finger.

Fold over your tail.

And then tuck it in nice and tight.

Well Done.

Flip your star over.

And then fold the long tail up to the point.

Turn and then fold it back down to the base.

Keep folding and flipping.

Following the natural curve of the paper.

All most done!

And when you have a tiny tail left.

Tuck it in nice and tight. Good job.

Now carefully taking the opposite sides, pinch, pinch, pinch.

Keep pinching all of the corners, very gently.

And your star will start to puff out, more and more as you go.

Keep tightening those corners.

Almost done.

And your star is ready.

What a cute star you have made.

You can make as many stars as you like.

You can turn them into a necklace, into a garland, into bunting to hang in your bedroom.

Whatever you can think of.

Thank you for joining us today.

Tune in again next time for another special craft.

Fork Pom Poms

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries’ kids crafts.

I'm using materials from around the home. Please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help you because we'll be using the scissors a little bit today to make these really cool mini pom poms.

You will need a fork, a pair of scissors and some yarn. You can also use string or twine.

To begin, have your yarn and fork ready. Pick up your fork and hold it comfortably in your hand with the points of the prongs facing away from you, then wrap the first part of your yarn around the middle of the fork prongs.

While continuing to hold your fork, firmly wrap the yarn around the prongs 50 times. Yes 50 seems like a lot but it will go very quickly.

Now it's very important that we don't forget to keep wrapping the yarn around the middle of the prongs because we need space at the bottom and at the top for the next part.

Well done, you've wrapped it 50 times and if you lost count and it's a little bit more than 50 or a little bit less, that's okay. And now using your scissors trim yarn where it reaches the end of the fork, like this.

Take your yarn and cut one strand approximately the length of your fork. Perfect. Using a single strand of yarn, poke it through the middle of the prongs at the bottom and over the middle prong at the top.

Pull the ends of the strand together and then tie a nice tight knot. And then carefully slide all of the yarn off of your fork.

Now take your pair of scissors. Now very carefully slide the bottom of the scissor blade through the loops on the right hand side. You might need a parent or guardian to help you with your step.

Close your scissors so it cuts through all of the loops on that side. Now let's repeat that step carefully. Slide the bottom blade of your scissors through the loops on the opposite side. Close your scissors and cut through all of the loops.

Now you can see your pom-pom is starting to take shape. So you can arrange it so it looks more and more round and trim any of the stray strands until pom-pom is complete.

It looks fantastic.

You can now make lots of pom-poms and use them for many different things. You can make jewelry, hair clips, decorations, anything you can think of.

Thank you for joining us today. Please tune in again next time for another special craft.

String feathers

Hi and welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries kids crafts time, using materials from around the home.

Please make sure a parent or guardian is available to help you especially with lots of steps today to make these amazing string feathers.

You can also use string, twine or yarn. You will need your string, a pair of scissors and a ruler.

First cut 130 centimetre piece of string. 

Fold your string in half.

And then tie a knot two centimetres from the top. This is going to be the spine of your feather.

Then measure 22 small string pieces at 20 centimetres each.

These will make up the body of your feather.

Get your long spine string ready, fold one small string in half and place it under the spine.

Fold a second small string in half and place it next to the first loop.

And then pull the right-side loop under the first loop.

And pull the right-side loop over to the left side above the spine.

Then pinch the legs of the first loop and pull them through the second loop.

Hold both small strings and pull them to opposite sides and make sure they're nice and tight.

And then repeat from the opposite side. Loop under the spine, and then loop to loop.

And then a loop under the loop, that's it you're doing it.

And don't forget the loop over the spine.

Pinched the legs through the loop and pull like a bow. Nice and tight.

And then make sure you move your knots up to the top and change sides each time.

Keep going, you're doing so well! Until all pieces are done.

And then uncurl each strand of string. 

And that way your feather will be so fuzzy and soft.

And keep on curling until they're all done.

Carefully brush them with your fingers.

And then have your scissors ready because it's time to trim.

Trim all of your edges until it looks like a feather.

And congratulations, you're done! Your feather looks amazing.

Thank you for joining us today, please tune in again next time for another special craft.

Rhyme Time with Liz

Hi guys, welcome to Baby Rhyme Time at Moreton Bay Region Libraries. My name is Liz and we'll be going through Baby Rhyme Time together which is super exciting.

We're going to be singing lots of fun songs and lots of cool rhymes but before we start we have to do our Acknowledgement to Country. So can I see everyone putting their hands up like this and showing me your twinkling fingers. They look kind of like stars don't they? All right, so we'll go:

"Here is the land, and here is the sky, here are my friends (that's you guys) and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and country on which we learn and play.
Hands up! Really high, touch the sky, and hands down on the ground. We're on Gubbi Gubbi and Undabi people ground."

Good job! Give yourselves a round of applause.

We're going to have so much fun today and I'm very excited to share these rhymes with you. And as you can see I've brought my special friend with me. His name's Smithers, he's a snake but he's very friendly and likes to be pet like this.

Okay, let's have lot's of fun. I'm going to start off with my favourite rhyme of all time. It's called "Open, shut them".

Can I see you do this? And then can I see you do this? And then this? You've got it! That's pretty much all we have to do. But we'll sing along together okay. Have our hands up and ready like this.

We'll go "Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Give a little clap! Good job.
Open, shut them. Open, shut them. Lay them in your lap. (Down on your lap).
Creep them, creep them, creep them creep them, right up to your chin. Like this.
Open wide your little mouth but do not let them in. Hide them behind your head like this!
And then we'll go "Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, just like this. 
Roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Mwaaa."

Good job everyone! Give yourselves another clap.

Now that's one of my favourite rhymes because it's got lots of really fun hand actions to do and the repetitiveness of it makes it really fun for you and your kids to do together so you can sing that rhyme while your doing cooking or just when you're all hanging out together.

It's a really fun one to just do whenever and wherever you can. Shall we move onto the next rhyme? Okay.

Now this is another good one. What this one is - we're going to have our little fingers like this because these are going to be our baby crocodiles.

Then, we've got our hands like this because we have our the mummy crocodiles.

Then we gonna have our hands like this for our big big daddy crocodile. Do you think that you can do that? All right, great.

So show me your little fingers like this. These are our baby crocodiles.

So we'll go "Baby crocodile, baby crocodile, don't you bite! Don't you bite!
I can run away from you, I can run away from you! 
Out of sight. Boo! Out of sight. Boo!"

All right. Now we've got our mummy crocodiles like this. You ready?

We'll go "Mummy crocodile, mummy crocodile, don't you bite. Don't you bite.
I can run away from you, I can run away from you.
Out of sight. Boo! Out of sight. Boo!"

Okay. Now we've got one more kind of crocodile, do you remember what it is? It's the daddy crocodile with big snappy hands like this. Can you show me? All right, ready?

We'll go "Daddy crocodile, daddy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite.
I can run away from you, I can run away from you.
Out of sight. Boo! Out of sight. Boo!"

Oh good job! (claps) You guys are doing a great job! Thank you for singing these rhymes with me today.

That one's one of my favourite rhymes too because I like crocodiles, I think that they're pretty cool. I like that they're really green and super long and they look super grumpy like this.

All right, let's sing another rhyme. Hmmm okay I think that we're gonna do a nice one with our twinkling fingers from the beginning. Do you remember?

We're going to do "Twinkle twinkle little star". So show me your twinkling hands like this.

We'll go "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are."

That's a nice one. That's a nice one to sing at night time. Maybe when you are going to bed tonight, you can sing that one to your mum or your dad before you go to sleep. That would be a nice one to sing together.

Okay, we're going to do one more song. Now this one is a nice cheeky little rhyme. If you're a cheeky monkey you might know about this one.

So we've got our five cheeky monkeys and they're being a bit naughty and jumping on the bed. Let's see what happens when we get down to none.

We go:
"Five cheeky monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head. 
Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said
No more monkeys jumping on the bed."

Now we've got four:
"Four little monkeys jumping on the bed. 
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said, 
No more monkeys jumping on the bed."

Now we've got three cheeky monkeys:
"Three cheeky monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said,
No more monkeys jumping on the bed."

We've got two monkeys now:
"Two cheeky monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped her head.
Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said
No more monkeys jumping on the bed."

All right, so we've had five then four then three then two which means we've only got one left:

"One cheeky monkey jumping on the bed.
She fell off and bumped her head.
Mummy called the doctor and the doctor said
Put those monkeys straight to bed."

Oh good job, give yourselves one more round of applause. Those monkeys were a bit cheeky jumping on the bed weren't they? I think so.

Thank you so much for joining us today at Baby Rhyme Time. Just remember that singing rhymes with your children is such an important part of their development especially in the first five years of their life.

Have a great day everyone, thanks for joining us.

Bye (waves)

Rhyme Time with Liz

Hi everyone and welcome to Baby Rhyme Time with Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

My name's Liz and I’m very excited to do Baby Rhyme Time with you today. Let's start with our acknowledgement to Country. Can you show me one twinkling hand like this? And another twinkling hand like this? Smithers my snake would but he doesn't have any hands so he's just going to sit here like this. Ready? We'll go here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends, that's you guys, and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play, hands up and hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground.

Let's start with our Hello song. Wave hello. Hi everyone how are we going today? We'll go hi hello and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi hello and how are you, how are you today. I'm very good and so is Smithers and we're so excited to have you here today.

All right let's do another little welcome song. We'll go like this, get your tickling fingers ready. We'll go a tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, arms go high and arms go low, and a great big hug to say hello.

We're going to have lots of fun at Baby Rhyme Time today and I think we'll start with my most favourite rhyme. Can you go one and two and we will open them and shut them? Open them and shut them. Do you have any idea what we could be singing? That's right, we're going to do Open shut them. Ready? Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap, open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin, open wide your little mouth but do not let them in. Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this, roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Oh good job. Give yourselves a clap. That's my favourite rhyme because I love all the hand actions that we get to do.

Let's do another one. This one has hand actions too but it's a little bit more quiet. We're going to get one twinkling star finger up like this and then two and we're singing Twinkle twinkle little star. Ready? Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are up, above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky, twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Thank you so much for singing that one with me. I love to go outside in night time and look up at the stars don't you? They're very beautiful.

Let's move on to our next rhyme. Now this one is about a dolly who gets a little bit sick, oh no, and her name is Miss Polly. So we'll get our dollies like this. Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick sick sick, so she called for the doctor to come quick quick quick, the doctor came with his bag and his hat and he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat, he looked at the dolly and he shook his head, he said put Miss Polly straight to bed, he wrote on the paper for a pill pill pill, I'll be back in the morning yes I will will will. I hope Miss Polly feels better soon but I'm sure with the doctor there she'll be better in no time.

Okay we're going to do one more rhyme. Can you show me your fingers like this and then what about like this? We're going to do Baby crocodile. This is a really fun one so we've got our babies and then our mummies and then our daddy crocodile like this. Ready? Baby crocodile, baby crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo. Mummy crocodile, mummy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo. Daddy crocodile, daddy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo. Give yourselves a big clap and thank you so much for singing all these rhymes with me today.

We're going to sing our Goodbye song now but I will see you again soon. Ready? A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, arms go low and arms go high, a great big hug to say goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you another day.

And parents don't forget that singing rhymes with your children is great for building their memory. Don't be surprised if soon your children start singing your rhymes back at you. Have a great day. We'll see you later. Bye everyone.

Rhyme Time with Kathy

Hello everyone and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries. I'm Kathy, this is George and we're here to do Baby Rhyme Time.

Let's do our acknowledgment to Country. Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and land and Country on which we learn and play, hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground.

Let's sing our Welcome song. Hi hello and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi hello and how are you, how are you today. A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, arms go high, arms go low, a great big hug to say hello.

Hello everyone. Now let's sing this song with real big voices. This one you might know is called Open shut them. You ready? Let's go. Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap, open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin, open wide your little mouth but do not let them in. Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this, roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss.

Well done! I heard you all singing loud. Very good. Oh this one, this song here. We would have had to do a lot of these things to get ready for the day. This is the way we wash our face. So let's go. This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face, this is the way we wash our face, so early in the morning. Let's comb our hair. This is the way we comb my hair, comb my hair, comb my hair, this is the way we comb our hair, so early in the morning. Now let's brush our teeth. This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth, this is the way we brush our teeth, so early in the morning. And let's kiss hello. This is the way we kiss hello, kiss hello, kiss hello, this is the way we kiss hello, so early in the morning.

Did you like that one George? I did too. Oh this is good, George likes this one. So I'm going to put him here because he likes to blast off. This is called Zoom Zoom and you blast off. Let's go. Zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, if you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship, zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, five four three two one, blast off!

Should we do that again? I bet you like blasting off. George does. Zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, if you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship, zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, five four three two one blast off. Well done.

Now I have to put George down for this one because this one we've got a bit of hand movement. Can you sit there George? Now this is baby crocodile, mummy crocodile and daddy crocodile. You ready? Baby crocodile, baby crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo. Mummy crocodile, mummy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo. Daddy crocodile, daddy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo.

All right, oh George wants to come back up. Oh sorry George. Here he is. I have to do the actions. All right. Are you ready? We're going to do our Goodbye song now. You're ready to say goodbye? You're not? Well this song will be good. A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, arms go low, arms go high, a great big hug to say goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you another day.

Now parents, just remember when you sing with your children, the sounds that come out of your mouth, even the shape of your mouth, it's all learning for them, and it really helps their vocabulary. Thanks for joining me today and we'll see you soon. Say bye George. Bye.

Rhyme Time with Cassie

Good morning everyone and welcome to Rhyme Time here at Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

My name is Cassie and are you all ready to get started today? Perfect. Okay and just a few quick messages - just one actually - um any rhyme that we do today you can do at home anytime during your normal routine. I like to sing Shake your sillies out during bath time and it's a lot of fun.

Okay we'll start off with our acknowledgement to Country. Ready? Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play, hands up, hands down and we are on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground. Good job everyone.

Okay now we're going to say good morning. Can I see your waving hands? Good job. They're very very happy this morning aren't we? Okay. Hi hello and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi hello and how are you, how are you today? Good job, fantastic.

Okay our first song will be a very short one but we're going to be doing Incy Wincy spider. Do you know how to do your little Incy Wincys up your trunk? There we go, or you can do your little hand actions like this. Are you all ready? Good. Incy Wincy spider went climbing up the spout, down came the rain and washed poor Wincy out, out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain, so Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again. Good job.

Now should we do one about a tree and when it's snowing because it's really really cold at the moment? Incy Wincy spider went climbing up a tree, down came the snow when made poor Wincy freeze, out came the sunshine and dried up all the snow, so Incy Wincy spider had another go. Good job everyone, fantastic!

Should we do a little long one? This one is about a friendly frog. Anyone recognize this guy? Oh yes he comes from our First Five Forever packs which if you're very new you can come to the library and get one, and they're very very good and very very friendly. This one's name is Fred. Say hello Fred. Hello. Good job.

Okay we're going to sing a song about frogs now and this one is a really good one with our counting fingers. Five little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log eating some most delicious bugs, yum yum. One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool now there are four speckled frogs glob glug. There we go. Now we've got our four frogs. Four little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log eating some most delicious bugs, glug glug. One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool now there are three speckled frogs, glob glug. Three frogs Fred. Oh okay let's keep going. Three little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log eating some most delicious bugs, yum yum. One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool now there are two speckled frogs, glug glug. Two little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log eating some most delicious bugs, yum yum. One jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool now there is one speckled frog, glug glug. Are you the only one left Fred? Okay well, we’d better sing the last part so you can jump into the pool. Okay ready? One little speckled frog sat on a speckled log eating some most delicious bugs, yum yum. He jumped into the pool where it was nice and cool now there are no speckled frogs, glob glug. Good job and I think Fred's doing very very nicely in his nice cool pool.

Okay are we all ready for another song? I think we should do another special one. Now you might have heard this one a lot but we're going to open shut them. I'm going to do it once very normally and I think the next one we should do as fast as possible okay? We're all ready? Good. Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap, good clapping, open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap, good job. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin, open wide your little mouth but do not let them in. Good job. Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this, roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Good job.

Are you ready to super, super fast? Good job. Are we all ready? Okay open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap, open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap, creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin, open wide your little mouth but don't let them in. Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this, roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Good job everyone.

Okay I think that was very very tiring for our arms. Why don't we do a bouncing one and if your parents are sitting there with you, they can bounce you along. We're going to do our Bounce you here. Is everyone ready to bounce? Good job. So we start with this one. I bounce you here, I bounce you there, I bounce you bounce you everywhere. I tickle you here, I tickle you there, I tickle you tickle you everywhere. I hug you here, I hug you there, I hug you hug you everywhere. Fantastic. Should we do that once more? I think so. Ready everyone? I bounce you here, I bounce you there, I bounce you bounce you everywhere. I tickle you here, I tickle you there, I tickle you tickle you everywhere. I hug you here, I hug you there, I hug you hug you everywhere. Good job.

Okay so for our next song I think we should do another special rhyme. I think we should do hmm maybe one about some fish and another counting one. Are we all ready to count our hands? One two three four five once I caught a fish alive. Six seven eight nine ten then I let him go again. Why did I let him go? Because it bit my finger so. Which finger did it bite? This little finger on my right. Do you have your right pinky up and wiggling it? Oh good job good job.

Okay now our last song, we're going to do X marks the spot but I'm going do it on my hand and back at home you can be doing it on your back or on your belly, it's up to you. Are we all ready? X marks the spot with a circle and a dot, up the ladder, down the ladder, spot spot spot, feel the breeze, let's all blow and feel the squeeze, give a bit of a hug and have a cuddle if you please. Good job. I think we should do that once more. X marks the spot with the circle and a dot, up the ladder, down the ladder, spot spot spot, feel the breeze, feel the squeeze and have a cuddle if you please. Good job everyone.

Okay now I'm afraid it's time to go, so we're going to have slightly sadder hands to say goodbye. You ready? Goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you another day. Goodbye everyone.

Rhyme Time with Miss Jenny

Hello and welcome Baby Rhyme Time. I'm Miss Jenny and this is Ted and we're here to sing some fun rhymes with you this morning. Before we get started how about we do our acknowledgement to country?

Here is the land and here is the sky. Here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and country in which we learn and play. Hands up, hands down. We're on Kabi Kabi Undambi people grounds.

Good work everybody! How about we start with a big hello wave? Hello, hello! Then sing out hello song. Hi, hello and how are you? How are you? How are you? Hi, hello and how are you?

How are you today? Hi, I hope you're all very well today. I'm very excited to be here for rhyme time, so i've picked some of my favourite rhymes to do with you today. And Ted's going to help me aren't you Ted? How about we start with row row your boat? This is a fun one to do with your mummy and daddies or siblings. I'm going to turn Ted around and we're goingto do it together. You ready? Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream. Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, if you see a crocodile don't forget to scream. Do we try that one again? One more time, ready? Row, row row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream. Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. If you see a crocodile don't forget to scream.

Good work everybody. Whilst we're swimming and talking about the sea, how about fish? This is a fun one we can do with counting on our hands, so I might pop you down for a moment Ted. How about you sit there? And I can use two hands. Ready?

One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and then I let him go again. Why did you let him go? Because he bit my finger so. Which finger did he bite? This little finger on my right. Oh poor little finger. Should we try that one again? One more time, ready? Get your hands ready, one, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and then I let him go again. Why did you let him go? Because he bit my finger so. Which finger did he bite? This little finger on my right.

Oh poor little finger. That's a fun one isn't it, practicing our counting? How about we do a sailor went to sea? This one can get a bit tricky how about I get Ted to help? So we're going to have a sailor goes to sea and we go see, see, see. He's going to go to knee we point to our knee. Knee, knee, knee. He's going to go to toe; toe, toe, toe. And then we're going to put it all together.

You ready? A sailor went to sea, sea, sea, to see what he could see, see, see. But all that he could see, see, see was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea. Ready? This time knee. A sailor went to knee, knee, knee to see what he could knee, knee, knee. But all that he could Knee, knee, knee was the bottom of the deep blue knee knee knee. Ready? Toes this time. A sailor went to toe, toe, toe to see what he could toe, toe, toe. But all that he could toe, toe, toe was the bottom of the great blue toe, toe, toe. Ready? Now we're going to go see, knee, toe. A sailor went to see, knee, toe to see what he could see, knee, toe. But all that he could see, knee, toe was the bottom of the deep blue sea, knee, toe.

That one's a good one. The more you do it, the faster and faster you can get. Okay, how about we do one more? How about we do our rabbit rhyme? Do you like that, be Peter Rabbit? Okay let's go. Ready?

So I'm putting my little bunny ears on teddy here. Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose. Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose. Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose, so he flipped it and he flopped it and it flew away. Now we'll have a prickle in our paw. Little Peter Rabbit had a prickle in his paw. Little Peter Rabbit had a prickle in his paw. Little Peter Rabbit had a prickle in his paw so he pulled it and he pulled it and it came right out. Let's do Peter Rabbit again, ready?

Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose, little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose, little Peter Rabbit had a fly up on his nose so he flipped it and he flopped it and it flew away.

Good work everybody. I think that's all the time we've got today for rhymes, but how about we do a very big goodbye wave? Bye, bye. We can sing our goodbye song.

You ready? Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon. See you soon, see you soon. Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon, see you another day.

Thank you so much for joining me today at Rhyme Time. Can't wait until I can see you all again.

In the meantime, remember you're never too young to read books to your children. You don't have to make it all the way through a book for them to get the benefit of reading. Just read as many pages as you can and talk to your child about it as you read the book.

Thank you so much, we'll see you next time. Bye!

Rhyme Time with William

Hi guys, how's it going? My name's Will and I work at the Caboolture library and today we are going to do some songs and rhymes together. Are you ready?

First of all we're going to do our acknowledgement of Country, so let's get started. Here is the land and here is the sky. Here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and the land on which we learn and play. Hands up, hands down. We're on Kabi Kabi Undambi ground.

Alright, so our first song is our hello song so are you ready to give me some waves?

Hi, hello and how are you? How are you? How are you? Hi, hello and how are you? How are you today?

Alright our first song we're going to need some hands of this one, so if you hold up your hand or mums and dads, parents, carers. If you're at home, you can use toes as well for this one. My little girl loves this one. Are you ready? This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had ice cream, and this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went wee, wee, wee, wee all the way home.

Alright we're going to do the other hand this time because repetition is really important when it comes to songs and rhymes. This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef and this little piggy had none. And this little piggy went wee-wee-wee all the way home.

Great job you guys.

Alright the next one we're going to do requires some actions. First we have our baby crocodile, we have a mummy crocodile, and a great big daddy crocodile. Are you all ready to get started? Baby crocodile, baby crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite. I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo! Out of sight, boo! Ready for mummy? Mummy crocodile, mummy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite. I can run away from you, I can run away from you. Out of sight, boo! Out of sight, boo! Are you ready for a big daddy crocodile? Daddy crocodile, daddy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite. I can run away from you, I can run away from you. Out of sight, boo! Out of sight, boo! Awesome, good work everybody.

Now I'm going to sing a song with my friend over here. We are going to sing Miss Polly all righty? So if you've got either your child or if your kid’s got a dolly you want to use then we'll get ready to get started. Are you all ready to go? Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick, so she called for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick. The doctor came with his bag and his hat and he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat. He looked at the dolly and he shook his head. He said "Miss Polly put her straight to bed." He wrote on a paper for a pill, pill, pill. "I'll be back in the morning, yes I will, will, will." Good job you guys. I hope your dolly is feeling better soon. Maybe a nice snooze and a good meal will help him feel better.

All right we're going to sing another one about a bit of a creepy crawly insect, all right? I really like this one and it's about a spider. All righty. So if you can get your climbing fingers ready we are going to sing Incy Wincy. Are you ready? Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out. Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain, so Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again. Good job you guys.

Should we do that one again? I really like it. Are you ready? Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out. Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain, so Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.

Ahh, well done you guys that was fantastic!

Now we've got another action song to do and this is one of my favourites. So we're going to do it the normal way first and then we're going to do a silly way next.

Okay, so we're going to do open shut them. So we have open, and shut them. Do you reckon you can follow along? Open, shut them, open, shut them, give a little clap. Open, shut them, open, shut them, lay them in your lap. You ready? Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin. Open wide your little mouth, but do not let them in. Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this. Roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss, mwah! Good job you guys, that was excellent. Now we're going to do it again and we're going to do it a silly way. So this time when I say open I want you to close them, and when I say shut them I want you to open them. And then the other actions we'll do backwards things for them as well. Are you all ready to go? Let's see if I can get this right, it's a bit tricky. Here we go. Open, shut them, open, shut them, give a little clap. Open, shut them, open, shut them, lay them in your lap. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your maybe your toes even. Open wide your little mouth but do not let them in. Ready? Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this. Roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Oh you guys are good.

All right now we are going to sing our goodbye song now. I hope you've all had lots of fun at Rhyme Time with me. Come and see us sometime soon; the libraries are back open now and we'd love to see you in here borrowing some books again.

All right are you ready? Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon. Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon, see you another day. Thanks guys, have a good day!

Rhyme Time with Cassie

Good morning everyone and welcome to Baby Rhyme Time here at Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

My name's Cassie and I'm so excited to be doing this with you today.

Okay so before we begin I'm just going to show you my little friend Fred the frog. Does anybody recognize him from anywhere?

Yes! So you can get Fred or other friends just like him from our First 5 Forever packs. And if you haven't joined up, you can get one! Just come to the library and we'll be able to help you out.

Okay is everyone excited for a rhyme time this morning?

Perfect. Okay let's do our acknowledgement to country.

Here is the land, here is the sky. Here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and country on which we learn and play. Hands up, hands down and we are on Kabi Kabi Undambi people ground.

Good job everyone. Okay we all ready to say good morning? Good job.

Hi, hello and how are you? How are you? How are you? Hi, hello and how are you? How are you today?

Good job everyone, I love your waving that was so good.

Perfect. Are we all ready to begin? Now who's feeling a little bit energetic? Because I think we should do shake our sillies out. And I like to do this one just after bath, after dinner.

It's a good way to air out. It's really fun. Ready?

Gonna shake, shake, shake your sillies out shake, shake, shake your sillies out shake, shake, shake your sillies out. Wibble our wobbles away.

Now we're going to clap! Gonna clap, clap, clap your sillies out. Clap, clap clap your sillies out. Clap, clap, clap your sillies out. Wibble our wobbles away. Okay now we're going to jump. You ready to jump your sillies out?

Okay you're all standing up? Perfect. We're going to jump, jump, jump our sillies out. Jump, jump, jump your sillies out. Jump, jump, jump your sillies out. Wibble our wobbles away.

That was great fun, oh. That was lots of fun. Okay I think we should do a counting one. Okay ready? I think we should do a counting one that's about five little ducks. Yes good job. You got five hands out? Good job.

Five little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother duck said quack, quack, quack quack. But only four little ducks came back. Oh no. Four little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother duck said quack, quack, quack, quack. But only three little ducks came back. Ready? Three little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother duck said quack, quack, quack, quack. But only two little ducks came back. Just two? Okay. Two little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother duck said quack, quack, quack, quack. But only one little duck came back. Okay, last duck. One little duck went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother duck said quack, quack, quack, quack. But none of those five little ducks came back.

Okay mother duck I think we should go out and get your friend, get your children. She said yes. Okay let's go get them. One mother duck went out one day, over the hills and far away. Mother duck said quack, quack, quack, quack. And all of those five little ducks came back. Oh there we go, they're all back again! Quack quack quack quack quack quack.

Good quacking, I love that. Okay we all ready for our next rhyme? I think we should do round and round the garden. We're going to start with our left hand, it will go to our right hand. You all have your hands out?

Perfect. Round and round the garden like a teddy bear. One step, two step tickly under there. That was funny wasn't it? Let's do our other hand. Round and round the hay stack like a little mouse.

One step, two step into his little house. Are you all laughing? Perfect. I like to see you laughing, that's good.

Okay our next rhyme I think we should do a very classic rhyme that everyone might know. Hmm. I think we should do Miss Polly had a dolly. Does everyone have a dolly with them? Or you can use a stuffed animal. Okay we all have them ready? Okay. Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick So she called for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick. The doctor came with his bag and his hat and he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat. Okay let's open the door. Okay. He looked at the dolly and he shook his head. He said Miss Polly put her straight to bed. He wrote on the paper for a pill, pill, pill. I'll be back in the morning, yes I will, will will. That's a lot of rhyming isn't there?

Okay, our next one we shall do a really, really fun one. Maybe a dingle dangle scarecrow. Are we all ready? Perfect. When all the cows were sleeping and the sun has gone to bed, up jump the scarecrow and this is what he said: I'm a dingle dangle scarecrow with a flippy floppy hat. I can shake my hands like this, and shake my feet like that. You're shaking your feet? Good job.

Okay let's go back sleeping again. When all the hens were roosting and the  moon behind the cloud, up jumped the scarecrow and shouted very loud: I'm a dingle dangle scarecrow with a flippy floppy hat. I can shake my hands like this and shake my feet like that.

Good job everyone oh that was fantastic. Now I think we should do one more rhyme. Are we all ready to go? Yes, perfect. We'll do a little quiet rhyme, maybe twinkle twinkle little star. We all  ready? Perfect. Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle little star how I wonder what you are.

Okay I think we should do that once more. You all ready to go with your twinkly fingers? Good job. Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.

Good singing everyone, that was very nice. Okay now I'm afraid we're gonna have to go but we'll do our goodbye song first. Are we all ready? There we go. Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon, see you soon see you soon. Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon, see you another day.

Goodbye everyone, see you next time.

Rhyme Time with Fiona

Hi! I'm Fiona. Welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries' Rhyme Time.

Let's start with acknowledgment of Country.

Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play, hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground.

Now let's start our welcome songs. We are going to start with hi hello and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi hello and how are you, how are you today.

And we like to do this one as well. It is a tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, arms go high, arms go low, a great big hug to say hello.

Hi everyone, let's get into some fantastic rhymes today. We are going to start with one, hmmm, it's green and it hops and it makes a noise like der glumph. Do you know what this one is? That's right it's Der glumph went the little green frog. Okay this one has some actions. You ready?

Der glumph went the little green frog one day, der glumph went the little green frog, der glumph went the little green frog one day, and the frog went glumph glumph glumph. But we all know frogs go la dee da dee da, la dee da dee da, la dee da dee da, we all know frogs go la dee da dee da, they don't go glumph glumph glumph.

Excellent work. Do you know what's really good? If you have your child sitting so they can see your facial expressions and that's fantastic for them to learn as well.

Okay the next song we are going to sing X marks the spot. So this is one you can do with your little one. We go x marks a spot with a circle and a dot and up the ladder, down the ladder, spot spot spot. Feel the feel the breeze, feel the squeeze, and have a cuddle if you please.

That's a nice one. I like it so much let's do it again. Ready to do the x marks the spot? X marks a spot, with a circle and a dot, up the ladder, down the ladder, spot spot spot, feel the breeze, feel the squeeze, and have a cuddle if you please.

Did you enjoy that cuddle? I know I did. Okay now the next song I think we might zoom up into the moon. Okay so you can put your two hands together and make a rocket ship. That's right, just like that. We're going to go zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, if you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship, zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, five four three two one blast-off! You want to do that again? I think that's a nod for a yes. Ready? Hands together for your rocket ship. Zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, if you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship, zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, five four three two one blast off!

Oh that was fun. I wonder what we'd see if we were in space? Lots of stars I would think.

Okay, the last song I've got for you today ... um do you know what animal this is? Is it a cat? No not a cat. Is it a giraffe? No giraffes have long necks don't they. This is a monkey. Do you know the song about one two three four five monkeys and they're swinging in a tree?

You know what they do next? They tease Mr Crocodile. You know this song don't you? You ready to sing it with me? Five cheeky monkeys swinging in a tree, teasing Mr Crocodile, you can't catch me, along comes Mr Crocodile as quiet as can be and snap! Four cheeky monkeys swinging in a tree, teasing Mr Crocodile, you can't catch me, you can't catch me, along comes Mr Crocodile as quiet as can be and snap! How many monkeys are left now? There's only three three cheeky monkeys swinging in a tree, teasing Mr Crocodile, you can't catch me, you can't catch me, along comes Mr Crocodile as quiet as can be and snap! How many we've got left? Two two cheeky monkeys swinging in a tree, teasing Mr Crocodile you can't catch me, you can't catch me, along comes Mr Crocodile as quiet as can be and snap! One one left. Is this you? Oh let's have a look. One cheeky monkey swinging in a tree, teasing Mr Crocodile, you can't catch me, you can't catch me, along comes Mr Crocodile as quiet as can be and ... missed me! We still have our one monkey left.

Oh that's good news. Well I hope you enjoyed those few rhymes and we'll do our goodbye songs now, and we start with our tickle song. A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, don't get tricked with this bit, arms go low, arms go high, a great big hug to say goodbye.

Goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you another day.

Thank you, we'll see you next time. Bye!

Rhyme Time with Fiona

Hi! I'm Fiona and welcome to Moreton Bay Region Library's Rhyme Time.

So let's start off with the acknowledgement of Country. Are you ready? Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends, and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play, hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground.

Okay now we've got our welcoming rhymes. Are you ready? Hi hello and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi hello and how are you, how are you today.

Well I hope you're all doing well and our next welcoming rhyme is the tickle one. Are you ready for the tickle one? Are you ready? We go a tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, arms go high, arms go low, a great big hug to say hello.

Hi everyone, now I've got some really great rhymes to do today. Okay our first rhyme is about a turtle. Can you put one hand on top of the other and then wiggle your thumbs? I had a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim, I put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim. He drank up all the water and ate up all the soap, now he's home sick in bed with a bubble in his throat. Bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bop. Let's do that one again! One hand on top of the other, wiggle your thumbs. I had a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim. I put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim. He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap. Now he's home sick in bed with a bubble in his throat. Bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bop. That was a funny one wasn't it?

Now did you notice that we did that one two times? That's because repetition is so important for babies' early language. That's why we keep doing the same rhymes over and over again. Now the next rhyme is about Australian animals and it has actions too, so I'll do the first song and then I'll get you to help me with a second.

Are you ready? We're going to start with a fish and it's a Barramundi. Barramundi Barramundi cockatoo cockatoo platypus and emu platypus and emu kangaroo kangaroo. Okay can you do all those actions with me, all those Australian animals? We're going to start with a Barramundi which is a fish. Barramundi Barramundi cockatoo cockatoo platypus and emu platypus and emu kangaroo kangaroo. Well done!

We've got some really interesting animals in Australia and there's another one and it has three people in the family. It's got a baby, do you know what that is? That's my baby crocodile. It's a baby crocodile and then we have a mummy crocodile and you know what's next don't you? It's a daddy crocodile. Okay so let's sing this one together. You ready?

Baby crocodile, baby crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo! Out of sight, boo! Remember what was next? It's mommy. Mommy crocodile, mommy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo! Out of sight, boo! And open your arms wide, wide as wide as you can go, you ready? Daddy crocodile, daddy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite, I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, out of sight.

Well those are some of my favourite rhymes. I hope you enjoyed them too and what was the other tip I had? Repetition, oh okay. Another thing that's good to do with singing rhymes with your children is to slow it down and then they get a chance to respond to what's happening.

Okay we're going to do our goodbye songs now and we're going to start with a tickle one. Are you ready? We go a tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes. This is going to trick you. Arms go low, arms go high, a great big hug to say goodbye.

Goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye, goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you another day. I hope you had fun because I did. We'll see you next time. Bye!

Rhyme Time with Cassie

Good morning and welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries' Baby Rhyme Time. My name is Cassie and I'm here to sing some amazing songs with you.

Is everyone excited to get started? Perfect. Now before we begin we just need to start with our acknowledgement to Country, and all you have to do is follow me. Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We like to respectfully acknowledge the traditional Country on which we learn and play, hands up, hands down, we are on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground. Perfect.

Okay now we can't start off our Rhyme Time without saying Good morning, so we're going to get some good happy waving hands. Here we go, that's perfect.

Hi, hello, and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi, hello and how are you, how are you today?

Perfect. Okay let's start off with one of our favourite rhymes, the bouncing one where we zoom zoom zoom to the moon in our favourite rocket ship. Are we all ready to go and do some bouncing from knee to knee? Perfect. Zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, if you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship, zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon in five four three two one and blast off and oh, there we go. I think we've flown to the moon. I think we should fly to the moon one more time? Yes. Ready? Zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon, if you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship, zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon in five four three two one, blast off! Good job everyone, perfect.

Okay now that we've done some counting and bouncing, let's sing one of our favourite little nursery rhymes, Twinkle twinkle. We all ready to go? Perfect. Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are, up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky, twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Good job. I think we should do that one again, because repetition is really really really good for at home. Twinkly fingers out again! Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are, up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky, twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. Good fantastic job with your little twinkly fingers. That's perfect.

Okay, we should do another amazing song. I think we should do Five little ducks. We all ready to go? Five little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away, mother duck said quack quack quack quack, but only four little ducks came back. Four little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away, mother duck said quack quack quack quack, but only three little ducks came back. Three little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away, mother duck said quack quack quack quack, but only two little ducks came back. Let's go with two. Two little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away, mother duck said quack quack quack quack, but only one little duck came back. One little duck went out one day, over the hills and far away, mother duck said quack quack quack quack, but none of those five little ducks came back. I guess we'll have to send mother duck out to find all the other little ducks. We all ready to go? Sad mother duck went out one day, over the hills and far away, mother duck said quack quack quack quack, and all of the five little ducks came back.

Good counting and good job bringing all those ducks back.

Now, now that we've had a real long one, I think we should do another rhyme, one that's got a little bit more action. So because we've been using our fingers all day, we'll do our finger song Where is Thumbkin. Let's start off with our thumbs. Where is Thumbkin, where is Thumbkin, here I am, here I am, how are you today sir, very well I thank you, run away, run away. Where is Pointer, where is Pointer, here I am, here I am, how are you today sir, very well I thank you, run away, run away. Here comes Tall Man, where is Tall Man, where is Tall Man, here I am, here I am, how are you today sir, very well I thank you, run away, run away. Where is Ring Man, where is Ring Man, here I am, here I am, how are you today sir, very well I thank you, run away, run away. Last one. Where is Pinky, where is Pinky, here I am, here I am, how are you today sir, very well I thank you, run away, run away. Good job. Now we know what all the names of our fingers are - Thumbkin, Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Man and Pinky.

Good job everyone. Now for our last rhyme we'll do a quiet one X marks the spot. Now you can either do it on bubby's back or you can do it on their belly. I'm going to do it on my arm. X marks the spot with a circle and a dot, up the ladder, down the ladder, spot spot spot, feel the breeze, blow on the back, feel the squeeze, give them a little squeeze and have a cuddle if you please.

I think we should do that one more time. X marks the spot with a circle and a dot, up the ladder, down the ladder, spot spot spot, feel the breeze, feel the squeeze, and have a cuddle if you please. Good job.

Now that's all the rhymes we have time for today. I'm just going to sing the Goodbye song. Let's give our waving hands one last go. Goodbye goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you another day. Good job and we'll see you next week for Baby Rhyme Time. Goodbye.

Rhyme Time with Liz

Welcome to 'Baby Rhyme Time' with Moreton Bay Region Libraries. My name is Liz and I'll be doing 'Baby Rhyme Time' for you today and I'm super excited.

We're gonna have such a good time. Today I have with me, my little friend her name's Buttercream and she's gonna sit down at my feet and she's gonna listen to us sing of our songs.

So I hope that you sing really loud so that she can hear us. All right, she can go down there. Now before we begin we have to start with our 'Welcome to country'. So can everyone show me your twinkle fingers like this? Good job.

And we will go:

"Here is the land and here is the sky. Here are my friends and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and country on which we learn and play.
Hands up and hands down. We are on Gubbi Gubbi and Undabi people ground."

Good job everyone! So to begin I think that we're gonna sing a welcome song.

So let's say hello, say hi hi everyone. How are you going today? Say hi to whoever's sitting in the room with you. We can sing our hello song.

We'll go, hi, hello and how are you?
How are you? How are you? 
Hi, hello and how are you?
How are you today?

Good job!

We're gonna get ready to do some tickling as part of our welcome song. So show me your tickle fingers.

And we will tickle the clouds up in the sky and right down low to tickle your toes. We're gonna turn our hands around like this and stop.

Then tickle your nose.

Reach down low and reach up high.

Story Time's here let's say hi. Hi everyone.

So excited to see you today.

So I'm feeling very hmm cheerful today. Are you feeling happy today too? Oh I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling good because we're going to start with 'If you're happy and you know it'.

So if you're happy and you know it we're gonna start off with clapping your hands like this, stomping our feet. Say stomp stomp stomp, shouting hooray and blowing a kiss. Are you ready to sing along with me?

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.
If you're happy and you know it then you really ought to show it.
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands.

If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet stomp, stomp.
If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet stomp, stomp.
If you're happy and you know it then you really ought to show it.
If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet stomp, stomp.  

If you're happy and you know it shout hooray, hooray!
If you're happy and you know it shout hooray, hooray!
If you're happy and you know it then your really ought to show it.
If you're happy and you know it shout hooray, hooray!

One more. If you're happy and you know it blow a kiss.
If you're happy and you know it blow a kiss.
If you're happy and you know it then you really ought to show it.
If you're happy and you know it blow a kiss.

Good job everyone, you're doing an awesome job. Okay, I think that we're gonna do another rhyme, does that sound good? All right.

So this one we're gonna have our hands like this and these are gonna symbolise our little froggies because we're going to sing 'Der Glumph went the little green frog'. How does that sound? Sound good? 

I can hear Buttercream down at my feet saying, 'yes that sounds amazing'. All right let's get ready. We're gonna have our hands like this. Can you show me your froggy hands like this?

All right we'll go der glumph went the little green frog one day.
Der glumph went the little green frog.
Der glumph went the little green frog one day
And the frog went glumph, glumph, glumph.

But we all know frogs go la-de-da-de-da,
la-de- da-de-da, la-de-da-de-da.
We all know frogs go la-de-da-de-da,
they don't go glumph, glumph, glumph.

Good job. Give yourselves a round of applause. You guys are doing a great job. Thank you so much for singing with me.

Let me tell you something, frogs are my favourite animal because they are do cute! They're beautiful green colour or sometimes they can be brown or yellow. Wow! Frogs are amazing! I love all animals. Speaking of animals were somewhere that we can see lots and lots of animals.

Hmm hmm. I know Old MacDonald's farm. Wow, Old MacDonald he has a pig, he has a cow, he has a horse, he has a chicken and he has a dog. So we're going to go down to Old MacDonald's farm and see what we can see.

Ready to sing along with me? All right, let's go.

Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o
And on that farm he had a pig e-i-e-i-o.
With an oink, oink here and an oink oink there.
Here an oink, there an oink, everywhere an oink oink.

Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o.
And on that farm he had a cow e-i-e-i-o.
With a moo moo here and a moo moo there.
Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.

Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o.
And on that farm he had a horse e-i-e-i-o.
With a neigh neigh here and a neigh neigh there.
Here a neigh, there a neigh, everywhere a neigh, neigh.

Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o.
And on that farm he had a chicken.e-i-e-i-o.
With a bok bok here and a bok bok there.
Here a bok there a bok, everywhere a bok bok.

Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o.
And on that farm he had a dog e-i-e-i-o.
With a woof, woof here and a woof, woof there.
Here a woof, there a woof, everywhere a woof, woof.
Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-o.

Oh good job everyone! That's a long rhyme to sing, but you're all doing a great job. What was your favourite animal in that rhyme? My favourite animal was the dog, I love dogs.

I think that they're super cute when they go woof, woof, woof, woof around everywhere like that. Hmm now so we've had a song that had dogs in it, that had cows and a horse and a chicken and a pig.

But what's another animal that has eight legs and is really small sometimes? That's right it's a spider. So I think that we're going to sing a song about our favuorite spider called Incy Wincy.

Now I like to have my Incy Wincy go up my arm like this, but you don't have to. You can have your Incy Wincy go how ever you want. Ready to sing? We'll go:

Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain, washed poor Incy out.
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain.
So Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.

I think that we can do that one more time. What do you think? Let's get our spiders ready.

We'll go, Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed poor Incy out.
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain.
So Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.

Good job. You guys are doing a great job. Thank you so much.

We're up to our very last rhyme. So we'll sing our goodbye rhyme. How does that sound? So first we're gonna get our tickling fingers ready again.

And we will tickle the clouds and tickle your toes.
Wave your hands around, stop and tickle your nose.
Reach down low and reach up high.
Story times over wave goodbye.

Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon.
See you soon. See you soon.
Goodbye, goodbye we'll see you soon.
See you another day.

Thank you so much for joining us for a rhyme time today. My little teddy Buttercream and I would like to say thank you so much.

We hope that you enjoyed it. And just remember singing songs and telling your children's stories is really really really important to their language development in later of life.

So just keep singing with them keep telling them stories whenever you can. Build that attachment with your child and help them develop for years to come.

Thank you so much have a great day you.

Rhyme Time with Liz

Hi everyone. Welcome to Baby Rhyme Time with Moreton Bay Region Libraries. My name is Liz and we'll be doing Baby Rhyme Time together today and I'm so excited to have you all here.

Before we begin, we have to start with our Acknowledgement to Country, so please show me your twinkling fingers like this. They look kind of like stars, aren't they beautiful?

All right when we're ready, we're all going to say:

“Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends, that's you guys, and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play.
Hands up, and hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people grounds.”

All right who's ready to start singing some rhymes? So first up we're going to start with one of my favourite rhymes and it's called This is the way we wash our face. So we're going to show everyone how we wash our face, how we comb our hair, how we brush our teeth and how we say hello.

Are we ready to begin? Okay let's go. We’ll go:

"This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face,
this is the way we wash our face, early in the morning.

This is the way we brush our hair, brush our hair, brush our hair,
this is the way we brush our hair, early in the morning.

This is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth,
this is the way we brush our teeth, early in the morning,

And this is the way we wave hello, wave hello, wave hello,
this is the way we wave hello, early in the morning."

Good job! Give yourselves a clap. What else do you do early in the morning? You might take a shower. You might eat some breakfast. You might get out of your pyjamas. You might go to school or you might go down to your kindergarten. Whatever you do in the morning, it's so great to see that you can sing along with me. Good job guys.

All right, so next up we've got another one now that anyone who knows me knows that this is my most favourite rhyme of all time. So first can you show me your hands like this okay, and how about like this, and then like this again, and then this and this and this and this and this and this and ha oh okay there's lots of steps. Oh that's okay because if I can do it, you guys can do it too.

This one's called Open shut them. Are we ready to do it together? Put your hands up like this so we can start.

"Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap. Good job.
Open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap.
Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin.
Open wide your little mouth, but do not let them in.
Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this. 
Roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Mwah."

Wow. Well done everyone that's my favourite rhyme ever. I think that that one's so fun because it's such a fun song to sing and it has lots of cool hand movements, doesn't it? Did you like that one too?

All right, we're going to do another one and for this I got my shaker because they are very very fun to use. The little noise maker, see if you've got any shaker or anything like that around the house you can use that when you're singing along.

All right so we're going to do Miss Polly had a Dolly. We’ll sing that one together are you ready?

"Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick,
so she called for the doctor to come quick, quick, quick.
The doctor came with his bag and his hat
and he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat.

He looked at Miss Polly and he shook his head.
He said put that dolly straight to bed.
He wrote on his paper for a pill pill pill.
I'll be back in the morning, yes I will will will."

Oh good job. And if you’ve got something to shake with you, give it a little shake okay. I like that one. Doctors are really great about coming in to help wherever they can and so it's nice to sing a nice little rhyme about doctor coming to help someone, isn't it? I think so too.

All right, let's do another rhyme. Does that sound good? I've got a really special one picked out for you today. Now this one's lots of fun because it's another hand one. So we can have our hands up like this to start off with and then we're going to make them into some very pretty little glasses and a pretty little hat. Then we're going to fold them and have them like this but then grandpa comes along with his big glasses like this and his big hat like this and this is the way he folds his hands and has a little nap, so this rhyme’s called Grandma's glasses. Ready to sing along with me? All right ready let's go.

"Here are grandma’s glasses and here is grandma's hat.
This is the way she folds her hands and lays them in her lap.

"Here are grandpa's glasses and here is grandpa's hat.
This is the way he folds his hands and has a little nap. Oh good job guys."

That means we've done four rhymes together already, so we've done This is the way we wash our faceMiss Polly had a dolly, Open shut them and Grandma's glasses.

I've got one more rhyme to go and this is our goodbye rhyme. So first let's say goodbye goodbye everyone bye and we'll get our tickling fingers ready. Are you ready? So we will go:

"A tickle for your toes, tickle your toes and a tickle for your nose, tickle your nose
And a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon grows.
Arms go low and arms go high, a great big hug to say goodbye."

Goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you another day.

Thank you so much for joining us for Baby Rhyme Time today. Remember that singing these rhymes over and over again is a really fun way of bonding with your baby. Have a great day. Thank you for joining us.

Rhyme Time with Margaret

Hello. I'm Margaret and it's time for Baby Rhyme Time. I have my little friend Teddy here to help me. He might not be here all the time though. So before we start, let's do our Acknowledgement to Country.

"Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and land on which we work and play.
Hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground."

Now we always start Rhyme Time here with our clapping practice, so let's clap to the front and let's clap to the left, and let's clap to the right and we'll do a quiet clap. We might need it. That is so hard to do.

Okay now we'll do our Hello song. Hi hello and how are you? How are you? How are you? Hi hello and how are you? How are you today?

"A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose,
A tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes.
Arms go high, arms go low, a great big hug to say hello."

Okay Teddy what else have we got? Okay can you do this? Open, shut, open, shut, and one of our favourites.

"Open, shut them, open, shut them, give a little clap.
Open, shut them, open, shut them, lay them in your lap.
Shhh. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin.
Open wide your little mouth, but do not let them in.
Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this.
Roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss, yeah. Mwah! And another kiss. Mwah!"

Now Teddy's going to help us with this next one.

"Boing boing squeak! Boing Boing squeak!
A bouncy mouse is in the house. He's been there for a week.
She bounces in the kitchen, she bounces in the deck,
she bounces in the living room, there she goes again."

Again Teddy?

"Boing boing squeak! Boing boing squeak!
A bouncy mouse is in the house, she's been there for a week.
She bounces in the kitchen, she bounces in the den,
she bounces in the living room, oh there she goes again!

Oh that was a good one. Now we will do Miss Polly.

"Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick sick sick,
So she called for the doctor to come quick quick quick,
The doctor came with his bag and his hat
And he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat."

Knock knock. Is that the doctor? Will we let him in?

"He looked at the dolly and he shook his head.
He said Miss Polly put her straight to bed.
He wrote on the paper for a pill pill pill.
I'll be back in the morning, yes I will will will.

Thank goodness the doctor came! And now one of our favourites and we will do a bit of stretching. Are we ready?

"Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.

And what about our little friend the spider? Incy Wincy.

"Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout,
Down came the rain and washed poor Incy out,
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain,
So Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again."

Again?  Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout, down came the rain and washed poor Incy out, out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain, so Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again.

Well that's all we've got time for today, so we'll say goodbye now. Goodbye.

Rhyme Time with Nigel

Hello. It’s Nigel. We're going to do Baby Rhyme Time together today and before we do, I'd like to do an Acknowledgement to Country.

"Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play.
Hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi ground."

It's all right, so you're ready to do our little welcome song? Ready? One two.

"Hi hello and how are you? How are you? How are you?
Hi hello and how are you? How are you today?"

Very good. Okay,

"A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose,
A tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes.
Arms go high, arms go low, a great big hug to say hello."

All right, now I know a song Humpty Dumpty and Teddy's going to help me with this one.

Okay. One two.

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again."

Very good if you sang along with that one. Okay this one here I will use my hands. W're going to do the song Open shut them. All ready? One two.

"Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap.
Open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap.
Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin.
Open wide your little mouth but do not let them in."

Very good. Ok now this one here is I'm a little teapot. Ok you try and do this one so if you've got room you can stand. Ok. One two.

"I'm a little teapot short and stout,
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up then I shout,
Tip me over pour me out."

Very good, good job. All right now this one is about a bus. The wheels on the bus. Okay, let's try to do some actions with me. One two.

"The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round, all the way to town.
The wipers on the bus go swish-swish-swish swish-swish-swish swish-swish-swish,
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish, all the way to town.
The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep,
The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep, all the way to town.
The babies on the bus go wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah,
The babies on the bus go wah wah wah all the way to town.
The driver on the bus goes shh shh shh
The driver on the bus goes shh shh shh, all the way to town.

Good job everybody. Well I've had so much fun again doing this rhymes these rhymes with you. We’ll do the little tickle song and and we'll have to farewell. Here we go.

"A tickle for your toes again, a tickle for your nose,
A tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes.
Arms go low, arms go high, a great big hug to say goodbye."

Goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you another day. Bye!

Rhyme Time with Liz

Hi everyone and welcome to Baby Rhyme Time with Moreton Bay Region Libraries. My name is Liz and I'm very excited to do Baby Rhyme Time with you today. Before we start we have to do our Acknowledgement to Country. Can everyone put your hands up like this and twinkle them like they're little stars? Well done. Let's go.

"Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play.
Hands up, really high and hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground."

Well done. Now before we start I have a very special friend with me here today. Her name's Buttercream and later on in the Rhyme Time she's going to help me sing some rhymes but for now she's just going to sit right on my lap here. Okay? Great.

So to start off with we're going to do a favourite rhyme of very many people. Let's see if you can guess what it is? First we'll get our fingers like this for our little babies and then we'll get our fingers like this, that's for our mummies and then like this for our daddies.

Have you figured out what we're singing yet? We're going to be singing Baby crocodile so everyone, can you please show me your hands like this? Good job. We'll go:

"Baby crocodile, baby crocodile, don’t you bite, don't you bite.
I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo." 

Look at mummies like it is. Can you show me your mummy crocodiles?

"Mummy crocodile, mummy crocodile, don’t you bite, don’t you bite,
I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo."

Okay that means we've done our babies like this, we've done our mummies like this, which must mean we have our daddy crocodiles left. Get ready.

"Daddy crocodile daddy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite.
I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, boo, out of sight, boo."

Give yourselves a big clap. Good job everyone. Now I like crocodiles, I think they're very cool but where do you think we might not find a crocodile. I think that we might not find a crocodile on a farm. That would be a bit silly wouldn't it? What might we find on a farm instead? We might have a cow or we might have a pig or a horse or maybe a sheep or a meow - a cat - or a woof woof woof - a dog. We might have those things on a farm mightn’t we? I think so.

So I think next we're going to sing a rhyme I went down to the farm one day. Do you think that you could sing that with me? All right great. So we'll start off with … how about we start with a cow?

"I went down to the farm one day,
I saw a cow along the way,
What do you think I heard him say? Moo moo moo."

Okay what else might we find on a farm? A pig. Let's do a pig next. Ready?

"I went down to a farm one day,
I saw a pig along the way,
What do you think I heard him say? Oink oink oink."

Let's try a sheep.

"I went down to a farm one day,
I saw a sheep along the way,
What do you think I heard him say? Baa baa baa."

Good job. How about we try a horse? 

"I went down to a farm one day,
I saw a horse along the way,
what do you think I heard her say? Neigh neigh neigh."

Okay so we've done a cow, we've done a pig, we've done a sheep and we've done a horse. Let's try doing a cat.

"I went down to a farm one day,
I saw a cat along the way,
What do you think I heard him say? Meow meow meow."

So if we've done a cat, we've done a cow, we've done a pig, we've done a sheep and we've done a horse, means we've got one left and that's the dog.So...

"I went down to a farm one day,
I saw a dog along the way,
What do you think I heard him say? Woof woof woof."

Good job. Give yourselves a big round of applause everyone. You're all doing so great. What else do you think you might see at a farm? Maybe we could see a rooster who goes cock-a-doodle-do or a chicken who goes book book or a duck that goes quack quack quack. There's so many animals that we could see it a farm isn't there? But we're going to sing another rhyme now and this is going to be about one animal we just sung about, one that goes oink oink oink oink oink.

You're right, it's a pig! So can you show me your five piggies? Good job. So we've got one two three four and five. Are you ready to sing with me? We'll go:

"This little piggy went to market and
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had ice cream and
This little piggy had none, oh and
"his little piggy went wee wee wee wee wee wee all the way home."

Oh good job everyone. That's a nice little one to sing isn't it? I like this little piggies. All right let's do another rhyme and just in time, Buttercream is here ready to help us sing. So this one is called Zoom zoom zoom.

Now, we're going to pretend that we’re rocket ships. Doesn't that sound exciting? So I've got Buttercream but you might want to use your dolly or you can just use yourself if you want. So we're going to go:

"Zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon,
If you want to take a trip, climb aboard my rocket ship,
Zoom zoom zoom, we're going to the moon,
Five four three two one blast off!"

Wasn't that fun? Good job everyone. Give yourself a round of applause. Wow you guys are doing such a great job. So we've done four rhymes already. Do you remember what they were?

We've done Baby crocodile with our babies like this, I went to visit a farm one day where we saw lots of farm animals, Five little pigs and Zoom Zoom Zoom when we got to pretend we were rocket ships which means I'm going to sing one more rhyme with you. How does that sound? Good. All right great, so this one is a bouncing rhyme so we can bounce in our seats. We ready? Okay so I'm going to go:

"I bounce you here, I bounce you there,
I bounce you bounce you everywhere.
I tickle you here, I tickle you there,
I tickle you tickle you everywhere.
I hug you here, I hug you there,
I hug you hug you everywhere."

Oh good job everyone. Thank you so much for joining myself and also Buttercream here at Baby Rhyme Time with Moreton Bay Region Libraries today. Remember to tell as many stories and sing as many rhymes with your children as you can. It's a really really great bonding opportunity for you and your child to have. Thank you so much for joining us.

Rhyme Time with Jenny

Hello. I'm Miss Jenny and I'm going to be joining you for Rhyme Time today.

Before we get started with all our rhymes, how about we do our Acknowledgement to Country? Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play. Hands up, hands down, we’re on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground.

Good work everybody! Let's start with our welcome hello hands. Can you wave your hands like this?

Hello, hello, hello. Good work. Hi hello and how are you? How are you? How are you? Hi hello and how are you? How are you today? Hello everybody.

Let's do Baby Crocodile. Can you show me your baby crocodile? This is my little baby crocodile. Who comes next?

Mummy crocodile. And then what does Daddy crocodile look like? Daddy crocodile. Snap snap. Get ready! Baby crocodile, baby crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite. I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight. Boo! Out of sight. Boo!

Here comes Mummy. Mummy crocodile, Mummy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite. I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight. Boo! Out of sight. Boo!

Here comes Daddy. Daddy crocodile, Daddy crocodile, don't you bite, don't you bite. I can run away from you, I can run away from you, out of sight, out of sight.

Good work everybody. How about while we're moving our hands, we do Open shut them. Can you go open shut them, open shut them, open shut them? This rhyme you can do really, really fast but we’re going to start off nice and slow. You ready? Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap. Open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin. Open wide your little mouth, but do not let them in.

Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this. Roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Mwah! Big kisses to everybody.

How about we try that one again but just a little bit faster? Do you think you can do that?

Get ready, get your hands all warmed up.

Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap. Open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap. Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them, right up to your chin. Open wide your little mouth, but do not let them in. Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this. Roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Mwah, mwah mwah!

Good work everybody.

What about Wheels on the bus? Can you get your wheels to go around like this? Around and around and our wipers go swish swish swish swish swish swish. What about the horn on the bus? Does it go honk honk? What about the babies on the bus? They go waah waah wa, don't they? I think we're ready.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round, all day long. The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish swish swish swish swish swish swish, the wipers on the bus go swish swish swish, all day long. The horn on the bus goes honk honk honk honk honk honk honk honk honk, the horn on the bus goes honk honk honk, all day long. What about the babies? The babies on the bus go waah waah wa, waah waah wa, the babies on the bus go waah waah wa, all day long. One last time for tThe wheels. The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus go round and round, all day long.

Good work everybody. That was wonderful.

How about we make it a little bit more quieter and we do Twinkle twinkle little star? Can you show me your twinkle fingers? These are my beautiful little twinkle fingers. Here we go. Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are, up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky, twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are. That was beautiful.

I think we're just about ready to say our goodbyes, but how about last we sing our goodbye song? So can you show me your waving goodbye hands?

Goodbye goodbye, we'll see you soon see you soon, see you soon. Goodbye goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you another day.

And just remember parents, that sharing rhymes for your children can be done anywhere, while you're at home, while you're driving in your car, or even waiting at the doctor's surgery. You can never share too many songs and rhymes with your child. It’s one of the best ways to help with their language and early learning skills.

Thank you very much. I hope we see you next time. Goodbye.


Rhyme Time with Jenny

Hello and welcome to Rhyme Time. I'm Miss Jenny and this is Batman. We're going to be joining you for Rhyme Time today.

Before we get started with our rhymes, how about we start with our acknowledgement to Country? Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians in Country in which we learn and play, hands up, hands down, we’re on Kabi kabi and Undambi people ground. Good work everybody!

How about we start our Rhyme Time with our welcome Hello song. Can I see you're waving hello hands? Well hello! Hi hello and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi hello and how are you, how are you today.

Hi everybody, I'm really happy to be here today and I hope you are too. Let's start with one of my favourite rhymes Boing Boing squeak. So I'm going to use Batman to help me with this one. Ready? Boing-boing squeak, boing boing squeak, a bouncing mouse is in the house, she's been here for a week, she's bouncing in the kitchen, she's bouncing in the den, she's bouncing in the living room, wooo she goes again. Shall we try that one again, just one more time.

Boing Boing squeak, boing boing squeak, a bouncy mouse is in the house, she's been here for a week, she's bouncing in the kitchen, she's bouncing in the den, she's bouncing in the living room, wooo she goes again, and while we're doing a lot of bouncing, how about we try Tick-tock? Ready?

Tick-tock tick-tock, I'm a little cuckoo clock, tick tock tick tock, stop! What time is it? It's 1 o'clock. Cuckoo! Let's try again but let's go two cuckoos this time. Tick tock tick tock, I'm a little cuckoo clock, tick tock tick tock, stop! What time is it? It's 2 o'clock. Cuckoo, cuckoo! Let's go to three cuckoos. Ready? Tick tock tick tock, I'm a little cuckoo clock, tick tock tick tock, stop! What time is it? It's three o'clock. Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo! How are we try four this time? Do you think you can do it? Let's give it a go. Tick tock tick tock, I'm a little cuckoo clock, tick tock tick tock, stop! What time is it? It's 4 o'clock. Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo! Good work everybody! Oh that one gets your arms going doesn't it?

Whilst I have Batman with me he can pretend to be my dolly. Miss Polly had a dolly. How about you lay down right there Batman. Good boy. Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick sick sick, so she called for the doctor to come quick quick quick, the doctor came with his bag and his hat and he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat. He looked at the dolly and he shook his head, he said Miss Polly put her straight to bed, he wrote on a paper for a pill pill pill, I'll be back in the morning, yes I will will will.

Do that one more time? Ready? Miss Polly had a dolly who was sick sick sick, so she called for the doctor to come quick quick quick, the doctor came with his bag and his hat and he knocked on the door with a rat-a-tat-tat. He looked at the dolly and he shook his head, he said Miss Polly put her straight to bed, he wrote on a paper for a pill pill pill, I'll be back in the morning yes I will will will will. That was lovely!

Thank you so much for your help Batman. How about you just sit back over here, good boy, and we're going to do one more rhyme. Do you know You're happy and you know it? How about you showing me your clapping hands? Can you stomp your feet? Stomp stomp . Can you shout hooray? Can you wave goodbye? Good work, I think you're ready. If you're happy and you know it clap your hands, if you're happy and you know it clap your hands, if you're happy and you know it then you really ought to show it, if you're happy and you know it clap your hands. If you're happy and you know it stomp your feet, stomp, if you're happy and you know it stomp your feet, stomp stomp, if you're happy and you know it then you really ought to show it, if you're happy and you know it stomp your feet, stomp stomp. If you're happy and you know it shout hooray, if you're happy and you know it shout hooray, if you're happy and you know it then you really ought to show it, if you're happy and you know it shout hooray, hooray. If you're happy and you know wave goodbye, goodbye, if you're happy and you know wave goodbye, goodbye, if you're happy and you know it then you really ought to show it, if you're happy and you know it wave goodbye, goodbye.

That's the end of story time today. Thank you so much for joining me. How about we sing our Goodbye song. Goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon see you soon, see you soon, goodbye goodbye, we'll see you soon, see you another day.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Remember parents that while singing some rhymes can feel repetitive for us, it's so important that we keep on singing to our children because each time we share our rhyme with them, they'll learn something new, and that's how we really grow and develop their little brains. Thank you so much, we'll see you next time. Bye!


Rhyme Time with Kathy

Hello everyone and welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries. I'm Cathy, this is George and we're here to be bringing you baby Rhyme Time.

Let's start with our acknowledgement to Country. Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play, hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground.

Let's start with our Welcome song. Hi hello and how are you, how are you, how are you, hi hello and how are you, how are you today. A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon grows, arms go high, arms go low, a great big hug to say hello. Hello everyone!

Now let's do, oh, this is one of my favourites, I think George loves this one. Open shut them. Have your hands like this and we go open shut them. You ready George? Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap, open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap, creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them right up to your chin, open wide your little mouth but do not let them in. Shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them, shake them just like this, roll them, roll them, roll them, roll them, blow a little kiss. Good job everyone, good job.

Oh this is Row row row your boat next. I like this one too George, you're right. You ready cause you get to make lots of big sounds in this one. Ready? Row row row your boat gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream, row row row your boat gently down the stream, if you see a crocodile don't forget to scream. Row row row your boat slowly down the river, if you see a polar bear don't forget to shiver. Row row row your boat by the ocean shore, if you see a lion there don't forget to roar. Row row row your boat gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream. Oh well done everybody, that was very good. Did you like that one? That's good.

Now I'm going to put you on my lap George for this one, is that okay? Now this one's cool. I bounce you. So you just have your little one on your lap and we give them a little bounce, they’ll really like this one. Ready? I bounce you here, I bounce you there, I bounce you bounce you everywhere, I tickle you here, I'll tickle you there, I tickle you tickle you everywhere, I hug you here, I hug you there, I hug you hug you everywhere. Should we do it again? Cause you like to get hugged don't you George? Let's try again. I bounce you here, I bounce you there, I bounce you bounce you everywhere.

I tickle you here, I tickle you there, I tickle you tickle you everywhere. Oh I hug you here, oh I hug you there, I hug you hug you everywhere. Well done.

Now I'm going to do a rhyme with you now some people sing this rhyme I actually just speak it. Let’s go. It's called I had a little turtle. This is my turtle. You ready? I had a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim, I put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim, he ate up all he drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap, and now it's time sick in bed with bubbles in his throat, bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble pop. Well done, that was a big bubble to pop wasn't it?

Now thank you George come on back up. Let's do our Goodbye song. Are you ready? I know you don't want to say goodbye yet but we do have to. A tickle for your toes, a tickle for your nose, a tickle for your tummy where the watermelon goes, arms go low, arms go high, oh a great big hug to say goodbye. Goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you soon, see you soon, goodbye goodbye we'll see you soon, see you another day.

Now doing these rhymes has great bonding experience with your children. Just the repetition of it just really helps them with their language skills. Thank you for joining me and we'll see you again soon, bye. Say bye George. Bye!


Welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries. Today we're going to read a story. Thank you for joining us!

Let's start with our Acknowledgement to Country.

Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends, and here am I.

We respect the traditional custodians and country on which we learn and play.

Hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi People ground.

Okay, let's begin our story. Today's story is "Titch" and it's one of our 50 Books to Read before your child turns five.


Oh, all the clothes are on the line. Titch was little.

His sister Mary was bigger. See Titch is this tall, Mary is a little bit bigger.

And his brother Pete was a lot bigger.

Pete had a great big bike. Can you see that his bike is orange? I think he's riding very fast, isn't he?

And Mary had a big bike. And her bike is? Blue!

And Titch had a little bike, and his bike was ... yellow.

And he's calling out to his brother and sister "Wait for me! Wait for me!"

They've ridden right up the top of the hill, and Titch is pedalling as fast as he can because he's much more smaller than him - them - isn't he?

Pete had a kite that flew high above the trees. His kite is blue and white.

And Mary had a kite that flew high above the houses. And her kite is yellow and white. Must be a breezy day for those kites to be in the sky.

And Titch had a pinwheel that he held in his hand and it spins round and round and round with the wind. He has a blue one.

Pete had a drum. Boom. Boom. Boom. And Mary had a trumpet (makes trumpet sound).

And Titch had a little wooden whistle (whistles). And he blew it as hard as he could.

Pete had a big saw and he sawed away on his piece of wood. And Mary had a big hammer. Thump. Thump. Thump.

And Titch held the nails. That was his special job.

Pete had a big spade. Can you see him digging in the dirt?

And Mary had a fat flower pot. An orange flower pot.

But Titch had a very tiny seed in his hand. He was holding it very carefully.

They put the dirt in the pot. And Titch's seed grew. They are all watching it grow, aren't they?

And it grew. Oh it's getting very big isn't it? And it grew. Look how big it is now!

Titch is very happy that his special job - which looked like the smallest thing at the time - has grown into the biggest thing.

Well done Titch. The end.

Thank you for joining us today, and don't forget, parents, please read to your children every day, as it's wonderful for their language development.

Thank you.

Each Peach Pear Plum

Hi everyone. Welcome to Storytime at Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

My name is Liz. I'm really excited to do this with you today. First we're going to start with our acknowledgement to Country, so can you all show me your twinkling fingers like this? Great! Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play, hands up really high, and hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground. Awesome. Thanks very much.

So today the book that I'll be reading is called Each peach pear plum and it's one of our 50 books to read before you’re five.

Ready to start? Awesome. So this is Each peach pear plum. Each peach pear plum, I spy Tom Thumb. Wow look at that awesome illustration, and Tom thumb's up here in the tree.

Tom Thumb in the cupboard, I spy Mother Hubbard. Can you see Mother Hubbard? I think she might be outside somewhere?

Mother Hubbard down in the cellar, I spy Cinderella. There’s Mother Hubbard and I think Cinderella might be hiding behind these boxes here. Can you see her?

Cinderella on the stairs, I spy the one, two, three bears. These are reminding me of some stories that I know, Goldilocks, Cinderella, Mother Hubbard. They all sound a lot like fairy tales don't they?

Three bears out hunting, I spy baby bunting. Baby bunting shh fast asleep, I spy Bo-Peep. Bo-Peep is up the hill, I spy Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill in the ditch, I spy the Wicked Witch. Wicked Witch over the wood, I spy Robin Hood. Look there he is down there, shooting an arrow up at the Wicked Witch.

Robin Hood is in his den, I spy the three bears again. Baby bunting is safe and dry, I spy a plum pie. Yum! And here’s everyone. Look ! We've got Mother Hubbard, we've got the Wicked Witch, we've got the three bears, everyone's here all sharing their pie together.

And that's the end of the story. Thank you so much for joining us today. It's been really great to have you and remember that reading with your children, especially while they're under the age of five, is so important. We can't wait to see you guys with us next time. Thank you so much.

Boo to a Goose

Hello, I'm Aunty Nita and I'm going to read you a story. It's called Boo to a Goose and it goes like this.

I danced with a pig in a shiny green wig but I wouldn't say boo to a goose. I want a shiny green wig.

I'd ride on a roo to Kalamazoo but I wouldn't say boo to a goose. Would you ride a kangaroo?

I'd dive from a mountain right into a fountain but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I'd play with a snake if I found one awake but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I’d gobble up snails from smelly grey pails but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I’d take a long walk from here in New York but I wouldn't say boo to a goose. Look at those tall buildings, it's a long walk.

I'd swim with a whale without going pale but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I'd feed my pyjamas to giant piranhas but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I'd walk down the street with balloons on my feet but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I'd die my hair yellow and make Nanna bellow but I wouldn't say boo to a goose. Would you dye your hair yellow? I don't think I would!

I'd walk on my knees past a hive full of bees but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I’d eat all the butter from here to Calcutta but I wouldn't say boo to a goose. All that butter!

I'd skip across town with my pants hanging down but I wouldn't say boo to a goose.

I'd do all these things quite bravely you'd see but I wouldn't say boo to a goose or three, because a goose once said boo to me. That's why! Very interesting.

Did you like Boo to a Goose? I liked it. I liked all that butter too. I'm going to see you for a book next week so stay tuned and I'll see you then. Bye.


Hairy McClary

Hello and welcome to Storytime. My name is Miss Jenny and today we are reading Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, but before we get started on our book, let's do our acknowledge to Country.

Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country in which we learn and play, hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground. Good work everybody.

So this book is called Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd.

Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. Off he goes, off for a walk.

And he comes his friend Hercules Morse as big as a horse, with Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. I think he's stopped to have a bit of a smell.

Oh who is this? Bottomley Potts all covered in spots. Hercules Morse as big as a horse. Who are we forgetting? With Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. Hairy's got himself stuck in a bush. That silly puppy dog.

Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay. Bottomley Potts all covered in spots. Hercules Morse as big as a horse. With, who have we forgotten? Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. This time he's found a couple of birds that are eating some seed for breakfast.

Oh who's this fellow? Blitzer Maloney all skinny and bony. Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay. Hercules Morse as big as a horse and who have we forgotten? Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. He's having a look in a rubbish bin. Oh Harry Maclary that's all yucky and gross.

My favourite. Shnitzel von Crumb with his very low tum. Blitzer Maloney all skinny and bony. Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay. Bottomley Potts all covered in spots. Hercules Morse as big as a horse and who have we forgotten? And Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy who stopped to have a bit of a scratch in the flower bed.

With their tails in the air they trotted on down past the shops and the park to the far end of town. They sniffed at the snails and they snooped at each door when suddenly out of the shadows they saw … what did they see? Oh Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town. Oh he does look very scary. Now what does Scarface say?

Meow crsh crsh said Scarface Claw. Oh he's so mean. Off with a yowl, a wail and a howl, a scatter of paws and a clatter of claws, with Schnitzel von Crumb with his very low tum, Blitzer Maloney or skinny and bony, Muffin McLay like a bundle of hay, Bottomley Potts all covered in spots and Hercules Morse as big as a horse, and Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. Oh they're all running away as fast as their little legs can carry them straight back home to bed! Who's this? You can just see his little face poking out from under the blanket. Hairy Macary isn't it? He's hiding from that mean cat.

Thank you for reading Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy with me, and thank you for joining me for Storytime today. Remember, read to your children as much as you can because that's how we're really going to develop their little brains. Until next time, bye.

Edward the Emu

Hello and welcome to the Moreton Bay Region Library Storytime. My name is Caroline and I'd like to welcome you to Storytime that we're going to read today.

But first let's begin with our Acknowledgement to Country.

"Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends, and here am I.

We respect the traditional custodians and country on which we learn and play.

Hands up, hands down, we're on Gubbi Gubbi and Undabi people ground." Thank you.

Shall we begin our story? Now here's the story I'm going to read today. Can you guess what it's going to be about? There's a picture of an animal across the cover of the book - it's an emu - and the book is Edward the Emu.

Let's begin. There's Edward the emu with a ball on the end of his beak.

Edward the emu was sick of the zoo, there was nowhere to go, there was nothing to do, and compared to the seals that lived right next door, well being an emu was frankly a bore. And you see Edward's looking a bit (sigh) isn't he? A little bit fed up maybe.

So that night when the zookeeper went home to bed, Edward jumped up from his pen and he laughed (laughs) as he said "The seals are best anyone can tell, so tomorrow I'll just be a seal as well."

Well the next morning at 9 when they opened the zoo, the seals were swimming and Edward was too. Can you make a swimming movement? That's it!

Well he dived in the water and he basked in the sun and he balanced a ball on his beak just for fun. There's Edward, there's the seal. I think they're having fun in the water don't you?

Well Edward was really enjoying the day till he overheard someone behind the fence say "The seals are always amusing it is true, but the lion is the best thing to see at the zoo." Oh there's Edward jumping up to feed on a fish.

So that night when the zookeeper went home to bed, Edward jumped up from the pool and hsmiled as he said "The Lions the best anyone can tell, so tomorrow I'll just be a lion as well." So off he sprung.

Then next morning at 9 when they opened the zoo, the lions were roaring and Edward was too. Can you roar like a lion as well? Shall we roar like a lion together? Ready? (roars) Good job!

Well he smiled at the ladies and growled at the men. Life was certainly grand for a lion in the den.

Well Edward was having a wonderful day, till a man in the crowd had the gumption to say "The lion's the beast I shall always detest, the snakes are the things that I like to see best." Hmmm Edward's thinking. 

So that night when the zookeeper went home to bed

Edward crept from the cage and he grinned as he said "If the snakes are the best things and that's what they say, then tomorrow I'll just be a snake for the day."

So the next morning at 9 when they opened the zoo, the snakes were all hissing. Can you hiss like a snake with me? (hiss) Edward was too. He slipped around the rocks, it was magic to see and then he curled himself casually up around a tree.

Well Edward is just warming up for the day when he overheard one of the visitors say "The snakes are impressive I know that it's true, but the emu is by far the best thing at the zoo." Oooh I think Edward might be thinking about that.

"Ah the emu!" gasped Edward "my goodness that's me! I'm the thing that the gentleman most likes to see. Not the seals, not the lions, the snakes and the rest, it's Edward the emu he likes to see best."

So that night when the zookeeper went home to bed Edward slipped from the cage and he laughed as he said "If the emu's the best then that's easy then, tomorrow I'll be Edward the emu again."

So Edward ran to the place where he used to reside but oh what a shock when he clambered inside. Emu (points). Emu (points). Ah he found himself suddenly come face to face with the emu they brought in to take Edward's place!

The emus considered themselves for a while then the new emu said with a shy little smile "Hello I'm Edwina, it's nice meeting you, you're the best thing I've seen since I came to this zoo." There's Edward and there's Edwina.

I think they're going to be good mates! Thank you so much for sharing Storytime with me today.

You might have noticed there was a bit of repetition in the wording of that book? Children love repetition and it's great for learning and for building their literacy skills, so not only might there be repetition in the words to the book, but you might find your child - if they really like a book - likes to read it repeatedly again and again and again.

That's great for the literacy and learning. I hope you enjoyed the session today and we look forward to seeing you next time! Thank you for joining us.



The Baby That Roared

Hello there! I’m Aunty Nita and I'm going to read you a story. It's called The Baby That Roared and it goes like this.

Mr and Mrs Deer had no baby of their own to love and to cuddle and to read a story to, but oh how they wished that they had.

Then one day they found a bundle on the doorstep. The bundle had a note attached which said “I am a dear little baby. Please love me and cuddle me and read me lots and lots of stories.”

“That baby,” said Mr Deer, “looks peculiar to me.”

“All babies are beautiful,” said Mrs Deer firmly.

She picked it up and cuddled it at once. Then she popped it into the laundry basket, which was just the right size for a bed. But no sooner had she put the baby down than it let out a great big ROAR!

“I expect it's hungry,” said Mr Deer. “Babies usually are.”

But the baby didn't want cheese and the baby didn't want toast and the baby didn't want cabbages or cucumbers or cauliflowers.

What did the baby want to eat?

“Well you must get Uncle Duncan,” said Mrs Deer. “He's bound to know.”

“A baby!” said Uncle Duncan, “A dear little baby. I shall come at once.

“Babies need milk,” said Uncle Duncan. “You must warm some up immediately.”

But when Mr and Mrs Deer came back … how very peculiar … Uncle Duncan had disappeared, and the baby was still roaring!

“Pew,” said Mrs Deer with a sniff. “What's that terrible smell?”

“Ewww,” said Mr Deer, “I think this baby needs changing.”

“We must ask Aunty Agnes, she generally knows what's what.”

“A baby!” said Aunty Agnes, “A dear little baby. I shall come at once.

“Nappies,” said Aunty Agnes, “and clean towels and special ointment. Now run along and fetch them quick as you can.”

But when Mr and Mrs Deer came back … how peculiar … Aunty Agnes had disappeared.

And the baby was still roaring!

“Oh poor little baby,” said Mr Deer. “Whatever shall we do?”

“Perhaps, said Mrs Deer, “it isn't feeling very well.

“We must call Dr Fox to come and take a look.”

Look the baby's still roaring!

“A baby! said Dr Fox. “A dear little baby. I shall come at once.

“I shall need peace and quiet to examine this baby,” said Dr Fox.

“Now run along you two and leave everything to me.”

Mr and Mrs Deer ran along and waited, and waited, and waited.

“Roar! Roar! Roar! Roar!”

Baby went on roaring!

They had to know what was happening, so they tiptoed in and … how very peculiar … Dr Fox had disappeared.

And the baby was still roaring.

“Oh no,” said Mrs Deer, “what shall we do now?”

“Granny Bear,” said Mr Deer, “will know exactly what to do.”

Granny Bear came at once. She took one look at the poor little, dear little, roaring roaring baby and said “I know exactly what to do”.

“This baby needs burping.”

And she picked up the baby and patted it and patted it and patted it until … the biggest BURP!

Oh look what's come out of that baby's mouth. It was really peculiar.

Out came (can you guess it?) Uncle Duncan and out came Aunty Agnes and out came Dr Fox … and none of them looked the least bit pleased.

“That's not a dear little baby,” cried Granny Bear. “That's a little monster!”

And it was. And it took to its heels and ran and ran and they never ever saw it again.

As for Mr and Mrs Deer, well, they found themselves a sweet little kitten to love instead.

Have you got a kitten?

That's The Baby That Roared! Did you like that? I did.

I'm going to read you another story very soon. Until then, bye for now!

I Went Walking

Welcome everybody to Storytime at the Moreton Bay Region Libraries. I'm Cathy and I'm here to do your story.

Before we start, we need to do our Acknowledgement to Country. So are you ready? Here we go.

“Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends, and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play.
Hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi People ground.”

Thanks everybody.

We make little mistakes sometimes but we just keep going! Let me pick up my glasses ...

The book I'm reading today is "I Went Walking". It's one of our 50 books to read before you're 5.

Let's begin.

I went walking. I went walking.

Do you put on your jacket when you go for a walk?

I do, and looks like he is too. What did you see?

I wonder what he saw? I saw a black cat looking at me. Look at him cuddle his black cat.

I went walking. What did I see? Let's turn the page.

I saw a brown horse looking at me.

Look at him, he's seen a brown horse, giving him a little cuddle. What do we see here?

A black cat still. Let's turn the page.

I went walking. What did you see?

What do you think he sees?

He's walking up the stick here, climbing.

What do you think it is? I saw a red cow looking at me.

Look at the red cow and what, we've still got the horse and the black cat.

I went walking. What did you see?

What do you think he's seeing here?

I think I see a little tail here. I saw a green duck looking at me.

Have you ever seen a green duck?

There's a green duck and there's a cow and the horse and the black cat.

Let's turn the page. I went walking.

What did you see? What do you think this is?

Have you got any idea? Let's turn the page and have a look. I saw a pink pig looking at me.

Oh look it's spraying some water on him. Oh pigs love water, mud. What else do we see?

We see the horse, we see the cow, the green duck, where's the cat.

I went walking. What did you see? What do you think that is?

That might be an easy one to see.

Can you tell by the tail? Okay let's have a look.

I saw a yellow dog looking at me.

Look at that yellow dog licking his face. Hey?

We've got our black cat, our horse, our cow, our duck and our pig.

Okay, let's turn the page. I went walking.

What did you see? What do you think he saw?

He's got a whole lot of things he saw.

I saw the following animals.

All right, let's go through them:

A yellow dog, a pink pig, the cow, a green duck, the horse and the black cat and look, they all followed him, and look at them all having a good time at the end.

Well, thank you for joining me for Storytime.

Just remember, reading to your children helps build up literary skills for future life.

Hugless Douglas

Hi everyone, welcome to Storytime and Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

My name's Liz and I'll be doing Storytime for you today, but before we begin we have to start with our Acknowledgement to Country. So can you show me your twinkling fingers like this? They kind of look like stars don't they? Ready?

“Here is the land and here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play.
Hands up, touch the sky, and hands down like this, we're on Gubbi Gubbi and Undambi people ground.”

Thank you so much for doing that with me.

So I'm going to be reading you one of my most favourite books ever. It's called Hugless Douglas. It's a story about a cute little bear named Douglas who really wants a hug. Let's do it together. Ready?

So Hugless Douglas. Also one of our 50 books to read before you're five. Nothing on this page is there?! Let's try the next one.

Hugless Douglas. One spring morning, a big yawn came from the back of a deep dark cave. It was a young brown bear and his name was Douglas. There he is. Good morning Douglas. Time to get out of bed.

Hmmm I need a hug, said Douglas, so he wriggled out of his pyjamas, brushed his hair, put on a scarf and went to look for one. That sounds like a good plan for the day. He's off to search for a hug.

My best hugs are big, thought Douglas so he went up to the biggest thing he could find, wrapped his arms all the way around it and gave it a big squeeze. It didn't feel quite right.

Oh, grunted Douglas, it's a bit too heavy. Oh no, he's fallen down. That rock was just too heavy for Douglas.

Hmmm my best hugs are very tall, thought Douglas, so he went up to the tallest thing that he could find. He hugged the bottom he hugged all the way around the middle and he hugged as high as he could reach but it was all wrong and it had splinters.

Oh no, I don't think I'd like to hug a splintery tree. I think Douglas needs to keep looking for his right hug.

Hmmm my best hugs are very cozy, thought Douglas as he trotted towards a cozy looking bush. He cuddled the bush but something felt very odd. The leaves quivered and they trembled. What's in there? Oh no hurry there was someone hiding in the leaves, Douglas isn't doing a very good job at finding his hug is he? Let's hope that he can find one.

Give us a hug, cried Douglas. No baaed the sheep, we're too busy. He scooped up armfuls anyway and tried to cuddle them gently, but they kicked and squirmed and they did not like it at all.

Well poor Douglas, he's just trying to give all the sheep a big hug. Poor Douglas.

Why can't I get a hug, he said. If I want a hug, said the wide owl, I just sit in my tree and … let me try whoops Douglas as he scrambles up next to the owl, but he soon found himself in a clumsy muddle.

Twoooooooo twit, said the owl crossly.

I only wanted a hug, sniffed Douglas. Perhaps there's one down here. He felt something long eared and decidedly rabbity, and gave it a hug, but Douglas could tell the rabbit did not want a hug.

He sniffed again like this (sniff sniff sniff) and without thinking wiped his nose on the fluffy end.

Excuse me, shouted the rabbit, put me down.

Our Douglas is making a few people cross. First the owl who he knocked out of the tree, and now the rabbit. Poor Douglas. Let's hope that he can find a good hug.

But I need a hug, said Douglas, and I can't find one anywhere. Oh I see, said the rabbit, come with me. She took Douglas by the paw and led him round and around.

At last they came to a deep dark cave where a sleepy someone was just waking up with a big yawn.

Ah I wonder what's inside the cave?

Douglass peeped inside. He had the funniest feeling that he knew this someone very well. Hug, he asked, and he ran as fast as he could towards his Mum.

Ah Douglas got a hug in the end. Come to think of it, my best hugs are from someone I love, said Douglas, and he snuggled into the biggest warmest hug that he knew.

And that's the end. Isn't it great that Douglas found a hug in the end?

Thank you so much for joining us for Storytime today, and just remember, reading Is fundamental with your child while they're under the age of five as it builds all the important pathways they need to learning and development in the future.

Thank you so much for joining us.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Hello. I'm Aunty Nita and I'm going to read you a story. It's called Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and it goes like this.

There was one little baby that was born far away and another who was born on the very next day.

And both of these babies as everyone knows had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.

There was one little baby who was born in a town and one who was wrapped in an eiderdown.

And both of these babies as everyone knows, had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.

There was one little baby who was born in the hills and another who suffered from sneezes and chills. And both of these babies as everyone knows had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.

There was one little baby who was born on the ice and another in a tent who was just as nice.

And both of these babies as everyone knows - do you know the answer - had 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.

But the next baby born was truly divine. A sweet little child, it was mine all mine. And this little baby as everyone knows - do it with me now - has 10 little fingers and 10 little toes.

And three little kisses on the tip of its nose (mwa mwa mwa). The end.

Did you like that book Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes? I loved it.

I'm going see you again. Until next time, bye for now.

Za-Za's Baby Brother

Welcome to Moreton Bay Libraries. We're going to read a story today. Would you like to join me?

First of all we're going to start with an Acknowledgement to Country.

"Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends, and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play.
Hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground."

Okay let's put my glasses on to read. Our story is Za-Za’s Baby Brother. There's lots of nice colours in this book isn't there?

Za-Za’s Baby Brother. My mum is going to have a baby. She has a big fat tummy. There's not much room for a cuddle. Oh dear look at Mum’s trying to give a big cuddle.

Granny came to look after me. Dad took Mum to the hospital. And off they go in the red car.

When the baby was born, we went to see Mum. Dad bought some flowers, and I hopped up on the bed to say hello. And I saw my little baby.

When mom came home she was very tired. I had to be very quiet (shhh) to help Dad look after her, so I gave her a cup of tea. Oh dear. All my uncles and aunts came to see the baby. Isn't he sweet. Oh how lovely. Cootchy-coo. What a good boy. Oh he's gorgeous.

I played on my own. Look he's on the floor playing with a red car.

Dad was always very busy. He was in the kitchen doing in the washing up now. I was standing and watching. Mum was always busy. Oh mommy's with the bubby changing the baby's nappy.

There I am again playing with one of my other toys.

Mum will you read me a story? Later Za-Za. Mum was very busy cooking.

Dad will you read me a story? Not now Za-Za, we're going shopping soon. Daddy's holding the baby again. Mum can we go to the toy shop? Sorry Za-Za, baby's hungry and we have to go home. Waah waah waah.

Can I have my tea? Yes Za-Za. Mummy's feeding the baby again. Mum I want a cuddle now. Why don't you cuddle the baby? Mum's very busy again doing the washing.

So I cuddled the baby and I pushed him around and I built him a tower. Let's count the blocks … one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. He was nice. It was fun. They're having a tea party.

When the baby got tired, Mum put him to bed. He's in the cot isn't he?

Then I got my cuddle. Nice big cuddles with Mummy. And a bedtime story. Do you get a bedtime story?

Thank you for listening today, and don't forget, reading to children every day is absolutely wonderful for their language development.

Thank you for joining us.

Where the Forest Meets the Sea

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries today.

We're going to read a story, but first we're going to do an Acknowledgement to Country.

"Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends, and here am I.
We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play.
Hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground."

Let's start our story. Today's story is Where the Forest Meets the Sea and it's another one from our 50 Books To Read Before You Are Five.

Let's have a look inside. Where the Forest Meets the Sea.

My father knows a place we can go and reach it by a boat. So he hops in the boat with his Dad and his Dad pushing the boat into the water. Good to see they've got the hats on for sun safety.

Not many people go here, and you have to know the way through the reef. So there they go, past the fish, past the coral, out into the sea. Can you see what I can see? Is there a big rainbow there behind all those trees, in front of the mountain?

When we arrive, cockatoos rise from the forest in a squawking cloud.

My father says there has been a forest here for over a hundred million years. Can you see the cockatoos flying around? There they are. They've parked the boat. Tey're looking up to the trees and the birds.

My father says there used to be crocodiles here and kangaroos who lived in the trees. Maybe they're still along the sand there. Oh can you see the crocodile? It's a bit tricky to see. Some lovely sand and here they're making some sand castles together. Some shells on the beach as well, and I love the greenery here too. It's looking very clever.

I follow a creek into the rainforest. Dad sits here watching me and here I go into the creek. Oh there's some fish swimming around my ankles. And he goes amongst all the trees. I pretend that it is a hundred million years ago.

Wow can you see all the trees and all the vines hanging down? Beautiful green palms and lots of rocks. I think he's going to discover things. Oh it's a little bit hard to see but can you see the lizard here on top of the rock on the bank of the creek?

The vines and creepers try to hold me back. I push through. Now the forest is easy to walk in. Here we are walking along. Did you see the beautiful blue bird?

There are lots of different trees and lots of different vines. I sit very still and I watch and I listen. I wonder how long it takes the trees to grow to the top of the forest. You see all the beautiful trees here again.

I can see a lizard on this tree trunk and a snake in the tree. I find an ancient tree. It is hollow. Perhaps Aboriginal forest children played here too. He’s finding some things in the trees and he's looking through trying to discover lots of different things.

I climb inside the tree. It's dark but the twisted roots make windows. This is a good place to hide. Wow look at that can you see a spider web. Oh oh can you see something here as well?

Lots of fun things to discover.

It is time to go and find my father. I think I hear the sea. I walk towards the sound. Walking along, I can see another snake. My father has made a fire and he is cooking the fish he caught here. He is cooking the fish. I like fish cooked this way but then I feel sad because the day has gone so quickly.

My father says we'll come here again some day. There's the fire with the fish on top cooking. He's having a lovely day with his Dad isn't he? But will the forest still be here when we come back? He’s thinking. If you could look very closely here, you can see he's wondering is it going to be the forest or is there going to be a hotel, lots of other buildings as well. The end.

Thank you for joining us today and don't forget, reading to your children every day is really a wonderful interaction with you one on one with your children. Thank you for joining us.

Possum Magic

Hello. My name is Aunty Nita and I'm going to read you a story. A very special story. It's called Possum Magic and it goes like this.

Once upon a time but not very long ago, deep in the Australian bush lived two possums. Their names were Hush and Grandma Poss.

Grandma Poss made bush magic. She made wombats blue and kookaburras pink, she made dingoes smile and emus shrink, but the best magic of all was the magic that made Hush invisible. It's pretty special.

What adventures Hush had because she couldn't be seen. She could be squashed by koalas. Look koala’s sitting on Hush there because she couldn't be seen. She could slide down kangaroos because she couldn't be seen. She was safe from snakes, which is why Grandma Poss had made her invisible in the first place. See the snake doesn't know where Poss is … but one day, quite unexpectedly, Hush said “Grandma, I want to know what I look like. Please could you make me visible again?”

“Of course I can,” said Grandma Poss, and she began to look through her magic books. She looked into this book and she looked into that. There was magic for thin and magic for fat, and magic for tall and magic for small, but the magic she was looking for wasn’t there at all.

Gandma Poss looked miserable. “Don't worry Grandma” said Hush, “I don't mind” but in her heart of hearts she did.

All night long Grandma Poss thought and thought. The next morning just before breakfast, she shouted “It's something to do with food, people food not possum food, but I can't remember what. We'll just have to try and find it.”

So later that day they left the bush where they had always been to find what it was that would make Hush seen. They ate Anzac biscuits in Adelaide, mornay and Minties in Melbourne, steak and salad in Sydney and pumpkin scones in Brisbane.

Hush remained invisible. “Don't lose heart” said Grandma Poss, “Let's see what we can find in Darwin.”

It was there in the far north of Australia that they found a Vegemite sandwich. Grandma Poss crossed her claws and crossed her feet. Hush breathed deeply and began to eat.

“A tail! A tail” shouted both possums at once, for there it was a brand new visible tail. That's exciting!

Later on a beach in Perth they ate a piece of pavlova. Hush’s legs appeared, so did her body.

“You look wonderful, you precious possum,” said Grandma Poss, “Next stop Tasmania.” and over the sea they went.

In Hobart late one night in the kitchens of the casino, they saw a lamington on a plate Hush closed her eyes and nibbled. Grandma Poss held her breath and waited.

“It's worked, it's worked” she cried and she was right. Hush could be seen from head to tail.

Grandma Poss hugged Hush and they both danced. Here we go round the lamington plate till early in the morning … from that time onwards Hush was visible but once a year on her birthday, she and Grandma Poss ate a Vegemite sandwich, a piece of pavlova and half a lamington, just to make sure that how she stayed visible forever. And she did! The end. Did you like that? Do you like Vegemite and lamingtons? I do, and I love possums. That's Possum Magic. Thanks for joining me for Storytime. I'm going to read you again very soon. Until then, bye for now.

Collecting Sunshine

Hello and welcome to the Moreton Bay Region Libraries’ Storytime. My name's Caroline.

Let's begin with an Acknowledgement to Country. Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends, and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play. Hands up, hands down, we're on Kabi Kabi and and Undambi people ground.

Let's begin. The book I'm going to read to you today has a picture of two other children and a big sunshine. I wonder what the book’s going to be about? It's called “Collecting Sunshine”.

Mable and Robert went for a walk. They took a paper bag for their collection. There they both are, and can you see their paper bags? That's for the collection. And they're taking a dog for a walk too.

On the footpath Mabel collected three leaves. Look at all the different leaves on the ground. And Robert collected lots of stones. So he's collecting stones and they're popping them in the paper bag.

In the park Mabel collected four seed pods. Can you count to four? One, two, three, four. And Robert collected lots of berries and see all the berries. Can you see all the people walking their dogs in the background? Under the bridge Mabel collected two flowers and Robert collected lots of sticks.

Gosh they're getting lots of things aren't they? Can you see the flowers? And the dog’s collected a stick too. Oh it started to rain and Robert held the bag open.

“I'm collecting raindrops,” he said. I wonder what's going to happen to the bag when the rain gets into it? You can see something started happening.

“Oh no,” said Mabel,”Our collection is gone.” The rain must have made the bag so wet it couldn't hold the collection any more and it has split and everything's falling out.

“Look,” said Robert, “I'm collecting a train.” Can you make a train noise with me? Choo-choo-choo-choo-choo-choo-choo-choo-choo-choo-choo-choo.

“Listen,” said Mabel. “I'm collecting a birdsong.” Can you make a birdsong with me? Tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet.

“I'm collecting a dog smell,” said Mabel. “Me too,” said Robert as he's getting sprayed by a wet dog there.

Oh Mabel and Robert walked. “I'm collecting sunshine,” said Mabel. “Ok I'm collecting wet grass on my boots,” said Robert.

Mabel collected the feel of a brick wall and Robert collected the taste of a fence. Oh look at this beautiful tree. They must be there walking home all past the houses and remembering all the things.

They all collected puddles … splash splash. Do you like to splash in puddles? And at home they drew lots of pictures of their collections to add to their picture collection. And here's their picture collection.

You can see lots of things. I can see a dog, a bird, a flower. What else did they find? Some leaves and the sun.

Thank you for sharing Storytime with me today, and remember, children love to point to things in the books and talk about what you see in the pictures. It all helps to add build their knowledge and build their literacy skills. Parents you are your children's first teacher.

Thank you so much for joining us today, and we welcome you next time. Thank you. Bye-bye.

Fantail's Quilt

Hello. I'm Aunty Nita and I'm going to read you a story. It's called Fantail's Quilt and it goes like this.

Her work is done. Her eggs are laid. Mother Fantail is on her nest.

Sneaking eyes and twitching whiskers. Rat is out and on the prowl. Oh so we can see rat there and he’s looking for those eggs. Scurrying from nest to nest.

A snooping, sniffing hungry thief. Oh there he is. What's going to happen? He looks very big next to those eggs.

Snatching, stealing forest treasures. A scrunch of eggshells and he bolts. Mother Fantail’s eggs have gone. Oh no. Mother Fantail's going to be very upset.

Mother Fantail starts again. A safer place. A mossy bank. A running stream. A tree with branches reaching out. There's all the water. A beautiful stream.

We even bind, twist and wind. Build the walls with grass and leaves, with spider’s webs and soft fern moss. See? She's building a new nest there.

Push and pound and felt the nest. Snug and warm for baby birds. Wiggle and wriggle, make it fit. Twist and turn and squeeze and squish. Learning how to make a nest.

The sun goes down. Insects hover. More poke calls from a totara tree. Look at that beautiful butterfly.

Tiny eggs round and white, with small brown speckles. A nestling's bed needs something special. A quilt of feathers soft and warm.

In the night the forest stirs, the branches shake, scratch, scratch.

Up the tree trunk, closer, closer. Who can we see going up the tree trunk? Ah what's going to happen? Aa swoop, a snatch, a snare … oh dear oh dear.

Look little baby chicks, hatching baby birds.

And that's the end of the story. What did you think about Fantail’s Quilt? I'll see you again next week with a new story. Bye till then.


Hello everyone. My name is Margot and I'm here in the Curlew’s Nest at the newly renovated Arana Hills Library for a special Storytime.

Before we start, I'd like to share with you an Acknowledgement of Country. Here is the land, here is the sky, here are my friends and here am I. We respect the traditional custodians and Country on which we learn and play. Hands up, hands down, we're on Turrbal ground.

And I'd like to read for you today Stickybeak written by Hazel Edwards and illustrated by Rosemary Wilson.

Just this weekend Stickybeak is my pet. From Monday to Friday he lives in a box at school. Everyone at school talks a lot. So does Stickybeak. Whack whack whack whack.

We looked after three duck eggs, but only one duck grew. It thought we were its parents. The class voted for its name. Donald had 20 votes. Fluffy had six votes. Danny had two votes. But Mrs Pappas said Donald is a cartoon duck, our duck is different. We'll call him Stickybeak.

On Friday it was my turn. I took Stickybeak home in a box. We put the seatbelt around him.

“What do ducks eat?” asked Mum. She doesn't like pets very much. “Cornflakes,” I said. Whack said Stickybeak.

At the supermarket frozen duck was on special. “Not this weekend,” said Mum.

At home Stickybeak quacked all the time and he messed his box too. After dinner I put fresh newspaper and water in his box.

“Where's my newspaper?” complained Mum. “I haven't read the news yet.” “Sorry Mum. Stickybeak is using it.”

Mum didn't like it much when I gave Stickybeak a swim in our bath. Whack whack whack whack whack.

The next day she did offer him a snail from the garden. Stickybeak didn't like it. “Snails have been eating my mail,” said Mum. I thought Stickybeak might like to be useful but Stickybeak was not useful.

David next door has a lead for his dog. I made a lead for Stickybeak. On Sunday we took Stickybeak to the Botanic Gardens. Other ducks lived there on the lake.

The big ducks came to meet Stickybeak. He ran away. Whack whack.

In the Botanic Gardens a wedding party was taking videos of the bride. Dragging his lead, Stickybeak ran quacking through their video. Whack-whack whack-whack whack-whack whack-whack. Soon the bride's friends and relatives will see Stickybeak on their videos. They will hear him too. Whack whack whack.

Mum laughed as we chased Stickybeak through the gardens.

On Sunday night Mum tried to watch the television news. Whack whack whack. Stickybeak wouldn't shut up. Mum said “I'm glad tomorrow is a school day.” Whack whack.

We didn't tell mum that Mrs Pappas has a pet snake too. The end.

Thank you so much for joining us for our Storytime. Just remember, it's really important to be reading to your children in the early years. Thanks once again. Bye!

Challenge 1: Building or landmark

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club. Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For this first activity all you'll need is your LEGO or DUPLO and your imagination.

Challenge number one - create a famous building or landscape from around the world. What famous buildings and landscapes can you think of? Have you visited any like the Colosseum and the Great Wall in China? How about the pyramids in Egypt? Well my LEGO version anyway.

How about this Empire State Building made out of LEGO blocks or this amazing Eiffel Tower?

Don't forget when you're finished making your wonderful creation, upload it to the library's Facebook page.

If you'd like to learn more about buildings from around the world please check out the library's electronic resource - Britannica Library - which has all the information you'll need.

I can't wait to see your amazing creations! See you next week.

Challenge 10: Gravity roller

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club.

Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For this week's challenge, you'll need your LEGO collection and of course your imagination.

Challenge number 10 is to build a LEGO gravity roller. This is what a LEGO gravity roller will look like It has two wheels and bar through the middle and when shoved it will roll across the table.

To start, you'll need to join two blocks together, making sure the base block has a hole for a bar to run through. Then put a large bar through the middle.

Get two large circular LEGO pieces. These will make our wheels for our gravity roller. Attach the wheels to the large bar threading through your two blocks. Add a series of blocks or platform blocks to the original two centre blocks. This will affect the gravity of your roller and you may need to play with it a little bit to get it working just right.

Then it's time to have a play with your roller and see how it works.

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations. See you next week for another LEGO challenge.

Challenge 11: Boat

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries LEGO Engineer Club.

Our club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For this week's challenge you'll need your LEGO collection, a tub or bucket of water and of course your imagination.

Challenge number 11 is to build a LEGO boat.

Here's my LEGO boat complete with a flag and some life-saving paddles.

Will your boat have some water jets? Or maybe it's a pirate ship?

The difficult challenge at the end is to see if your boat will float or sink. Thankfully mine does!

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations.

See you next week for another LEGO challenge.

Challenge 12: Burrow

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries' LEGO Engineers Club.

Our club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For this week's challenge, you'll need your LEGO collection and of course your imagination.

Challenge number 12 is to create a burrow. This burrow will be inspired by Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox. Here's my creation with a nice tree and underneath a livable space with an elevator.

Maybe you can create a different animal habitat?

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations.

See you next week for another LEGO challenge!

Challenge 2: Rocket

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club. Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For this week's challenge all you'll need is your LEGO collection and your imagination.

Challenge two - let's blast off to the stars! Create your own spaceship. Can you build this amazing NASA rocket? Look at it shoot up into space. There are a lot of other things you can find in space like this satellite.

What do you think of my spaceship? This spaceship will fly extra fast with big wings and big jets.

Don't forget when you're finished making your wonderful creation, upload it to the library's Facebook page.

To create a real out of world experience, how about creating these beautiful paper stars? The directions are found on the library's YouTube channel.

I can't wait to see your amazing creations. See you next week for the LEGO challenge.

Challenge 3: Balloon race car

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club. Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For this week's challenge you'll need your LEGO collection, at least one balloon and of course your imagination.

This week's challenge is to build a balloon LEGO race car. When building a balloon car there are a couple of things you'll need to keep in mind. You'll need to keep space at the front of the car for your inflated balloon and an arch at the rear to hold the balloon in place. You'll also have to consider how you're going to stop your balloon from flying off this uniquely designed LEGO car.

Use a LEGO wheel to hold the balloon in place, however sticky tape and blue tack could do a pretty good job too.

Now let's watch some balloon cars go. Don't forget, when you're finished making your wonderful creation, upload it to the library's Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations.

See you next week for the LEGO challenge.

Challenge 4: Zip line

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club. Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For today's activity you'll need your LEGO collection, some rope or string and of course your imagination.

Challenge number four - build a LEGO zipline. Step one in making your LEGO zipline is to design the trolley that your cargo or person will ride on down the zipline. Ensure there is an arch at the rear of your trolley for your zipline to thread through.

The next step is to hang your zipline. Today I've used clothesline.

You may need to ask the parent or guardian for help with this step.

Attach your LEGO trolley to the zipline and watch it go.

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations.

See you next week for another LEGO challenge.

Challenge 5: Catapult

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club. Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For today's challenge you'll need your LEGO collection and of course your imagination.

Challenge number five is to make a LEGO catapult. There are lots of different designs you can use for your LEGO catapult and you're really only limited by your imagination.

Today I have used a rotating LEGO pin for my catapult but as you'll see, some designs work better than others.

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations.

See you next week for another LEGO challenge.

Challenge 6: Playground

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s Lego Engineer Club.

Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own Lego collection.

For today's challenge, you will need your Lego collection and, of course, your imagination.

Challenge number six is to build your own Lego playground. What type of rides and games will you have in your playground? A seesaw? A merry-go-round or even the classic swing?

Using an old cardboard box and blu-tack, we've even be able to make this cool Lego slide.

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations.

See you next week for another Lego challenge.

Challenge 7: Robot

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club. Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For today's challenge you'll need your LEGO collection and of course your imagination.

Challenge number seven is to build a LEGO robot. What makes your robot special? What can it do? Like this amazing house cleaning robot or his racy friend who even has a hook on the back.

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations.

See you next week for another LEGO challenge.

Challenge 8: Slingshot car

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club.

Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection. For this week's challenge you'll need your LEGO collection, elastic band and of course your imagination.

Challenge number eight is to build a LEGO slingshot car. To make your Lego slingshot car begin by creating two towers equal height and strength. A couple of blocks up from the base add a hook or a mount piece. Turn both your towers so they are facing each other and use a LEGO piece at the top to secure them together.

For this next step you'll need to grab a parent or a guardian. Cut a rubber band in half and tie each end to the hook or mount piece on your towers. This will create your slingshot.

Now it's time to create your own car. Make sure it's not too big as you'll need it to pass between the space between your two towers.

Now let's put our slingshot cars into action and as you'll see some designs work better than others!

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations. See you next week for another LEGO challenge.

Challenge 9: Marble maze

Hello and welcome to Moreton Bay Region’s LEGO Engineer Club.

Our engineer club will inspire and challenge you to create masterpieces using your own LEGO collection.

For this week's challenge you'll need your LEGO collection, a marble and of course your imagination.

Challenge number nine is to build a LEGO marble maze. I have started this week's challenge with a large flat LEGO piece and lots of long narrow LEGO pieces to attach to it.

To begin your maze, lay out a border around the flat LEGO piece, then you can begin the tricky part of laying out all the other pieces to make the maze shape. Make sure you're testing with your marble as you go that it can pass through your maze.

Create a treasure or surprise at the end of your maze or for your family and friends to get to. You can also add lots of arches and ramps to add difficulty to your maze then test all your family and friends to see if they can complete your maze.

Don't forget to upload a photo of your wonderful creation to the library Facebook page. I can't wait to see your amazing creations! See you next week for another LEGO challenge.


3 Things with Ben Law

James Nicholson: Hi everyone thanks for tuning in. My name's James Nicholson and I work for Moreton Bay Public Libraries.

I'm really excited today to bring you the first in our new mini-series and today's episode is Three Things with Ben Law but first I'd like to begin with an acknowledgement to Country.

I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Kabi Kabi and Undambi people and the traditional Country on which this event is taking place, and the elders both past and present. I also recognize those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future elders and leaders.

So today I welcome Australian author, journalist, podcaster, playwright maybe and all round - and this, I like this little phrase - witty raconteur maybe, Benjamin Law.

We're really grateful to you Ben for taking the time to chat to us and instead of a normal interview I wanted to do something slightly different, and that was to ask you to bring along three objects. And the idea being that those objects were kind of, I guess represent, a little bit of who you are, maybe give us a little insight into, you know, the shaping of where where you got to today and and why they mean something to you. And so I guess it's kind of a getting to know you in three objects, you know, a bit bit like a “show and tell”, and we only just avoided they're calling it “show and tell” but I quite like that that name you know it's quite innocent I guess.

But before we get started, I just wanted to actually like whether or not it was really tricky picking out just three things? I mean it's quite hard. If I think about someone asked me, you know, what things define you? What three things? That would be pretty pretty tricky, so yeah.

Ben Law: Well you know James, I'm a professional storyteller so you could throw anything at me and I could just probably make something up about it. But for me look I had these three things close by in my office. It's nice to be talking to you on Kabi Kabi land by the way because that's where I was raised, but I'm having this conversation with you and on Gadigal land - part of the Eora Nation. But right now I can't really engage with much of the landscape outside because we're locked in indoors, so I just really had to look around in my office to see what there was and I realized, you know, because the office is my space from from which I work, I like having little mementos around me.

I try not to hoard because I come from a bit of a family of hoarders. I try to be sparse, I try to be minimal, but when I landed on the three things that I thought would be good to talk to you about they were actually all in this room.

I try not to let my stuff bleed out into the other areas, you know in case my partner goes completely insane, but when I looked around I realized actually I’m now at an age where I've accumulated some items not just for the sake of having stuff but because they actually mean something. So yeah look happy to go into this” show and tell” for adults which sounds almost a little bit suss. I'm glad you didn’t go with that title.

James Nicholson : Yeah that's quite why we, you know, avoided slightly that angle I would say. But yeah it's really interesting …

Ben Law: A different kind of Zoom meeting …

James Nicholson : I think so, I think so, well I guess we'll get to, you know, there's some clues we'll just say, because I was fortunate you let me into some clues of what you were going to be talking about, so I'll just say that there are some clues in there in the the image that everyone can see why now around what you might be talking about. But before we get to that, well I'll let you get started with the first object, so yeah whatever you what have you brought to “show and tell” I guess!

Okay so I forget the the order in which I was going to present them, but maybe I'll just start with my friend here who's closest by. This guy. It's very almost culturally cliched of me to have a ceramic Buddha, but I actually didn't have a ceramic Buddha in my house up until last year.

Last year, at the start of 2019, I filmed a documentary for the ABC called Waltzing the Dragon. It was two-part documentary and it was all about the now over 200 years of Chinese Australian history. A lot of people still always think, you know, Chinese migration, it's quite a recent thing. You might have heard a little bit about the gold rush, but in some ways you know the Asian and specifically Chinese Australian experience does start 200 years. In some ways the trade with Australia starts before white people even arrive on this continent.

So the documentary was as much an examination and interrogation of Australian history as it was my history with my family. But obviously it was kind of a fact-finding mission as well, because I only know that much about my parents and where they grew up. I've never been to where my dad grew up, so for the second episode with my dad I go to this tiny silent Chinese village where he grew up. Which is still standing. He's trying to get like a village family members to renovate it so he can sell it one day. But it was this incredibly eye-opening thing to see the house in which my father was born, like he was literally born on the floor of this house, as well as the house in which he spent his his childhood.

You know, he could show me the mountains where he used to race up as a kid, show me the bedroom where him and his mother slept - my grandmother, my mama - slept for many many years. And to see how rice was unhulled and how, you know, this was a pre-electricity era so how the kitchens worked, it's remarkable.

And in amongst all this rubble, which was like almost this archaeological dig, the builders and these extended family members had found artefacts - objects - that would have belonged to not just my grandmother but my great-grandparents, her in-laws, who who lived in that house. And in amongst them was this guy you know. I guess he's kind of like non-assuming but for me to even have it in Australia in my house, all the way from China from, you know, three generations ago, it feels like things have come full-circle by having this this guy in my house.

You know this everyday kind of object, this who would have granted a lot of luck to the people who lived in the home then. But just to have it now in 2020, I don't think they could have conceived of what this present-day moment would have looked like, the family that my ancestors would have grown. The the whole migratory aspect of our family I think is, is kind of encapsulated in one object. How far we've come.

James Nicholson: Yeah and I guess actually like you say that they wouldn't be able to kind of envision where we are now, but equally you know we can't envision where they were then, you know. That's quite a you know, quite an odd kind of connection I guess. And and and it would seem you know when I, when I watch that documentary, seemed that your journey could have really created more personal questions maybe then and conflicts and actually initially and so them all, you know. So has it ignited, is that the case, is it is going on that journey ignited more questions or did it, did it you know kind of you know solve some of those questions you might have had?

I mean …

Ben Law: I think was more of, it was more of the latter James. It's a really well observed thing because you know like if you're going to open a Pandora's box on your family history what are you going to find? Are you going to find, you know, in some cases slave owners, or are you going to find like horrible, horrible stories of inter family abuse or anything like that but in my case I think, when you're the child of migrants … you know every generation above us may as well be the kind of a foreign alien kind of community or experience, right.

But when you're the child of migrants, that sense they you can't quite understand the generation above you, let alone the generation above them really becomes amplified and compounded. And so for me, for me understanding that my mother was also the daughter of migrants, it's the fact that I always took for granted because she grew up in Malaysia being southern Chinese but grew up in Malaysia, it's not like she ever went back to China to find her roots either.

So us finding them together answered as many questions for her as I did for me, you know. She literally found a seat at the family table, you know, at the shrines where her family - her ancestors -had gathered. That's a remarkable thing. I think from dad was less of a discovery, because he knows where he was born. He knows where his family comes from, goes back generations, but for me to be able to see that meant that I could understand and connect with my dad a bit better. And when I've brought, you know, spent my life in this country for a significant proportion of it, we're really not quite understanding my heritage nor my place in the world and the people around me also really struggling with this idea of Asian Australian. Like how can you be both of those things simultaneously.

Now that I know my heritage and my story so precisely that I can even pin it on Google map, you know it's actually made me feel much more confident about who I am, who my family is, um and our journey, our story of how we came to be here.

James Nicholson: Yeah that's interesting and it's interesting is, I mean I could talk all day, I won’t go all day, I'll just say a few more few more things. But what I found interesting as well is that you talk about ancestral rural homes and and that I guess is only a couple of generations, so you know, do you think with your family and you know an extended family that in a couple of generations people will look back at Nambour, and come travelling from wherever they are? The other thing that maybe they'll travel back to the Sunshine Coast, their kind of homeland of where you grew up.

Ben Law: James with the pandemic and with climate change it's nice to think that there will even be generations to look back on who we are. But I don't want to say that too despondently because my nephew, the first of the next generation, has just been born and I like that his mother, my sister and his aunties and uncles now have a clearer picture not just of who we are, but of who our parents and our grandparents and our great-grandparents were.

You know my nephew is now in a room in our sister's house that has, I mean I've kept the Buddha, but my sister who's a professional photographer, she's kept the portrait of our great-grandmother that I found perfectly preserved while filming this documentary. That has lasted you know, decades and decades through ruin and rubble and through a revolution essentially, to be able to survive for us to take it back to Brisbane and to be framed and preserved. So hopefully little Cohen, our little nephew, will have a very strong sense. So don't think you'll need to make a pilgrimage because we've now got it on video, yeah, and we've got it in the artefacts that we surround ourselves with.

James Nicholson: I know that's awesome. It's fantastic. Well like I say I mean you could talk all day about just that documentary alone but we we will, we will move on. I’d just like to say though that if anyone wants to watch that you know Waltzing the Dragon documentary, you can access it on the internet through the ABC. I forget actually which site I was …

Ben Law: Yeah, it's through ABC iView that's right.

James Nicholson: Yeah yeah so you can listen to two parts, the first part is when you go back with your your mother back to her ancestral homes and and place, and then the second one is based on around your father and actually going up and I found this second one really interesting from an Australian perspective when we when you go to Arnhem Land and you're looking and you're kind of engaging in that, you know, kind of first connection between those that Chinese heritage and the Australian First Nations, you know. That's really powerful.

Ben Law: It's a really good history lesson.

James Nicholson: It is, it is, and so and so I'm sorry we will have to move on. We'll move on to our next object, so what else have you got to talk about?

Ben Law: Well the next object has actually been hiding in plain sight the entire time we've been talking, James. And the only reason I bring it up is because it's such a political thing lately, but it's it's my bookshelf.

So this is one of probably three bookshelves in our home. So one bookshelf is underneath the television, it's just got like graphic novels and cookbooks bla bla bla bla, so your bog-standard IKEA bookshelf but when my boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment we were able to get furniture like custom-made for the place to like, to fit. Which sounds very ostentatious and I guess it kind of is but because it's a relatively small apartment as well, we wanted things to fit just right, and make full use of the height of the apartment because there's not much width!

And so for me this is all of my non-fiction books and I've arranged it by color which is very very controversial in many circles. I mean we were talking before we started recording James about the politics of how we shelve. When people see that I've colour-coded it, I think like a third are really impressed and go “oh maybe I should organize my books by colour too” and then the rest are just completely appalled and absolutely disgusted. But the thing is I really love my bookshelves because not only can books live there but there are these tiny nooks and that, it's been made like that by the designer Kate Campbell who's a mate of ours and the builder Alex Clapham who is also a mate of ours. All those tiny nooks are there to be filled by other things, whether it's this little Buddha or the other item about to show you but all that sort of stuff, so I'm really pleased because it feels like a piece of grown-up beautiful furniture that I've never had before.

This side is the nonfiction, the other side in the other room is the fiction. Yeah I'm just very smugly happy with it.

James Nicholson: Well I guess the question comes is so so we you know, we know that back in 2018 you made an ambassador of the National Library of Australia. So when they made that, made you an ambassador and they, had they have known that that's how you categorize your books, do you think maybe retrospectively they might strip you of your ambassadorship?

Ben Law: Yeah I think I think the diplomatic language is persona non-grata. I would have been given become persona non grata to the National Library of Australia. Look I'm a big fan of the Dewey Decimal System right, I'm gonna back that up always always always. I love that form of categorization but I have to say, for me, I've also been a bookseller for a very long time. And maybe this is how librarians, booksellers, we're kind of of the same species, and when I was a bookseller I spent years, years, James, dealing with customers who said “I want this book, I think it's about, no I don't know what it's about, but it's blue” and then I have to go find this bloody book. And so like I think my brain has actually been trained think of books by their spine, by their cover, and that's why immediately it's really funny because when some people discovered that I categorized my book this way, that ABC journalist Virginia Trioli started paying me out, Annabel Crabb started paying me out. Then they started getting into it like their own fight, like good human fight, about how Annabel still can't find Janet Malcolm's book The journalist and a murderer and within 30 seconds I had tweeted back a photograph of The journalist and the murderer because I found it on my bookshelf with the caption of the tweet “I knew it was red. Neither of them could find it but I think got the last word with that exchange.

James Nicholson: Well I think with your story about finding books you know, like tha,t you know you are absolutely speaking the language of well I would say, public librarians, but any any librarian that's but dealt with someone that they want to find something with, you know, it's always and often it's not actually red, it was probably maroon or even yellow, do you know what I mean? It could have been a completely different thing …

Ben Law: It turned out that the font was red but not the cover.

James Nicholson: Exactly, something along those lines and actually I might change the view and you see that I'm a little bit more boring in that sense you see, so but I do have …

Ben Law: Not boring, orderly.

James Nicholson: I do have your, there you go, your Law school book there, it’s strategically placed just to make sure people, oh and actually Growing up queer just here. There you go.

Ben Law: Growing up queer in Australia, that is very good product placement. You have a good career in TV production and styling ahead of you.

James Nicholson: Yeah that's it well and I guess just really quickly though, as we're talking about books, what are, maybe we could talk all day about your “to read” pile, because if we talked about mine …

Ben Law: Oh yeah.

James Nicholson: Fifteen books big, do you know what I mean? It's just ridiculous. I keep, in fact I read one and allow that as an excuse to buy two more, so it's just impossible to ever get through them, but what are you reading at the moment? Maybe a couple of cool books?

Ben Law: Yeah yeah, you know when the pandemic started James, I think I was like so many people where I'm like “wow this is going to be cave time, I'm going to get prison fish and I'm going to read a lot and I'm not prison fit and I haven't. I've read decently but my life kind of got derailed by the Nintendo Switch that I that I found myself possessing all of a sudden. But the thing is I am still making my way through that COVID pile, the Coronavirus reading stack that I posted on Instagram when all of this started, and from that pile I'm still reading Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl woman other which won the Booker Prize, well the most recent Booker Prize, which is fantastic. I mean I've been looking forward to reading this book for so long but now that I've nearly finished it I'm like, I almost want to go back to the start, because of all of these different characters within their discrete stories do interrelate and interlink and I almost want to draw a map of them. And the stories are so brilliantly told, so humane and so full of compassion and wonder.

I'm about to read, actually I've got another book here though about to start. Going to read my girl Miranda Tapsell’s Top end girl. So Miranda Tapsell, who’s a fantastic Australian actor, bit of an icon and a personal mate of mine, but she like so many Australian authors just recently released a book but hasn't been able to launch it properly as you usually would. But I know this story has been a long time coming and you know as much as I'm a friend of Miranda's there's still so much about her upbringing as a Larrakia Tiwi Islands girl that I still don't know about. I know a bit of her family. I know a bit of her remarkable family story as wel,l but I'm really looking forward to knowing more.

The other thing that I'm looking forward to is reading Ted Chiang, the American science fiction author’s book Exhalation because his first book of short stories broke my brain. No-one else is writing like Ted Chiang at the moment. He was responsible for writing the short story collection that included the story that we've become the Hollywood film Arrival, just one of the best most beautiful alien films. So I'm looking forward to him breaking my brain open the second time too.

James Nicholson: Thank you so much. I know that, you know, a lot of our patrons who always appreciate a bit of a kind of recommended reads pile, and we'll also link out to if we can go back and find that that tweet, you know, because because you do get through the odd tweet or two a day. So we'll go back and find that tweet and put links to that in all these books and all that information we'll put in there the the video description below and so on. So you'll get all those all that stuff. So don't frantically miss the rest of this kind of little chat by writing down all those names so, because we're moving on to our final object - the third and final I know to talk about. So what else have you brought with you today?

Ben Law: Okay so this is this little ordinary looking wooden box. I mean it's quite cute actually, it's not ordinary but it's been inscribed with the name Joff Bush. Now Joff Bush might not be a household name but his music certainly is renowned throughout Australia. Joff Bush has written music for so many screen and stage projects but he's probably most famous for writing the theme song to the ABC Kids cartoon Bluey. I think anyone with young kids, especially, knows that song very very well and probably have a Pavlovian response to it for better or for worse, but if I know I'm around kids of a certain age and I start singing do-do-do-do-do to do that you know. Joff wrote that. Joff also composes a lot of the music to Australian survivor if you've watched Network Ten’s Australian survivor. But he also composed the theme song to the show that I created and co-wrote that was based on my memoir The family law. And if anyone watched that they might recognise this theme song so inside that box is a music box, and what Joff does is he scores the song on this parchment that you then feed in to the music box like so. I haven't done this this many times but whenever I do it in front of kids they're just fascinated. And then when you play it, it plays the theme song to The family law, the SBS TV show that we wrote. So let me just play it for you. So the music I, I mean the music for any TV show is often the additional character right, and you know Joff, Joff scored so many of the most beautiful and heartbreaking moments of our show. You know when when the mum Jenny in the show kicks out the dad in this brutal scene, when Ben the this little teenage character comes out as gay to his mum which is just his heart tearing moment that we have in the show. And that music is always behind all of that stuff you know.

Joff has in some way scored my life for which I'll always be grateful. And even though, you know, we've had three seasons of that show and we always intended it as a trilogy and I've really closed that door quite happily, proud of what we've done, this was a period of my life that was over five years that was dedicated almost full time just to turning this book into a TV show. It was one of the most gruelling yet satisfying periods of work in my life that I've ever had, like we formed a community around making this show. And so this very very lovely artefact that's come out of it is a lovely reminder that that actually happened.

Yeah we did end up making the first-ever Australian TV show with an Asian Australian family at its core and it makes me a little bit sentimental as well, as music can do sometimes.

James Nicholson: Yeah for sure and  don't know what I've done in my life to get to this point where I get to, you know, kind of have a chat with Ben Law as you play a little music box across a Zoom meeting and we're going to broadcast, it’s kind of a unique scenario.

I think that's kind of fun. I guess this is really interesting actually that you, you mentioned that he scored the theme tune to Bluey. I've got a three year old daughter so - whilst I say that that as though we watch it because she wants to watch it - the reality is that my wife and I start work six minutes late because I normally start at 8:00 but I start at 7 minutes past 8:00 because we watch Bluey at 8 o'clock.

Well I think, I think a lot of parents that like that show because they can, they can relate you know, it's kind of very relatable. It's very, you know, it's now one of that, you know, you're The family law was so popular and one of the critic critics I saw, and excuse me I can't quite them verbatim, but it was along the lines of that you've done a really great job of a very difficult task which is to take a normal and I say normal cause no one really knows what that means, but take a normal family and and you know portray that in it in a TV series, you know, that people I guess could, could really relate to.

And that seemed to me like a real win because, like you say like that, you know, there I guess Australian public are viewing that that family as normal. And I say normal I understand that normal means a lot to different people, but but just in it for the sake of this kind of you know articulating this conversation you know, that yeah that's really interesting that they see that as normal, and you managed to do that.

Ben Law: Yeah I think, I think one of the most gratifying things for us, you know, because TV shows don't exist just by one person's skills or work, one of the great things for us was hearing so many Australians say thank you for telling my story.

And of course there are many Asian Australians who said that, because they saw a representation of their families on screen, especially if they came from a Chinese Australian background. But there are plenty of people who came from families where the parents split up and hadn't seen a family like that, or hadn't seen a moment like that on screens, representing a family that they were familiar with. There were plenty of people who even just from Queensland who said “oh my gosh, like a Queensland family, thank you for showing that on screen” and even for some of the minor characters, you know, the the opposite, the opposite the road neighbours in The family law are a Eurasian family with a white dad and a Japanese mum and mixed-race kids. And I didn't realize we were doing anything pioneering.

I knew that we were having the first Asian Australian family on TV because it was just drilled into us, we spoke about it so often. But I had so much feedback from, you know, mixed-race Asian family saying “oh my gosh like this is actually one of the few mixed-race families that we've seen on television ever”, didn't even realize we were breaking ground in that way.

And I don't think that's necessarily reflection on how, you know, ground-breaking our show was necessarily. In some ways it was the very sweet family comedy. There are a lot of sweet family comedies out there but what I think it does reflect is how monocultural, and a little bit calcified Australian TV can be. Happily, you know, if people see us as the exception and I think we are, I'll embrace that. I think Bluey is also an exception you know, so I think Joff Bush as the composer for both of those shows has chosen his projects well.

James Nicholson: Yeah he definitely has and you know, and and look I really appreciate you giving us that kind of insight into actually so many different angles, you know from your ancestry and that kind of Waltzing the Dragon. We've talked about that a little bit. A bit about your personal kind of life when you talk about how you, you kind of categorize your books and a little bit of a conversation around that, that's kind of cool, and now we've finished with, with The family law and and and Joff Bush. Sorry. And the music book, music box.

You know, I know that you're, like I've said before, you know we're so appreciative that you take time to speak to us, because you know everyone's got their story and certainly yours is varied and one that, you know is really interesting to hear about. And we appreciate that.

But I'm afraid that's the end of our event, and so I just want to take the opportunity to thank you and hopefully we'll get the chance to maybe do this in person at one of our libraries, and you can take a travel back up towards the the Sunshine Coast and we can go and, you know, you can maybe even take me on as you say in one, in your but in The family law I think it is, or you can take someone on tour of your father's …

Ben Law: My father's successful and failed business.

James Nicholson: Yeah yeah maybe we could  take that tour, take some of our patrons with you.

Ben Law: That would be great! Well look I would love to come back to Queensland because it's where so much of my family is but in the mean time this has been really fun.

James Nicholson: Cool. Take care, thanks. Bye!



Clare Connelly

We sat down with Clare to ask her a few questions.

Question one: You write contemporary romances; what kind of research do you do for your books?

One of the things I love most about contemporary romance is the escapist element of it. You're reading about quite far out characters and themes; you know, mega billionaires and sheiks and royals and all sorts of things that are well outside the rigors of day-to-day life. So in terms of research, it's not really something that you can, you know, necessarily do in a hands-on way. There's - I think that reading contemporary romance is one of the best ways to research the genre and feel really comfortable with the conventions of it.

When it comes to setting a book in an existing place like an island in Greece or a city in Europe or America, I will do a lot of online research. I tend to borrow from places that I've been before; so when about 10 years ago I lived overseas for four years in the UK and we did a lot of travel through Europe, so that's quite a convenient launching pad for ideas.

But I also do a lot of just letting my imagination go. You know, it's one of those things where if it's plausible then you can put it in a contemporary romance book. You know I tend to base things away from real events so that there's not that fact checking required.

And the biggest thing in contemporary romance that it's important to get right is the emotion. So if I'm giving my characters emotional issues or backstories that require research, that's where I will really put a lot of time and energy into making sure that I do their story justice. So someone who's come through a traumatic breakdown of a marriage or who's had an unpleasant childhood experience; someone who has overcome alcohol or drug addiction; these are things that I really don't want to be flippant with when I'm if I'm utilizing those for a story.

So I do a lot of reading of firsthand experience, you know, blogs on the internet or borrow memoirs from the library so that I can really make sure that the experience of the character do justice to that situation.

Question two: What inspires you to write?

I'm someone who can't read a book, watch a movie, hear a friend's story, really be a participant in any kind of life without feeling inspired to write. It's one of the questions I get asked a lot is "where do your ideas come from?" And the problem is actually either switching the ideas off or just finding the time to write them. I really do think that inspiration as a writer comes from being good question asker.

So it's, you might get an idea for a character, but then it's thinking well, how does that affect the character's life? And what happens to them then? And what obstacle do they have to overcome? What in their past leads them to overcome that or makes it difficult for them to overcome that? You know do they have trust issues that make it impossible for them to rely on the one person that they need to progress to this next level of the quest or whatever sort of story it is that you're writing?

I think that - particularly with the sorts of books I write that are essentially about human connection and emotional resonance - inspiration is everywhere. You know, it's watching the news at night and hearing a story uh about something remarkable that's happened to someone and you think "how does that affect them?" What will they take from that going forward? Will it make it easier or harder for them to have those connections?"

So in terms of inspiration I guess it's everywhere; it's just about turning yourself on to see it and and not just to see it but to think that every story starts with a tiny flicker of an idea, that then you as a writer expand. You as a writer know that you are in control of finding the conflict and what is the story there? You know it's not very interesting if it's just a boy meets a girl and they have everything in common and then they get married. Far more interesting if boy meets girl, discovers that she's a member of a family who destroyed his one chance at a political career, or something in their history that means that it's really difficult for them to actually connect and overcome that and the strength of their love and the way that the reader believes in that love has to be done so well that you have no doubt that their connection is lasting. So inspiration is everywhere and it's just a matter of, the more books you write, the more you learn to trust it and the more you learn to know if it is actually has legs to carry a story from beginning to end.

Question three: What's your favourite thing about romance?

My favourite thing about romance is actually really hard to choose because there's just so much to love. I've always been drawn to reading romance and to romance movies; any kind of uh happily ever after love story I just love. As a child I read The Babysitters Club because I loved the romance between Mary-Anne and oh gosh now what was his name? It started with a "d" I seem to think. Oh I spent years and years of my teenage life falling in love with those books and characters and it was the romance that propelled me through it; like a lot of stories a sort of not-quite love story is what's used to keep viewers or readers coming back. Like Ross and Rachel in Friends is another great example, or Lois and Clark uh in Superman. I think that we all are drawn to the hope of romance and the will they, won't they nature of it.

As a devoted reader of romance, I know that my hero and heroine, when I pick up a book are going to end up together at the end of the story. But it's how that will happen, how will these two characters fall in love, how will they overcome their obstacles. Conflict is very important to a good romance because if it's all smooth sailing it's kind of boring.

That might be what you wish for in real life of course; in a book you want something that's a little more dramatic. I think that, particularly for the sorts of romances that I read, escapism is a great element as well. You know, there's this level of fantasy that comes from an angsty contemporary romance where one of the characters might be a billionaire with private helicopters and mansions all over the world. They own hotels or you know, they're a politician or a bodyguard or it's something well and truly outside the realm of normal life, which is a lot of fun to lose yourself in for a few hours.

The other great thing about romances is-- and within romance there are so many sub genres and different types of romance-- but certainly in the books that I'm drawn to-- which is contemporary category romance-- they're short. You know they're 50-55 thousand words, which means you get an incredibly fulfilling emotional story within a few hours. You know, I can usually read say a Mills and Boon in the time that it would take me to watch a movie, so I would always choose to read the book rather than watch a film. I love the emotional payoff.

It's quite unfortunate that romance is often derided uh as being silly or frivolous. And I think that there's a whole area of exploration there about um that being sort of a form of patriarchal expression because romance is usually female written, and the heroines are the characters who are pivotal to the plot and who tend to get their "happily ever after".

It is a real shame because what we can look at quite clearly when we see sales figures is that romance is in fact the biggest selling genre in the world. And Mills and Boon sells somewhere in the world every four seconds, and that's not including digital copies or op shop copies or library borrows. That's that's just sales of, you know, you go into a double smith or a uh a bookshop and pick up a copy off the shelves. So it is enduringly popular and I think that that's because we all love love, we love "happily ever after", and particularly when times are tough and things are hard, romance is a genre that you can turn to and know that it's a safe place to read.

Question four: Have you ever written books in other genres?

I love to read really widely in lots of genres, but romance is what I've always written. I write I guess that romance is such a broad church; there's not just one type. There are so many different sub genres of romance in terms of characterization and historical settings or contemporary settings.

I have, within that broad church of romance, experimented with writing historical romance-- so a Jane Austen style romance-- and writing a bit of a um a thriller with, you know, heavy romantic overtones. So I like the idea of playing around within romance, but for me it always has to have two characters who are sort of fated to be together and work their way through their issues alongside anything else that's taking place at the same time.

Question five: How did you come to write your first novel?

I actually wrote my first romance novel when I was 15 years old. I'd grown up with a mum who was an antique dealer and we used to get dragged around to lots of op shops and antique shops on weekends and I would always come home with stacks of Mills and Boons from when I was about 12 years old.

I loved them. I really loved those, they're sort of 1980s Mills and Boon of Emma Darcy, Penny Jordan. And I really did grow up reading them, as well as Babysitters Clubs and other sorts of things. So when I came to write-- and writing is a very seductive passion especially if you're a bit of a control freak like I am-- I love the idea of creating dynamic characters and setting them in this uber fantasy landscape, but having complete control over what happened to them.

So I worked really hard and I wrote a full Mills and Boon, which I printed off and wrapped up in pink ribbon and sent across the world to London. And I waited and I waited and it was very wisely rejected about two months later. I mean it was, I still have the printed out manuscript so I can verify that it was very poor. But it continued to be what I thought about whenever I wanted to write; the ideas that would come flooding to me were always contemporary romance.

 So I lived my life and I think that as a writer you always write, even if you're not writing a book. I think that the pull and the lure of the written word is so strong that you can't ignore it. So I would write incredibly long emails to friends or I wrote fan fiction-- hand wrote when I was in school with a girlfriend of mine, back and forth. We, you know, I would I had a website that I wrote about lots of different things because-- just the medium of expressing yourself through writing was what I love doing. It was when I was about 22 and we'd moved to London that I really started to write again, in earnest, and to think that this was something I might like to do.

I was working full-time back then in a different job and so when I came home from work I was often an hour ahead of my now husband, and so I would take that time to sit out on the balcony with a glass of wine and some raspberries, and I would sit there under all the plane trails going into Heathrow and I would write.

And back in those days, I was still learning my craft and my skills, and it would take me a very long time; it was like pulling hen's teeth. I didn't quite feel an intuitive understanding of the narrative structure despite having read and read and read-- which I think is the best preparation you can do to be a writer.

I still felt like I was full of self-doubt about-- I guess I had the intuitive understanding, but I wasn't trusting it. So it would take me about an hour to write 800 words and so it was slow going with that first book. But I made myself finish it, even after the self-doubt had sort of made me lose the passion for the project and made me doubt if it was any good.

We came back to Australia and I don't think I submitted that book or did anything with it, I think I just saw it as a learning project and then I started my next book, and my next book. Eventually I started submitting to Mills and Boon, and they receive an incredible amount of manuscripts each year. They do read them all-- they're an incredible publisher for that; you don't need an agent to approach them and they will quite often give feedback-- but I was rejected a few times on the hop. And once you've submitted it's a long wait, you know it can be three to six months before you hear back. So the timing of it was quite wonderful in a way, in that it was right at the build-up of the self-publishing availability.

So it's 2014, in May, when I had a book that I thought was really great, and Mills and Boon didn't want it, but I didn't want to let it go. And I self-published it with no expectation that it would ever sell, or sell well and to my surprise it did, from the first day that it was loaded up onto Amazon.

And from then on it all sort of snowballed; I had fallen in love with writing and I'd grown in confidence as a writer, and having people reading my books was very validating. And from that moment on I continued to self-publish for about a year before Mills and Boon offered me a publishing contract; and now I'm fortunate enough to be able to write for Mills and Boon as well as continue to self-publish contemporary romance titles online.

Question six: Have you ever read anything that made you feel differently about fiction?

One of the things that I tell people when they're starting out in writing and they doubt their own ability to tell a story, is how innate it is to us as humans to tell stories. You know, it's something that all cultures around the world, through all periods of time share.

We tell stories. It's a way that yes, we derive entertainment, but it's also a way that we learn and we grow and we feel and we emote. And when I read a story I want to feel what I feel when I write a story; I want to be moved. I want to really come to care for the characters; I want to care about their journeys and I want to feel at the end that it's been satisfactorily concluded.

I don't always need a happy ending-- though if there's not a happy ending I like to know that going in so that I can brace myself for impact-- but I think the most important thing fiction can do is resonate with us on a human level. It can be humour, you know. It doesn't have to be that it's depressing or scary or sad. It's just making you feel more alive and in connection with your own feelings and yes, entertaining you.

I think that entertainment is a hugely important part of why we read. So one of the books that I think changed me forever-- and I've only read it once because it was so beautiful and so harrowing and connected with me so deeply that I'm scared to go back and read it again in case it affects me in the same way and I'm scared to go back in case it doesn't affect me in the same way and I'm disappointed; it was the most perfect experience that I don't want to tamper with-- was "The Time Traveller's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger.

It's also the only time I've ever written to an author to tell them how much I loved their book. I read it very quickly; I found it completely compelling. I loved the characters and when I finished it - it was when I lived in the UK and I remember I was on the tube and I read it on the tube and then I got off and I read it while I walked and then I got to where I was going and I was visiting friends and I walked into their lounge room and said I can't talk, I just have to finish this, and I had about five pages left and I sat there and I read it and afterwards I cried and I cried. I couldn't, I couldn't believe how much it affected me and how beautiful and perfect and sombre and incredibly powerful the ending was. It was just an immense book. I really loved it.

If you haven't seen it, sorry if you haven't read it and  you've only seen the film, or you haven't seen the film, please read the book first because it is just such a powerful story. With that being said I raved about it like that to my mum and she didn't like it at all. She actually didn't even finish it. So I think that's another thing to keep in mind with fiction; it affects all of us differently and it affects us differently depending on where we're at, but the most important thing in my opinion that fiction can do, irrespective of the genre, is to connect with you, and move you.

Question seven: Why do you think romance is such a universally popular genre?

So it's really interesting that prior to World War II, Mills and Boon were actually a general publisher. They published lots of different uh genres of books, but during the war paper became so expensive they could only print what they knew would sell, and that was romance.

So we we have this thing where romance has been popular for millennia really. I mean look at look at the enduring success of Jane Austen. She's one of the most read icons of literature in history, and she writes stories about people falling in love and the minutia of daily life. There's nothing of overwhelming merit in that necessarily. It's not a super academic topic, it's the comings and goings of families and their interactions with one another and watching people fall in love. People who shouldn't love each other who have very little in common. So there's there's something about that mystery and that drama that draws us in and I wonder if it's because we like to see ourselves and our capacity for love reflected on the page.

Or is it that on the first page a question is asked, you know, it's a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a fortune must be in want of a wonderful wife. Well we have the scene set and the question asked. Is he in want of a wonderful wife and if so how does he procure one and who? So these questions then are answered throughout the book, but they're compelling, watching them be answered.

Um I think that that that same sense of mystery and the fact that we recognize ourselves in the books we read, even the ones that are far flung and as I've said a few times, romance is such a broad church. I have friends who write intergalactic cyber cyborg romances and werewolf romances and so it's when I say we want to see ourselves reflected in the books, I don't mean our literal selves, I mean our capacity for love and the gauntlet of emotions that we feel - envy, uh sadness, loss, love, hope, optimism, uh reflected in these stories, and I just don't know if there's anything more compelling than romance.

I think that one of my favourite things to say is that "Die Hard" is a romance. At its core, you know yes you have all this violence and the adrenaline high of John McCain in a high rise chasing out the bad guys, but what they finish with, what's the most compelling aspect of that, is whether or not he and Holly will reconnect at the end of the movie. Whether or not she'll welcome him back into her life. They set that up at the beginning of the

book. We know that he's coming to her to uh having off the back of their divorce or their breakup, and we have that question percolating in the back of our mind through the whole movie and it's that which they give us as a resolution at the end.

So I can't say definitively why romance is in enduringly popular but anecdotally it is, and and I love that it is, and I'm not someone who would ever denigrate the romance reading industry because how can you do that without saying that basically everybody is wrong?

Question eight: What would romance novels be like in a matriarchal society?

Okay so this is a great question. It's important to know that when we talk about romance novels, we're not simply talking about heterosexual romance. Romance has always been a really strong yardstick of the times and of social identity and social expression, and as ... I think that the rise of self-publishing has really made it possible for expressions that might have been seen as too tricky for traditional publishers to support necessarily at the time have really found their feet and have gained enormous support and a really important place online. And we're seeing that carry through to traditional publishing as well.

So that includes male male, female female, menage romance, um lots of different as I've said sub genres within the romance category um, so in terms of how being in a matriarchal society would affect romance novels, it's really difficult to see that it would necessarily change. I think that power dynamics are something that have always been played with in romance novels and certainly the books that we might have read in the '70s or that were written in the '70s and '80s um saw a far more dominant uh male hero if we're talking about a heterosexual romance, and perhaps a more - on the face of it -  submissive heroine however I do question that interpretation a little, in that it's always been my takeaway and as someone who grew up reading books that were largely written in those eras, that it was still the heroine who had the power. She might have seemed as though she were in a less significant bargaining position for much of the book, but what I really like about romance is seeing the character who comes into the story in what is seen to be more of a position of power and has more confidence and arrogance and authority really brought to their knees by the fact that they're vulnerable to love, that they've opened their heart to love and that they're powerless to control that, and so that giving up of control is incredibly important in romance because, let's face it when you love someone you you are sort of at the whim of whether or not they love you and how those feelings will play out and whether or not you can actually make one another happy.

So I think that those power dynamics might on the face of it change a little bit in a matriarchal society but it's whatever the gender, whatever it is, you're talking about people finding their dynamic and someone having to let down their boundaries to allow themselves the full experience of loving and being loved.

Question 9: Has the #MeToo movement changed the romance publishing industry?

The #MeToo movement is something that I'm actually asked about quite often if I'm speaking at events, and how it has affected romance writing, and as someone who's relatively new to romance writing but not romance reading, my feeling is that yes it creates a clear set of guidelines for people perhaps coming into the industry or from the outside of the industry.

Maybe it creates a set of rules for publishers to follow but I think for die hard readers of romance and writers of romance, the main issues that are grappled with a movement by a movement like #MeToo are things like consent and power and respect, and these are things that I've always seen handled well in the books that I've read.

Consent is something that we as a reader need to know is there. I don't necessarily think that it needs to be heavy-handed in how it's written on the page in terms of dialogue, but as a reader I'm looking to be in both viewpoints or potentially in the - if you're writing a heterosexual romance - in the heroine's viewpoint so that we know that there is that consent that uh that there's no doubt that this is two people who really want to be together.

I've said that playing with power is something that is fun to do in romance but it is something that you have to be careful; you don't ever have a character abusing their position of power to get what they want from a character who who isn't interested. So even if I were writing a book where a character was using their more dominant position to uh achieve something that they really wanted and that meant another character who was in less of a dominant position had to give something up, I would immediately switch to that character who was seen to be in the less dominant position's point of view, so that we could see them rationalizing it in their brain and coming to the realization that actually this is what they would get out of it or this is why they wanted to go along with it, this is how they could get out of going along with it.

So it's very important that these books be empowering uh and while still keeping their sense of fun and the things that readers look for when they turn to these books, you know they're not ... I think that they are a good yardstick for where society's at and in recent times uh women have never been more able to speak for themselves and to hold uh positions comfortable to men. That's not to say there's not a long way to go because there is, but it's important that the books reflect that, and that we feel the strength and the confidence that comes from our female characters. I guess I feel that power comes in lots of different modes and you it's important to write a character who you know that, even when their back is against the wall, would have the strength to only do what they wanted.

So I guess the #MeToo movement has made everybody very consciously aware of things that we have instinctively been doing for, or instinctively been looking for, for a really long time.

Question 10: Why is it so important for romance novels to finish with a "happily ever after"?

"Happily ever afters" are a hugely important part of a romance.

It's, there is also a "happily for now" but that's never been good enough for me. I like to know the characters are going to be together forever without a shadow of a doubt.

I am a huge believer in epilogues for this reason, as I think a lot of romance readers are. I like to see the sweeping end and the the beautiful coming together of my characters, but then I like to see them in five years time with, you know, two kids and a home in the country and all the things that we know that they've wanted throughout the course of the book. It's one of my biggest things wit,h even something like, to turn to movies, "Dirty Dancing" which I loved loved loved of course, like most of the world. But I would have loved an epilogue over the credits of seeing Johnny and Baby getting married, you know, in five years time after she's graduated and saved the world, joined the peace corps, whatever it is that she does.

Um but the the happy ending is what keeps us going through the angst of the book and romance novels are at their heart quite conflict-driven, so if you have the right setup you spend a lot of the book wondering if the couple is going to find their way back together, and it's only by giving them this great "happily ever after" that you you can be confident that they've done that. So I think the expectation of romance readers is definitely that they will get that "happily ever after" at the end of the book and it provides us with that safe place that we're craving, particularly when times are tough, to know that everything is going to turn out okay.

Graeme Base

DS: Good morning, my name is Dayna Smith and I'm the Children and Young People's programs leader for Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

It's my very great pleasure to welcome you to this virtual author talk with Graeme Base brought to you by Digitales and the Base Factory. We have eight schools joining us this morning but we're also recording this talk for our YouTube channel so more students will be able to watch later.

Before we begin our interview with Graeme Base, I'd like to respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners and the land that we're meeting on. For us here in Moreton Bay, we're on Kabi Kabi and Undambi people ground, but Graeme is in Victoria and he's on Boon Wurrung Country which is the land of the Yaluk-ut Weelam people.

So I pay respects to both lands and people, especially to the elders past, present and emerging. Graeme Base is one of Australia's most famous authors. If you go home and tell your grown-ups that you attended a virtual author talk with Graeme Base today, I think most of them will know who he is because he's written over 20 books and they've sold millions of copies worldwide.

So not only is this Australia's, you know one of Australia's most famous children's book authors but just famous authors will um full stop. So his second book Animalia was published in 1986 and I was five when that book came out, so for those of you who can do maths in your head you'll know how old I am! But I remember spending hours pouring over the pictures in that book and it's a really really good book because even if you can't read by yourself - or some of the words are a bit too tricky for you to read by yourself - you can look at the pictures and at the start of this book, I have a picture one here, a giant book, you can see that there is (if I can get it lined up) there's a picture of a little boy in here and one of my favourite things about this book is that that little boy is hidden throughout the pages, and you can spend a lot of time looking through finding that little boy, who is Graeme Base himself. So all of his picture books have these layers and layers of images on them which is a really fantastic way to also read stories, um to look at the pictures. So this is why I'm super excited to be to be asking Graeme a few questions today, but one of the special things about these questions is not only do we have a few questions from me but we have questions that are from the students from years 3a and 3b from Southern Cross Catholic College at Scarborough.

So thank you very much to them and to Mrs Hynes and Mrs McFerran for sending those questions in. So I'll get started now and ask the very first question of Graeme, which is why did you become an author?

GB: Wow that's going right back. Well ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to draw. It's the only thing that I, you know, really sort of felt that I wanted to do when I grew up, was was be an artist. Um and I did a after I was all drawing through school, through high school, I even began to sell a couple of pictures to my teachers which was fantastic. Uh gave me a real sort of leg up there, and then I went to college and I did a course called graphic design, um and that was that was basically uh getting me ready for a career in the world of advertising.

So when I finished the course I went out and I got a job in advertising and I hated it. And what's more it hated me. I went through about three jobs in about a year and a half and when I got fired from the third job, I realized this isn't working out.

So I took all the pictures that I had been doing just for my own sake at night, you know, to keep myself sane, and I took them around to publishers uh trying to get work doing book covers. Because every book has to have you know a jacket, a cover, and I did one or two of those, and then I got some jobs doing illustrations for other people's texts, other people's stories, um and that was pretty good.

But it wasn't perfect. So then I thought I'll have a go at this, because one of the other things I liked in school as well as that, was English. I quite enjoyed, you know, writing and you know, the idea of words and the musicality of words.

So I wrote a poem called My grandma lived in Gooligulch and I took it to the guy who'd been giving me work doing you know, a little bit of covers and other illustrations, and uh he said, oh well I'll have a read of it and I'll get back to you, let you know. I thought oh yeah.

Um and he rang back in a couple of days and said this is good, we'll publish it. I couldn't believe it! So that that's that's how I sort of fell into the world of doing, doing books. Um as Dayna was saying that the second book I did was that was Animalia and that was the one that kind of turned a hobby into a, into a career, because it, people in Australia kind of got it, understood you know what the book was about. And then that happened overseas as well. Um so I mean in a potted sort of history, that's why I, that's where I am now.

DS: Fantastic. Thanks Graeme, and the other question that the year three had for you is, is it hard being an author?

GB: Uh not really, you know. I reckon there's a lot of harder jobs with a lot more pressure.

But you've also, but you do have to be disciplined. One of the things is that I don't, I don't have anybody saying to me, uh you know, okay you've got it, you've got to get to work now, and now you know, you've got to sort of hand in this assignment, or you know, do this job of work by the end of the day. My deadlines tend to be like the year after the next, you know, a long time. Because it takes you quite a while to do the books. And sometimes you can forget that it's really important to keep, you know, working all the way through, otherwise at the very end where everyone has this experience - you leave it to the last minute and aaah you know, you you've got to sort of go crazy trying to do the work.

Also I work from home. Now these days a lot of people work from home, but I've been doing that all my life, and you do have to be disciplined, because, in both directions. One it's easy just to say ah whatever I'll do it tomorrow, but also, you can get obsessed with your work and not stop, and that's a bad balance. So there's there's a ... I used to say one of the problems with working from home is that you never get home from work. It's it's always sort of stuck together, and when my kids were little, uh actually I remember my my oldest uh son James.

He was, he was annoyed about something because I couldn't get to something at school, I don't know what it was - a concert or something - and I and I and I said hey you know James, give me a break, I'm at home all the time. And he just said to me - he's only about five - he said no Dad, you're at work all the time. And I thought yeah, you're right, so you do have to you know, your balance. But you when you're your own boss, you just gotta show a bit of discipline.

DS: Wow that certainly puts into perspective having to get homework done and projects done, and things like that for school, because obviously not having um imagine having a year-long deadline for a project you have to do, that's a really really long time to have to work on it and to have to put off doing some fun things to be able to get it done. Thank you.

So the next question is what inspires your work?

GB: The the I've never been short of ideas. Um I find that what I want or short of is time to make the ideas real. And one of the, one of the really great things about my job is that it's, it's involved a lot of travel over the years, because I you know because I've been you know in Australia travelling around talking to people, and also overseas. Um whenever I go off on on a book tour. I'd also try and find a few weeks to go and do something else, go and see something exciting or different, um and it's kind of dangerous because every time II go overseas and go somewhere new, I know that I'm going to come back with another idea which I will have to try and make into into a book.

And sometimes the uh the ideas it's really clear to see, you know, where they come from, where they happen. I mean I went to Cambodia some years ago and saw the incredible ancient ruins of Angkor Wat which are these temples where the jungle has begun to, over the hundreds of years, you know you sort of tear them apart and it's just fantastic to look at. Um and I wanted to somehow capture that. So I I created a book idea called The last king of Angkor Wat.

Many years before that I was in in the Caribbean and had my first experience of scuba diving. I I've done a lot of snorkelling uh when I was young but I've never been allowed to scuba dive because when I was young I used to get asthma, and if you get asthma you're not allowed to go scuba diving in Australia. I discovered in other parts of the world they don't care! It's up to you. So I had this first experience of being able to go under water and stay under water, and just really concentrate on looking at a coral reef. And the the it was just incredible, just the life upon life upon life, the detail and the colour and all this you know, swarming myriad of fish. And I and I was with my mask on and yes and and tanks on my back.

My wife Robyn was snorkelling there too. And I just I I looked I looked around at her and sort of pointed and said - and this is what I said - I said (mumble) and she knew exactly what I said. I said this is the next book and she knew that I was getting inspired. So that's where the sign of the seahorse came from.

This is a long answer but I'm going to tell you there was another weird one though. I was I was actually travelling with with the family and we were somewhere in in Europe and in a hotel, and then in the hotel there was this lamp on the wall and it was a brass lamp, that was the fitting, the bit that sticks onto the wall, and it was kind of in a spiral shape like a, like a snail, and then the other bit the curvy bit - what's that called? Shade. The shade was was was curved like a sail.

I thought oh. So I said to the kids, I said hey hey kids look, a snailing ship. And they just sort of went yeah whatever. Weren't terribly interested, but I thought he was a really cute little character so I drew this little snail with sails, but I do this all the time when I'm travelling. I always I just draw stuff or I write things down and I just popped it away in my bag and forgot about it.

When we got back to Australia, I was unpacking and I found this little character again, the little snail with sails, and I drew him a few more times, and he became a sort of a galleon with, you know, like an old-fashioned ship. And I thought yeah I think there could be a story here, and eventually after some years that came out as The legend of the golden snail. So it's very weird where ideas come from.

DS: Wow that's fascinating, and what a fantastic job to be able to travel around the world and then use what you see to make your books. That's fantastic. So one of the other questions that year three had was how do you think up the characters, and I suppose from what you've just said, I'm also wondering is it that the characters - the character - come first or is it more the setting that comes from looking at these under water worlds or which comes first?

GB: I mean usually it's it it's the setting, and then I'll sort of you know, figure out you know, who lives there. But not always. Um there was another trap a trip that we did. Travelled up to um uh Alice Springs and then drove right up to Darwin and back, and along the way they have these road trains which is massive great big trucks with like three or four huge trailers, and they come hammering down the highway towards you. It's terrifying. You know to be driving along with these huge things going past only a meter away, and as one of them flashed past at one point I noticed that strapped to the big bull bar at the front was this big soft toy of a dog. It was just like hanging there as like a mascot and the the the the idea of, and also the trucks themselves, they're really aggressive. I mean they've got these big headlights and these great big chrome grills that feel like teeth, they're like monsters, and I suddenly thought "truck dogs". Something you know, like some hybrid between you know, a truck and a dog, and I started drawing pictures.

And originally I was going to do it as a picture book, and did a lot of work on that and, it was funny, my American publishers thought that it was a bit scary, too scary for little kids, this sort of hybrid of a truck and a dog mashed together. So they asked me to rethink it and instead, I I produced the book in the end as a novel. Um although I'd still love to do the picture book one day and I've still got plans to do it.

So that was where Truck dogs came from, this this concept of this hybrid animal and I've done that quite a lot. Um in a book called Uno's garden um which has a lot of fantastical animals um and there's there's characters like um, well the first ones are moopaloops, ten magnificent moopaloops. Have you got the book there?

DS: I do have the book here, sitting beside me, yes.

GB: Well and the moopaloops are kind of a cross between eagles and baby snow leopards, uh you know, and and so you know I often sort of mash different characters together. It's been done over the years as you know, classic you know, um mythology of things like um you know the griffin and things like that, which is half eagle, half lion and so forth, um but I just love inventing things and giving them sort of nutty names like, you know, lumpy bums and snaggle bites and things like that.

DS: Fantastic and this is the book Uno's garden or if I can get the camera lined up. That's, that's the one that Graeme was just talking about which does have lots of different animals in here that are all weird and wonderful characters. I think that's the the page of the lumpy bums, which are sort of monkeys but they do have purple bottoms with lumps on them.

GB: They've got duck bills as well, so they're a hybrid.

DS: Yes, yes it's fantastic and Graeme, when I was looking at Uno's garden it did remind me of Animalia in that there's so many different layers to the story with the the central plot which is um, I guess on one surface there it's a story about um a city that keeps on growing, and then there's also things to look for on each page, over here, I'm not sure if you can see that?

But each page has some things to look for. And that reminded me a little bit of of Animalia but with so many layers to each page, and there's often little puzzles or word play in the illustrations, what comes first? Is that the the main storyline or are the puzzles something that that sort of sparks your imagination first, and and then you come up with a story afterwards?

GB: Well it certainly, it has to be the story first. Um I I think it would be possible to just sort of you know, create a you know, a series of puzzles and then try and make a book around them. But I I have always loved the idea of detail ever since I was a kid. I like trying to you know, find the hidden you know, creature in the tree branches and stuff like that in old sort of books that I used to read.

Um there's one, one one exception to that though was the the third book I did was called The 11th hour which is a sort of a mystery story and the whole concept of the book was that I was going to hide clues in the artwork you know, to solve the mystery. Um and uh and if I even even the the title itself was just one of those you know, sort of things that just sort of fell out of the sky and said you know, that's a great name for a mystery book.

Um but the problem is at that point I had no idea what the story was, I just knew that it was going to have lots of clues and puzzles in it and it was going to be called The 11th hour.

So I had to write the story to match the title which is why there's 11 animals that go to an 11th birthday party on the 11th of November and play 11 games and at 11 o'clock you know, the mystery occurs. So I'm sure that's the wrong way to go about things but in that case, it seemed to work.

DS: It certainly did, that is one of the favourite ones of mine because this - each picture is so intricate and trying to find all the little, the little um in the borders and things like that the little animals, I think there's mice in that one. Yes true. So how do you make the pictures then in the books? Do you use paper and pens and paints and things like that or do you do it on computers?

GB: Well it's a little bit of a hybrid now. Um when I went through college, I mean they they hadn't invented a computer that could do anything useful like you know, do pictures you know. They were just sort of black and white or black and green in those days. So you know, computers just weren't part of the the toolkit as it were, and so yes my all my early work I developed a technique, pretty well self-taught really, because at college they weren't interested in teaching me how to paint, they were just interested in sort of ideas to be you know, to sell products.

So I developed a a technique uh with watercolour and coloured pencils and stuff like that um and about maybe 10-15 years ago I I was in real trouble, because I was getting terrible um uh RSI I think it's called yeah in my wrist, uh and it was hurting like anything, and also my eyes were beginning to go because of all of the detail.

And I thought I'm going to have to retire, and I had all these ideas that I wanted to make into books. Um so I began to explore whether there was another way for me to work which was was less um uh, sort of stressful and where where I could see better you know, because you know the glasses were just making me feel ill uh because I happen to have, because of the focal length, it's all blah de blah.

Um anyway and I discovered that things had come along in the in the digital world, and I was now to to take the technique which I had developed over many many years and apply that to a new stick, rather than it being a brush or a pen, it was now suddenly a stylus and a mouse. Um so more recent books they're a, they're a hybrid of the two. I still draw and work out my my pictures, but then I can introduce the computer into it as well to help me with lighting effects and and and color and so forth.

So yeah a mixture of the two, and and there's also that has now flowed into into a continuing interest um in the, into the in the digital world. Um over the years I've been working with with a mob um who do all the work to prepare my books ready for for press, to be printed, to make all the all the copies. Um and they said hey, we you know, we should do some some some digital versions of the books.

I was going uh yeah kind of, I don't know, I don't know much about that, but they did, and they showed me that for instance - and this is what really sold me - that you know the little boy you mentioned at the beginning of "Animalia". That was me. When I was little I used to have blonde hair. Um he said in the book, he's there, hiding behind the cow on the c page or whatever, or riding on the hog on the age page, but in the digital world, every time you look at the page he can be somewhere different.

Like oh yeah yeah that's good. So we create, that's why we created this the Animalia digital - the educational suite - um to to explore the sort of the world beneath Animalia and have fun you know, just helping kids. I suppose, with language, it's all a language-based program, but it's still it's supposed to be fun and there's lots and lots of games where you're playing the games and you don't even realize that you're actually learning stuff about you know, adverbs and verbs and you know sentence construction and stuff.

DS: Fantastic and if you do want to find the Animalia e-resource, you can actually find it on the Moreton Bay libraries' website if you look in our e-resources and for kids, you'll find it in there and there's certainly a lot, you can spend hours poring over it and as Graeme says, not even realize that you're also hopefully learning a few things that will please your teachers about adverbs and sentence construction and, and things like that, but will also help you if you do want to practice your writing skills.

And I know there's probably some very budding authors listening to us at the moment and um yeah, certainly being knowing how to to write a really good sentence is also a big part of the job with writing books. So that was the other question I had for Graeme - it was about writing the story and do the pictures come first, or do the words come first?

GB: Yeah it's a good question. Almost always I'm inspired visually because first and foremost I I think of myself as an artist. I didn't, I didn't grow up wanting to be an author, I wanted to be an artist and I started writing books so that I could have fun of doing illustrations. Um but over the years that the the writing, the text had become more and more important to me and even though still the the the inspiration is first of all visual, I then put that aside and work on the story because I don't think it's possible to do, like I couldn't do a whole lot of puzzles and make a book out of it, I couldn't just do a whole lot of pictures and make a good book out of it. It has to be story first, so I put all the artwork aside and I work on the story, and I get that right and I work out what's going to happen on each page of the book, each double page spread, and then, then it comes - this is the most critical part of it all - is editing.

Um there was, there was somebody who who once said, I think he's been paraphrased a few times, but somebody was writing to somebody and they said I'm sorry for writing such a long letter but I didn't have time to write a short one. You think what's that about? Of course it's to do with the thing is - if you just sort of say oh I want to say something so you just keep writing and writing and writing until you've kind of said everything that you wanted to say and you know, you probably repeated yourself and you know stuff like that. But to to say it in just one page or just one paragraph or in just one sentence, you have to be really really thoughtful about exactly which words that you use, and picture books are a bit like that because usually they have a pretty short text. Uh you know not too many words.

So I would write a story and and it might take you know, maybe three pages, and then I'd try and reduce it down to one page, then reduce it down to one paragraph, and then reduce it down to one sentence. What is this book about? And get rid of all the adverbs and adjectives and make, make very simple sentences, and that's kind of like a skeleton text. That is sort of like the bare bones that, that tells the story. Not terribly interesting, maybe a bit dry and lifeless, but it's great to do that because then you can just start adding a bit of colour to the, to the words and finding a better word for this, or a better word for that, and and introducing life to it again. But it keeps it short and sharp, and also with picture books, you've got to remember remember that it's called a picture book for a good reason. It's got pictures. That pictures are a big part of it, and you don't have to say you know, the girl was wearing a red dress because you can see it in the pictures, so that goes from the text. So it's it's it's sort of like a blend of of of text and pictures and they lock in sometimes, you know they they overlap, but mostly the text does one thing and the picture does another. The text brings the story then the pictures begin to work again.

And that's the way I think of creating a successful picture book uh, and that just takes time. So you know you, I I I can't sort of just write, even though there's only like three or four hundred words, and people have said oh gee you could write one of those before breakfast. Uh sure the idea before breakfast but it's going to be breakfast you know, a year later when you actually say that is the right text.

DS: Wow so a year later. That's amazing and certainly inspiring for me to think that something like this takes about a year to write, um and illustrate and ... and together ... that's the thing because it doesn't really take a year, but it takes a year of of working on the text then doing the artwork and coming back and tweaking the text, and doing more artwork, and then thinking of the other layers that go in and then going back to the text again. That's the thing that takes the time.

GB: Of course it doesn't take you a year to write 300 words um, you know you could carve it in stone in less time, but it takes that long for the entirety of the book to become as good as you think you can make it. All things take time.

The longer that you spend on something generally speaking, the happier you're going to be with the result I think.

DS: So true. So what I'm also hearing is that lots and lots of drafts take place, that you create lots of drafts and refine it and refine the pictures and things like that. Do you have any other tips for um young people wanting to write books?

GB: Well I think probably the writing is as I've said, but the illustrations ... I was just thinking when when you just surmised what I said there or summarized what I said, that this exactly the same thing applies to the artwork.

That you can't just just start at one corner and go da da da da da da da da across to the other side of the page and go but um finished picture, perfect. You've got to do your rough drafts of that as well, and the editing and so forth. The way I work is to just do something which looks terrible, it's a, it's an awful scribbly cartoon but it just shows basically what's going to be in the foreground you know, how close we're going to get to the main subject, what sort of angle? Am I going to be flying like a bird or looking up at it like a worm or is it you know, whatever, all those sort of ideas of design.

And then slowly I just draw characters separately and get them just about right and then I'll you know, paste them into the into sort of a mock-up of the page, and all of this takes a lot of extra time but you finish up with a nicely designed picture that uh, that sort of flows and makes sure your eye goes to the place that you, that you know it's supposed to.

And you know when you first look at the picture you know what to look at. And the more  complicated the picture is, like my my my pictures, the more important it is that there is a definite point that you know that you look at when you open a picture. That you see something like one of the big green gorillas in Animalia or or something like that, that's the first thing, and then you slowly begin to you know, look at all the other things around it. So that same process of of of editing and revision and rough drafts applies to to artwork as well. So yeah, don't just draw something and say that that's it, that's it, that's good enough. It's not good enough. You know, keep working on it and you'll be happier.

DS: Thank you Graeme. So that's what I'm getting the takeaway from this, is keep on working, keep on practising, whether it's practising your drawing, practising your writing, practising both of them, so that you can put them together in a picture book which is really inspiring I think. That that idea that you can start somewhere small, drawing your own pictures yourself, but who knows, one day if you work hard enough, you might end up with your own book or your own 20 books um as as Graeme has got.

So Graeme, one of the other questions I had was often in your books there's animals, um there's often people, are there particular themes that you really like to explore in your work?

GB: Yeah actually you know what, there's a lot less people than there are animals. And one of the reasons for that is that they're much harder to draw. It's funny you know, in um in The 11th hour for instance I've got a zebra sitting cross-legged in a chair playing chess with a rhinoceros and I know for a fact that zebras can't actually sort of sit cross-legged in chairs, but if I just you know, give it stripes and a spiky mane and you know, and stuff like that and make it look furry, then people go oh yeah they believe it's it's a zebra. And the reason is that we don't know the subject all that well. We just know that it's got stripes and you know it looks like a bit like a horse.

But if I drew a person and made the arms too long or the the eyes too far around on the side of their head you go, that's not very good. We know the subject, so then it's it's a real skill to draw people well.

So when I do draw people, I tend to make them caricatures, cartoons like Uno in Uno's garden. I didn't even try to make it look like a real person because I just, I haven't got that skill. As as for theme and subject though, the thing that just you know, interests me is the natural world, and and so I'm not that interested in in drawing you know, other other stuff, and you tend to do better when you're doing what you love. Isn't that true, you know, in life, so I concentrate on on those lovely sort of you know, forest and organic forms and made up animals and dragons and monsters and things where I can exercise my imagination and not have somebody say oh that doesn't look very good because it's not very realistic.

So there it is and I also I think it's important that you know, I've been lucky with my books and I know that now there's a lot of kids that read them, I like the idea of being able to say something which might be considered you know, important or worthwhile so a lot of the books talk about the the need for balance.

Uno's garden is a classic example of that balance between nature and human you know, needs, um and The waterhole does the same thing. I did a book years ago called The worst band in the universe which was about you know the need for for a blend of tradition and innovation, and that's what leads to progress. Little sort of themes like that, but always having fun you know.

There's another one called Jungle drums which is about you know, difference and tolerance you know. There's always going to be people who are you know, sort of smaller or better at this, or more beautiful, or whatever, um and to to to learn to be happy with oneself and to be, and also to to accept other people for who they are.

And those are themes which are serious but along the way um it's important.

The only, the only way to teach anyone anyone anything is for them, is to entertain them, for them to have fun and as we were saying with the Animalia program, uh it's all to do with with words and learning language and and some skills there, but you know it's not going to work if if you don't actually have fun doing it, so that that's fundamental to it.

DS: Thanks Graeme. I love that message so, exploring serious things but always having fun at the same time.

It's a great a great message. I have my last question here now and that is which is your favourite Book and why?

GB: Okay, it's hard not to like a book like Animalia you know. This this, I did it when I was very young, I think I was 28 when Animalia came out and it changed my life because it sort of worked as a mate turned me into a proper author.

Um but I I mentioned just briefly before Dragons. Uh ever since I was a little kid I've been drawing dragons, um and I eventually, I did a book called The discovery of dragons which which is a very precious one for me.

Um also when I was young I used to draw a lot of monsters. The very first book I ever did um was was called A field guide to monsters of the world. I was eight years old and it was done on lined paper and coloured pencil and stapled together. Um and the only reason I remember is that my mum used to keep the things that I did when I, when I was young. And one day she gave me a big box of all of my ideas and said there you go, that's that's that's all the stuff you've been doing for the last 10 or 15 years.

And in it was this little field guide to monsters of the world. And eventually uh I was able to realize that in a in a you know, a published book, uh called The amazing monster detectorscope so that's a favourite because these things relate to when I was, when I was a kid um.

This, each book uh The waterhole uh is another one which is, it was it was a a beautiful project to work on. It was you know, just taking animals from all over the world and it has so many levels in it uh The waterhole from a simple story to number games to an ecological message, uh searching finding hidden animals and stuff so, that's a bit of a sweet one as well. They were all, they were all things that meant something to me. This is actually important.

I think one of the, one of the uh tricks to to writing and and illustrating is I think, to to do it for yourself first. To make sure it's something that interests you or something that brings you sort of you know, amusement or joy, or it's a message that means something to you. Because that will show in the work. If it's something that you don't really care about, you're only doing it because you know, you were told by the teacher or or your publisher said it'd be good to do a book about rockets or something, well fine, but I think that the work will possibly lack heart, and that's the main thing.

If there's any reason why Animalia all those years ago worked as a book, it wasn't because it was a new idea. Lots of people have done alphabet books before. It was because this was a book that I had spent three years on um and it was totally for me. I was just a young you know, kid artist, wanting to draw everything in the world and I decided to arrange it alphabetically and that's what kind of showed I'm sure, in the artwork. Uh I really didn't know that there was a market out there for it at all, but it was something that I desperately wanted to do.

So if you can in life, doesn't matter whether it's books or or kicking a footy or or adding up numbers or writing poetry or anything, whatever it is, if if it's something that means something to you uh, I think you'll do better, it'll be better work, and also you know, well gee whiz, it's almost like you know the secret to happiness if your work is also your joy, then it's easy to get up in the morning and do it.

DS: Thank you Graeme, that's a fantastic note to end on.

Thank you so much for your time today. Thank you everyone for joining us and thank you to the Digitales and the Base Factory for enabling us to have this talk today with Graeme.

Um we hope we see you in a Moreton Bay Region library soon.

Bye everyone. Bye Bye.

Isobelle Carmody

Thank you for tuning in to “Yes, you can ask that” with Isobelle Carmody, brought to you by Moreton Bay Region Libraries. We sat down with Isobelle to ask a few questions.

Question 1: Do you consider yourself a young adult or fantasy author?

Hi, I'm Isobelle Carmody and welcome to my lockdown. She says, not a terribly difficult lockdown. I have a swimming pool to swim in, thanks to some friends who I'm staying with, and I'm going to answer some questions now myself as a writer and about writing.

The first question was whether I see myself as a fantasy writer or a children's author, and I would say that the answer to this is that I don't see myself as either.

I don't define myself in this way. Because, well a couple of reasons. First of all, fantasy author. I don't think you put the form of a writing on top of the writer. I don't think you claim that form. I think the piece of writing or the ideas that you're exploring dictate the form, and I think it's like if you want to make a white sauce or you make a beautiful sauce for some dish you're making, and you always make it in a I'll beaten up battered pot that does a beautiful job and you get some newfangled thing given to you for a birthday or Christmas and, you don't use that when you want to make a great sauce. You actually reach out and get your old pot because you know that that's going to work for you, and the things that make writing - allow writing - to be called fantastic or science fiction are things that work for me. My battered old pot is fantasy and science fiction and probably because I read it, it spoke to me very deeply, it was a perfect vessel for some of the ideas that I wanted to write about.

I mean fantasy and science fiction have a scope you can write with which, I find I don't write like that when I write realistic materia. When I write realistic material, it's much closer and smaller; it's a microcosm. The more realistic I get the more - the smaller - the surrounds in a way, so that's why I wouldn't say that I would call myself a fantasy writer because I'll switch genre depending on what it is that I want to write.

The writing dictates the form for me. And the other thing is that I don't see myself a children's, as a children's author, because (a) I was one when I first started to write. I was like 14 when I first started to write my first novel, and you know at 14 I was a kid and I was writing about someone my own age just struggling with issues that were like mine, and as I said a second ago fantasy was the way  -science fiction, science fantasy was the way - in The Obernewtyn Chronicles - I was trying to explore about being, what it felt like to be an outsider, to be a misfit, to be in a world that seemed ethically not to operate very in the ways that I thought a world should operate. Human beings behaved in ways I didn't think they should behave. There seemed a lot of injustice, and fantasy and science fiction allowed me to write it. I was a kid when I was writing it.

People ask me now did I write that book for children. Well there there's your idea of a children's author. It's just that people tend to think that if you write for children, you must do it on purpose, that you must have some kind of agenda or or idea or omission about something. And I think some writers do but I don't personally believe the best way to write for children is to write for children actually. I think you channel the child in yourself when you, when you write. You draw on your own memories and you write for an imagined child that's you, really, I think. What I wanted to read, what I read, what I loved is what I'm writing for, also in a way. And the other thing about, you know, designating an age group is that how do you know what adults read, what children read? A 14 year old boy can be an incredibly sophisticated reader whereas a 40 year old man can be barely functional as a reader, not have read a book since he was a schoolboy and even then didn't read through a full one. So to say and to designate an age group? No, I find that, I just don't see the point in it. I don't think it works and I don't see the point in it. What I tend to do is, when I'm writing for a certain or appear to be writing for an age group, I suppose is the best way to put it, or and market it as writing for a certain age group … That's a marketing decision and they have figured that out. That's a category they can aim the writing at, and there's a lot of readers there that are likely to enjoy it, so it's a marketing decision.

When I, you know when I write, I find that people of all ages will read the things that I write, and the thing that's that I like I find most complimentary is that they're inclined to say to me that I reached them. And that can be a 90 year old man or a 12 year old girl, and if you write and it reaches that span, I think it just tells you that a writer is not writing outward but writing inwardly, reaching very deeply for truths they understand and writing those. So again the age thing is really problematic to me.

I write around a character. If a character is 12 I draw out on my own memories of childhood. I try to think what it would be like. I imagine what it would be like to put that self into that situation and what is the most truthful way, that I can write that character. What are the genuine feelings I might have had at that age so it's the age of the character that I'm really focused on, not the age of the reader.

Question 2: Which writers have inspired you the most and why?

The writers I’ve admire most have been, well there's a lot of them. You know I was very influenced when I was young by The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the Susan Cooper Dark is Rising series, Lord of the Rings. A lot of books. One that really was very important to me was Enid Blyton’s little - lesser read lesser known I'd say - re-telling of Paul Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. She titled it The Land of Far Beyond and I think all of these books looking back were influential to me because they, they were connected to me becoming a writer, although I didn't know at the time. I was learning from them.

What I learned from The Land of Far Beyond was that you could write a story about what went on inside a person spiritually or emotionally, as if it were a journey that were happening outwardly. So that was the most, perhaps the most important book that I read because it was re-reading that year after year after year, not understanding why I was almost addicted to having it even accessible, even if I didn't re-read it. I had it constantly borrowed from the library. It was because it was doing what I wanted to do, and the other writer that's been a huge influence on me was Ursula Le Guin and for the same reasons.

You know she was mastering what it was that I really wanted passionately to be able to do, and that was to write stories about what happened to people ethically and morally when things were happen when they were negotiating situations, or events in their own lives.

So those writers were doing what I wanted to do and I was hungry. I suppose now that I look back, I was hungry for some sort of understanding, although I didn't know it then. I just really loved those books and re-read and re-read them. I learned to be a writer re-reading those writers and I still read Ursula Le Guin to this day because of the fineness and also the the honed quality of her writing … which I’m much wordier.

You know I was very attracted to Margaret Atwood - not Margaret Atwood - Angela Carter. Angela Carter, because of her ornate writing. You know if you look at A Company of Wolves or one of those stories that, they’re so rich. She has dozens of adjectives which you're not supposed to ever use because you know we're all about not using adjectives anymore. I love them!

I adored you know, the use of adjectives and there's a lush kind of unfolding of a story. I loved fairy tales and myths for this lush kind of language and even though I knew you weren't supposed to do that, somehow as a writer, or that it was not what people wanted from you, I could do the other kind of writing. I could do that sparse writing, but I was drawn to the other kind. Ursula Le Guin seemed to, for me, was the perfect sparse writer. She teaches me again and again what it is to be a beautiful sparse writer, but it doesn't stop me from accessing that lushness and that love, love of lush language as well.

So it seems to me if I could put the two together - Angela Carter's lushness and Ursula Le Guin's sparseness and her integrity - I would be the writer I want be. So yeah, people have influenced me but for those reasons mostly.

Question 3: What inspired you to write the Kingdom of the Lost series?

The Land of the Lost series, that is The Red WindThe Cloud RoadThe Ice Maze and the final one, which will come out in a couple of months, The Velvet City.

Well the beginning was these two little guys, these two little cute guys. See the different tails? There's, just a little bit different.

I found these secondhand, in a giveaway bin,, in an op shop in Eastern Europe. And I called this little guy Bily, Bily means “white” in Czech, and this little guy’s Zluty. Zluty means “yellow” in Czech.

And I was going give them to my little daughter. She was 3 then, and I was nowhere near writing a book for a 3 year old, a 5 year old or any age group at all. I wasn't writing the Little Fur books, which were the first books I wrote which were marketed for younger children.

But I did get these little guys and I was going give them to Adelaide and Babushka was with me, and she said let's give this one to Clara her 6 year old sophisticated cousin and my 3 year old Adelaide. And I hated the thought of separating them. I just thought they managed to get to the rubbish bin together, we shouldn't separate them, so we separated them because I was an adult and you can't make that kind of argument about toys. And poor little Bily went off to a house where there was a dog and eventually had his little paw chewed off. And when then happened, I couldn't bear it any longer. I traded to Selena Gomez tapes to Clara and I put the two little brothers back together.

In those days it was kind of hard to get English books in the Czech Republic, so like any mother does I wrote some stories for my little girl about Bily and Zluty. And they were not stories I ever - I was writing books - I'd written 50 books or something, and I wasn't writing books to be published for little kids.

I was writing for Adelaide, and they were no more publishable than any adult’s book written for a little - specific little child. Adelaide was in the stories as a character, but these two little guys were affected by their history. Bily was always timid and gentle and quiet, when Zluty was intrepid and, and brave and bold and the only little funny thing that used to happen was that Bily was the brave one, Bily was always the adventurer but somehow he was always asleep or doing something when Bily had adventures, much to his amazement. And he was always very timid. So that was how the characters were when we played with them.

After I'd written all four of the Little Fur books and illustrated them all, I was looking to draw it again, to do to draw again and to do another book, and because I've written about these two little guys and drawn them many times for Adelaide, they were natural for me to come to. But I didn't actually want to draw them as - I didn't want to tell the story that I told Adelaide. I just started to come up with another story and the ideas in my mind really were how we as human beings throw away so many things - things, people, relationships, toys - once we've finished with them and yet things have a life of their own. Everything has a life of its own and these little guys had a whole complex life after they were bought for some child when they were new and maybe passed on from brother to sister.

So I was thinking about this way we human beings throw away things, and so The Land of the Lost is, starts off being, you would imagine The Land of the Lost refers to the land in which these two little brothers live. This fairly empty land where stuff falls from the sky through a crack in the sky to the ground and no one knows where it comes from, or what it's for, and there's a stone storm where these little guys’ house gets destroyed, and they have to go looking for a new home.

That's basically the overarching story. Where does the stuff in the sky come from? What does it all mean? Who are they? Where did they come from? Why is there no one else like them? And finally, will they ever find a home?

Question 4: Elspeth and the others in The Obernewtyn Chronicles have special abilities, which are most significant, and which do you wish you had?

Elspeth and other characters that are in The Obernewtyn Chronicles have special abilities. They far seek, they coerce, they have empathy and various other abilities.

If I could have any ability I wanted, I think I would have one that I haven't got in that series, and that would be projective empathy. And that, that would be the power to project from one person into another the, the feelings they were experiencing. So let's say you had a government minister who was making very draconian laws about school children or something, and these children were being kind of locked up or whatever, and I would be able to send the feelings of that child into the mind of that politician, and they would have to deal with what they were causing.

I mean it's probably just a, you know, a version of the old “do unto others” thing but it would give me the, I would have the power to be able to make that happen. So projective empathy.

In The Obernewtyn Chronicles, the, the power of empathy is really important. I's the one power that Elspeth feels that she doesn't have, and because she feels she doesn't have it, she, she's cut off her herself, from her emotions. She feels that she can't feel things, that she doesn't necessarily, you know, experience things strongly enough emotionally. She feels she lacks emotions and she to some extent frightened of them.

There are reasons, like in anybody's life, trauma tends to shut you off and you, you produce the layers of protection and Elspeth has that in her past which he's also putting between herself in the world. But in part, but of course she does have empathy. She has great empathy. The whole reason she's protecting herself is that, is that empathy she has. All of those powers though are not only just powers which you know, who doesn't as a kid wish to be able to fly or to be invisible or something, so it's wishful thinking to a certain extent of course. Of playing with a memory of what you wished for …

Question 5: As a writer who illustrates, what advice do you have for putting writers and illustrators of graphic novels and books?

Illustrate my books? Well I don't think of myself really as an illustrator. I certainly am not trained. I've always drawn. I drew for my brothers and sisters all through childhood - comic books and whatnot - and lots of little cartoons - and when my daughter was growing up, I used to tell her this story about this little character called Little Fur and I used to get back home after me walking with her and telling her whatever bit of the story I'd get made up for that day, and she would say “Draw her, draw Little Fur for me Mama” so I did.

I used to draw her over and over and over again with the various animals in various configurations, and you know, I didn't think of that book being, that story being something I would get published, but one day it came to me that my daughter wouldn't want that story forever and I would therefore not be able to tell it anymore. And that just seemed really such a shame, and because I wanted to go on telling it.

So I thought well you know, you're a writer, you can write it as a book. So I started, but then I realized very quickly that if it was published, if anyone took it on, they would want illustrations for it, and I didn't want anyone else's version of Little Fur but mine and Adelaide's. So it meant a great deal to us.

So I wrote to the publishers. I did these four little pictures my daughter's $2 paint box or $3 paint box whatever, from the supermarket, of Little Fur Fox, and I think a couple of other pictures. I can't remember what they were now. And I sent them to the publisher with my story and said “This is what I'd like to write about but here's the catch, I want to do the illustrations” and they said yes!

So I was ecstatic for about four seconds and then I was completely horrified because, I suddenly realized that I actually had to do it and I'd sold them for books not yet written - one was written - and I had to do 120 illustrations for the first book. And that's a whole different thing than drawing the odd little drawing for your daughter. So I really was quite frightened for a while, but then I thought, well I can't have made this big fuss and be given this incredible opportunity and squander it. I have to try, so I started to you know draw.

I drew the same drawings I'd always done but I did them over and over again and gradually realized that the drawings themselves could be very simple if the background was complex, and by complex I mean patterned. So that was kind of my style right from the start.

I I really loved, well I was very influenced by the Moomin Troll, Tove Jansson’s gorgeous black-and-white illustrations. Illustrations - black and white ink - and also I love Edward Gorey’s illustrations and he's someone who really, really knows how to put a pattern together. And there was something, there must be some you know bit of me that loves this completely detailed kind of tiny cross hatching or a million leaves or a million grains of sand each drawn as a tiny circle. Some bit of me found that very Zen process, so I would have my simple drawings and then around it I would do this other stuff and I didn't, I would say make the mistake of trying to be a professional illustrator because if I had, I would have had to have gone back and learned about perspective and the golden mean and all those things I know only as words and vaguely. But a real illustrator knows those things and they've trained for years, so I thought I'm just going to go with what I know and if it isn't good enough, somebody will tell me.

So I did 170 drawings because I thought they'll choose the best of them, or was it I think I might have been 120 drawings I did, and I thought and they wanted 90 or something and I thought they'll give them a lot more, and then I can't do anything again because I'm not that good a drawer.

I couldn't repeat anything and make it better, it would be a completely different drawing the next time (so I discovered) so I sent it off and they really liked the illustrations. And so that's that's how the illustration came about.

I guess the advice I would take from that to give to anybody is that if you love drawing and you have a passion for it then do it, and just keep doing it, because you can't help but getting better, and if you do want to do something, you know, something more, you know, if you do want to take it into your own writing, well you've got to be prepared to invest a bit of time in it, And by that I don't mean going and taking classes although that may be the thing you want to do and need to do and that's good for you, but to put some time into it in the thinking about it. Like when I was, when I'm looking at pictures now or drawings or even the world, like have a look over here - this pattern of leaves. The other day I was lying there after a swim and I noticed how the, you can see maybe even a little bit of it, how the reflection is on the leaves, and I just thought how you know it would be nice to sort of try and capture that. How would you capture that?

So I found myself and still find myself often dissecting the world in terms of what visually things look like, like patterns and what kind of shapes and what I'd like to draw, and some things I'm always loving the idea of drawing like snow and sand and water and, and clouds are things I - difficult to draw - almost impossible to draw. It's sort of textures in the world in a way, but I never let not being able to draw I stand in the way of wanting to draw something. I have an idea and I just pour it into the drawing and just do the best that I can, and I would say that's what you have to do if you love drawing enough eventually you'll get there, and if your drawings are not good enough, okay then you've got a great idea you can give to to an illustrator or you, you know how to describe it to an illustrator.

So that's another way of thinking about it. I mean there are projects I would take on that I would have no idea at all how to do myself, but I know what to say. I know how to describe it. I can even block it out in a way and then hand it on to somebody else, although I don't know now. Would I be able to hand it on?

I have a graphic novel idea and I'm not sure anymore. I want to have a go at it, I know that much. Again I will bite off more than I can chew and one of these days it'll be too much and I'll have to spit it out again. This may be the project. In which case I will boneless Lee let it go and recognize I've reached my limitation, if there is a limit to be reached.

I don't think, I guess the thing I could say about writing, and illustrating, is one of the one of the gifts - if I could say that - put it in this way - the gifts I have is that I don't put huge obstacles in front of myself by imagining ambitions. I'm not ambitious. I don't have huge ambitions. I try something but right in the middle of trying at all, knowing I've taken it on, I acknowledge that I might fail. I know it might be too much for me and I, I'm fine with that, and what worries me sometimes is young artists and writers and illustrators just have such huge ambitions immediately, and their ambition gets in the way of what they really might have in themselves to to to explore, so with illustration and with writing I think that's the rule of thumb. That would be the main advice I would give.

Don't put your ambitions, don't put your ideas of how your work might be received in the world out there as an ambition looming over you and overshadowing you, because it's really hard to work in the shadow of that thing. It's much easier if your, your, your desires are humble and you just are prepared to work really hard and try things. Ttrying things is wonderful. Putting some huge ambition in front of yourself, that's just a huge, that's just a putting an hurdle in front of yourself that you have to get over before you can even begin to write.

Question 6: You once said that you would make a poetic choice ahead of a grammatical choice every time, why is poetry so important to you?

I know once in an interview I said something about, you know, making a poetic choice always over a grammatical choice, a choice, and the question I was asked or I'm being asked now is, you know, why why poetry is important to me.

I would say when I write, poetry is important in the sense that language itself can be poetic, and you know you can be the kind of writer who just, you know, writes what's happening and that has a sort of poetry too, a blank stark kind of meter, and I guess meter is what I'm talking about.

Rhythm and poetics for me is all about probably rhythm some of the time, and when I talk about poetical language, that's really what I'm talking about. Not the writing of poetry but that poetic meter of language like sometimes when I'm writing, you know I'll write a sentence and that's that has a certain feel for me. Names, you know when I invent names they have a certain rhythm for me and that rhythm corresponds somehow in some you know amorphous you know impossible to explain way with either the character or the place that I’m naming or whatever it is.

And you know the sound of language, the meter of language is how I define that.

If an editor makes a change, I can often find it even if they have forgotten to to mark it, because the meter doesn't feel right. The sentence doesn't have the right rhythm, so I'm always conscious that there needs to be some kind of rhythm and I do have it when I write.

I mean I think if you a writer like me who uses a lot of descriptive words where, you know, it's sometimes seem that it's better to write you know it was this sparse language. The better you are, the more sparsely you write, but you know then you look at someone like Angela Carter and you can see this is a writer who nobody ever told her too many adjectives and, she doesn't beautifully, and she can do it because she uses the rhythm of language to allow herself the scope in which to build up this beautiful tapestry of embroidered writing.

And I, you know, that's the sort of writing on I love to do. I'm very attracted to, you know, layer upon layer upon layer of writing and, and if a grammatical choice requires that I, you know, it would seem to be better grammar if I don't do this thing but the language of a character speaking or my description of something requires me to mess around with the grammar, I'll do that because it works better.

I do it a lot with dialogue and characters. I think that's one of the best ways you can show character ahead of dialogue and that's by using the sound and the meter of language and the way language is spoken by a character to tell you something about them. Showing rather than telling in the most powerful way.

I also love poetry.

I have this online poetry club where I send people - a number of lucky people - a poem a day and those people are send me back up on from time to time too. So it's not an everyday thing these days but it is an exchange, and it's not my poetry although every now and again I'll post one of mine.

I don't see myself as again, like being an illustrator, I don't see myself as a published poet. I'm not seeking publication. It's just something I like to do, and every now and again can I get on a roll, have a bit poetry binge, and then I stop and go back to, you know, writing or whatever else it is that I'm doing …

Question 7: How do you know when a book is finished?

Oh that's a good question. How do I know when something's finished? It’s the best question maybe in some ways because it requires a certain pragmatism, and you know a lot of people when they write get all caught up in this kind of poet - this poetic ideal of this bohemian writer strolling around uttering poetry in the middle of the night while drinking whisky or something.

I mean first of all, I couldn't write and drink whisky at the same time, second I don't like whisky.

I think finishing and that pragmatic streak go together. It means that when you start something you know that you've got to finish it, and there is no ending to a piece of writing in the sense of his and ending to life or an ending to some episode in life or a journey comes to an end. Writing isn't like that. You may, you do journey towards an end and hopefully you have some notion of what the end might be, or at least I need to know somehow some sense of what the end will be like, but you do have to choose it.

I mean there are many places you could end a story and usually what you're trying to say or what the story is beginning to say for you dictates where the end will be, and sometimes that's a little bit left or right of where you thought you were going to write, or the story can take you very far away from where you thought you were going to go, but you do have to end. You do have to come to an end at some point.

For me, it's it's when I start to feel fretful about about where I'm going to end. I start feeling there's an ending. And I can see it could go this way or it could go that way which tells me I'm getting to an ending. And then it's just simply a matter of making a decision because there's no wrong decision.

If you write to that end and it doesn't work you can go back and redo it, so deciding and decisively moving forward is better than trying to figure out the perfect ending in your head. This is one of those things where I think you've got to let your hands and your writing take you to the end.

For me also it's important to come to an end because I think has an emotional arc for me, a very strong emotional arc to whatever it is that I've imagined at the end, and it's usually for me something very visual at the end. A character walking somewhere, doing something, and I might only have that in the vaguest sense …

Question 8: What are you reading?

What am I reading now? A couple of things. I'm re-reading Miss Smella’s Feeling for Snow. I'm reading an Edward Gorey called the Gashlycrumb Tinies, looking at the patterns again. I'm reading a book called Cavalier and Clay which is, I've only just begun. I'm reading a Murakami book about what I think about when I run, a series of essays and one of them is what I think about when I run. I love his writing. I think of what else but I'm always reading several books at the same time.

Question 9: What moment defined you as an author?

The defining moment of being a writer? I think it was in fact when I was typing one of the Little Fur books, the first Little Fur book, and Adelaide came through the kitchen when she was about 6 or 7 or 8 something, to get I told them to her when she was 6 so she would be about 8 when I was writing it, and she was going to get a snack and when I type up a handwritten manuscript I mutter to myself.

And I muttered something about Little Fur and Adelaide came over and said “Mama are you writing about Little Fur?” and I said yes and she said “Well read me a page”.

And she often did this reading a page and so whatever horrible thing I was writing, whatever it was, even if it was a report or something, I read it out loud and she was always very polite. She would say Mama that's really interesting but I have something I need to do in my room now” if it was boring, but on this particular occasion she listened to the end of the page and I got to the end of it and she had such a strange expression on her face, and I said to her then don't you like it and she said “But Mama, Little Fur is real, isn't she?” and that was the moment. I really realized that, that in writing a story I told her I I'd raised the question of whether it was real or not, and I just suddenly struck me in that moment about what it was to be a writer. It was to pin down stories in some way. That's the only significant moment I can think of.

Falling over on the Opera House stage, that was another moment that I'd rather forget …

Thank you for listening to “Yes, you can ask that” with Isobelle Carmody, brought to you by Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

3 things with Kate Kruimink

KW: Welcome everyone to the latest instalment in Moreton Bay Region Libraries’ newest author talk series Three Things.

In this series of videocasts we asked some of our favourite authors to tell us about three items or objects which have a particular resonance for them. But before we begin I'd like to respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians and the traditional Country on which our interview is taking place, and the elders both past and present. In my case I'm on Turrbal ground here in Brisbane.

I also recognize those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future elders and leaders.

Today I'm lucky enough to be talking to this year's Vogel winner Kate Kruimink. Welcome Kate.

KK: Thanks so much Kerryn, thanks for having me.

KW: For those of you who are unfamiliar with the award, The Australian Newspaper/Vogel's Literary Award is one of Australia's most prestigious literary prizes for an unpublished manuscript from an author under the age of 35, and as such it's launched the career of over a hundred Australian authors including Tim Winton, Rohan Wilson, Kate Grenville, Andrew McGahan and Gillian Mears, and it's provided an important contribution to Australia's cultural landscape.

Now K. M. Kruimink’s manuscript for A Treacherous Country was unanimously voted as this year's winner and that book has just been published by the sponsoring publisher Allen & Unwin. Congratulations Kate.

KK: Thank you so much Kerryn, it's so exciting.

KW: Now a little bit about Kate. Kate was born in Tasmania and spent most of her childhood in the Huon Valley, apart from an interlude on the west coast. After completing a largely ornamental arts degree (her wording not mine) at the University of Tasmania, she lived and worked interstate and overseas for several years. Today she lives once again in the Huon Valley, now with her husband and daughter.

A Treacherous Country is her first novel welcome again Kate, thank you for joining us. Before we start talking about your three things, I wanted to check in with you as to how lockdown’s been treating you. What have you been missing and have there been any silver linings for you?

KK: Thanks Kerryn, um yeah it's an interesting time for so many of us and, I mean my overwhelming feeling is just of gratitude, you know that I have health, my family and friends are all healthy and you know we've got somewhere to live. We've got some stability. So I am very grateful.

There are definitely things I miss. I find I don't have much free time now. So I work part-time as an English language teacher and I used to drive into the city which is about an hour away and I would, you know, have a bit of free time around my work and and I'd, you know, have to dress professionally and put a professional face forward, and none of that happens now. Um so I miss having time to myself. The silver linings - I think more time with my daughter of course, but also I think it's sort of showing that a slower pace of life is possible, and I think also hopefully it might open up more possibilities for people post lockdown when we start to go back to normality as we are now, I guess. That, you know, those of us who have been fortunate enough to to be able to work from home have kind of shown that it's possible, you know, even in in workplaces where that wasn't part of the culture before, and so I think that that's going to make work a lot more accessible to a lot more people.

In particular, because that's my context, I'm particularly thinking of of women with children. In my experience there's always been something I can't go to, you know, even in the most accommodating with workplaces, there's always a meeting I have to skip or something, and so I think if some of those things could go online more as a matter of course, then it's going to be a benefit for people.

KW: That's fantastic, thanks for sharing that Kate. Now I wondered if you could tell us a bit about your novel? I've just finished reading it by the way, and I really did enjoy it and I can see why the judges loved it. It's got a very particular flavour and texture to it, so if you could tell us a little bit about your character and his adventures I think everybody would enjoy that.

KK: Thank you so much for your kind words Kerryn. I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

So my book is called A Treacherous Country and it's set in Van Diemen's Land in 1842 with flashbacks to Norfolk, to the family life of the main character. He's a young man, he's called Gabriel Fox, 25, and he arrives in Van Diemen's land with a very specific goal, very specific mission, um but this strange sense of almost unreality or disassociation.

Things sort of unfold for him and he's pulled along but he's not really pursuing his goal. He finds himself more and more reflecting on on what happened at home and sort of grows within himself during his adventures in Van Diemen's Land, which include doing some whaling. But he comes to realize that his true motivations are pointing him back home and that he needs to face up to a situation back there where he has been quite weak, and he needs to go home and and do better.

KW: So how did you come to actually write the book Kate? Did you choose a story or did it choose you? It's a very unusual story to my mind.

KK: That's a great question. It chose me definitely, it chose me. Um so I've always written, you know, all my life and I've had a few small publications before this novel, short stories and so on. Um so when my daughter was a few months old, actually like now, then too she was a very poor sleeper, um and with that and hormones and so on I I was in a bit of a stage. I was really exhausted and I found I was sort of losing myself a bit, so I Googled the Vogel award - I knew about it already - and I thought, you know, if I can I can work on something and enter it then that could give my days some structure. It could give me something to think about.

So I Googled it and I had about eight months um and I I started looking at an older manuscript that I'd started writing years before, and it was too difficult, it was kind of too personal and it just wasn't right for the headspace I was in at the time. So I found this little side character in there who was called Mr Whitely who was coming to this whaling station to buy it and he can see it's not going to be a very good deal, and I kind of pulled him out and and he he changed as I started thinking about him and writing about him.

He became younger, he became more confused, more vulnerable and his story unfolded kind of as I went. So it really showed itself to me.

KW: That is very fascinating. I would not have expected that he really did speak to you but you know, I should really, you know, take that on board because so many people say to me when they’ve written something that the characters have come alive as they've been writing and they've developed their own lives, you know, irregardless of what you were trying to achieve as an author in the first instance.

KK: So yeah and as you go, sort of the story develops its own logic, you know, you can think about it beforehand but I think it's in the writing that that things develop a rightness or a resonance or or not as the case may be.

KW: Thanks for sharing that Kate, and it's a really interesting insight into how the book came to be. I could talk for a lot longer about the book because there's so many interesting things about the other characters in the book aside from Gabriel, and Gabriel is so very interesting, but we are here to talk about your three things. So I'm going to ask you Kate if you would share with us the first of your three things, and I believe it was something that it belonged to your mother.

KK: That's right yes, it's a book. Here it is. It's called - I assume it's it's backwards on the screen - but it's called Jill and Judy by Caroline Brown. This was a very much loved childhood book of my mother's. I don't actually know where she got it from but there are a few clues. So it was secondhand. This name here is Rebecca Horswell which was not my mother's name. So if anyone knows Rebecca Horswell, I have her book. And there's an inscription here that's being crossed out which is Xmas 1950 and my mum was actually born in ‘55 so the book predates her slightly and so I think maybe my grandmother gave it to her.

And I actually dedicated my book to my mum and my grandmother because they were both really literary and both incredibly supportive as well. As a family member said, they would both have been doing triple somersaults if they'd been around to to hear about my award. Um so they were very much with me for that. So there are actually better books that I could have chosen to kind of show a readerly family, you know, a literary childhood. There were really good books that we enjoyed together like The Secret Garden or Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia and this one is very simple. It's a book of stories, everyone looks the same, everyone looks like this and everyone is very jolly and everything is fine in the end, you know, the the conflicts are very very gentle and very easily resolved. But the reason I chose this book in particular is that it's actually given me a bit of an insight into my mother, coming to it now with some maturity. My mum actually died three years ago and this book kind of presents this sort of story tape, you know, obviously it's literally this storybook reality where everything is quite perfect and I think that mum felt like this is what she should have been, um and she wasn't of course because no one is. I mean this looks actually incredibly boring. It looks like nothing real ever happens in it, but I think she felt it as a bit of a failing that she wasn't this. Um which I mean obviously I have a lot of empathy for my mother but this is sort of a renewed empathy that I have for some of the ideas that she had to struggle against in her life.

Um so I've been grateful to find this again for that reason.

KW: Thanks so much for sharing that Kate. I as you were talking I was thinking there were some resonances there with Gabriel's mother in your novel, where Gabriel's mother is caught up very much in a society that has norms that she has to conform to that really impact on her mental health. And yeah I don't want to say any more because we probably give too much away of what happens in the book as things are revealed to Gabriel as he muses about them.

So I'm going to ask you about your second choice, which I found quite intriguing because I'm from a very small place as well, from a small place in southwestern Victoria and the object that you're going to talk about was quite an important one for me as well.

So over to you Kate.

KK: Yes solidarity in that Kerryn! I think being from a small place, it sounds like you've probably had this experience too. For a lot of people, it's quite important if you can to leave and Tasmania is certainly like that because Tasmania is a wonderful place and I'm really happy to live here again but it was important for my own growth to get out.

So that's why this is my second object. It's my passport. So I got this one when I was about 24 so it's going to expire soon, and though I used one before this as well, you know, I went on a gap year. I had a bit of a troubled teenagehood and a gap year was kind of my way of asserting independence I think, and challenging myself and showing that I could be independent.

And actually your observation that there are connections there with my mother and with that with the book are very true. As I wrote the book more and more I came to realize that there was a lot of myself in there, which I I don't know speaks terribly well of me but that that's the truth. Um but this this passport is the important one and so when I graduated university I did an English language teaching qualification and again I left.

I went to Spain first for a couple of months to live with the family and you know, share language, and while I was there I got a job in Jakarta, so I had to wait for my visa to be sorted so I spent a lot of time travelling around Europe waiting for this. And I went to Rome on a bit of a whim. I didn't really have enough money but I just passionately wanted to go. I was in the Netherlands which is, you know, reasonably far um seeing some family there and so I just hopped on a plane and I went to Rome and in the hostel there I I met someone. I met this this young English guy called Matthew and we spent a lovely day together in Rome. We went to dinner together. I had to go to Barcelona next for a medical test related to my visa and he said, you know, can I come? Okay you can come, and then in Barcelona he said, you know, you you're spending a lot of money um travelling around Europe waiting for your visa, why don't you come back to England with me and wait there? And then in England we thought, well maybe maybe you can come to Jakarta with me, um so six years on we're now married. We have little Edie and the travelling was a really formative part but it was almost the whole part of our relationship for a long time. We lived in Jakarta, we lived in Sydney, Auckland for a couple of years, in Melbourne and it was from Melbourne that we came back to Tasssie. I'm lucky that he likes it here actually. I'm lucky he doesn't mind the climate or the cold.

KW: Yes it would be - you know, maybe for an English person it's not too bad!

KK: That's true, I think it's a less cold here than when he where he grew up actually.

KW: So now we move on to object three. Thank you very much for sharing the story of your overseas experience and what that meant to you, and your third object which I think is something more about your life now back in Tasmania, so if you would share with us your third object please Kate.

KK: Yeah that's right, um so we came back to Tasmania in 20 the end of 2017, I think, because I had discovered that I was pregnant. I mentioned we were living in Melbourne. It was actually only a couple of months after my mum had died so it was a really really emotional time for me as you can imagine, you know, with the pregnancy and grief - and so it was an easy choice to come back to Tasmania.

Um I don't know if I'd ever really left. I would bring Matthew back every Christmas and you know, I'd come for for mental health visit sometimes. Especially when we were in Auckland. Um so it always felt like home and I always knew I'd come back.

So this is my third object here. I don't know if you can see that. That's my um it's my daughter's patient ID. It says Kruimink baby of Katherine because she was unnamed for a couple of days. Um I tried to put this around her little wrist - she's two now - and it wouldn't go. This is very small. I don't know if you can see.

Um so the birth experience itself was a bit of a shock to me. I was very very confused afterwards and they put this little doll in my arms and I didn't know what was happening really.

I think I sort of knew it was my baby but I didn't really connect on an intellectual level. Um but the really the surprising thing for me um sort of happened afterwards. So I was very aware of postnatal depression and I knew that I would have to address it if I if I saw signs within myself, that it would be important to be on top of it and to be honest about it, but but what happened was actually the opposite with me.

So I mentioned when talking about my passport that I had a bit of a troubled teenagehood. I actually dropped out of school. I had to have special permission to be able to go to uni for that reason. Um but it was almost like my daughter reached out a little newborn hand and slapped me in the face and said get a grip woman, I need you. I’ve sort of been fine ever since.

Um I don't want to seem like I'm saying that, you know, motherhood is the saviour of all women or anything because I don't believe that at all. It's it's not for everyone and and those people it is for, it can be so difficult and of course it it does have its challenges for me too. But in a way Edie has has been a bit of a saviour to me, so so that is why I chose this as my third object.

Um I feel like it was another stage in in my own development, in my own maturity, was having him.

KW: Well thanks so much Kate, that's it's wonderful to hear that he's made such a wonderful addition to your life. I'm unfortunately I'm not a parent myself but I do have many many nieces and nephews and I know that there's a tremendous joy in being a parent. So thank you for sharing with us Kate. It was a wonderful, has been a wonderful wonderful chance to say hello and share with you about how much I enjoyed your book and I thoroughly recommend people to read it.

It's it's not, it's not a depressing book or anything like that, you might think you know there's some challenging things that happen to go bill but in the end it's it's it's quite an uplifting little book and his experiences are quite entertaining as well.

So um I would like just to, before we finish, say that you can borrow Kate's book from our library. Kate's book is called A Treacherous Country and we have regular copies and eight copies available, and you can also buy from any good bookstore. And to thank you Kate and the wonderful Laura and Allen and Unwin for sharing you with us, and goodbye everyone and thanks for listening.

KK: Thanks so much Kerryn and Moreton Bay libraries for having me. I've really really appreciated this opportunity to think about my treasures and and what they mean to me, and what I could choose when limited to just three to represent myself, so thank you for that opportunity and also thank you to to everybody who's listening.

Natasha Lester

Moreton Bay Region Libraries presents “Yes you can ask that” with Natasha Lester.

We sat down with Natasha to ask a few questions.

Question 1: Dior couture, Ravensbrück concentration camp and women pilots in World War II, each of the story lines in “The Paris Secret” could have been a novel on its own. Can you tell us how you came to put them all together?

I do like to combine a few different things in my books and if you've read any of my previous books like The French Photographer or The Paris Seamstress, you'll see that they're never just about one thing. They’re always about a few different things thrown in, and I think what attracts me as a writer is two or three seemingly unconnected ideas suddenly coming together and forming this connection and this possible story line.

And so with The Paris Secret, the three or four things that kind of connected in this book were Catherine Dior, the female pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary and a collection of Christian Dior gowns.

I first came across Catherine Dior in a book when I was researching The French Photographer and I had never heard of Catherine Dior. I knew a lot about Christian but I had no idea his sister worked with the French Resistance during the Second World War, was deported by the Nazis to Ravensbrück concentration camp, escaped from the camp at the end of the war and was awarded a Légion d'honneur and a King's Medal for Courage in the Course of Freedom by the English because of her work with the resistance which was so very important, and I wanted to bring Catherine to people's notice because she was an amazingly courageous woman and so I knew straight away, as soon as I read about her, that she had to be in my next book The Paris Secret.

At the same time I came across the story of the Air Transport Auxiliary. Of the amazingly brave female pilots who flew RAF planes during the Second World War around England. They ferried them from maintenance units and factories to the RAF bases. They threw them in dreadful conditions, appalling conditions. They were forced to put up with most horrendous discrimination, and they just kept flying those planes, day in day out, despite all the obstacles that were put in their way. And again, here was this incredible group of women who very few people knew about but who more people should know about, so I knew I wanted to write about them as well.

And then, this is kind of a dream storyline of mine I guess. The book opens with the main character from the contemporary story line, a woman called Kat discovering a collection of 65 or all couture Christian Dior gowns in a wardrobe in her grandmother's abandoned cottage in Cornwall. There's one dress for every year dating back to Dior’s very first collection in 1947, and the book kind of unfolds through these dresses and it's all about the mystery of why Kat’s grandmother has those dresses, and how she came by them.

And that mystery links back to Catherine Dior and the female pilots and many other things.

So it was a bit of a challenge to intermingle all those different themes but I like being challenged as a writer. I like trying to do something that maybe is a bit too difficult or a bit too ambitious or perhaps shouldn't work, and trying to somehow make it work. And I really feel like in The Paris Secret I was able to pull all those things together into what I hope is a really readable book.

Question 2: How much fact and how much fiction is in your books? Why do you like to base your novels so heavily on historical fact?

I want to make sure that I have quite a lot of fact in my books, even though they are technically historical novels. And that's important to me for a number of reasons.

One of my passions is to find women from history who have been overlooked or forgotten and to bring them back to people's notice. And I like to think that I've done that in The Paris Secret with the women of the Air Transport Auxiliary and with Catherine Dior. And in my previous book The French Photographer, I like to think that I've done that with the female war correspondents who worked during the Second World War out of Europe.

And so it's really important to me not just to make everything up, but to, particularly when you're talking about the experiences of women in the past where they have fought bravely and struggled against discrimination, to make sure that I'm as accurate as possible about those kinds of experiences because otherwise, if readers are reading about for instance the way in which the female pilots at the Air Transport Auxiliary were treated, and how difficult the men of the RAF made it for them to be able to ferry planes around England during the Second World War. And if I make that kind of thing up then it minimizes the battles of those women actually did have to fight to be able to fly those planes. You know, there's enough drama inherent in the actual facts of reality that I don't need to make things up, and I think readers appreciate it all the more when they're able to go “wow those things actually happened. Women were really treated like that. That's outrageous.”

So because of that, I like to make sure that I've very extensive author’s notes in the back of my books when people can see what parts of the story are based on fact. And also to direct people to further reading, and one of the things I love is when readers message me and say “oh I read and researched Lee Miller after I read The French Photographer or I went and did more research on Catherine Dior after in The Paris Secret.”

Question 3: Which writers have inspired you the most, and why?

I find Margaret Atwood hugely inspirational. She's been inspiration of mine for years. Back when I first looked at becoming a writer, I enrolled in a Master of Creative Arts at university and this was back in 2005, and my thesis was - I actually wrote my very first book as part of my Master's thesis  - and I had to write a theoretical component to go with that which wasn't really my strength but because I love Margaret Atwood so much, I thought well I can probably dissect and analyse a Margaret Atwood book in this thesis and get away with it. So I loved her so much I kind of incorporated her into a Master's thesis.

I've also always loved the book Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, so that's always been an inspiration for me. In fact I always joke that my fondness for dark hair heroes comes from reading about Rochester when I was like an eleven-year-old and didn't really know what passion meant but kind of felt it for the first time when I was reading Jane Eyre.

In terms of Australian writers who inspire me, I think we've got lots of wonderful historical novelists. People like Kate Morton are hugely inspirational. She's done amazingly well as a writer worldwide and I really look up to her and admire her career and her writing.

Question 4: Does having a worldwide audience now change the way you approach your books?

Having The French Photographer hit the New York Times’ bestseller list last year was very surprising.

It was not something I ever expected would happen, and in fact to the point where um when my publisher from the US emailed me to tell me that the book had made the New York Times’ bestseller list, she said in that same email well you can cross that off your bucket list now. And I had to confess to her that it was never even on my bucket list, because it was unimaginable to me that a writer from Perth in Australia I would ever make it onto the New York Times’ bestseller list.

But what that means is of course now I know that I have this kind of worldwide audience of literally hundreds of thousands of people, who are all kind of waiting for the next book which is lovely, but it also meant that I do have to kind of bear in mind the fact that my books aren't just going out to saw the Australian audience anymore. And so when I was writing The Paris Secret, I was writing that a couple of years before my book hit the New York Times’ bestseller list so, I didn't - when I was writing the book - I had no idea what would happen in terms of my writing career a couple of years down the track when this book might come out.

So as I became aware of the fact that I was gathering more of a worldwide audience, I did actually change one of the characters in the book - Nicolas Crawford, who was originally English and I made him an American character in the book - just to make sure that the Americans would feel like, you know, there's a character from their country in the book that they can feel connected to. Didn't change anything about the story on the plotline of the book, so it was a very easy change to make but I'm certainly more aware of the fact that I do have radios from all over the world and I want to make the all feel welcomed in my books.

Question 5: A character from one of your previous novels has a cameo in “The Paris Secret”. Can you tell us about D’arcy Hallworth and how you came to include her in your new novel?

In each of my books, I have actually resurrected a character from a previous book who makes a bit of a cameo appearance in the next book, and it doesn't matter if a reader hasn't read the previous books, it doesn't affect their enjoyment of the book anyway, but for those readers who have read the previous books and recognize the character, they love that.

They’re always sending messages saying I loved seeing Estella from The Paris Seamstress in The French Photographer for example. And so in The Paris Secret I have used two characters from The French Photographer D’arcy Hallworth and Josh Born and they make more than a cameo appearance. In fact in The Paris Secret they kind of appear for almost a whole chapter I'm in a scene the set in a fabulous party in London one night, and I had so much fun resurrecting those two characters because I loved writing them. They were two of the main characters in The French Photographer. They're really fun people to write about and I know readers really liked them as well, and when you're creating characters you become very fond of them because you're building them from scratch and you are imagining them and seeing them and then spending so much time with them every day and then to kind of, close the covers and put them aside and never see them again, it's a bit sad, which maybe sounds a little bit weird but I think most writers will be familiar with that feeling.

So when I was writing this scene set at this party in London I thought D’arcy and Josh would be the exact kind of people who would go to this party, and so rather than invent and create two other characters I thought, how fun would it be to have them come to the party and to have readers see them a few years down the track from The French Photographer and see where their lives have taken them.

Question 6: Which do you feel is the more important theme in your work; motherhood or women’s empowerment?

Definitely women’s empowerment is probably the most important theme of my books.

All of my books largely are about women fighting to do something that is very unusual for a woman to do at that time in history, so for my very first historical novel A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald which is about a woman called Evie trying to become one of the first female obstetricians working in New York City during the 1920s, and the struggles she had to face against the male establishment to be able to do that, right through to those female war correspondents in The French Photographer struggling again against the male establishment to be able to do their jobs, to female pilots in The Paris Secret who have all kinds of obstacles thrown in their way you know from people writing in letters to the editor saying that female pilots are disgusting and that women don't have the intelligence to scrub the floor properly so how dare they become pilots, and women being tasked with flying open cockpit aeroplanes to Scotland in the middle of winter for three hours and minus 30 degrees wind chill but all these horrendous things that women have had to face, but they have faced them day in day out.

Those female pilots during the Second World War faced up to a conditions that we couldn't even imagine today but if they hadn't have done that, if it hadn't have been for women like that, I wouldn't have the opportunities that I have today as a woman, so I guess my books are kind of you know a way of paying homage to those women who do those incredible things and who enable me to have the opportunities that I do today.

Question 7: What are you working on for your next book? Are travel bans affecting your ability to research?

My next book has a working title of The Riviera House and that's scheduled for release in 2021.

Luckily i have done all the overseas travel-based research for that book. I did that about a year ago actually. I always do my research quite early because I always like to work on my books quite far in advance and make sure I have plenty of time, and that's really worked out quite well this time because travel obviously internationally or even domestically at the moment is impossible.

I was actually scheduled to go to, booked to go to Paris in June to research a book for 2022, and obviously that troopers now been cancelled and that research has been put on the back burner for as long as it needs to be put on the back burner for.

Certainly for me traveling to the places that my books are setting is incredibly important and I always discover so much when I'm on the ground doing that research and I feel like my books will be much too poor up and not being able to travel, but I'm hopeful that perhaps next year I'm travel might have opened up again.

Obviously nobody knows what's going to happen with Coronavirus and the most important thing is that everybody stays safe and well, so luckily we do have the Internet these days and I can certainly visit many archival collections online and I'm really grateful for the museums and the archives that have digitized documents which make it so much easier for researchers like myself. And I'll just you know to see what happens in terms of future research plans, but yes luckily next year's book The Riviera House is all researched, all written. In fact I'm working on the structural edit for that right now so we don't have too much more work to go on that book.

Question 8: What are you currently reading? Any recommendations?

One of the perks of being an author is that we get to read books a little way ahead of when they're actually released to the general public and at the moment I'm reading a book by an Australian historical fiction writer called Kayte Nunn. The book is called The Silk House and it's due to be published in a couple of months’ time and it's kind of a a bit of a gothic mystery set around this old house that, in contemporary times, has been turned into a school, and it's very atmospheric and it has a story line of silk and fabric running through it and you've read my books, you know how much I love anything to do with fashions of course I'm absolutely addicted to that part of the story line and to the rest of the book as well, so can definitely recommend in a couple of months’ time looking out for The Silk House by Kate Nunn.

Question 9: As a writing teacher as well as an author, are writers born or made?

There are a couple of different parts to begin author. I think that some people are born with a natural ability to join words and sentences together in unique unexpected and surprising and beautiful ways, and that ability to write incredible sentences I think it's probably something that people are perhaps born with.

However there are many elements of writing that I think you can teach people. You can teach people how to create complex characters. You can teach people about writing about setting, you can teach people how plot should perhaps be shaped, so when you get someone who has that natural ability with words and sentences, and you combine that with someone who has learnt about characters and plots and setting etc, and you put those two things together, you get a writer who's really quite extraordinary.

So I would always recommend to anyone wanting to write a book to go and do some kind of writing course because I think you can learn a lot. I still learn a lot from listening to other writers talk about their own writing processes too so learning never stops and writing, you're always learning how to write as you write books, so don't despair you ever hear people talking about writers being born. There are certainly plenty of elements of writing that you can learn. But I do think you know I love language is probably innate and it comes from perhaps reading widely as a child, which I certainly always did.

Thank you for joining us for “Yes, you can ask that” with Natasha Lester, brought to you by Moreton Bay Region Libraries.


Nick Earls

What inspired you to write the Wisdom Tree collection?

In 2013 I sent a manuscript to Random House for my novel Analogue Man which was the third book in a three-book contract and since that contract was completed I then got to think what am I going to write next, and when I looked at the ideas that I had there I realized that the five ideas that actually really excited me were probably each destined to be about 20,000 words long if I wrote them the way they needed to be written, and I thought if I cut them down cut any one of them into a short story I wouldn't be doing it justice.

If I tricked any one of them up into an 80,000 word novel I'd be faking it and there would be padding, so really it was either write them at 20,000 words each or not write them at all and write my sixth best idea instead, and I don't think a writer I should ever be writing their sixth best idea.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not only was I excited about those particular ideas but I actually really liked the novella form and what it had to offer … the way it kind of goes deep without going long, the way you focus on a small group of people and a contained story and try to use detail to tell it as effectively as possible.

And I recalled that my previous book had been a collection of short fiction called Welcome to Normal that had been five short stories and three pieces that happened to have become novella length of their own accord, and I realized that in writing those pieces, it’s pieces about 20,000 words long that are about the biggest that my brain can stretch to in one go … so anytime I'm writing a novel, once I get past about the 20,000-word mark, I can no longer look back and see the beginning and the end is too far away for me to see it until I get to about 60,000 words, so the middle half of a novel - 20,000 or 60,000 words - I can't see the beginning or the end and I just have to hope that I'm doing the right thing following the outline that I've prepared and it'll get me to a point where the end is within sight and then I can head towards it.

But with a novella, it's got the complexity that I find interesting but at the same time wherever I am in the novella I can see the beginning and I can see the end, and that is a kind of satisfying position to be in, so I really wanted to write them.

I was excited about the individual ideas and I wanted to write novella size pieces and then it was a question of working out how to publish them.

And research led me to do that as a series model and early on in the process of working on them, I spoke to a publisher who got excited about the idea and she suggested some links between the novellas, and first I rejected that or resisted that thinking it could be cheesy, but then I thought maybe if I can make it non-cheesy it could be interesting, and I realized that sometimes a novella might be a chance to glimpse a character you've seen before from a different perspective and therefore kind of question what they told you, and I realized I could write it so that each novella would be its own thing and hopefully its own satisfying story, but if you read the whole series you'd see those little connections and get other insights, and that to me seemed like a project that I was really keen to pursue.

Please can you expand on the "powers" available to us for comfort, especially now as "connection is being redefined?

What a great question - clearly this is one that I can’t possibly phone in and this really needs some contemplation, so I've gone, I found the review and I'll just read it an expanded version of that quote because I wanted to, to situate it in the review so we would really know what to say, so it says “The five works gathered under Wisdom Tree are distinguished by a sad sweetness rather than tragedy. Several explore the plight of children semi-abandoned because of their parents’ obsessions, others involve retrenched men, among them team in Juneau, in Gotham and Noho there are unexpected intercessionary figures who bring grace and aid. For all their variety of incident and location, the novellas share an emotional weather alert to wounds, but aware that there are powers to comfort.”

So I wanted win the Wisdom Tree novellas to have complex, vulnerable people in them, and to show what people can mean to each other, and what connections with people can mean, to get us through some challenging times and, I think now this of course the question is really timely.

We need to connect with each other in different ways if we're shut up in our own homes.

Fortunately technology allows us to do that it lets me talk here now but it also lets us Zoom and Skype and things like that with our friends if we're, if we've got access to those technologies.

Otherwise I hope it lets us talk from one verandah to the next, a safe distance away, because the “powers to comfort” I think - sure ice cream might work for a short period of time - but ultimately the powers to comfort are human.

I think this is a thing that fiction can provide by proxy. A work of fiction that is character-based and really connects demonstrates empathy, and I think it's that empathy that we can get from fiction, the empathy that we can bring to our reading of fiction, the connection of character - with the characters - that can transport us but that can also make us feel more human and make us value the humanity that we get from them.

Certainly humanity is really central in my work and I wanted that to come across in these novellas, and we know from studies that have been done that reading character-based fiction actually seems to improve people's empathy.

So I think there's comfort to be had from human connections whenever we can get it at this challenging time, but perhaps there's also scope for comfort to come from books and the people in them.

Please can you comment on "writing" is one of those "powers" that comfort?

This follows on very nicely from the previous question and but it's interesting the way you've put it -the idea of writing as one of the “powers that comfort” because it enables us to reflect openly and eventually move to some form of resolution.

So there are kind of two parts to that - the reflecting openly and moving to the resolution - and in the great tradition of the Canberra Press Club, I'll do the second part first and then the first part second.

So I think there's something immersive about reading a book.

Watching a great TV series, streaming a great TV series, can be that way too but there's something neurologically different about reading a book.

When you read a book you take in the words and you process the words and you create the pictures and sounds and everything else in your head.

It's a neurologically very active process. You're not just receiving images and sounds. That's what helps it to become immersive, and that's what helps us to separate from our daily lives if we choose to while reading the book and perhaps that's why resolution at the end of a story is very satisfying, because we've been immersed in the story and committed to the story, and it allows something to finish at a time when there might be things in the world that aren't finishing.

There are difficult ongoing issues that we have to deal with. So it's a satisfying encapsulated piece of something that you can appreciate away from all the less satisfying unresolved things that are around.

It certainly allows us to reflect as well because as we engage in that deep way we've worked that we're reading it's natural to contemplate the characters, the story, the language, a range of things in the book that we're reading because it's a very interactive process.

So all of that I think adds to the comfort aspect that it provides. It provides mental stimulation. It provides separation from anything we want to take a break from but it can provide a satisfying whole story that we can immerse ourselves deeply into, and I've already mentioned in my previous answer, what it, how it works with empathy and how we can connect with the characters and we can spend the time in someone else's shoes and see how the world works for them and I think that's a really valuable experience to have.

Books can be a great reminder of our shared humanity.

Is there a place in writing for novellas and short story collections?

As someone who's written three collections of short stories and a series of novellas, I think I’ve nailed my colours to the mast there, and yes I do think there's a place in writing for novellas and short story collections.

The other thing we’ve got to look at though is, is there a place in publishing and is there a replace in reading?

So from the point of view of the place in writing, I think some ideas … just need to end up the length they need to end up. Sometimes you can bring two ideas together and create something bigger but, there are some ideas that are great for a short story and some ideas that are perfect over novella length, and some ideas that need to be explored over the length of the novel.

So I think in terms of the writing I think we've got to have the freedom to, it's great to have the freedom to allow something to be the length that it needs to be.

Built into the question is an awareness that the publishing industry is, has some kind of reticence towards forms - fictional forms that aren't as convenient as the novel - and that was one of the things I wanted to explore with my Wisdom Tree series by putting out novellas, because what I thought was, in our regular lives, this is a pre-pandemic lives, when we were leading the 21st century lives that we that we often are, where we might have work, maybe we have some study, maybe we have children or elderly parents to care for, but we've got lots of things in our lives and we've also got lots of things in our leisure time.

We have social media, we have Facebook, we have Instagram, we have young people have Tik Tok, we have streaming services, so lots of things are taking up the leisure space in a way that they weren't before.

And that means that a lot of us are reading less or allocating less time to reading. So my feeling was that the novella could fit in very well there and so can the short story. A short story might be 10 or 20 minutes of reading, a novella might be two or three hours of reading, so you give yourself that movie-length period of time and allow yourself to be absorbed by a story.

So I think these short forms fit very well with the lives a lot of us lead now, and there are certainly publishers with an interest in them. University of Queensland Press is particularly good at publishing short story collections, and I hope that we'll actually see more novellas and more short stories and short story collections in the future as people who want to keep up a whole lot of other things in their life also want to make sure that fiction fits in there too. And don't want to try, I don't want to always be spreading a novel over weeks and weeks of reading. So if you're the kind of person who is finding books building up on their bedside table waiting for the holidays, then maybe there's a place for novellas and short stories in your life right now.

Do you feel you have ever eclipsed Zigzag Street?

Well in the eyes of some people who are particularly attached to Zigzag Street, almost certainly not, but that's something I have to accept, and I'm glad they're very attached to Zigzag Street.

I think probably 20 years from now Trent Dalton will be getting this question about Boy Swallows Universe. Graeme Simsion already gets this question about The Rosie Project, and I think if you write a book early on that actually catches people's attention and means something to them; it becomes the benchmark by which things like that, by which future books are measured, and you can either let that get to you, or you can be really glad that you had that book that people got attached to.

For me, Zigzag Street was a book that came in a run of books that actually sold in healthy numbers and different people got attached to different ones of those books.

In Brisbane it was particularly Zigzag Street and I think that was because at the time it was published in 1996, we really hadn't seen seen many books dealing with Brisbane in a a contemporary way. The Brisbane of the ‘90s there and seeing it as a normal place, as a place that wasn't something to be contemptuous about, so it's been a great thing that that turned out to be a book that mattered a lot to quite a few people, particularly people in Brisbane but but also elsewhere.

And it's not so much an eclipse, it more feels like kind of shadow and one of those big books can feel like it casts a long shadow and you could either feel that you're in that shadow or step outside that shadow and try to pursue other things and I think if I tried to write Zigzag Street now I'd write it in a different way. It wouldn't be the book that it was, it wouldn't strike the chord that it did, so I'm glad that it is the book that it is. I'm glad that people connected with it in the way that they did, but the closest I've come to trying to write rewrite that book effectively in the past few years whereas when I published Analogue Man in 2014 and that was the same tone of book and the same kind of central character, but approaching the age of 50, and it just didn't connect in the same way that Zigzag Street did.

I mean some people read it and loved it but some people, far fewer people, read it than read Zigzag Street. But what I think a writer has to do when they have a book that, that establishes them like that, is either you find yourself following the diminished returns of trying to do more and more versions of that book and doing it less and less well or having less and less new to say, or you actually just set out to be the best writer that you can be.

Write the stories that are in you to write and hope that they connect with people to whom they mean something, and I think technically as a writer I've learned most of what I've learned after I publish the exact straight I think I'm technically a much better writer now. I think the WisdomTree novellas are the best of, show me at my best as a writer in terms of my technical capacity so far. They certainly didn't outsell Zigzag Street but they're a different kind of book and I'm really glad that Zigzag Street stuck and struck the chord that it did even if I'm trying to write different things now because it would be crazy for me to try to keep chasing that tale. It's better for me to keep trying to develop as a writer and see who I can catch with anything new that I write now.

Which of your books has your favourite cover art and why?

Cover art and the design of covers of books is such an interesting issue and had a fraught issue behind the scenes as authors, designers and publishers negotiate about the best way to represent a book.

But which one is my favourite cover? Ah well, how about that one there? It's not that one, no, but I had to show you that one because you might understand it because that's not the Australian edition. I'm loathe to handle it actually. This is the UK edition of Bachelor Kisses which came out in 1999 and the cover did cause some kind of stir when it came out, and not just because of the impressive prowess of the cover model and his very obviously fake Encyclopedia of Medicine. I mean really, look at that Encyclopedia of Medicine! So when that came out the Evening Standard in London ran a two-page article headed: “Would you read this book on the tube?” and apparently people were tearing the cover off and reading it on the tube, so I did say to my publisher I didn't really want a book that would compel people to tear the cover off! They thought it was Lad Lit. This was in the big Lad Lit wave and they thought lads read loudly. Turns out two thirds of the readers at least are women, so they got that wrong. So they're kind of trying to pitch it at people who might buy it with a 6-pack of beer. That's not really how books work so I don't think it really helped but it was an adventurous cover. It got people talking and and I happen to have been in contact now with the guy who designed it, who's now the head of design had a major publishing company and he contacted me in social media reminiscing about this book cover from long ago.

To look at another Bachelor Kisses cover, here's the cover that may laugh the most. That one! That's the German edition of Bachelor Kisses and in Germany it's called Assistenten küsse which means “kisses of the assistant” which is really nice because he's the the central character - a junior doctor, and in German he's an assistant, an assistant doctor, but as the editor said he's also kind of an assistant in life. He's developmental in life so he is kind of this guy. He really doesn't look like this guy at all. He doesn't wear glasses, but anyway I thought as book covers go that one stands out a mile away doesn't it, in a bookstore or in fact across the street. So I thought that one was very funny and I won't just go for it. See how that goes … I don't think it went very well but I just did see how it goes.

I'm gonna pick once that I actually really like. My WisdomTree novella covers I really like for a number of reasons. I like the cover art - it's simple but because they're not big books it needs to be simple. They can't carry too many concepts on the cover. So the artwork is by Virginia Kraljevic who's a New Yorker - it’s series of works. The book design is by Sandy Cole. I like the way each of the pieces of artwork kind of connect with the material in the book in a, in a understated way and the covers all sort of line up very nicely next to each other so that they actually fit as a series. So, I like the individual bit to that work but I love the design and I love the way the series works there.

How do you know when a book is finished?

it's an interesting question, isn’t it. How do you know when your book’s finished?

I've had this conversation with quite a few writers and particularly emerging writers who find themselves unable to stop tinkering with what they've got, and probably the key piece of advice I give to them is that there's a difference between continuing to make your book better and just making changes that make you a book different.

And if there are lots of little differences but they're not improving the book, you've probably reached the point where you've done all you can and the book probably needs a new set of eyes.

For me in practice I go through a lot of planning beforehand. I write my first draft into a detailed outline that's typically a quarter of the length of the whole thing and so I've got it all mapped out so I know how my first draft is going to go. I can diverge from that if I need to and if new ideas come up, but I don't need to find them as I'm going. So I stick with that plan and I get to the end of the first draft then I put it away for a while, then I go back to it and when I go back to it to write another draft, my objective isn't just how am I going to make this better. It's … I read through it thinking what do I need to attend to in the next draft and I look at the journey of the central character, the way I've told the story, how I've revealed things.

I ask some specific questions like that and through that, that kind of sets up the business for the next edit, and then I'll look through the manuscript that I've got and I'll work out where I'm going to do that in the draft and I'll go back in and do it. So I try to make it a kind of finite process and then maybe I'll put it aside again and have another look at it a few weeks later and think “is there still more business to do”? Are there things that I've overdone or underdone? Are there things that aren't quite hitting the mark? And then I'll go in again with the specific purpose of trying to hit those marks, and seeing what I can do, but I try to avoid the temptation to just keep going back in and moving the commas around.

And I reach a point where I think this needs eyes on other than mine, this needs expert objective input from an editor, from an agent, from someone like that, and then I'll send it off to them.

And then they'll send me back in and there'll be another draft and then they'll send me back in after that to fiddle with lots of little bits. So as far as I'm concerned when I get to that point, I'm not tinkering endlessly with the manuscript. I just need to finish it. I need to get it done and I need them to have enough mercy to let me stop, because we've tinkered with enough commas enough.

So, so for me I try to have a process that lets me take some kind of control over the editing, but then an editor comes in and sends me back in as much as I can possibly bear, and then at some point we both agree that the journey is done and we need to set it off to be typeset.

Have you ever self-published any of your work?

The official answer to this question is “no” but that answer is a lie because in the mid-1980s I might have self-published some very developmental poetry that mostly reflected the crushes I had on people round about that time.

But let's pretend that never happened and let's erase the last 30 seconds from our memories and go with me not having done that with that book, and it's not that I've got anything against self-publishing. I think the self publisher takes on a significant workload by taking on several different parts of the book production and distribution process, but there's a high return there for you if you do that.

So I've met people who've self-published very successfully but they mostly self-published very successfully because they've been targeting particular niche markets they can actually target better than publishers can target. So if your market is thousands or tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people that you've got better access to that a publisher, then self-publishing can be a really good way to go.

I prefer to - so I tend to work with publishers who will let me focus on the thing that I am most excited about doing which is the writing - and the other bit that I'm slightly excited about doing which is traveling around talking about myself when the book comes out at their expense - which is not bad at all - but I find I'm not a designer. I think I need design left to experts. I'm not a distributor and I'm happy to leave the retail part of it to other people who I think bring more to that than I do and for that I of course get a smaller percentage of the sales that I would if I was self-publishing.

So I think self publishing works very well for people who have got great access to the markets for their books. Self-publishing also is of course a different game now that we've got create space and other ways of developing printed - quality printed works - at economical rates. I think that's very exciting, and of course eBooks.

It costs very little to self publish an eBook. The challenge with that, with eBooks, is that the Kindle Store has well over five million titles and how do people discover you there? That's one of the things - is it's a very easy place to get lost. So it's never been easier to publish, never been easier to self publish, but possibly also never been easier to get lost in the massive infinite Bazaar that is the Kindle Store in the world of digital publishing.

So, but I think it's a very rewarding thing for some people and you can create very attractive books self-publishing and if you've got access to your books’ primary market, then I think it can be a great way to go.

But as I’ve said, my official answer is that I haven't done it, but just between you and me maybe I tried it once and maybe I ended up with a lot of boxes of bad poetry under my house.

As a self-published author of two volumes of flash fiction, do you have any suggestions for me on how to market yourself?

Well flash fiction is very interesting area to work in and I've got a book here Captives by Angela Meier, that's a small book of flash fiction and very nicely done on the inside as well and the occasional illustration. Nice and comfortable to read but the book that fits in a pocket.

so when it comes to marketing something like that, one of the things to consider - I don't know how big your volumes of flash fiction are - just thinking of the person who asked the question, but doing something this size can fit on a bookstore counter top and can, if you can manage to sell it for $10 or less, maybe you've got opportunities to move your product in a way that novels don't move.

As a kind of interesting small compact edition with a lot of interesting experiences in it. There's about a hundred pieces in there.

Flash fiction also gives you opportunities. You are likely to be able to turn out more individual pieces over the course of a year than someone who's writing something novel sized, so therefore you get to, you get more entries in competitions, more chances to approach publishers who work in this particular area. So I think there are those advantages there as you get to build up your CV faster potentially, because you're entering more things and then you want to connect with communities online.

I think you take an interest in that kind of work and, and see if they can take an interest in your work. Also if you're writing flash fiction, it's a thing you can give away. You can sometimes post - if you're promoting a book of yours - you can actually post an entire story as a Facebook post to get people's attention. Also, you can record it as a kind of audio sound bite. Some flash fiction might take 30 seconds, might take a minute, and that is really transportable. So I think use the strengths of the genre that's the area that you work in, to promote the work that way.

As far as how I market my work, if I'm working with a major publisher, I kind of have to fit with their machine and the way that machine works, though I will of course make suggestions.

I had more room to move when I was promoting my WisdomTree series because I was working with a micro publisher on the print books and the eBooks in Australia, a different micro publisher on the eBooks internationally and with Audible on the audiobooks. And they all agreed to work together so what we tried to do is make a virtue of the product we have and I think that's what you're always got to do, is look at the products you’ve got and think what opportunities does this give me?

And in the case of those novellas, I said to Audible let's cast it like an Australian TV drama series so we had Rhys Muldoon doing one guide and Grant Lee, William McInnes, people like that, and then I said could we have a about 30-45 second sound bite that I will select that each time one of them comes out, when a new novella comes out, as a paper book, eBook and audiobook, I want to release this soundbite with this actor reading from it as something people can listen to and can share on social media.

So I think things like that, looking at innovative ways of doing it, and there are probably far more innovative ways than that, but looking at what your particular product offers and in terms of particular ways of getting the word out there, and getting the word spread around, because the thing is we are all competing not just with thousands and thousands of other authors and millions of other books in the world, we're competing with a whole lot of other entertainment options these days.

So anything you can do that, that, you can where you can take something from your product and have people spread it around for you put you in a much better position.

What moment defined you as an author?

It's a really interesting question and I should perhaps have reflected more on my own trajectory and have a clear answer to that in my own head.

I guess I think there are different things that felt sort of defining for me. Maybe the first one was the Sunday Mail limerick competition in 1975 when I won $5 for a limerick and $5 for five lines? That was just, that said to me “what kind of a job is this if you get that sort of awesome money” so that stuck with me.

I think the first time I heard something from a reader who was not someone I knew, someone had any connection with. That made me realise that my books - this was a long time after the Sunday Mail limerick - this was probably around the time of After January and Zigzag Street in 1996. My books were out in the world but this actually told me my books were out in the world. I started getting letters from people because this was in the days of letters and those letters I've still got those letters. I don't get letters in on paper anymore so they're they're very special to me, but to see books connecting with readers here and in other countries told me that I'd got something right for someone at least and that made me start to feel like a writer.

But I still had an element of imposter syndrome as writers often do. You’re there thinking is this thing I'm writing amazing or is it just awful and what's going to happen if it ever gets published, and then it gets published and people like it and at some level you're thinking I've got away with it rather than “yes, I can do this”. And I think it wasn't until round about my seventh book was published I was Perfect Skin in the year 2000 - that I actually came to accept that I've been through the cycle enough times now, and enough people had read my books, that maybe this was a thing that I could do to satisfy at least some people and that I could do as some kind of job.

And I had to accept that maybe I wasn't an impostor and maybe this was going to work for me, and I think the moment that I had that realization was just before my novel Perfect Skin came out and it's got a bright yellow cover.

And I went to the Somerset Celebration of Literature on the Gold Coast and this was just before it came out and they got advance copies of it and as I went into the quadrangle there with the bookstore on the other side, I looked across to the bookstore and what I saw is this huge phalanx of yellow books, this huge array of books of mine with my cover there and I thought “look at that, they really don't have that unless they think they're going to sell it.”

I thought maybe this is what I'm getting to do now, maybe this is my job, and that was a very exciting moment and, and I've loved the fact that this has got to be my job ever since.

Whether the books are selling or selling significant numbers or more moderate numbers, it's a real privilege to get to do this as a job, and to keep exploring each new story and keep trying to solve the puzzle that each new story presents as.

So I'm hoping I'm going to get to keep doing it and thank you for for your questions. They've been great questions. They've really made me think and it's been exciting to get to include this and include this interaction with you as part of my COVID-19 time at home, and I hope your time at home is going well.

Stay well, look after the people around you and thank you for listening, and thank you very much to James and the team at the Moreton Bay Regional Council Libraries for coming up with this great idea.


Tony Wilson

Welcome to Yes, you can ask that with Tony Wilson, brought to you by Moreton Bay Region Libraries.

We sat down with Tony to ask a few questions.

Question one: You have written books for adults and children, which are harder to write for?

Hi, it's Tony. First question! Is it easier to write for children or adults? Well it's different in some respects. The most notable is that the length of the work for children is usually different than the length of the work for adults. So for example my first novel for adults was Players and it's 102,000 words long and my second novel Making News was 102,000 and uh this one here uh 1989 the great grand final I think is 65,000 words long, so there's just a length to an adult book that is sometimes daunting.

But the principles behind storytelling actually don't differ that much between the two forms, so even though my children's books Hickory dickory dash that'd be 450 words and I think The Emperor's New Clothes Horse is probably about 600 words, and so there's maybe a perception that it's easier to write for children because you can just kind of get the words down quicker, and in fact if I'm trying to write a book for adults, I'll sometimes aim to write about a thousand words per day so that's effectively the length of a children's book times two per day.

And yet there are difficulties associated with the kids’ art form that I think are underestimated. In fact it's a common joke for us kids’ book authors that everyone thinks they can write a kid's book, so in fact we have a drinks group - a Facebook group - where um where kids’ authors catch up and the name of the group is “Because writing children's books is easy”. So you could say there's a little chip on the shoulder that goes with being a kid's author because we're forever being swamped by friends and colleagues and even just members of the general public who say “Oh I'll send you my brilliant work of art. It's coming your way shortly.”

Because because the children's book is so easy and and I guess everyone thinks they've got a talking fox or a um or a hilarious camel that's going to take the word world by storm. And so we're forever fending off manuscripts from people who think that they're going to be the next Dr Seuss or or the next um great giant of of children's literature.

Um and and yet the principles of writing, the story principles of, you know, an initiating incident um uh tension, uh something a problem for the character to solve, uh trajectory story trajectory, um a climax, a conclusion, all those things that are important in adult literature. They're actually just as important in in children's literature and sometimes when you're trying to pack it down to 500 or 600 words it actually almost becomes more important to have those essential ingredients delivered really economically and really effectively, and so even though they're short they have to pack a real punch.

And so whilst I'd say that for me writing adults books is more difficult and more challenging because just of the sheer discipline required of of producing so many words over such a long period of time, um I found that to be more difficult and in some respects I've been blessed with kids’ writing in the sense that I feel rhyme and rhythm comes easily to me, so I don't have to sweat in the same to the same extent that maybe some people do when it comes to finding rhyming words and rhythms.

Um maybe it's to do with my obsession with various books as a kid, especially Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes which I read over and over and learned to recite. I was also really into memorizing songs and I think there's a there's a correlation between the beats and the rhymes in in songs as uh as there is in in pieces of um rhyming picture books.

So to some extent I don't feel like I have to sweat too hard writing a kid's book rhyme. I have to sweat harder on the idea so the most daunting and most difficult part of writing a picture book or a kid's book is to find an idea that will resonate with the audience.

And so, you know, if I could if if I can write a thousand words a day for adults, effectively I should be able to write two kids books a day right, if I'm doing the the picture books of 500 word length and yet it's kind of like a bolt when you get hit with the idea that's going to work, so you know Emo the Emu, I remember where I was when I thought you know a grumpy emu going on a tour around Australia with with with Katie the kangaroo, that'll work you know. And I write it down and and so the ideas are rare, so you can't just punch out a picture book or a kid's book every week um and so they're really precious when you when you find one.

The same way as when you get an idea for a long form adult book as well. It's a really precious thing and you know that's really the hardest part of being an author on both sides. How do we get that good idea? So to sum up I'd say the discipline and length of an adult book I find the most challenging part of writing, but there is an underrated element to how difficult writing a picture book is.

Question two: What was the process and how did it feel to have two books selected for National Simultaneous Storytime?

I think the biggest thrill of my picture book writing life has been being picked as the National Simultaneous Storytime title, and that happened in 2016.

I got the call that this one The cow tripped over the moon was going to be the title for that year and that one's illustrated by Laura Wood and and it's just an immediate boon for your title.

So the fact that I mean that year it was 686,000 kids sit down at the same time and read my book or our book - Laura and my book. It's just amazing and and there's a real um sense of occasion about it, you know, I was getting videos where the chief scientist in Canberra is reading the book and Lee Lin Chin's got a full room of kids in front of her - the SBS news reader - and I probably got 50 or 100 photos from around Australia of people just reading my book and acting out my book.

There were little plays put on by teachers and craft projects. I received these pictures of how people had decked out their library with just full of cows and moons and moon jumps and dishes and spoons and and laughing dogs. It was just a great time to be an author, you know, because a lot of being an author is being locked away or at least shut away in a room uh trying to produce something and trying to do your words, and and so the fun parts I guess, for someone like me who does actually like being around people, um to get out there and and read to kids and see kids enjoying the stories.

And so The cow tripped over the moon was the first thrill and actually one of the really great parts of it was um the the reader of The cow tripped over the moon on Storybox Library for National Simultaneous Storytime was Eddie Perfect, the Broadway writer and and actor and star, and you know he just did a fantastic job with it.

And so you know and actually The cow tripped over the moon then got turned into a show itself. It became a show called “Yo diddle diddle” at the um put on by a company called the Patch Theatre Company in in Adelaide.

So all these good things happened to The cow tripped over the moon and I think a lot of them started with it being picked as the National Simultaneous Storytime book for 2017 which is when when the event occurred.

And a few months later I mean I was speaking to um the woman - Sharon - who was the liaison at Scholastic, who'd been very much the organizer of things at our end, about how great it had been and, you know, we had sales of “Cow” and um and I said “I don't suppose you want my next one? You can have that too you know” and and she said, “Well it just worked really well, and you boosted the numbers. We went up from 300,000 um participants in 2016 to over 600,000 in 2017”, and she said “Look ALIA are really happy with you, why don't you submit your next title?” and so I did! I sent in Hickory dickory dash and even before it was um picked as uh even before it had been published, Hickory dickory dash, I got the call from Sharon saying they're going to do it. ALIA are going to do it, and um you're the 2018 title as well, and that was this one, and I think what had happened was that ALIA had decided to make National Simultaneous Storytime uh a trans-Tasman event in 2018, so for the first time New Zealand were involved. And so uh in order to in order to try to make it as successful and as big as possible um, they'd seen that the numbers had doubled in 2017, and that this sort of rhyming familiarity of my nursery story, backstories, kind of worked, my nursery rhyme backstories. And so they set me to they gave me the gig again! Which is ridiculous. I sometimes think a little unfair because it is such a boost to an author and I can understand if there were there's a bit of professional jealousy out there and a sense that maybe I was being favored for a good performance in 2017.

But what they said to me was that they were after a one million target. They wanted to get the readership over one million, one million registered participants in National Simultaneous Storytime, and and in 2018 they did that.

They got to 1.0, we got to 1.08 million for Hickory dickory dash and and so I had, I had um yeah I just had an extraordinary amount of luck with that, um and it's been the biggest boost to my writing career.

I did, I was cheeky enough to say that there's a third one Baa baa blue sheep, how about it? But I think even I'm pleased to say that they moved on to other authors. You know we've got, they had the alpacas a couple of years ago, and the chicken divas this year, and they've been terrific choices, so um absolutely thrilled that I had my go and, you know, it is just a fantastic day on the, on the children's book calendar.

Question three: What is your favourite children's book?

What's my favourite children's book? Well that's a daunting question. A difficult question for any author to answer, and probably for any reader to answer, because there are so many great ones. But the one that immediately came to mind and the one that Ioften answer is one from the late’ 80s called The 27th annual African hippopotamus race and I think it's written by an Australian author. And it's a fantastic story of hippos racing down the Zambulla river, a fictional river in Africa, and, because I was a sport fan as a kid, I remember being just consumed by the idea of this hippo swimming race with all the training and the rivalries and the cheating and the family supporting the hero hippo, um, Edward in his battles against the dastardly Sebastian hippo. And so The 27th annual African hippopotamus race is one that I think I'd name.

But there've also been probably more influential books for me. I was a prolific reader as a kid and my and my parents were very good at reading to me. The ones that immediately come to mind that I feel have to be mentioned even if they don't get first place … uh When the wind changed by Ruth Park is a story about a boy who can pull faces and when he pulls the face the wind changes, and there's an old saying that if you pull a face and the wind changed um your face will stay in the in, in the position. And so the boy pulls that face and it's gets stuck like that, and he and he's terrifying everybody. I love that story. I often say that stories begin with a” what if” and that's just a fantastic “what if “really. A really funny and original story.

Um other ones a bit older than that one, for older kids, by that I mean and also older in ages, this one called Mrs Frisby and the rats of Nimh by Robert C O'Brien. That world of and it's a very um mysterious and interesting world where where rats and mice have been, have been experimented upon by humans and it changes their intelligence and their abilities. And I just I just really loved this story. It was read to me by my parents when I was about 12 and I remember thinking it was just an outstanding and captivating world.

This one I often answer. We all love Roald Dahl and of the Roald Dahl's i love this one Danny the champion of the world the most. Because even though Roald Dahl is incredibly good at his kind of fantasy concepts, Charlie and the chocolate factory, which you know has something of a real world delivery but it's still a there's there's a fantasy element in the sense that you know that the oompa loompas aren't real and that and that the possibilities of the of the chocolate factory aren't real.

But what I love about this one Danny the champion of the world is that you are immersed in a story where it actually feels real, it's a father-son relationship set at a petrol station and um and yes, they go on an adventure that is just weird like, how do you even come up with this concept of pheasant poaching at the heart of a novel.

And pheasant poaching, for those who haven't read it, I mean that's really stealing pheasants. and so almost no one would come up with stealing as the central premise for a children's book. And yet Roald Dahl has the courage to come up with a you know, I guess you at the very best you can say it's cheeky and um and uh and tricky and late night and adventurous, but you know, there is an element that the the birds aren't the Dad’s to take, and yet we come out of this book absolutely barracking for Danny and his Dad on their pheasant poaching expedition.

And so just for the sheer skill of that, of making an anti-hero into a hero, I just always thought this was um my favorite Roald Dahl, and I one day want to try to write a book that has the same sort of warmth and heart that exists in the father-son relationship in Danny the champion of the world.

And to finish with, I just wanted to read you my favorite ever page from a rhyming picture book, and there is no better rhymer in world literature than than Lynley Dodd or maybe I'm being a little bit hard on Julia Donaldson. She is a superb rhymer, but uh this this page from Slinky Malinki is the greatest ever rhyming page in children's literature.

So here we go.

Crash went the bottles, beep beep went the clock, raw raw raw raw went the dogs on the block, on went the lights, bang went the door, and out came the family one two three four.

That's the page. That's the one I love. And they're the books I love. You can see there's more than one, so many authors end up cheating that question and I'm just like everyone else.

Question four: Many of your picture books have been based on nursery rhymes. Have you decided on a rhyme on which to base your next book?

Have I decided on another nursery rhyme because it's true. Quite a few of my books have been nursery rhyme backstories and indeed, um some of the earlier ones before I started doing the kind of Mother Goose nursery rhymes like um Hickory dickory dash and The cow tripped over the moon and Baa baa blue sheep which was the third one in that series, I did a couple of um alternative versions - modern retakes - on Hans Christian Andersen. So I did The princess and the packet of frozen peas and I did The emperor's new clothes horse. So you can sort of see I have, do have fun with the traditional stories when it comes to making picture books.

But the next one in that series of nursery rhyme backstories um to follow up Baa baa blue sheep is called Humpty Dumpty sat on the slide and it's coming out in July, so it's only a month away now.

And uh it's a backstory obviously to Humpty Dumpty and uh it's illustrated again by Laura Woods so it'll have a similar look to the other ones, except a lovely kind of reddish ochre-ish cover. And the idea of this one is that Humpty is not - it started off as a bullying story. It started off where Humpty was um you know Humpty Dumpty sat on the slide, Humpty Dumpty was rather wide, all the king's horses and all the king's men, all the king’s llamas and half of their friends, everyone laughed at the egg on the slide and lumped and Humpty laughed too whilst crying inside. Or something like that is how it started.

It's now different to that, um but the idea was in each scenario that um Humpty Dumpty … Humpty Dumpty ready to race, Humpty Dumpty fell on his face. You know so then he's starting in a running race. So in each occasion Humpty, something kind of goes wrong with um for Humpty, and then people laugh at him and point and make fun of Humpty. And it's difficult. He feels like he's being teased. And so it had a reasonably, quite a dark and serious heart I guess because bullying was the theme of Humpty Dumpty sat on the slide and one of the jobs the editors and I have gone through is to try to pull that back so it's not so dark and not so serious, because the um under fives. If it was being aimed at a sort of a six, seven, eight, nine, ten age group, then you can go quite um you know melancholic almost, or you know, really make the point serious. Because those kids are appreciating and being talked to about bullying a lot, whereas you just didn't want to make it too hard on or too sad on on Humpty even if it was if he was going to be redeemed at the end.

And in fact the last line of the book is um, you know, Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and you might think oh hang on that sounds like suicide, um but actually what it is is uh he's jumping off the wall of a of a jumping castle. Uh then all of the king’s, all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't tear Humpty away from his friend. Because he's found a friend and they jump off the wall of the jumping castle together. So it's a, it's a positive resolution um and and it's quite a happy book now, um.

The negative experiences for Humpty have been watered down um and the, and the assistance and the and the redemption from the friend works as a real positive blast. So I think it's a good part, it belongs in the series, it's beautifully illustrated again by Laura and now I can't wait to see it. I haven't got my, haven't got my copy yet but uh Humpty Dumpty sat on the slide uh me and Laura Wood, in July.

Question five: What do you like most about speaking to school groups?

I do speak at a lot of schools, not so much in the COVID era and in fact, one reason life is pretty tricky for authors at the moment is that we've lost that alternative source of income. So I visit schools a lot and do it through a speaking agency called Booked Out. Um and especially around Book Week I go every day, sometimes to two schools a day, for for the two weeks or three weeks around Book Week.

So uh school visits are fun and interesting and social and different part of being an author.

One of the activities - I always try to make the stories interactive - so I talk a little bit about how they come to be and, and then you know like if I read a story, we try and do a dramatic element to it. So for example The cow tripped over the moon. I always get the kids to look up at the moon and say “moo” like a cow would if they saw a moon and then, you know, target it and make an attempt to jump. We all get up on our feet and especially with the little kids you know, the preps and grade ones, have an attempt at jumping over the moon which can be a lot of fun um, and you know for Hickory dickory dash I've got mouse ears and the little ones dress up as mice and cats and run around a fictional house.

And and so school visits are that sort of opportunity to get out and explore the performance art side of things, um. And you know I think it's been a it's been a yeah I've got a lot of sympathy for teachers with their ability to control large numbers of people um and and certainly, after this home-school period I do as well, but school visits are you know just a great part of being an author. To be able to connect with kids, for them to come up and say “I've read and enjoyed your book” um and you know, you sometimes just get treated like a bit of a rock star too.

Kids have got no sense of proportion when it comes to celebrity, so you know, I might have uh might have released a book that sold 12,000 copies or whatever and and uh not exactly a household name when I stride down the streets of my home suburb, but when I enter Clifton Hill Primary School it's almost like you're being shared through the places the emperor uh you know, pieces of paper being thrust in your direction and they always call you by your full name as well. They don't call me Tony or Mr Wilson.

Tony Wilson Tony Wilson Tony Wilson have you written this book? Tony Wilson I read your book The Sellwood boys.

So and I, Tony Wilson really uh gets a bit of an ego boost from that and so um, let's just say that um I'm going to continue to visit schools for the foreseeable future.

Question six: When did you feel like you had made it as an author?

When did I feel as though I'd made it as an author? Well it's a tricky one. I mean there are, in your darker moments you kind of feel like you've never made it, um because uh it's that sort of thing of, you know, you could always do more or something could go better and, a lot of artistic personalities are slightly depressive and, maybe I'm in that basket as well.

But certainly I had a lot of wins quite early, really if i reflect on things in a, in a in a positive light. I could not have been more fortunate really with how my early writing career went. Um I had this book Players which was a sporting satire. It was set in the worlds of commercial media and the footy show. Um it was actually, I’d played footy, I’d been a reserves grade footballer at Hawthorne, and so I kind of knew that world and they often say, write your first novel about the thing you know about.

And so, so I knew about footy and this was really well received, so you know I remember in the weeks and months after it being released in 2005, I went to the Sydney Writers Festival. We sort of had three or four hundred people at the session, um and four of us sitting across it and one of the people in my session was Marcus Zuzak, and he would, he’d just released his book as well. And that was The book thief which some of the adult listeners to this video will know. The book thief was on Oprah's Book Club and I think it's now sold 20 million copies worldwide or something, um. I just read Marcus's latest book, actually um the - is it called The book of, The bridge of … size, no not the bridge of size, the bridge of somethings, um which I've very much enjoyed. I should be able to remember the title better. Sorry Marcus.

Um but uh it was so but just that idea of sitting at the Sydney Writers Festival and having all those hundreds of people there and book signings and interviews on television and interviews on radio and going on the conversation hour. I would say that that that kind of, was the wow I'm an author, I really did it, I got a book out and you get that little um, bit of a thrill every time.

Well I think I've had 20 books now. Every time the book comes for the first time and the publishers know this, and and Scholastic actually wrap up the book for me in a colourful paper and things, and make it into a little bit of a present.

But when you open a book for the first time you're always reinvigorated by that feeling of “oh I created something, I did something that's beyond myself that will sit in libraries and schools and, and hopefully be enjoyed by readers” and you know, and you kind of get that that that uh well that's really the almost the biggest thrill of being an author.

And feeling like you're an author is when you hold the book and then holding the book for the first time is, is the most special time. So I would say uh every time I receive a new book and those early days with Players when I was at the Sydney Writers Festival and other such exciting events, uh with a special mention.

I will mention that um I when i got a book translated, that also made me feel like a real author. Felt like “oh I'm really outside of myself here, it's not just me and my family”. So that was my first picture book was Grannysaurus rex and this one Bedstosaurus rex, that must be how you say Grannysaurus rex in Danish. So let me put that on the list of when I felt like a real author as well, when I got translated. I think that was 2005 or 2006.

Question seven: What was your least favourite thing on Race around the World?

So I did this show called Race around the world in 1998 which is so long ago, 22 years ago.

And the idea of the show was that 10 - and I say kids because we really were kids - kids between 20 and 30, were sent off around the world with a camera. A little mini handycam. And we had to make a four-minute documentary in 10 countries around the world, so you'd get 10 days in each country.

It was a 100-day trip and at the end of the 10 days we'd send back our videotapes because it was pre fast internet. The internet was in its early years and we'd send these tapes back in a DHL bag with an edit script, often a 40 or 50 page script that documented every shot we'd taken, every word of every interview and we'd send it back with time codes saying, you know, cut tape one from here to here and then you add in some montage from these overlay parts of the tape and, and editors at the ABC would construct the story.

And so in in that kind of detailed explanation I would say that the hardest part of Race around the world was the sheer god-awful hard work of it. So um even though it looked fun and it was fun, so it was absolutely spectacular and I'll never do anything like it, that kind of pressure and a million people watching on a Monday night and, and being propelled from a reasonably unhappy lawyer into being a really happy writer and creator and media person.

So life became just so much better because of that show, but the actual act of finding the story, you know, and Iended up approaching it with a real discipline you know.

I've got to find a story in three days. I've got to shoot the story in the next three or four days and then I've got to edit the story in three days. And keep in mind sometimes you'd be getting all your interviews in Chinese and you couldn't speak the word of Chinese, and so you know I'd have to find a backpacker that was bilingual to sit there listening to my audio tapes in the, in my videotapes in the, hotel room telling me what they said at each second of the time code.

And so, you know, just that level of discipline um, of grind, of commitment to getting a good story and product at the end, you know, that was that's what I would say was the most difficult part of Race around the world.

If I had to say what was um it's almost like I'd prefer to say, what was the best. I still remember walking at night with 40 cows into the Golan Heights on the border between Israel and Lebanon, and hearing sort of the faint rattle of machine guns, um which was terrifying, but it was that sort of like “wow, I'm in the world, I'm in the Middle East, I'm walking with a shepherd, with a cow herder with 40 cows through a war zone”.

I kind of think that I'll never forget that night, you know. And so so that yeah, there were extremes of emotion out there. I think I cried every 10 days.

Question 10: What was the thing you love most about playing footy?

I loved footy. I played it for 20 odd years, from the age of about 10 to the age of 32. And the thing I loved best about it was that there was a winning and losing element in the moment, which is hard to explain unless you've played it.

But it wasn't just that there was a a game that you're involved in that had a result at the end of it. One thing I really loved and I found exhilarating about footy was that when the ball's in the air and it's coming your way, that there's a kind of immediacy and a pressure that um that goes with the contest and and that you will very obviously be able to say, usually, who won the contest and who didn't win the contest. Um and so i used to find that um thrilling and, and quite addictive, and, and um it kind of even came from playing kick to kick in the yard, you know, where you just really wanted to win the ball each time.

Um so that feeling is one that i've never really gotten in other aspects of life because life really isn't about micro moments where you win and lose. Even though they may exist, um if you're out there seeking them out, you know, I think you'd be a reasonably unpleasant person to be around. So uh the the contest, the thrill of the contest I would say was the the best, and the, the most addictive part of footy.

Um the things that I also enjoyed were the team elements, and as I went further and further through footy, you know I got to Hawthorne for four years and i felt there was a real democratic element to footy.

So I'd come from a private school and I'd gone and done law at Melbourne Uni and a lot of things had fallen my way I guess in a socio-economic sense, and then I got to Hawthorne and a lot of people, a lot of things had fallen that my teammate's way there in the sense that they were at Hawthorne. They were talented footballers. But I suddenly saw that um that there were people from much different walks of life and different backgrounds and but, but that when we were all teammates, and we were all together then, then we were kind of bound together. It didn't really matter about those differences in terms of education and background and, and that you weren't really judged on anything much else other than your ability to belong in a group and, and uh to be the sort of person that people got along with and also to play really good footy.

So um that part of footy, again, was a part that I really enjoyed. Um and then there was the physical fitness. I was fit then. I was strong then. I miss that now, um and there was the, you know, the setting of goals and the, you know, at the end of the year not just the winning in the contest, there was the sense of how you went over a season. Um and and you live outside of yourself a little because it's a team. So all those elements combined to make footy one of the real passions in my life and I still really enjoy watching it, and my daughter plays football, soccer, and I love going to watch her play as well. My son's not so keen on sport and my other son has cerebral palsy, he's very keen on footy, but we mainly enjoy that as spectators and as home commentators um, which Jack and I indulge in a fair bit. And then my little girl, I'm not really sure, she's five at the moment, she's not showing a desperate love of sport but I think she'll, we’ll try her out with soccer probably. I think she wants, she told me this year that she wants to try soccer, and I'd really encourage that.

Um in terms of the, I've written a lot about sport and a lot about footy and a lot of the things, you know, the I think there's a real romance in sport and I also think there's a, that it has a such a significant role in society. Um and, and sometimes I think frustrates the artsy people that sport gets such a run, you know because people are obsessed with it. And sometimes they're not the artsy people that they're, it's divided. I think that's really unfortunate because you know, I'm interested in the art of sport um but you know, I think that, that if you, just as it's incumbent upon fans of sport to try to learn about arts and you know, you should listen to music and you should read books and you should um absorb theatre, and and try to understand you know, dance and opera and all sorts of art forms that you know, that we all should be learning about and enjoying.

Um and yeah, yeah I sometimes feel as though the arts people are so put off by the mainstream popularity of footy that they um, that they really get their backs up about it. That's certainly the case with my wife. I wouldn't tell it. This is a secret video, she'll never watch this.

Um yeah so give sport a go, give footy a go, uh the I'm not … on the downside of footy, there's the blokiness I reckon, although it's good to see that women's footy has taken huge strides and it's made a massive difference at a community level, because I reckon um the clubs are now males and females in the same environment, it'll, it'll really um dampen the excesses of blokey footy culture as they come through.

So we're hopefully learning a better way with footy, but in the on the other downside I would say is the physical, the body, you know I can't run. I can't really walk without pain. I'm getting my ankle fused because it's arthritic at 47 and so they can't get rid of the pain in it. So you know it does take a toll. It did take a toll, so um but footy.

What did I love about it? I loved most things about it, was great. One of the best things, um well yeah, one of the best things that's happened in my life.

That's actually it. That's my 10 questions. So you could ask me that. I've actually enjoyed sitting here in a corner of peace at my house, where the other five people are presumably at the door screaming, ready to make me do something in about five seconds time. But this, um but this little rest has been uh fantastic, and I've really enjoyed talking to you.

So thank you Moreton Bay Libraries and um all the best, and uh yeah I've watched the other uh, other people in this series and you know, some of my favourite authors, so yeah I'm really, it's a thrill to be included and I hope you've liked my answers.

Thank you for joining us for Yes, you can ask that with Tony Wilson, brought to you by Moreton Bay Region Libraries.


Rethinking video games - Dr Jacqueline Burgess

My name is Dr Jacqueline Burgess and I'm based in the Business School at USC where I teach marketing and research the marketing of narratives and stories, including video game narratives and today I want to explore video games, video game players and the business of video game stories.

Now, if I say video game players, then the image you probably bought to mind is one of teenage boys. Maybe you even imagined darkened rooms and glazed zombie-like faces bathed in blue light from screens. And it wouldn't be an entirely unfair image to conjure up, because the video game industry itself believes its target market are male players.

But what if I said that 47 per cent of video game players are female? That's the case in Australia, according to research conducted by Queensland's own Bond University and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association which represents the Australian and New Zealand video game industry.

The figures for the gender of video game players are pretty similar in America as well, and the average age of video game players in Australia and America? Mid 30s and actually most video game players - the average video game player in Australia - they've been playing video games for 12 years.

Many video game players now have their own children playing games. Two-thirds of Australians play video games and actually 42 per cent of people aged 65 and over play video games. Even the Queen was taught to play a Nintendo console game by William and Catherine, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in her 80s, during a Christmas at Sandringham. By accounts she was a natural and wouldn't that be something to see! Be great to be a fly on the wall there.

Video game audiences, they've been changing and developing over time, for a long time, and those changes have helped make video games an immensely immeasurably almost profitable industry but when we do measure it? Well in 2019 the global video game industry generated $US152.1 billion and this made it larger than any one of the global film, music or television industries.

And Australia? We contributed just over $AUD4 billion to that total.

Video games, they're big business, but that means that creating a video game can also cost tens of millions of dollars. So video game companies, they need basically a lot of the same skills that any other business or company needs to be successful.

Video game companies, they need accountants to count those dollars coming in, they need marketers, advertisers, social media and public relations professionals to communicate with the public and their target market.

They need programmers, bug fixers and asset designers in the same way that other companies need them to build apps, sophisticated websites and enhanced training modules. And then of course video game businesses need those specific skills - people who understand video game mechanics, script writers and voice actors and all of those skills can actually be learnt in degrees offered by USC.

So video games, they're big business, and the reason why they are - the reason, why they make the money that they do - is because they appeal to a wide range of consumers and offer them a lot of different benefits.

The top five reasons why Australian video game players play? That's to have fun, de-stress, pass the time, keep their mind active and be challenged and isn't that a lot of things that we all really want to do?

Video games also build critical thinking and problem solving skills because players have to figure out how to solve problems and defeat enemies to keep progressing in a game. They need to evaluate the outcomes of actions and then build strategies based on those outcomes: What worked, what didn't, what should have worked but just wasn't executed properly.

Video games can also build general knowledge of topics ranging from geography to history even and they also bring people together because many games include social interactions, either within the game through chat options or online as people discuss their favourite games and how and why they did what they did within the game.

All video game consoles have functions built in that help players connect and share their game play. Players post screen capture or videos online showing the really cool things they found or did in the game.

And of course, video games offer engaging moving and profound stories that connect with their audience and stay with them long after play finishes, the same way a really engaging moving movie stays with us long after we've left the cinema, or a novel stays with us long after we've shut the book.

In fact stories are one of the biggest reasons a video game player will select a video game. And video games are only able to offer these incredible stories because technology - that is the hardware and the software used to make the games - has rapidly advanced and improved over the last few decades.

For example, video games, they really started with Pong and Space Invaders in the 1970s and these were fairly simple games based on players’ reflexes. They didn't really feature much story at all, but if you scratch the surface and go a little deeper, Pong still has a lot of the hallmarks of video games today because it encouraged social connections.

It needed two players to play and that made it a lot of fun. People met husbands and wives playing Pong and a lot of happy childhood memories were created that centre around that game.

But jumping ahead then to the 1980s and the 1990s, that was when video games really started breaking technological barriers. Mario and all of the other Nintendo characters such as Link, Zelda, Peach, Kirby, Yoshi and Luigi appeared on the scene and video games started telling stories that involved these characters, characters that people became attached to and wanted to play with and learn more about. And that's the secret behind how Nintendo went from just selling trading cards to a video game juggernaut - telling stories with likable characters that people became attached to.

The graphics also took a huge leap forward and kept doing so until we reached the modern day. Now the graphics of advanced video game consoles are able to display hyper realism images meaning they're close to photo quality and they can tell sprawling and emotionally engaging and immersive stories.

Video games, they also require player input and it's this interactivity that's their defining feature.

When players have to take part in the story to hear and understand it, the story becomes much more powerful. For example in the Assassin's Creed series - and this consists of 12 main games - it introduces players to various historical time periods and the people and places within them and from them. Players have been able to explore Renaissance Italy and Renaissance Turkey, Victorian London, ancient Egypt and ancient Greece, just to name a few locations and time periods.

The games recreate towns and landmarks with astonishing detail and players have booked real-life trips to see these landmarks with their own eyes as a result of playing the game.

Players have even been able to navigate around those towns as a result of the knowledge from playing the game. Players also get to meet famous historical figures before and even during their great achievements.

For example, in Assassin's Creed Unity, players made a young Napoleon Bonaparte during the French Revolution among other famous French figures at the time, and they get a sense of the man before he became an emperor.

The Assassin's Creed games include rounded fictional characters who serve as a gateway to the past and capture players’ attention.

Assassin’s Creed origins the game set in ancient Egypt features a man grieving over the murder of his son and trying to find the culprits as he traverses Egypt looking for answers and clues. And playing as this character as he travels Egypt, players get to explore the daily life and religion in ancient Egypt visiting everywhere from farmland to tombs, pyramids and temples. They also get to explore burial practices, see the rituals being performed and even read excerpts taken straight from ancient texts.

The Assassin's Creed games make history almost literally come alive and teach players in probably a much more engaging way than most textbooks can manage.

You can read about ancient Egyptian burials in games or you can explore pyramids and tombs and temples and see them in action and after burial and the Assassin's Creed games do this while telling interesting stories.

Another example is Assassin's Creed Black Flag. Black Flag features - you guessed it - a pirate trying to make his fortune during the golden age of piracy.

Our fictional pirate, Edward Kenway, captures a ship, gets a crew, becomes friends with famous pirates such as Blackbeard and Bonnie and Mary Reed, and takes part in the founding of the historical pirate republic of Nassau.

He helps the pirates to acquire a cannon to defend the republic, and the game gets a lot of little details correct such as pirate leader Benjamin Hornigold not wanting to attack English ships due to his patriotic streak, and Blackbeard preferring to frighten people with his theatricality rather than commit violence.

And the historical Blackbeard may have only actually killed one person, which is a bit at odds with his fearsome historical reputation.

The pirates in the game are not presented as bloodthirsty but as desperate men and women trying to find fortune and freedom from their lower class origins and poor working conditions. But, the game also examines the innate selfishness of many of these pirates and also the danger that feuding factions pose to any government. Because pirates, they just can't agree a lot of the time, and when a plague - as happened in real life - sweeps through the pirate republic, it quickly collapses.

The pirates turn on each other, Blackbeard attempts retirement and Benjamin Hornigold the leader becomes so disillusioned with the greed and lack of discipline in the other pirates that he goes from pirate to pirate hunter, all in keeping with the historical record.

And by the time that the player has reached the end of the game, Edward Kenway is the last survivor of the pirate republic. He's made himself rich but he's lost everyone he cared about along the way.

The Assassin's Creed games, they contain yes some fictional characters, some historical inaccuracies, but they also communicate an authenticity of history wrapped up in memorable stories and characters. And players have shown their appreciation by buying over 140 million copies as of 2019.

Now another game with a memorable story is Horizon Zero Dawn. Wordy name aside, the video game tells a really moving story. Players explore a post-apocalyptic earth where society has regressed to a tribal grouping and tribal level of technology, but advanced robots roam the earth, so players need to understand what caused this regression and earth, despite suffering an apocalypse, has never looked so beautiful.

Players explore snowy mountains and lush jungles dotted by ancient ruins, ruins that are the remains of our world, and even while players try to understand what happened, playing as a young woman named Aloy who grew up in this strange new world, they also meet well-rounded characters with distinct personalities and problems that we can all relate to.

They meet a young woman grieving the death of her lover and wondering how to go on, a poor man trying to find or steal enough food to survive, a woman mourning the death of her father and brother while trying to continue the family business, two siblings fighting over their father's inheritance and a man trying to follow his older sibling’s example and grow up and take responsibility in his life.

And that man Arend, he grows over the course of the game from a hot head with an ego to a humble person wanting to live up to his big sister's example, do his duty take on responsibility and be dependable while also still enjoying a bit of time at the pub with his friends.

Arend is an example of one of the many realistic characters that Horizon Zero Dawn features. The game's overarching story though explores what happens when technology creates more problems than it solves, and what happens when human intellect is not enough to avert human mistakes. And this is all very pertinent for our world as we move towards a robotic and artificial intelligence future.

And even though players meet a lot of characters’ memorable problems as they progress through the game, it's their main player character Aloy who embodies this most of all, as her search for answers is initially motivated not by a desire to understand what happened to her world, our world, but to understand who her parents are.

She uncovers the secrets of our world but underneath it all she's a young woman who's an orphan searching for where she belongs.

Horizon Zero Dawn is also significant because it features a female player character - the character the player controls in the game. Very few big blockbuster games feature female player characters, due to concerns men might not want to play as them, but Aloy one prays for being a well-rounded and deep character, and attracted men and women alike to the game.

Released in February 2017, Horizon Zero Dawn has sold over 10 million copies as of December 2019, meaning a lot of players found Aloy and the game's story and the problems it explores enjoyable and memorable.

And now for something completely different, the video game series Animal Crossing tells a story that is whatever the player wants it to be.

The games involve players moving to a new island or village and developing it. They plant trees and flowers, expand their house, collect wood and materials, craft or buy furniture and clothes from the local shops, fish, catch insects, help donate items to the local museum to establish its collection, and get to know and befriend their neighbours who are all animals, but the sweetest and most brightly coloured animals you've ever seen, hence the name of the game.

Will players befriend the mature and slightly cranky eagle or the adorable and slightly clutzy dog? Will they build a modern masterpiece home or something a bit more country? It's all up to the player.

Animal Crossing features fun simple and peaceful gameplay which has been described as the perfect balm for the busy rushed world we live in, and this gameplay was also a great way to explore the great outdoors during the COVID-19 lockdowns. If players can't go for a walk outside in real life, they can do so in Animal Crossing. People were even inviting other players into their game and having date nights and catch-ups with friends, all of which are pretty impossible if you can't leave your home.

Some couples even hosted their cancelled-in-real-life weddings in the game. That's innovative.

Assassin's Creed, Horizon Zero Dawn and Animal Crossing are just a few examples of the moving, memorable and engaging stories that video games can tell, and the enjoyment players derive from experiencing them.

The video game industry, it's come a long way from its Pong and Space Invader days. Advances in technology have meant that the stories video games can now tell are boundless and only limited by the imaginations of their developers. And with a diverse player base, there's a video game for everyone, with stories to engage us all and stimulate our imagination.


Technology in Art - Dr Uwe Terton

Hello and welcome to my presentation in Technology in Art. My name is Uwe Terton, I'm a lecturer in design.

I would like to open my presentation with a painting created by Addie Wagenknecht, and she has created this painting with the help of a drone.

So what are drones, you might wonder? We will discuss this later throughout my presentation.

The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art. A quote by John Lasseter. It's very true. Since we are creating art, we are using technology be it a simple humble paint brush all the way to a stylus pen drawing on a computer surface. or drones. Or 3D printing.

The boon in 3D printed art has been building for several years. In fact there is no corner of the world remains untouched by 3D printing. From architecture to dance to painting to music, the emergence and proliferation of drone technology - and other technology using drones - such as Addie Wagenknecht's painting that we just saw, has inspired a vibrant response from the art world.

Drone art includes both works that are created using a drone or depicting a drone.

Then another way where technology is heavily used is projection mapping. Projection mapping, also known as video mapping, and spatial augmented reality, is a projection technology used to turn objects often irregularly shaped into a displaced surface for video projection.

You all might have seen projection mapping art on the Sydney Opera recently or in the past. It was only a matter of time before the art world went virtual too. Indeed, the ubiquity of smartphones and the public's increasing familiarity with augmented reality, short AR, apps in other spheres is beginning to have a tangible impact on how art is both created and displayed.

And this is the purpose of my presentation.

And I will now take you through a few art samples that demonstrate how this all could work.

The following artwork depicts a very tiny sculpture, a sculpture of a woman. And this sculpture is, as you can see, on this ear of the needle, there is the little tiny sculpture inside. And underneath, we have focussed in picture of it. And it's created by Jonty Hurwitz and it received the Guinness World Record for the smallest human sculpture in the world using nano 3D printing. So this person here, the sculpture, has been printed using carbon fibre. Amazing.

I would like to play a video on 3D printing and 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process of making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file.

A digital file is a computer file that you can create to use in computer drawing software and then obviously it is created in two dimensions on a screen and then printed using additive methods to have a three-dimensional object. So here is the video.

3D printing technology is already changing the way we produce objects, from tools and toys to clothing and even body parts.

3D printing is part of a process known as additive manufacturing, where an object is created by adding material layer by layer. Additive manufacturing allows designers to create complex parts for machines, aeroplanes and cars at a fraction of the cost and time of standard means like forging, moulding and sculpting.

Now smaller consumer friendly 3D printers are bringing additive manufacturing to homes and businesses.

The first step in 3D printing is to create a blueprint of the object you want to print. You can use modelling software like Blender to create your own designs, or you can visit websites like Thingiverse or Shapeways to find objects other users have 3D modelled.

Once you have a finished design, it's time to send it to the printer. Some printers like the Makerbot Replicator 2 have renewable bio-plastic spooled in the back of the device, almost like a string.

When the printer receives the data, it pulls the material through a tube, melts it and deposits it to the plate where it instantly cools. As you can see, the 3D object is created through layering, where the printer will add one layer of the object at a time until you have a fully formed structure.

The most common material used in 3D printing is plastic but the use of some other materials allow for the creation of some pretty amazing products beyond simple tools and toys. 3D printing food is becoming very popular, and additive manufacturing has allowed for the creation of some pretty intricate treats.

In the medical world, doctors are testing bio-materials for regenerative medicine. By using a patient's cells, doctors can 3D print small body parts like ears and noses. Some surgeons have even tested 3D printed organs for transplant.

Recently, giant 3D printers in China printed 10 houses in just one day and at a cost of less than $5000 per house, proving just how cost and time efficient 3D printing can be.

This is artwork using several objects that have been 3D printed and all of those objects are inspired by nature, mainly from the world of the ocean. This artwork is by Marjan Coletti and it's called "Algae" from 2013.

From the same artist, Marjan Coletti, "Algae" it's a series but this time it's not put on a canvas that hangs off a wall, so those objects are placed on the ground and she's using different materials; one is more translucent than the other and we can see how nicely the light plays through the sculpture.

That sculpture here, which is called "Fragile" and is egg-shaped is by Richard Beckett, and it is also printed in 3D using a plastic which is called PLA. And PLA is recyclable and biodegradable. You put it into a pressurised container and heat it up to 80 degrees and it will dissolve. So it's quite environmental friendly.

So this larger sculpture by Michael van der Kley is called "Egg" from 2014. It's made by several 3D printed objects that have been assembled to the shape of an egg.

This piece of art is using a little bit more colour and it is called "Nano Objects" from 2014 by Shane Hope. And it also reminds me of some corals, but it could be anything. And all of those objects are 3D printed and quite filligreed.

William F. Duffy has created a sculpture, also 3D printed, if you have a close look you'll see all the different layers of the additive process because 3D printing means that one layer of plastic is printed on top of the other. So we can see those different layers around here. And it is called "Sometimes" from 2014.

So we already mentioned that we can print plastics but we can print all sorts of materials.

We can print in timber, and we also can print in metal, like this piece here, which is a shell that was 3D printed in metal and then shaped around a car by Joan Florea, and it's called "Gran Torino" 1971, which is the car underneath. But the piece of art is from 2014 because in 1971 3D printing did not exist.

Here we have another sculpture, by Nick Ervinck. It's called "Agrieborz 3D Printed Facial Nerves". The advantage of 3D printing is that we can create shapes that would be very very difficult to create otherwise, would take a lot of time and would cost a lot of money like creating a wax sculpture first and then cast it in bronze or other metals.

3D printed is a cheaper method in creating very complex shapes and objects.

So for Nick Ervinck technology or technological innovation is something that should be embraced by the art world.

Each generation of artists has at its disposal a different set of possibilities enabled by technology. Paint in tubes allowed the Impressionists to paint in plain air rather than the studio, catching the changing quality of light and shadow. The development of screen printing spurred Andy Warhol to create some of his most iconic works.

Another example on how technology is used by artists to their advantage and obviously this will continue.

So here we have 3D printed sculpture on the left hand side, clearly inspired by Reubens' painting on the right hand side, also by Nick Ervinck and it's called "Yaronulk, sculpture" and it is from 2009-2010. So he obviously took some time or maybe he even took a break from making this art.

This is another sculpture. It is called "Airforce 3D" from 2014 by Damilola Odusote. And  it clearly represents some of the iconographies that are connected with how the artist sees the United States of America. So it's kind of a larger Nike shoe then we have the Empire State Building in the background and someone that is balancing from one to the other building and we have the famous airplane Airforce 2 which he uses as the name to go with "Airforce 3D" because it is 3D printed.

Another piece of whoops sorry for that, another piece of 3D printed art by Robert Geshlider and this one is using wood. It looks like plastic but this one is actually 3D printed wood. How does 3D printed wood work? It is milled timber and it is very fine grain which is just put in the filament that goes into the 3D printer and is then printed to create those objects.

This is the largest artwork that I could find so far. It is by Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, and it's an entire room. If you travelled to Amsterdam you would be able to visit. And the way it is produced is they have created smaller objects but they have assembled it. And also this one is inspired not by nature, but by Fibonacci numbers. It is a 11-tonne installation and printed with millions of incredibly detailed surfaces. It stands almost 3.35 metres tall by 16 metres wide. So next time you are travelling to the Netherlands, you might have a chance to actually see the artwork.

I would like to move on to drone technology in art.

Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Essentially a drone is a flying robot. The aircraft may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans in the embedded systems working in conjunction with GPS.

So what is GPS? GPS stands for global positioning systems. It uses satellites and with the help

of our satellites you can control the position of an object on our planet. And drones work this way. You can control a drone using a controller or you can program a drone and it finds its way automatically by the use of GPS satellites.

The emergence and proliferation of drone technology has inspired a vibrant response from the art world. Drone art includes both works that are created using drone technology, works that in some way address or depict a drone as mentioned earlier. Examining drone art provides an opportunity to consider how society is responding to this technology and incorporating it into its cultural vocabulary.

Drone art is also a case study in how new transformative technologies are adopted by artists, sometimes as a means of protesting against the technology. They are using technology to protest against the exact technology itself, and other times to champion it, to embrace it, and make something incredible out of it by using that technology.

In 1995 the Bureau of Inverse Technology flew a rudimentary camera-equipped remote-controlled airplane over a number of technology company campuses in Silicon Valley. And this is what we see in this picture here. So this is kind of a drone art installation early on from 1995.

And that picture here by the artist James Bridle "Drone Shadows" is a 1:1 scale outline of various military drones painted in public spaces in various cities. So when you get to a crime scene you see that the investigators often draw a white line around the victim.

And this is exactly what this piece of art is doing, so in this case it's a play. Is the drone the victim or is the shadow of the drone creating victims? Because we use also drones in warfare and they come out of the blue. And the interesting thing is that the people who drive those drones, they obviously are very not-connected with their victims, so this is kind of a game.

So here we go, we are going back to Abbie Wagenknecht, the artist I started my presentation with. And she really likes the idea of technology in art. She is using here some surveillance cameras and the cameras are surveying the public, the visitors of her art space while we are observing and surveying her art, which is often used, created using different technologies.

So we also saw Katsu's work "Seasonal Depression" and here it is in its full glorious very nice.

And this is how it's created. On the left hand side we have the drone flying and hovering in front of the blank canvas. And a spray can attached to it and I did do some research. The drone itself is programmed to create this artwork, so it's not that the artist is remotely controlling the drone, and the purpose for the spraying art on the canvas, it is a program that does it for us.

So in a way the artist thinks about that technology and uses programming and artificial intelligence to create the art.

In this picture, we don't see the drone, but the drone has taken the picture. And this is a village in Afghanistan where we see on the fields, a huge picture, an image of a girl, a young girl, that has been killed by a drone. Very clever.

In this picture we see three drones accompanying three dancers of a contemporary dance by Daito Manabe in 2014. It's called "Eleven Play". The drones they move according to the movement of the dancers. My understanding is that there are pilots in the audience piloting the drones but a clever programmer also could use programming and motion detection to follow a person in a space.

You might have seen drones using as a means to creating a kind of light displays, like fireworks. But just with LED lighting. And this is a picture depicting exactly that. It's called "Drone 100, a magical experience" 2016. And it's called "Drone 100" because 100 small drones are creating that beautiful artwork. The photographer has used a long exposure and this is why we see all the light streaks coming from above and down. It could be the take-off of the drone or the descent of the drone.

Let's move on to augmented reality. Another new technology that is making its way into the art world. Augmented reality, short AR, is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented or supplemented by computer-generated sensory inputs such as sound, video, graphics or global positioning system (GPS)data.

Okay. So in this picture we see a person holding an iPad and we see a sculpture, but what we do not see is how this sculpture, in this case it's a piece of architecture - a house - will look once it's built.

Using that technology enables us to project anything into a landscape and foresee the future in this way.

This is another sample where an artist, what's his name? It doesn't say. "Heavy" Biermann - a leading augmented reality artist, transmedia scholar. That's his name, "Heavy" Biermann, has stepped up efforts to reimage public space through AR. So what he's done. He went into public spaces and there is already art, and he augmented the existing art with his own style. So here we see art from the past and he had augmented the art. So if you would have a mobile phone just like mine, and you would walk through a public space, you could download an app from this artist "Heavy" Biermann, and you could see all of his augmentations that he made to existing art. Kind of clever.

There is another example by "Heavy" Biermann and it is called - what does it say? It doesn't say. So it's also from the series, that's his interpretation.

Leesar Architecture, a part of "Augmented Reality" at the Omi International Arts Centre in 2013. So this is a environmental art, it's a park space and the architectural bureau, they have projected sculptures into that park. They do not exist as such, you cannot touch them but you can visually enjoy them using a kind of technology.

Another interesting example by Brian Cox from Magic Leap. It's called "Yellow Submarine". And it is the yellow submarine from the Beatles movie, "Yellow Submarine" but this one here is from 2015 and not from the '70s. And using specific goggles or a tablet that you can walk through the city of London and you see the yellow submarine hovering through and over the cityscape.

Same artist, Brian Cox, from Magic Leap, made "Whale leap". So here we see a huge humpback whale leaping out of the ocean onto the beach. The whale seems to beach itself onto the beachgoers but they are not aware of what is happening because only we can see it because we have the augmented reality app.

Let's move on to the last piece of technology that I would like to introduce in my presentation.

It's called projection mapping. Projection mapping, also known as video mapping and spatial augmented reality, is a projection technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into display surface for video projection. In this picture on the right, it's called "Seeper, wings of desire" from 2012 in Birmingham, where the artist has used huge light projectors to project the art which is often moving, accompanied by sound, onto this building here.

The next example depicts a performance within a space where the artist has created 3D objects that seem to be in the space but they are actually not, because they are all projected into the space.

Similar to what we have seen previously, here we see an industrial robot seemingly picking up an object where a dancer is interacting with the object, but the object does not exist. It is all just projected into the space.

Oskar and Gaspar, "Life Face Projection Mapping" from 2012 shows us a person sitting in front of a monitor and as she stares onto the screen, her face is changing, is morphing into different faces. And this is also, has been achieved through projection mapping.

Antoni Gaudi "Casa Batllo" in Barcelona. So every evening the city puts on those beautiful beautiful projections onto one of his buildings, and it depicts the history of his art. So if you ever have a chance to go there, that is quite amazing.

Well that concludes my presentation of some of the latest technologies in art and I hope you enjoyed it and it was kind of inspirational.

And if you have questions please feel free to ask me the questions via discussion boards or you can send me an email. Thank you so much.


Wearables - Dr Erica Mealy

Hi. I'm Dr Erica Mealy from USC and I am Moreton Bay's Head of Computer Science and so part of my role here is to be able to help everybody understand a bit more about computer science and how it can help benefit their lives and their businesses.

And so I'm happy to be able to come to you virtually today and talk about something that I've used a bit in my research and I think is a very interesting and possible future direction.

But there's some really important things that we need to think about to make sure that we look after our own safety and security, so today I'd like to talk to you about wearable technology.

And so the thing with wearable technology is that it's something that everyone has a different opinion about. Ultimately wearable technology is something that is worn in or on the body generally, within our clothes, maybe even our hair. Some smart rings exist but most people, when you say wearable technology, they think smart watch.

And so the big ones - the Apple watches, the Garmins, the Fitbits, the Samsung Galaxy watches - these are what most people think about. But there's so much more that you can find out about yourself with this wearable technology.

But the thing is that technology itself is something that we've been looking at long before computers came to be. Originally a pencil was considered a piece of technology because it was a tool that helped us do our job or what we wanted to do in a better more efficient way.

So you could think my glasses are wearable technology. They helped me to see better which means that I don't get headaches and I can sit in front of the computer just a little bit longer, not that we need to do that in these times. But some people actually will extend wearable technology to include things that sometimes we wear, perhaps in our pockets, so a lot of people will consider their smart phone to be a piece of wearable technology.

And that's an important thing, because the difference between a smart phone and Fitbit is enormous. The great thing about Fitbits and the thing that really made it absolutely take off is the fact that it took a really complex piece of recording and information and turned it into something that was really easy for a user to understand.

We didn't know how active we are and half the time we definitely weren't active enough, but we didn't know that we knew that we weren’t active enough, but when it's flashing in lights on your wrist, it's hard to get away from.

Suddenly it went from” hmm I feel like I haven't moved for a while” to “oh my goodness I've done less than 2000 steps today, perhaps I need to get up and go for a walk” but you'll notice that not all steps count the same.

So you might go for a walk with your friend, you might have a Fitbit and they might have a Garmin, and while there's going to be differences between how many steps you take compared to them - depending on your stride length, how tall you are - it's not going to be a grand difference overall, but your smart technology might actually consider the move really different like out by a couple of thousand.

And that's to do with how we process the data that's coming in from these sensors and how we actually analyse it and come to decide on the results.

So one of the things to think about when we're thinking about our wearable technologies, and these readings they're giving us from the senses, is understanding what does it mean?

So one of the things that I've personally really enjoyed knowing more about myself is know more about my heart rate, which is something that I get from my smart watch. But my heart rate as it takes it on my wrist isn't actually recorded the same, isn't even comparable necessarily, with if I were to actually use a medical grade heart rate monitor or a chest strap heart rate monitor.

Now these devices are specifically calibrated and have to be scientifically accurate and you can bet that your cheap smart watch probably doesn't have to follow those same standards, but the thing is, if you're always comparing the device to itself you've got a baseline. So if suddenly your heart rate goes from, you know, 70 beats per minute resting to 80 beats per minute resting, you know perhaps you've been a little bit too inactive, a little bit too much Netflix, while we've been away.

And so the idea is that it can give us measures about what we need to look at and what we can think about, so if you're talking wearable technology we also have, as I said our phones, so in these we have all kinds of things from GPS trackers that can tell us, on the good side, where we need to turn when we're going in Google Maps, but it can also track citizens.

So a really interesting case has been during the COVID-19 pandemic where some governments have actually elected to ask the phone companies to give them that data so they can make sure that people who should be quarantined.

Ah so we have to be really careful. It's a very slippery slope. We have to decide where is the line between protecting society as a whole and taking away the rights of the individual, and that's part of the ethical dilemmas around technology and wearable technology that I think society as a whole needs to take more advantage of these devices. Our Fitbits, our phones, are taking so much information, more information than we can fathom, and they're storing it and then making money off our data. They aggregate it, they sell it and there's no real benefit to us outside of how we want to use that data.

So we have to take care in making sure that we are actually scrutinising these people. Who has my data? Why do they have it? What are they going to do and are they going to be evil or good with my data?

So on the whole it can be very interesting to collect societal and population statistics so to be able to say the average age of a country, the average respiratory health of a country for instance, if we look at how active the country is, how much pollution is in the country, what percentage of people are smokers, it gives you an idea at the susceptibility to that population of people to, for instance, a respiratory illness.

But you also can consider well how has done, how has data shown us that life has changed? Are people actually being more active now because they've been put into isolation and there are some data to show that people have actually increased their activity levels, the awareness of being in one small space has shown them that they need to get out and do more. They plan it into their day for what they want to do, but we're talking a lot about wearable technology and smart trackers and that's the main information right, that's what most people think of when they think of wearable technology.

But the latest and greatest things are some really exciting ones. Even from 2016 there was compression fabric. So for workouts, for instance, they could tell what muscles were activated and when you were activating and they can actually give you a load or a figure that told you how well you're activating and these have incredible, incredible applications you can consider in rehabilitation.

So if there's someone who needs to be able to reuse a muscle that they haven't used, perhaps they had a cast and couldn't use it or were immobile, now people and particularly the researchers and medical professionals can drill down to your activating the correct muscle, actually your posture’s off because this sensor says you're not doing it. And this used to be restricted to the realm of professional sports players.

So for those that like their footy in Australia, there's a lot of us. If you know in AFL you may have noticed on the back of their shoulders there's normally this big hard part, and if you look closely you'll see it in our netballers as well. And so this is actually a high-tech sensor pack that each player wears that means that they can actually determine the activity load of that player and tailor their post match and their training to be able to hit that key load, to be able to repair the muscles and rehabilitate after the lesson or after the activity to make sure that they're actually getting met optimum performance out of their people.

But we can go even further than that. By augmenting our wearable technology we can actually look at what is the technique when you get tired, you drop your wrist which is why you miss the baskets in the third quarter. These kinds of things are some of the stuff that we will actually be looking at through our computer science research program here at USC with our partners, but being able to look at, well, how does the wearable technology improve your life.

So the latest round of technology trade shows that were in January 2020 are a really great instance. So if you go on to CES which is the Consumer Electronics Show, you can search on wearable technology and you'll see some absolutely fascinating ideas - from glasses that actually have speakers built into the frames to portable diabetes tracking systems to shoes that have sensors built into them and lab on skin which is a health monitoring embeddable chip. So this time we're not talking wearable technology, we're talking implantable technology, so putting it underneath our skin.

So these days we can assume that people have devices on a lot of the time. If you see a certain type of watch you know it's an Apple watch or you know it's a Samsung watch, and as part of that you know how to act around those particular people because you know what's capable.

But an interesting one that's come to light for me is one of my family members has recently just gotten hearing aids, and so when they go for their walk they don't have to wear ear pods or ear buds, ear buds anymore and it's bluetooth connected to their hearing aid. So the podcast from their phone in their pocket that we can't see is beaming straight into their head, so they can look quite peculiar when they're walking down the street having a good laugh and everyone thinks that they're not actually listening to anything because we can't see it.

But implantable technology isn't new for us. We've had pacemakers for a long time and we can have now diabetes pumps that automatically regulate people's blood sugar.

We've got all kinds of technologies that we've used to be able to improve quality of life for people but we have to take really great care when we're doing that.

The first lot of network enabled pacemakers were hackable and that's terrifying. Somebody outside your body can choose when to start and stop your heart, and again we come down to the ethics of it.

Who can access and do we trust their ethics? Is the thing being designed fit for purpose? Are the proper security protocols in place? What happens if your heart rate data is observed by someone else? Probably doesn't make a lot of difference but what if that person observing is your private health fund and they can see how active you are or aren't, and therefore what kinds of diseases you might be more prone for.

Would you be happy if suddenly your premiums went up by 20% because it found that you spent lots of March sitting down? Probably not. And so as consumers it's upon us to be able to start to think about, well, not just how do we get useful knowledge from it for us, how active or inactive, how many flights of stairs, know sorts of things. But how do I get the valuable payback on that data that other people are getting from my data? If my health fund got it, I would want to know that I was getting some sort of discount for them having all that information about me.

There's bluetooth enabled toothbrushes which I always shock my first years with. It's like, show of hands, how many people would like to have their dentists knowing how often and how well they are brushing their teeth? Nobody has ever put their hands up, except I think one student who is the son of a dentist, but no one wants to know that or to share that information.

But it's useful information for me. I'd love to know how well my children are cleaning their teeth and if they're cleaning their teeth when they're not with me, and various other things like that that would be useful information but where does that ethically sit?

An interesting one is in the realm of aged care and the elderly, because we want to consider how to best look after our parents and our grandparents as they move on to those later stages of life.

We transition from being cared for by our parents to caring for our parents and our older Australians, and so one of the things is there's a real dichotomy in the society of the technologists around how do we set up these smart homes for these people? So they've got a lot of people who will put bed sensors or floor sensors so that when your feet hit the floor it can tell, but these people grew up and lasted through different types of wars. They don't want to feel like they're being under surveillance 24/7. They're pretty wiley and clever sorts too, so we've got all kinds of user stories where they will do everything in their power to make sure they don't trip that sensor, because they don't want you knowing that they're getting up five times a night to go to the bathroom.

But from our perspective, we want to know how healthy they are and what they're doing. We want to know, oh it looks like they've had a fall, someone needs to be there immediately. So we're looking at different ways.

So there's a group at QUT who look at a messaging kettle and I love this analogy, because the idea that you share a cup of tea with a loved one and the generation that are reaching these aged care facilities now are quite often ones that enjoy a cup of tea in the morning or a cup of coffee.

And so we can actually see oh they've turned the kettle on but more than they've turned the kettle on, they can see when we've turned our kettle on as well, and we can write small messages or send a voice clip or something that actually adds the social back into it.

The danger of technology is that we just set up this smart house and we put people in it and we don't pay attention. We don't make that extra phone call.

I love that my grandmother used to have a “I'm not yet dead yet” email. So she gets up in the morning and because my parents are one of a number and they'd all basically assume that everyone else was looking after my grandma, but the truth was there was at least one time where everyone else thought someone else had checked in, and she was actually unwell, she had a flu or a cold.

And so we a couple of my aunts instituted a morning email, so she gets up and she writes an email and it's a fantastic way to stay connected with people who are able to participate in a technology enabled world, but it's a bit like ER “hi guys I woke up today, not dead yet” kind of technology and it's almost a little bit absurd to be able to think about, you know, our loved ones and our older Australians are literally being reduced to “oh the email hasn't come”.

So what do we do about these technologies? How can we use our wearable technology? What are we going to use it for? How could it work in your business? Does foot traffic making help you? Could you be able to use different ways of advertising or different ways of measuring your effectiveness in your business?

I really look forward to being able to chat with you and answer some questions. So I really hope to see you online in the near future.

You'll see a link provided for a time and date that we can have a bit more of a chat, so until then look after yourselves, look after your loved ones and count all those steps. Bye!

Anuksa Naidu

Hi I'm Anuksha and this is my poem Racially Indifferent.

I heard it on television that Black
Lives Matter, that it became a crime to
say that all lives matter.
Truth is, don't we all want to be treated
the same, all wanting a fair go at life's
Was it the indigenous Australians with
their land stolen,
the people of the Congo, Belgium's jewel
royal, South Africa torn by apartheid,
India colonial rule by Britain? These are
just stories of history done wrong.
It's true the past cannot be unwritten,
but the future can tell of a world that
can be forgiving.
Forgiveness that can start with
understanding that pain isn't the
be end and end all but just the
beginning. The beginning of a conversation the
making of a hashtag, the realization of
truth universal,
that human life has no price tag. So
whether you march or stay at home or
treat your waiter with compassion,
maybe making a bold statement with your
choice of fashion, remember to be kind
and love thy neighbour,
then the good Lord will look down on us
with favour. He'll bless our efforts and
we can build a whole new world. Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, affections and passions,
fed with the same food, hurt with the
same weapons? Shakespeare's words could not ring more true.
If I prick you would you not bleed too?
So whether it's a matter of divine
intervention or natural selection, the
colour of my skin should offer me this
one simple protection:
I'm human just like you, this much is
true, and if I can be racially indifferent
so can you.

Gordon Clarke

Hello, my name's Gordon and here's a poem that is true to the core.

Beat heart, beat heart, feel the flow. 
I'm calm in control, keep the rate low.
Now strutting in, manning up - oh don't
turn away -
show them my steel, no wimp DNA.
The beat, the beat, heart's calm still.
Hell! The drill! That piercing shrill.
Someone's in the chair, there again, like
chalkboard clawing, viscerally gnawing at
my inner self.
That's not health. It's torture while frozen stiff with fear.
You'll cover my eyes but not my ears. No
it's not a procedure, it's an operation.
No amount of meditation prevents this
from feeling thought pain. My mouth is
but my brain isn't dumb. It knows you're
hurting me,
punishing me subconsciously, dominating
physically, fiscally and I'm submitting
but I'm not quitting. I'll see it through.
Show you and those who think I'm a wuss. I'll beat this affliction.
These welcoming smiling assassins
trivializing the trauma they inflict.
Mustn't see I'm sick with fear
I'm walking through the gates of hell to
meet my fate with a nightmare
incarnate, in this being's outstretched
But, aren't I a man? Aren't
all men supposed to be like Atlas
suspending this planet from falling into
space's empty abyss?
This is my moment,
so beat, beat, I'll beat this.

Thank you.


London Gazette: A cornucopia of genealogical items

So first of all I’d like to start with an acknowledgement to Country and I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Turrbal people and the traditional Country in which this event is taking place, and the Elders both past and present. I also recognize those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future elders and leaders.

Hello everyone and welcome to our talk today and thank you so much to Helen Smith from Dragon Genealogy for coming to talk to us about the London Gazette, which is a treasure trove for family historians and perfect for this month's theme.

So I’d like to hand over to Helen now, welcome Helen.

Hello everyone, good morning. Okay the London Gazette, it's a perfect topic but people tend to say "oh yeah but we look at World War I stuff and see who got given this mention in despatches, and we can look up bankrupts and that's where they stop". Hopefully by the end of today you won't stop at just at those things, but I also state that I bear no responsibility for the amount of time you'll spend delving into the London Gazette in future.

So the thing is that actually started as the Oxford Gazette. It was first published on the 7th of November 1665, and this is because this is when the plague was happening in London.

So King Charles II and his court escaped to Oxford, and they started publishing the Gazette because the Gazette was the spokes expert platform for the government for information that the government needed to disperse. These were published in both Oxford and London because the courtiers didn't actually want to handle anything that came out of London - and that ring some bells. So we actually started having our publications happening there. It became the London Gazette when the court moved back to London and the first issue in London was on the 5th of February 1666 and that was issue 24.

So the London Gazette has many things in it, so some of the things are telling you about notable events - the great fire of London. This is published in edition 85 and as you can see the September the 10th 1666. Initially the Gazette was published weekly and then that changed later in the time frame depending on how often the government need to put things out.

Today the Gazette is published every day.

American Declaration of Independence. Now at this particular period of time and in fact getting to quite late in the peace, headings weren't such a big thing for the Gazette. So when you actually start reading them you will find that you're going to be having to sort of scan to actually find that you're interested in.

You will often see the dropped capital as being a way of distinguishing one notice from the next.

The outcome of the Battle of Waterloo. Some of these just make great historical context reading, even apart from the fact that your ancestor may be mentioned in any of these things. Have you got someone who really loves royalty in your family? This would make a nice little gift.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. You can actually download the entire supplement - the 48-page pdf which says who was there, who attended, what the order of address was, the whole thing.

Gazette was typeset. Now this means it is readable. You can go back and read way back to the beginning as you saw from that first one. Yes you may need to peer over it a certain amount, because some of the early editions aren't in the best condition. But typesetting, as you can see from

this commission is spelt with the double f rather than double s so, but your eye gets into that very quickly but it is typeset so you can do it. Now these are available online and they have been OCR, so sometimes you may find by scanning an area a time frame you're thinking of, that you may pick up someone that you was missed by the OCR. And the OCR is actually very good but just be aware.

Be aware of the fact also that place names can change. Feversham in Kent is now known as Faversham in Kent and things like that.

The Gazettes are freely available online on a website called The Gazette. You can use it as a guest but I would strongly recommend logging in and becoming a researcher. It is a free account. It's free to register. You can - as a researcher - have advantage access to a little more plus, you can save some of your searches so you can go back and redo them again at a later stage if you need to.

Now as you look there it says look up address, make sure that you do the enter address manually because it's looking up a UK address rather than us. It doesn't actually recognize which country you're in and because entering the actual country is optional, so it's not one of those ones that will automatically decide that hey we're talking Australia we'll automatically register a four-digit postcode. It will accept a five-digit postcode so just add a leading nought, so leading zero to the front of your postcode and then that accepts it. You'll get a confirmatory email, confirm it and then you're in.

So you can do searches pre and post 1998. So post 1998 it has a lot more automatic drop down menus that you can pick for certain things. But for the thing you can search by publication date, you can search by issue number, and as you can see I had issue numbers on some of those key event ones.

So for Queen Elizabeth the Second coronation, the issue number was 40,020 and I can just type that in, that will take me straight to that particular one. They do have a video. It is a very short video - two minutes and 44 seconds. I do suggest you watch it. It tells you a little, doesn't tell you a huge amount, but it is worth watching for those two minutes 44. So these are some of the breakdowns you can do for post 1998 searches only.

So what can you find? Yeah we can find the honours and medals that most people go straight through to look for. We can find chain company business information. So this is where it's basically saying that "I George Quested and James Smith hereby notify everyone that we will no longer be in partnership of the company making silk stockings as of the x period of time James Smith will be taking total control of the company. Now so you'll see those. You'll see change of names. Now remembering it is legal to call yourself anything you like, even today, in England and in Australia, as long as you're not doing it for an illegal purpose. So a lot of people never formalized by deed poll their change of name. For those that did, you will find them mentioned in ...

Okay looks like I’m back. I don't know what happened there. Anyway, so where did you lose me?

Oh perfect. Right oh so bankruptcy and insolvency we'll talk more about it later. Naturalisations and aliens and we're not talking flying saucers here, we're talking people from foreign countries that England happened to be at war at the time. Civil service appointments, military appointments, appointments to the judiciary, high level appointments for the church - that's your ecclesiastical appointments, trustee information - so payments for chancery, so if like the equivalent of our past public trustee department was looking after an estate and they made a payment out from it, probate. Your military, your naval military RAF appointments and promotions, and then more in your later times your Queen's Birthday New Year honours list, civilian awards, acts of Parliament, and yes we do want to know about acts of Parliament. That gives us information on context and how life changes for our ancestor. Things like the Married Women's Act coming in, things like the poor law, unions coming in, all of those had an impact on our ancestors.

So we can do our searches so as any of you who've been with me for a while know, Quested is a name I search for regularly. I can just put that in and because I’m primarily interested in pre-1998, I am only going to do it in the text search box at the top. See how next to text search you have "clear" and "clear all"? If you've actually entered a few things in, you can just clear all of your previous searches that way quickly because sometimes you can find you'll get a zero search, because you've actually ticked a box further down that you haven't realized you've still ticked.

And by logging in as a researcher, you are able to save your search criteria, which means another time you can just go back and run it. And that's because you can actually do some searches by your keywords, which means that if you've made a complicated search it saves you having to remember what you did.

So you can narrow by these categories. I think so. Let's do awards and accreditations because that's what everyone gets involved in. So if I just do awards, hey but remember awards are non-military. So Paula Philpott became an MBE, Hugh became an OBE et cetera but we're more primarily interested  .. oh yeah so Australia didn't start its own awards program until 1975. so prior to that date we received the OBE et cetera from England, rather than any of our Australian ones. And then they would be published in the London Gazette and then republished in the Australian Gazette. Any post-1975 will be published in the Australian Gazette because they've been awarded by our own government.

So let's go to war. So clicking on World War I notices and as you can look down on the left hand side, the key publication date has automatically been filled in because, and remembering as you can see there, it goes from 1914 to 1921 and yes the war did finish in 1918. We know that but a number of awards and things still kept coming on until after that.

So I’m looking for Jacka, as people know Jacka, Lieutenant Jacka was a gentleman who gained the Victoria Cross. So he was a nice one to go looking for. And we'll see we've actually got something there for him. Go straight through to that.

We get the London Gazette and we can see that number 465 Lance-Corporal Albert Jacka, now you can search on the number, 14th Battalion, Australian Imperial Forces, most conspicuous great bravery and it gives you a little bit of information. Now this is the information that was available for someone who won the Victoria Cross.

I hate to tell you but for most of your other ones, for your military crosses, DFCs etc you will often see just a single line and not much further information. So for Australians, remembering it's published in the London Gazette first and then later in the Australian Gazette if they are Australian. And being published in the Australian Commonwealth Gazette was often four to six months later, and the amount of detail varies considerably. You will generally find that what's published in the Australian Gazette is a copy of what's published in the London Gazette. Many of your World War I lists are often just listed with the initials, so if you've got an unusual surname check out by the surname or by the military number, and remember you can - if they have died -  you can often get your military numbers from the Commonwealth War Grave if you don't have it otherwise.

And yes you'd hope the army would get it right but hey, frequently there's lots of misspellings of names and initials particularly. Then check out the Australian War Memorial for further details.

Australian War Memorial's got an honours and awards database, so if we put Albert Jacka in, it gives me the information they've got on him that's available online for me to look at. I go to Albert Jacka and I can see this. He actually got a military cross and then he got a second nomination for military cross, so he had a military cross and bar as well as his Victoria Cross. And then it tells you as you can see there, that the London Gazette was the 24th of July 1915, whereas the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette's entry was the 28th of October.

Always also look at your recommendations and then you can download a pdf. Now what you're going to find in that can vary considerably. You would also of course look for your unit history, your unit battalion diaries, etc which are also on the Australian War Memorial which may have further information. And of course Trove. We all know and we love Trove.

We also can see some of our World War II stuff, so just mention in dispatches, and this is often all you're going to get. You'll often not even know why they were mentioned in dispatches. Your battalion histories can give you a little bit more. Newspapers can sometimes give you a bit more. Okay so this is the second area that a lot of people go straight for - bankruptcies and insolvencies.

Now only tradesmen and merchants could declare bankruptcy. Everyone else went to debtors prison and Charles Dickens made the debtors prisons very very more aware for most people because he wrote a number of books. And he did this from personal experience. A Little Dorrit was pretty much strongly around the Marshalsea Prison and that was because his father went to Marshalsea Prison for a 40-pound debt. So what happened was, you owed a debt to someone, and until the other person decided to sue you, you weren't going to get sent to prison. But if they sued you and you couldn't pay, you went to and Charles Dickens's father John went to prison, and his mother and the youngest children went with her. Because it's not serving a prison sentence for doing something illegal, it's serving a prison sentence because you couldn't pay a debt. And depending on how much money you had, or how much outside influence to the point of your friends giving you food -  because you had to provide your own food etc in debtors prisons - it was a really quite horrendous way of doing it.

Charles Dickens at the time, who was 12 years old, went to work in a boot blacking factory, and then John's Dickens eventually gets an inheritance, pays all his debts, gets released, everyone's happy again. Except Charles Dickens writes very sad books so perhaps not everyone.

It wasn't until the Debtors Act of 1869 that people stop being sent to debtors prisons.

Now keep thinking in your minds around this whole time period in England etc because remember, prison as at that time wasn't necessarily meant a place of reforming people. Remembering England managed to kick out quite a few of their people as convicts overseas. So it, they were just starting in that 18 late 1850s and 1860s, particularly after we said hey no we don't want them anymore, to actually start looking at prisons as places of actually reform and doing things, and the quakers got heavily involved etc. So that's a whole interesting thing all on its own. But you will find lists of people who got sent to debtors prison. So this is in 1842 and it tells you a little bit about where they are and it tells you which prison they're in. So that's a useful thing.

We'll find women in there as well, it's not just the men, but remember for a woman to be in debtors prison she needed to be single or a widow, because at this time frame this is before the Married Women's Act came in, so she had no legal identity of her own if she was married. If she was married and had a debt, that debt became her husband's.

That's another reason you see those little ads in the paper that "I, John Plumbridge will no longer pay the debts of my wife Julia who has left my bed and board" because if he doesn't put that notice in the paper, she can rack up debts with the fellow she's nicked off with and he's legally responsible because he's still married to her.

So we get to bankruptcies. Now remember with bankruptcies, they will vary with the amount of information they give you over the time frame, and you'll see them listed as bankruptcy, you'll see them listed as insolvency and the name does change throughout the time. But you do get a little bit of information and that information can vary. So sometimes you're going to get information about the people who are claiming debt against the person, and maybe your ancestor was the one who wanted the other person to pay up because they owed her money.

So we can search through for our insolvency notices and we'll see a range from the current and then we can go back to our past. So I’ve done Plumbridge bankruptcy in this in my initial search button. Now with my notices at the top, you've also got some ways of filtering. You can filter by oldest or latest, and if we're interested in back history maybe we want to filter by the oldest to start with. We can show 10, 20, 50 or 100 notices at a time.

And it very kindly - in the initial search bit - highlights the name or the words you've chosen as your search items. So whereas a petition for adjudication of bankruptcy was put before George, it gives you his address, it tells you what his occupation was at the time, and he was declared bankrupt, he had to surrender himself to be heard before the court, and then you have that extra bits of information that happens from there.

You will also see from the time frame, once the Edinburgh Gazette starts, that a number of the notices from the London Gazette are actually also duplicated in the Edinburgh Gazette, and you can search the Edinburgh Gazette from the Gazette pages.

You can also do the Belfast Gazette. So the Edinburgh Gazette, frequently you'll see shortened stuff in the Edinburgh Gazette that is duplicated from the London Gazette. And you'll also of course see things from further north. So James Eastridge Weeks. It shows from all over the all over England into for the bankrupts. So Mr Plumbridge was in London yeah, whereas these this James Eastridge Weeks is actually over in Devonport and he's a wheel ride, and he's just claiming bankruptcy, and as you can see there, he's got three notices in the London Gazette, 17th of May 1864, 26th of July 1864 and the 14th of August 1866. Look at all three. You can somehow get a little bit of information different from one to the next.

Sometimes you don't get much but it's worth having a look at both. And then and then, now in 7th of May 1864 he's actually put through his initial petition. On the 14th of August 1866 they hold the creditors' meeting, so they waited a long time to get paid.

And there's one from 1830, one from 1860, you get bits of extra information so with Richard Quested, it tells you where he was formerly of then he went to Acrise both in Kent. He was a blacksmith and shoeing smith and during some portion of the time carrying out business as a farmer, and afterwards now living in Acrise aforesaid carrying on the business of blacksmith and shoeing smith for Thomas John Quested. That's a snapshot of his information of his life, and not every one of the notices gives you that much information but hey when it's yours, you're really happy.

Information can vary considerably even more, so you can see different ones with people's names changing, where they were living and the ranges of the things from that. This is giving us three different things and he changed from being a corn dealer to a cab driver, and it's telling you who he's driving with now.

Okay so we've also got civil service. So people who are working for the government, and again not just men. You can follow women through on a number of these. Even surprisingly in some of the earlier time frames you will find them unlisted. But for the actual civil service, once you started getting to the 1890 time frame and above, is when you're more likely to find women doing much work for the government where they're actually being appointed to various things.

So Vera Madeline Quested on the 21st of June 1912 had actually sat the public service exam and was successfully appointed as a female sorter for the post office. In 1917 she gets put up in a higher rank as a woman's clerk in the post office and on February the 10th 1920 she is then transferred to the Ministry of Labor as a woman's clerk. So that's given me three points for her civil service career. And in actual fact she ends up never marrying and the next notice I have for her in the London Gazette is her probate notice and a fair number of years later.

So I get the impression she either stayed in that position in the Labor of Ministry and the government for a fair period of time, or left and went left the public service. Um various appointments throughout the time frames including to committees, board of trade and you can see from here we've got a range of people. This is in 1909 where on part of the board of trade they've done a bit of polling in certain occupations to actually then get information from them, and you've got a range of women on this one as well.

Military appointments. And you'll see this all the way through, now we're not talking privates, we're not talking non-commission, we're talking officers and above. But you'll see things worth being appointed.

Again you can search these by name, so James Henway Plumbridge is a captain and he has a quite interesting career in the navy and ends up becoming an admiral on the way through. He is in that interesting time frame in the navy where there's privateering happening and he's capturing various ships around, and then selling them for booty which the government gets but they do get a share.

And you've also got things like the appointments, so Alexander Bannerman was appointed as a commissioner to the Greenwich Hospital. Military appointments and transfers - and this is not just for World War I and World War II - this is throughout the time of the military. Remembering if you've got Boer War people, Crimean war people and then don't forget every one of our lovely, oh well maybe lovely is not the right word, every one of those interesting engagements they have.

So if you've got ancestors in who were in the military in India, you can find some information through here. You can also find some information about people in the colonies who've died in military engagements or in rebellions and revolts. Promotions, and of course remembering in the uh AVU you go on to the half pay list over periods of times.

So Captain James Henway Plumridge has now gone up to being a rear admiral of the blue. I'm not a navy person but you had rear admirals in the blue, the white and the red. Exactly what that means I’ve got no idea.

It's not just promotions. So this is the Mashonaland rising of 1896-19 1897 which will be in South Africa somewhere, and it tells you the various people who were killed and the people who died of their wounds and what their, some of what their wounds were. Sometimes the army even acknowledged its mistakes. So in 1901 they put these ones in the Gazette previously, and they stuffed up on their names so they've actually corrected it. Actually correcting their mistakes is not something they're known for, so often you'll find that your ancestor potentially is there with the wrong initials or they've misspelled the name and it just stays there misspelled.

Interestingly in 1830 they decided to change the navy uniform, so the colours and cuffs of the commissioned officers of the navy shall in future be scarlet instead of white. And it tells you how the buttons. The Gazette is the way the government communicated information. So we're calling for tenders, so we want hemp, contract for hemp, so that we can actually make rope and so they actually do specifics on it and then at a later time period you'll get a little notice saying who was the successful person who did the tender.

So maybe your ancestor was someone who provided goods to the government. The black silk handkerchiefs is interesting but yes you'll find all of these sorts of tenders and calls for them listed in the Gazette.

Okay business partnerships. We need to actually dissolve a partnership officially, so that everyone in future knows that if you've got any bills on the business that it needs to be sent to the other person who's now in charge, and that if I am no longer part of the business I am not able to take out debts on the business because I am no longer part of it. And it tells you who it is, where they were, and the date that it was actually occurring from. And you can follow some of your business style people through where they're starting and stopping businesses over a time frame. And that can be quite useful. And often you can see that they're going bankrupt in between, that sort of thing.

You could become - once you've actually been a bankrupt - you could actually end up running business later once you had discharged your debts.

We do government things so this is someone as a case of the high court of chancery is trying to find someone who's mentioned in a will, and no one knows where he is. You've got this sort of background information. So that was a nephew in the will of William Porter, tells you where William Porter was, um if he's dead they need to know that he was dead before the age of 25 years because obviously the will has stated that they're giving information he's giving money to his nephew once he attains the age of 25 years. And has maybe then said that in the event that Thomas has died after 20, he's 25 and has children, that the money will go to his children, and then it gives you this: The said Thomas Owen was the son of Thomas Owen and Rachel his wife formerly Rachel Porter, who before her marriage lived at Islesworth and Middlesex. After her marriage she and her husband kept a public house in the borough of Southwark where it is supposed Thomas Owen the nephew was born. They afterwards lived in Wardour Street or Berwick Street, Oxford Street, where Thomas Owen the father died about the year 1797.

Thomas Owen the nephew was then about eight years old and put to board with Mrs Dell in Cross Street, Carnaby Market, and was taken away by his mother and has never since been heard of. It is supposed he went to sea between that period in the year 1807. Any person who can give information. That is such a huge amount of ancestral information that you're possibly not going to get anywhere else. So definitely look.

The standard probate notices are there; it's telling you that basically this person's died, anyone who's got any bills on the estate please submit them or else. If you're not submitted by a certain date you ain't going to get paid. And it's not just old probate notices.

You've also got the new probate notices that go through as well, and they continue to current day. Remembering of course, not everyone puts a will through probate, although you are more likely to see in modern times wills go through probate if people - they have to go through probate if people own property or if they have more than a certain amount of money.

Payments in trust in chancery. Once the Trustees Act came in, chancery had to put information out about what estates they had there that they were administering and when was the last payment.

So Dimsey, so Ralph Quested Dimsey died in 1854 without a will, so chancery was managing the money he had because he was being paid out I think and they'd made three payments on the account to Eliza Agnes Merritt. I’m not quite sure what happened to her but the last payment they made was in 1863. This is in the Gazette in 1887, 1888 and 1890 which gives us some extra information.

Okay we're going to go wandering a little. Privateers. Remembering there, for a certain time frame through history, uh there was kind of sanctioned piracy by the government because basically you could attack the ships of these other countries because we were at war with them et cetera. So then you had some information. So Captain Parker, His Majesty's ship Belfamine gave account of having chased the Danish man of war cutter onshore and afterwards destroyed her with some other vessels under the directions of Lieutenant Plumbridge and Reni. And then is telling you what's actually happening a little bit there. Notices given that a copy of the account sales of monies received on the count of the American schooner Maria, seized by His Majesty's ship Sappho in 1820. And then the monies get distributed and stuff like that, so I’m following Mr Plumbridge's career in the navy. And this is the gentleman that became the rear admiral.

Unexpected treasures and the Gazette, there's lots and lots and lots of these, so whilst we could imagine that's a this this is rentable tithe. Tithe rent charges going to the vicarage of Holy Trinity for various properties and it's giving you the landowner, and it's giving you the occupier, because look hey my people aren't the highfaluting types that become land owners and that sort of thing, but they do rent and so James Plumbridge in this instance is renting a property, and he ends up getting mentioned in the Gazette simply because he's actually in occupancy of a property. And you'll sometimes find, when thing properties are being sold, it will tell you who the occupier is and maybe that's your ancestor.

Such as in the next one. They're selling off leased land, and it's telling you that this is on - it's on a three generation leased, the persons who have that are respectively 66, 21 and 20 and this yearly rent is 99 pound, and there's a little bit of information about each of them as well. And it's being sold.

You'll also find other things like the average price of corn. And remembering the government was actually looking at the sort of things and then you had your riots in the 1820s and 1830s, because of the cost of food because of the way things were going. So you'll see this happening throughout and anytime the government had an impact on something, or was putting tariffs on things, it'll be mentioned in the Gazette.

Wages. So in 1920 we have a whole group of people getting together and they're making standardized wages, much like we do today under certain awards. So you'll see some of those things listed there.

Notices. So this is tonses in 1776 telling you a little bit about it. And you get a bit of extra information.

Change of surnames. As I mentioned before, you could legally call yourself anything you wanted to call yourself, but if you want to make it official you do a deed poll and go through the Gazette.

Now the interesting thing with some of these and since some of the early ones, they give you the reason why they wanted to change their name and be known as something. So in 1792 Thomas Skip uh Skip Bucknell Thomas of the parish of St George wants to now be known with the surname - I don't know how you spell how you say it - it's Dyot - because it's in connection to the memory of Philip, late of Dayo Street in the parishes and girls in the fields. So it's telling you that, that his three sisters Arabella, Lucy Gleg and Constance, the widow, all of these are going to be, he's going to keep that name. And so it gives you some extra nice family background on all of that.

So the one of I Clifford Joseph Delvin, who used to be Joe Toviniski, I can understand why he wanted to change it.

We have stories in families that they changed their name because they wanted an inheritance. Well you do find these and you find these listed as the reason they changed the name that John Eagleberts Ziganbine in the county of Berkshire has changed his name pursuant to the last will and testament of his great late great uncle John George Lichtenrud so that he is going to continue the name because he was asked to do so in the will. If you get the will you'll see that if he does this he gets money. The later ones are much much more boring. They basically just tell you that I Ernest Lewis Kerr here to known as Ernest Lewis Karen are going to be known as Kerr from now on in. I'm going to can use that name in all my legal documentation, that's the name I’m going to change to. I like the early ones. You get more actual history and information on them.

Notices and rewards. Now take a look at this, this is 1830. Robert Peel. We know him as the start of the metropolitan police. So we start seeing some information about rewards being granted for the apprehension. So it's a little bit about a murder that occurred, actually no the first one's about the fact that the barns and out buildings were burnt. Remember we're in the time frame of the swing riots and the agricultural riots and Captain Swing who went around burning or get taken  responsibility for burning hay ricks et cetera because agricultural machinery was coming in, and people didn't like it. And we have another one talking about a murder that was occurring. So we see some of these coming through which can be really quite useful information, but it's not just useful information. This it's also giving us our social context, because we know that Robert Peel was the one that started the metropolitan, was one the metropolitan police, and so we're seeing the start of law enforcement coming through. So fantastic social context when we look at it in these.

Land registry. Now these are later ones so you're actually seeing who actually got land and when it was transferred. We see law proclamations when things are changing, the government notifies  people that things are changing.

So this is in the early 1800s, 1803 it's telling us that there is much danger to the public tranquility, because we're at war with well there at a war with France and a few other places, so we don't want alien enemies living in England, so we're going to make some information about that as what they can and can't do.

An alien restriction act coming through in 1914. Again we were making requirements about what people who were citizens of the countries we were at war at, what they were allowed to do. This is one that affected a lot of us.

Burial grounds. Effectively under the public health scenarios they made the rulings in the big towns that you couldn't set up a burial ground in the middle of town. It had to be at set distance and these are some of the laws and the amendments to the laws that happen over the time frame about this.

Laws around dockyards. Laws around what they actually consider the region of the dockyard. Every so often they want to change what the distance from the actual dockyard is for extra protection or extra purposes.

We have our naturalizations. We have our company notices, and company notices can be something as little as Mr Quested and his partner in the rope making business, up to big companies doing things like setting up railways and setting up these big investment things - they're going to open this railway and they're going to buy all sorts of grounds.

And that's very very particular from the 1840s through to the 1880s. You had lots and lots of railways going through. But you also have the investors list of some of these big companies, and as you can see looking through here, if you look at some of their occupations and it tells you their residence, you can see we've got a spinster in there. In fact we've got a couple of spinsters in there.

And as you can see there that the odds are if you start looking quite particularly, that Francis Ann Anning and James are related because it's in care of James. She's a spinster. Maybe it's his sister.

I also see some colonial notices where things have been listed in a Gazette in the colonial country and then it's also listed back. So these are for the Cape of Good Hope where they've got a whole range of people who've died out there and they don't know where the heirs and things are. So it's basically saying we're putting the notice through as well, you've got a set period of time if you've got an interest in this estate to make a notice.

We do see murders and inquests. Not many, but you do see a few. One of the things you'll find and let's be realistic this is a Gazette that's been operating since for over 350 years. What is listed in it does change over time, so this one is quite strong on the socialness for the time. The fact that they found the dead body of a boy, was taken to the dissecting room of the king's college by four men and then offered to sale, and the demonstrative anatomy to the fact that this body had never been buried. So that these men probably had killed this boy so they could earn the money by selling his body to the dissecting rooms.

Medals and awards, and remembering it's not just military medals. These are civilian medals. So the Edward Medal is a civilian decoration that was awarded from 1907 to recognize acts of bravery of miners and quarry men who risked their lives to in rescue others. The Albert Medal started in 1866 to recognize saving of life, and the last time it was awarded was for two Australians from New South Wales in 1970. And then it - the Albert Medal - was replaced by the George Cross.

The George medal was the police award, so you'll see a number listed through there and you'll get a bit of information about why they were being given the award. Again the amount of information varies

We have exhibitions. So we remember the great crystal exhibition in 1866 of the wonderful crystal palace, which was all that lovely glass that got destroyed and all the exhibitors there and they won prizes for their work. So England sent people overseas and companies sent their work overseas as a way of advertising and showing how good they were, and then they were awarded prizes in various exhibits in various categories.

And you get a whole list, some of these are individual people, sometimes it's a company that's mentioned in the various levels, so if you've got something in your history saying that you had an ancestor that exhibited and won a prize at the Vienna exhibition, here's you can actually find a listing of it. And it has gone over a number of time frames so there was an international exhibition held in 1894 and we we kept running international exhibitions like this until quite late in the peace.

You'll find information on charities and friendly societies and things so this is the Merchant Seamen's Fund. So effectively the merchant seamen had been paying money into this and they were winding up this particular fund but the people who were already in it who are going to be getting pensions out of it, they were going to be allowed to continue for a certain period of time with the monies from that one, so there's a couple of pages talking about how they were going to go around doing that. He wants to change the name of his ship, and it tells you a little bit about it. So it's told you who he's bought the ship from and it's telling you what he's changed it changing his name to. So he didn't like the Mamgu, he wants to change it to the Venus. I probably understand that.

We also see things like the fact that building, the as a primitive Methodist chapel is now going to be registered to be able to, allowed to do marriages. And so you see a few of those going through in the time frame, and that can actually help you nicely with some of your ancestors where they've gotten married perhaps somewhere separately if they're on a Methodist circuit. And it's because the building they usually worshipped in wasn't actually registered for marriages.

Patents. You'll see some of these listed with a little bit of information about them. Yes you can do patents. They will be separately registered with all their diagrams; you won't see the diagrams in here. So you can go to then to the patent office to actually look at all of those, which again you can do online.

Sadly of course we also see mentions of disease, so foot and mouth was occurring in 1920, and J Egerton Quested has a infected place where his sheep ended up with foot and mouth in Sheraton in Kent.

So you have got the ability as I said earlier to download a pdf of the issue that you're interested in. And I suggest you do it rather than just have a look on the page of the one page, because there's so much other information that's of interest in there that's really interesting reading.

And you can do your searches for the names of the lords, you can do your searches for the names of places, it's worth doing some of these things for your keyword searching.

Of course I’m giving this talk and a week ago Find My Past announced they have now published the full range of the London Gazette from 1665 to 2018, the Belfast Gazette from 1922 to 2018 and the Edinburgh Gazette from 1797 to 2018 as part of their services, and of course I believe you have access to that at the library.

They also have the Dublin Gazette from 1750 to 1800 but it's not part of the series. On Find My Past it's often easiest to narrow your search in the collection using the a to z search. So if I type in London Gazette you'll see that I’ve got London Gazette and I’ve also got the London Gazette supplements. So if I’m searching in each of those individually, if something's in the supplement it's not going to come up in the London Gazette search. But just remember keep that in account.

So that the London Gazette supplements is where you're going to pick up your medal roles and honors, so just make sure you check those. So you can actually go through there, we look for our James Eastridge Weeks and there we go, we come up with James Eastridge Weeks, the same three entries we had before. Plus of course it gives you James Weeks and the other things going down. You're going to see the same page because it's literally the same page as it's coming up there.

If you go through to the transcription, it's giving you the transcription of what it is, not the transcription of the text, but what you can do with that if you've got a tree or something on Find My Past, is you can actually add that entry to your tree. You can do printing and report entries and it gives you some other hinting going through. You can do an advanced search and you don't - and remember I was doing Mr Plumbridge who became an admiral - I can then do a search with optional key word admiral, and then I’ll get the entries relating to Mr Plumbridge as an admiral, and there was two results. The other thing you can do is actually - under advanced search - is not put in a surname. Put in keywords and then you kind of get this treasure chest where you can actually have to start paging through trying to find, but it can give you some information. You want to know who ended up getting the Edward Medal or you want to know who ended up getting an Albert Medal or whatever, all put in a place. You it's a interesting way of actually spending a fair more hours than one perhaps is supposed to, but you can actually do that quite nicely as well.

So both of the searches work quite nicely. I like searches on both of them for different reasons.

On the Gazette site, I’ve got the option of being able to do my date ranging and actually changing the, you can you can narrow your publication year down here too, but I can actually sort by my change my dates to be sorting by. So play with both of them. You've got access to both of them quite easily. Definitely register at the Gazette site as a researcher, don't go in as a guest because that way you just get -  it just is easier and looks nicer.

Um hopefully this is actually giving you some indication that Gazettes are really useful things to have look-sees at, because there's so much information in them. Remember the Australian Gazette is Commonwealth Gazettes available on Trove, the New South Wales government Gazettes available on Trove, the Victorian government Gazette is available at the Victorian Government Gazette website, Queensland government Gazette you can download from Tex Queensland for up to nineteen hundred. So government gazettes have a huge amount of interesting information in them. They are not just bankruptcies and world war honours.

Thank you.

Thank you so much Helen for joining us again today.

Thank you very much everyone, it's been a pleasure and please go and dive into Gazettes. London Gazette, Queensland Gazette, Australian Gazette. Thank you. Good have a great day everyone.

You too. Thanks Helen, thanks everybody for coming.

Pandemic: The 1918 influenza epidemic in Queensland

I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Turrbal People and the traditional country on which this event is taking place and the elders both past and present I also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future elders and leaders.

Welcome to Moreton Bay Region Libraries and this is our first online event for Spring. It's wonderful to have you all joining us online today to hear Helen Smith from Dragon Genealogy tell us about the influenza epidemic in 1918 and I'll hand over to Helen now. Welcome Helen!

Hello everyone good morning, so I was going to do this just as Queensland but in light of our current epidemic I decided I'd expand it just fraction because it makes more sense if you look at it in that perspective.  “Oh I had a little bird its name was Enza I opened the window and in-flew-enza”. That skipping rhyme was quite common and it was common getting up into the 30s although a lot of people had forgotten about the Spanish flu by then or maybe it was more a situation that they had done their best to suppress the memory coming as it did straight after World War One so basically it was an influenza pandemic that started in 1918 it spread to nearly every part of the world with an estimated 100 million deaths which was around 5% of the world population at that stage and up to about a billion people were affected exact numbers are not known and people have sort of laughed a bit saying oh well that was because it was 100 years ago but as we're all living through the current situation we still don't know exact numbers in pandemics so perhaps we can give them a little more slack than we did at the time.

There was a 10 to 20% death rate which was quite horrendous and we'll talk more about that as we go. Now looking on this from 2020 eyes we need to think back a little to what sort of bacterial or medical knowledge there was in 1918 at that time there was hypothesised that something like viruses could exist but no one knew anything about them. So everyone's thinking about bacterium which was still a fairly modern thing because it was only really in the 1890s people really came to accept that things like bacteria actually existed and the German bacteriologist stated the cause of influenza was a bacterium Haemophilus influenza because they had swabbed the throats of people who were ill and had isolated this particular bacterium and they did their best to make a vaccine on it and it was the main constituent in the influenza vaccine for the antibody production. The incubation period was really quite short two to four days and that was one of the reasons that a seven day quarantine was instituted.

This is the scenes you will see this was actually in Melbourne in the royal exhibition hall down there. Now where did it come from exactly well 100 percent guaranteed we're not really positive 100 % with this really strong leading theories nowadays. There was a theory it came from China because Chinese laborers were sent to the Western Front to help dig and do things and shift stuff around and so on they came across from China across Canada and into Europe. There was a theory of a mutation in Kansas and that's the strongest theory that's actually gone into effect in more recent times certainly Kansas got hit extremely heavily in a military encampment there and Kansas of course is a rural area that we had pig farms and things around it and the way a lot of these viruses go is they'll be in a native animal like a bird it'll go into a pig and then it will go to humans and of course America joined World War One in 1917 sent lots of their troops all over across to the fighting areas and we know that it was seen in France in 1918 it was seen right across the US in 1918.

One of the really strong things and this is going to sound really familiar with everything you've been hearing in the news is the waves of illness and the virus could have increased in potency between the outbreaks. Certainly the mortality rate massively increased with the second wave and the third wave was still higher in mortality than the first wave but the second wave's mortality was like five six times as high as anything else and the waves generally lasted two to three months. What we have to also think and basically we understand this certainly today our effects aren't as heavy for the situations that we've actually managed to keep lots of our services running but even in areas where mortality was very low so many people were incapacitated that much of your everyday life was hampered and we'll talk more about specifics on that in a bit some communities closed all stores or you required your customers to actually leave money and the order outside they assembled the order and then put it out on the porch to actually be picked up. No online shopping in those days. Lots of reports of healthcare workers getting ill and not having enough healthcare workers. Gravediggers not being around enough to be able to bury the dead. Mass graves being done, so lots of severity and lots of reasons this was a new iteration of the influenza you you'd had standard influenza still wandering around and we did in Australia as well so people were still getting influenza but not this strain, this was a new strain so no one's immune systems had been exposed to the strain previously.

There was also huge amounts of troop movements in World War One lots and lots of people living closely together which is always an issue for respiratory virus and there's also major issues with the points of view stress we know can cause suppression to immune systems we've had four years of war, soldiers particularly soldiers in Europe on the Western Front with privations and noise and all of the stresses of war it's a whole range of issues and we had people going everywhere soldiers primarily but also support stuff for soldiers. It was a source of huge numbers of fear around and remember this was still in the fact that because a war was on many, many countries were under censorship so they were doing their best to actually suppress this because of course if you're fighting a massive war against an opposing party you don't want them knowing you've got major troubles at home so whole ranges of issues were trying to suppress things.

Now the reason it's called the Spanish flu is because the King of Spain actually came down with it and Spain in the First World War was a neutral country so when the king came down with it there the Spanish press really spoke it up and then got picked up and then it became the Spanish flu and it's been the Spanish flu ever since, but it's not Spanish flu. Our timeline - we saw cases in USA, Europe also in South Africa we did have people ships stopping and picking up water and stuff and fuel.

The Australian government knew about it in October 1918 and instituted a maritime quarantine remember Australia became a federation in 1901 and quarantine and customs had gone as a responsibility to the Commonwealth and they instituted a maritime quarantine and because Australia of course was a long way away from everywhere the only way you could get there was by ship, the quarantine was actually going to be quite good because it took a while to get here. New Zealand however told us in November that they were seeing cases and it hit New Zealand quite badly particularly amongst their Maori population. The Australian government's getting quite concerned by all of this and worrying about what happens if the quarantine doesn't work so they instituted a conference of the health ministers and the chief health people in each of the states and they assembled in Melbourne, and trying to prepare for what was likely to happen, talking about how to do public health management, what sort of preparations did each of the states need to do, making a decision that if a state notified a case that it would institute a border quarantine around that state to try and contain it within that state and you do a land quarantine of a 10 mile buffer.

Now Queensland government actually agreed with the majority of this but basically said trying to introduce a 10 mile buffer quarantine was going to be pretty much impossible so they basically agreed to everything but they didn't actually do the final sign off because they didn't agree with the 10 mile quarantine situation. So New Zealand government gazette on December the 6th 1918 declares under the Public Health Act that it's mandatory for any doctor who thinks he sees a patient with this they have to be notified because if you don't declare it as a notifiable illness there is no legal requirement for medical people to actually notify about it so the various states all did the changes and you'll see this in the government gazettes for each of the states that it has become a notifiable disease.

So from October 1918 all vessels from Africa, New Zealand that's written in those places had to be quarantined for seven days. So between the 7th of November 1918 and the 27th of March 1919 110 vessels were quarantined and this was around 12 000 people. Fifteen of those vessels had infected people on board and a lot of these were - we'll talk about the ones in Sydney - so generally if you're quarantined you're staying on board the ship then if you're sick you get taken off and you went to the quarantine station. So as an example the SS Medic carried 833 troops and 156 crew and it was heading to Europe it was recalled when peace was declared. It stopped in Wellington sadly on the 7th of November to refuel and became infected at that point arrives in Port Jackson on the 21st was 203 cases which is rising to 335 and 22 of those cases were nurses. The epidemic continued for 40 days and 22 men and two nurses died and one of the things you'll see through the Spanish flu and through the current pandemic healthcare workers and care workers are infected at a huge rate because of the repeated exposures they get and this is the one thing we need to take away out of all of these pandemics is the debt we owe to all health workers who actually are really heavily involved in caring for our ill.

As an example of the social attitudes at the time Annie Egan was a 27 year old Catholic nurse and she volunteered at quarantine station to help people and she got influenza and she requested the services of a parish priest to give her the last rights and the government refused and she died on the 1st of December unshriven and this was a really big deal and you have to actually start thinking back to the time there was a lot of anti-Catholic feeling in Australia at this particular time part of it was the fact that Ireland was didn't want to join into World War One and although lots of Irish soldiers did join, the government was still anti that whole scenario. So we'd also of course had the uprising in 1916. This was massively reported in papers all around Australia and New Zealand so the North Head quarantine station has sadly pages upon pages of people who died of influenza.

There was a general concern about the soldiers coming home, how are we going to actually stop them jumping ship they've been away for four years and all of this scenario this will spread things so there was lots and lots and lots of concern so lots of people effectively if you're on a ship and anyone gets sick you've got to keep on waiting until everyone is well and no one is still getting sick. So lots of government concern about quarantine being broken. We also have the whole problem that there's lots of concern about the fact of who's actually running things because although we became a Federation in 1901 the colonies pretty much really still had the mental thought this wasn't going to change anything much they've been running their lives very successfully up to now and there was still a lot of trouble around who- how how for some things was going to be taking over.

So World War One and the Spanish flu was really the first really big challenge to the Commonwealth about doing directions over the states and doing things as to how things were going to happen. So we've been doing our initial quarantine situations and remembering we said that we had their health ministers conference where everyone said okay at the first pneumonic influenza case in our place, because we were calling the Spanish flu pneumonic influenza because the symptoms were very much a severe pneumonia, which was extremely severe you turned blue you basically were bleeding through various orifices in the body your skin was mottling it was really quite horrendous and clotting and as a major cytokine invasion.

At the first sign of something like that you would notify the Commonwealth and you would have a quarantine placed on your state and you would be blocked off. So Victoria didn't notify. What happens and I’ve got this slide out of order sort of - so we have a case turns up in New South Wales, it's a soldier that's come up by train from Melbourne up to Sydney. He arrives in Sydney, he's gotten ill on the train and it's determined that he has pneumonic influenza. So New South Wales notifies, it closes the border and is notified but Victoria suddenly notifies the day after New South Wales declares the soldier coming up from Melbourne and going back historians going back believe that potentially there were cases in Victoria for at least a couple of weeks prior but in their potential defense some of them were thinking it was normal influenza rather than actually the pneumonic influenza it is possible in December but there's still a bit of query around that.

So a New South Wales case goes up and it closes. Queensland closes the border on the 1st of February, we are not having us having the issues, sounds a little reminiscent but it was extremely the successful. The problem of course is if you're in Sydney and you want to come home or if you're on the train heading home and we've closed the border. So we close it and it strands a huge number of people. There are telegrams going backwards and forwards and this is actually really good as Helen mentioned she's collecting information on the current pandemic in the local area the archives for the local history archives in the library well lots of the archives have collected government documents and things relating to this so you can look at these telegrams and things at the archives.

So what Queensland did was they stopped trains at Tenterfield now remembering this was because of our change of gauge on our railway. So we pulled all our passengers off and we weren't going to let anyone into Queensland until they served a quarantine period but we let the freight through and we instituted a seven day quarantine. Initially this was at Tenterfield showgrounds. Needless to say Tenterfield weren't terribly thrilled about this they weren't set up for all of it and realistically that's being held in Tenterfield they're going to cover some of the costs so it gets- gets shifted from Tenterfield to Wallangarra. We also have a quarantine station at Coolangatta. Now our coastal shipping had already been under quarantine as soon as the Commonwealth had instituted that quarantine back in October.

So this is the tent at the quarantine at the Tenterfield showgrounds and then we shift it through to Wallangarra. 8th of February no cases in Queensland we're doing good. 15th of Feb, no cases in Queensland we've got 450 people still quarantined. Tenterfield they've got another train continuing so we shipped everyone to Wallangarra on the 19th of Feb and we actually do charge the people for their quarantine - seven and six a day and you've got three months to pay the bill and you have to sign the fact that you understand this and you are paying the bill. You can see those documents at the Queensland state archives because a number of the people later in the piece decided they weren't going to pay the bill so the police get involved and it's actually some interesting files out of the archives.

So you'll see these nice people arriving and this is really good for us because we've got the Wallangarra admission registers at Queensland State Archives which gives us a bit of information about any of these people who were there we're also doing our best to stop anyone leaving Queensland. You have to have a really good reason to want to go down to southern states and you have to and you have to agree that you're going to be quarantined before you come back and we had Wallangarra open from the 19th of Feb to the 19th of May.

So this is the Coolangatta border restrictions and so we have- we're still letting freight through but not letting people through. So we're still we have our people - I’m not quite sure how good the tent was going to be is a strong thing, and maybe in those days they didn't decide to ram the border and rush through like some of our current people have been doing but they actually stopped everyone and but did leave the freight through so our business transactions did continue.

You could send money across by flying fox and you could send your letters across by flying fox and we were doing our best to avoid possibly infected people at that stage we had no real idea about fomite transmission which is where the virus can actually get onto an object and then be transmitted when someone touches that object it just wasn't comprehended.

So vaccination programs were being heavily done and so we had in the town hall, and remember this is the vaccine that has been developed from the hemophilus influenza bacterium so it is not going to be at all successful against the virus but maybe could have been successful against some secondary bacterial infections and we're also making any of the people at the border in the quarantine station do inhalation baths with a chemical aerosol in a which was believed to actually protect you and kill the virus if you actually had it and we instituted rules about open-air gatherings and restricted gatherings in closed areas.

To the borders, in Queensland we're still doing pretty good we don't have any cases in Queensland but we are breaking having finding people breaking quarantine and fining them. I do have to feel sorry for some of them because they're further out west and there are stockman coming across the border or a swaggy coming across the border who's really not keeping up with things and then suddenly finds that he's goes to the pub and makes a comment about being in New South Wales and then gets arrested because he's broken border restrictions. No cases amongst any of these people who broke the border quarantine.

So we're still doing pretty good here we get into March no cases in Queensland we're patting ourselves on the back, we're doing fine. Coolangatta needed to be closed because it'd been a major storm there which caused lots of problems with tents being blown away so they went to Greenmount. We do have someone die at the Wallangarra quarantine station which caused a certain amount of angst 'til it was decided that she died of something that wasn't flu. We get to the 22nd of March and we're still clear. New South Wales and Victoria headlines in their papers are lots of cases and severe illnesses and a bit of community breakdown because lots of people in the community were coming down, remembering we still don't have our men back so we still have lots of women serving roles in what were men's occupations keeping infrastructure going.

We had our coastal shipping quarantined and the ships were not going north on April the 20th there was cases aboard the Mourulayan and they were taken off the ship and put in the Lytton quarantine station and on the 30th of April we had our first death of pneumonic influenza from someone off the ship Gabo. Then the 3rd and 4th of May laundresses who'd worked at the quarantine point military hospital became ill now the military hospital said no one of our soldiers is sick they must have got it from somewhere else.

So there's still some dispute around where they potentially got it from but within a few days this is what we're seeing, we're seeing influenza outbreak in Brisbane and we're talking 30 cases but we're also talking doctors and 20 nurses amongst the ill, and again doctors and nurses getting sick is a continuing theme you're going to see through all of this. The government had been busy through this and one of the things they'd actually started implementing was to make the exhibition grounds a place to nurse influenza patients. They'd seen what had happened down south and it seemed the best thing to do. So it doesn't look terribly encouraging to me but that's part of their their situations are getting ready and it opened on the 5th of May.

So at the time we're announcing we've got cases we've actually opened the exhibition grounds. So just to remind you what life was like there's your bathroom and lavatory at the exhibition ground you have a nice covered walkway to get there so it's not so bad and we're getting cases being - severe cases- being taken to the Royal and to the Mater. There's some of the sisters from the Mater masks being worn by a couple of them, kind of makes the picture really hard because so much white. It was really sad for them because all but three of their nurses in training actually came down with influenza and All Hallows Convent sent nursing sisters and teaching sisters across to help them.

Overflow from the Mater hospital went to the St Laurence's Christian Brothers school in South Brisbane. Now similar to today you only went to hospital if you were really sick so many people who weren't hugely ill did get nursed at home.

Now part of the problem what happens there is you need to be able to look after those people because you're still in a situation where we don't have a lot of menfolk around so we've got a mum looking after her children and if mum gets sick because this is the really interesting thing with Spanish flu it didn't affect the young and the elderly to the extent. The people it affected were the people between ages 20 and about 45, the younger people and the reason why, and these are your workers, the reason why it's believed it affected those people is because it is believed that it excited your immune system to become hyper active and hyper alert which you meant you got a cytokine invasion and your system just you know you went, you started operating it 5000 times past what it would normally do and basically your immune system was what basically ended up killing you and it killed you, could kill you quite quickly. Whereas in the young and the elderly who are our normal influenza victims or sorry not normal but usual influenza victims when we have an outbreak their immune systems aren't as effective. As you age your immune system decreases in its activity and when you're very young you're just developing your immune system.

So it's believed even though you did see cases in people in both ends of the age spectrum that their immune systems weren't as effective so you didn't get the same cytokine response and we are seeing something similar to this with a Bradykinin response for their current situation. So what we needed to do was find a way where we could get people to tell us that they're having a problem if they're at home because you know in the days of the black death they used to nail the door shut and leave you locked in, we're not going to do that.

So what we did was we ended up putting cards and these are cardboard signs on one side it's got SOS if you needed medical attention, on the other side it's got food if you needed food, and you just put them in the window of your house and school children and people from the local community would go around looking to see this. You know we're still on a time frame where a lot of people didn't have phones so we're we're not in a Facebook time frame where it's it's actually not that hard to actually get community support and that's been one of the really great things of today is we are seeing you know Facebook groups in the local community saying that this person needs a bit of help, this person needs help with shopping or whatever.

We didn't have that what we did have was lots of community support that had been quite active so your Red Cross, your comforts funds, all of those general community people who were being very active through World War One rolling bandages and knitting and doing all those general sorts of things got back together again and really started working. So you had people in the community who would drive really sick people to the hospital, we still had some rationing on for petrol etc, we had people in the community in the local community halls who were cooking up big meals and then taking it around to people that needed it so you see quite a bit of this in the paper which was really fantastic.

So this is the Ithaca influenza epidemic workers in July 1919 and you can see this is Ithaca kitchen and then doctors, nurses, ladies - I love that - this is taken from the paper and school children so the Ithaca Women's Emergency Corps kitchen. This was a photo taken after the war outside the council chambers of all of the ones who got heavily involved and you can see some of the young lads there holding up the food signs and on the other side of that would be your SOS.

Now we're talking right through this time frame where everyone's really, really concerned. People are scared and masks while never mandatory in Queensland were mandatory in New South Wales. We did have separation in Queensland but we didn't have mandatory masks we'll talk about separation in a bit. So amongst the things one of the things the government did do was actually make any of the material, so the cotton and the gaussians that we'd use to make masks, they made them a war item so that no one could price gouge on it and I’m not quite sure how well the Yashmak mask she's wearing would do because it looked fairly see-through to me but you could buy patterns, you could again like we do today and look on Facebook and find an ad for someone locally making them, there's people who were making them. Latest fashion. So you can get them, so muslin and gauze necessary commodity, because we didn't want profiteering and we people were encouraged wasn't mandatory in Queensland but you were encouraged to wear masks when you were going to be out in public. Any public meetings or 20 or more people were prohibited travel and long distance trains was prohibited so if you even if you're in Queensland within Queensland you couldn't go traveling anywhere and we closed our schools. We made our public gatherings open air so if you look in Trove you'll see all the lists of the schools were being shut and was happening, so it started initially in Brisbane and your country areas were still open that gradually changed, and of course interestingly enough boxing stadium actually managed to take its roof off, so it complied with open air so then the boxing tournaments were still able to go on as usual.

On the 7th of May we've closed the theatres, picture shows and other indoor places and they're trying to again do opening in if they can and some of them did. Religious services were restricted you had to have restricted numbers you needed a certain amount of space between each person in the pew, the minister had to be six feet away minimum of three feet between people and a maximum of a 30-minute service a couple of oral histories I’ve heard have actually stated that they were the best church services ever because they were short.

So by the 12th of May so this is only a week after the first cases in Brisbane were actually being notified we had 903 cases the Isolation hospital, the Royal 371, 49 at the military hospital, the Mater's got 10 nurses and a sister down, children's hospital it's got 9 cases amongst the nurses and 440 cases and our treatment, we didn't have antibodies we didn't have anything like that at this stage so your treatment for your severe cases- remember only severe cases went to hospital- was bed rest, fresh air, food and Dover's Powders for the pain because you know any of you who've ever had flu that you ache all over well this was even worse and the thing with Dover's Powders is they contained powdered opium so they were a fairly effective pain thing, the thing of course with opium is it helps depress your appetite which is not always the best.

By the 13th of May we saw our first cases at Toogoolawah. Townsville had a steamer the Paringa went up there and had 10 cases cases in Charleville on the 23rd and we're seeing cases everywhere. Charleville had a Dr Castello Shaw who was a really good public health doctor and he wanted the hotel bars closed because he was convinced that having all them those men congregated around the bar drinking alcohol was actually contributing to the spread of the influenza because they weren't maintaining their social distancing. All places of amusement had already been closed and meetings had been prohibited but hotel bars were still operational he actually didn't totally get his way but what was done was the publican would take the glass outside and serve them on the veranda, socially distanced. We're seeing cases in Bundaberg we're seeing cases in Toowoomba. In Toowoomba we've got a gentleman Thomas McLaren who's 37, took ill he started feeling better went back to work and then collapsed and died. The telephone exchange there only had 15 people employed 10 of them were off sick with influenza and it's these sorts of numbers that were causing the problems of maintaining the services. You know half of the offices of the railway district traffic department are off sick 75 % of Morven's affected.

So between June and October of 1919 we had 31 000 cases reported in Queensland. Now they are the ones that are reported you- it is very probable that you could add at least 10% of that if not more of cases that just never got reported. Hundred of the eighteen hundred employees of the Ipswich Railway yards were off sick. So many people for the Brisbane Gas Company were sick the gas had to be rationed and in the paper you'd look in the paper to see what hours you'd have gas that day or what else you wouldn't have gas that day depending on how they reported it so that was how they managed to ensure a gas supply for most people. In Brisbane we had more than 10 000 cases as I said greater than 30 000 in Queensland. Death rate was 23 times that of the influenza cases we'd been seeing between 1911 and 1917 and because this was a new virus no one had any previous immunity to it so at least you had an infection rate of 50 percent which was quite horrendous.

Now Queensland actually did quite well in comparison against New South Wales and Victoria, sadly for New South Wales, New South Wales was the worst state that was hit but every state got hit. The Commonwealth Serum Laboratory actually were working very hard on the vaccination because they'd got this potential vaccine that they had been thinking and they produced more than three million doses by March 1919. You required two doses and by the end of 1919 25 of New South Wales had been had to have their two doses. Now in Queensland as soon as it started becoming a knowledge about it down south and we've we've got the vaccine up here there were vaccination stations inoculation stations opened in town hall because remember at this stage Brisbane wasn't Brisbane, greater Brisbane, as we know today, it was the Shire of Ithaca, it was the Toowong Shire, it was all the different little things that each of those were individually run, and initially lots of people were really enthused and you had long queues.

As we got longer in that time frame into our March and our April the call for vaccinations decreased quite a bit and it wasn't in single dose vials as we're used to today as you can see there that's a multi-dose scenario bottle but of course it's not just the vaccinations, patent medicines came to the fore. So Trove’s a brilliant source for this you go through there and you can find everything and of course the world had had a long history of patent medicines, the little blue pill that cured everything and all of these ones I love this one: it's Flugon, destroys the influenza germ it's a remedy for influenza, cold in the head, nasal catarrh and any other disorders of the throat and nose. So we have a whole range of these style patent medicine ads. You'll have doctors of all types, well who claim they're doctors, whether they really were doctors there's always another point, where you could send off your money and you could gain their patent medicine and a bid to help you. Protect your lung and chest with this Wawn's Wonder-Wool and then the chemist has personally bought a special protective medicine from Western Australia which has proved to be of the greatest efficacy there and you can now obtain this influenza specific from him. Okay that's really great it tells you absolutely nothing about what it actually contains but you'll see lots and lots of these and people were scared and people bought them mightily.

So as we mentioned we had our individual town council and everyone swung back into action and we're looking at beef tea, barley water, lemons and then we had ads in the paper asking people to donate these and the advantage for us as family historians particularly or local histor- sorry local historians is that a number of these records do survive in various archives. So we see you have our SOS cards and some of our SOS people who are going around to the various things. Card in the window, so this is a slight repeat That is a slight repeat -how did I do that?

Sorry, okay let's talk Indigenous, unfortunately our First Nations people were hugely, badly affected and we had lots and lots of deaths not sure whether you've got- you'd have a copy of Matthew Wengert book in the library called City in Masks and it gives some information about Cherbourg and a few of the other places we talk about this as the worldwide 1918 influenza pandemic and Australia in 1919 but we were still seeing cases on Thursday Island which was the last place we saw cases in Queensland in 1920. Amongst your family possessions you might see some of these these are influenza badges that were awarded after the war to people who'd been active in the community helping and friends of mine Faye and George Dean collect these things and they gave me permission to show them to you.

So you may also see something like this is the cardboard sort of certificate or a letter that was put out by various town halls, government departments etc thanking people for actually doing those. Trove is your fantastic great resource for this because it gives you stuff day by day, what's happening, oh certain amounts of confusion again much like current times. Lots of government action lots of ads, needless to say lots of ads for patent medicines, community perceptions, the letters to the editor, things that are happening, calls for people to come and work at the various canteens and things or community kitchens in a bid to actually help the community.

So you see lots of those sorts of things. Lots of records, so death certificates, now remembering on a lot of these what you're probably going to find is death by pneumonia, it's probably not going to say influenza or it might say pneumonic influenza, it might say Spanish flu, but often it's going to be the clinical symptom which will be pneumonia and quite often you'll see workers listed in government records, we've got those quarantine registers personal diaries and letters, the commonwealth state and council archives.

Out at the Queensland state archives, particularly if you've got ancestors from a country town, it's worth looking at the influenza batch files because the one thing the Queensland government did that was a little different to some of the other states was they told each of the councils that they would pay half of their costs for actually doing- mounting their influenza response, so those councils kept lots of detailed records about the beds they bought, the linen they bought, paying petrol and who was doing certain things in a bid to actually to try and get some of that money paid back and there's quite a bit of documentation there. So it's well worth having a look-see on that. Just to sort of show a sad scenario again this is the transport ship Boonah.

So the Boonah was the last Australian troop ship to leave Australia for the great war. They went off enthusiastically getting ready to do their bit and of course peace was declared so they decided to turn- they decided to turn around and come back but they were at the South African port in dar- of Durban and some of the workers there weren't well sadly those workers came on to the ship and infected the soldiers. The ship turned round, no one knew this had happened at the time and basically you can follow in the paper because of course we had our radio transmissions of the increasing numbers of people getting sick on the ship and the numbers kept increasing.

So we start with 90 cases on the 7th of December and so the West Australian government decided to make a hospital quarantine station at Woodman's Point in Western Australia. 200 cases a few days later 337 cases two days later after that and then sadly on the 19th of January we have four nurses who've died of the pneumonic plague in the Woodman's Woodman's Point quarantine station. One of those nurses that died was a Queensland nurse, so Staff Nurse Rosa O'Kane and she sadly died on the 21st of December 1918.

Interestingly enough she ends up being someone who there is multiple death certificates for because she dies in Western Australia so she has a death certificate in Western Australia and in 1922 the registrar general of Queensland decided that Queensland's war deaths needed to be remembered and she is again listed in and he put a call out to families and things to get information of people who died of war stuff and so she's listed in those certificates too.

So the 1918-1919 Spanish flu pandemic was described as the greatest medical holocaust in history and is expected to have killed more people than the black death it's somewhere between 40 and 100 million people who died and part of the issue is we don't really know we know that there were huge numbers of deaths in India and China but we don't know exact figures because figures weren't being kept very well. The US had just over half a million, England had quarter of a million, Australia had 12 000 deaths we did extremely well in comparison but remembering we're still in the country with about four or five million people. Canada had fifty thousand deaths France four hundred thousand we and sadly our Pacific Islands got hit as well.

So we're living in interesting times at the moment but we got through the 1919 Spanish influenza and we'll get through this too but it is going to hurt in a lot of ways and so much of what we're currently going through in this pandemic is reminiscent of what we just went through there so there's lots of similarities there are some differences. Your medical carers people who are repeatably exposed are still at high risk. Treatments have to be evaluated and medical advice can change based on the evaluations of those treatments.

One of the really sad parts of war and of this sorts of pandemics is you have lots of people to actually get information about to see how they reacted to things so you can develop better treatments as you go and we are in that stage now where we're developing better earlier interventions on our severely ill which hopefully will decrease the death rates on those. Hopefully a vaccine sometime soon maybe I wouldn't be expecting one till next year and then there's whole rollout issues etc on that as well. Just as in 1919 the community and individuals play a significant role in getting through this the infection precautions are very very important and just as in 1919 there was a significant hit to the economy which had already been hit by World War One which probably, it's only been in the last 10 to 15 years that the general community's even been thinking about Spanish influenza it kind of went out of the memory of so many people probably because it was just too many hits between the war and that happening straight after and so it is we are seeing certainly a lot of reminiscence just something to make you think a little.

This is the lab confirmed influenza cases in Queensland in 2020 as you can see in January and February we actually were ramping up to a fair number of notifications and then at the time frame when we instituted restricted gatherings and extra washing of hands I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to wash hands just as part of general life let alone when the pandemics are on because it totally decreases the number of transmissions of infection and this is where we're currently sitting with influenza so sadly we are certainly in the middle of a COVID viral outbreak but our lab confirmed influenza in Queensland went straight down and I’ve never seen anything that actually shows the impact of quarantining, washing hands and enthusiastic take up of influenza vaccinations better than this particular graph. We're all going to get through this.

I do have to give one word of warning this is probably not going to be the last pandemic we're going to see maybe not in our lifetimes but in the lifetimes of your children and grandchildren yes, we will see more and this is sadly likely to be a factor of life. Certainly we know a lot more about it and we learn with every pandemic.

I am a health worker and I spent a lot of my time working out for a potential influenza pandemic which was kind of a known scenario so you kind of knew how things would go in the way of health etc one of the reasons we've had a bit more problem with this one is it's totally unknown virus so we're trying to cope with all those unknowns but we will get through. We are all in it together and we are working together as a community and the more we actually do that the better chance we will but washing your hands hopefully when this is all over and everything is good we'll remember that we need to be washing hands.

Thank you.

Thank you so much Helen, that was really fascinating.

Redcliffe Cemetery virtual tour

Welcome to the Redcliffe Cemetery. I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Kabi Kabi and Undambi people and the traditional country on which this event is taking place, and the elders both past and present. I also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future elders and leaders.

Cemeteries are an important part of our past. The monuments of our ancestors are here in this cemetery. Cemetery tells you a lot about how Redcliffe came to be and today you're going to hear a few stories of just some of the pioneers that helped shape Redcliffe the way it was.

Okay, the need for a cemetery at Redcliffe was established in the middle of the 1860s and the petition was done by the people of Redcliffe and it was sent to the home secretary office in town.

This area here of the whole cemetery that you can see was gazetted in 1874. Now these tall pencil pines you can see behind me here, they were actually planted in 1894. The gates there was a gate up there you can see up there there was a gate and there were also posts they were painted at the same time the gate was put there to stop animals from coming in.

Undertakers at the time would have been locals. The cemetery register actually shows Thomas Copson and Mr McGregor. Now Thomas was a trustee of the cemetery and Mr McGregor was a local builder who lived around here and he would have been very good and helpful to Thomas because he could actually build the coffins for the graves.

When it was a child the father would usually make the child's coffin for him and there is a few in here, a few babies because back then the children did die of diseases and common things like that and also getting a tooth pulled or some infection because there weren't any antibiotics around at that time.

Now the register of burials for the Redcliffe General Cemetery shows the first person buried was a boy and his name was Edward Henry, Edward Henry Pollard. He is buried in an unmarked grave and back then there were a lot of unmarked graves and the first two people actually buried here in unsurveyed ground which would be maybe over there where there's just some grass we don't really know whereabouts they are buried but they are registered in our burial book.

Alexander and Catherine Campbell now this was the first registered burial. It was actually registered because they had laid out the plots where they were going to be and so this was the first one. Now Catherine she died first and Alex Cameron who was a blacksmith, he could have built these it's possible that he built this fence around his wife's grave we don't know for sure but as he was a local and he was blacksmith he could have.

As you can see it's an upright headstone and it's got sandstone footing which was common in those days and there's lots of intricate carving you can see the flowers and it says sacred memory of Catherine the beloved wife of Alexander Cameron. Now she departed this life in 1884. Now Alexander purchased 54 acres on the peninsula and he came from Scotland, they both came from Scotland, now their land would have been over there if you know the peninsula it will be around Duffield Road, and he went on to purchase a further 18 acres.

Catherine, his wife, was actually a sister of John Grant Dean. Now he's another pioneer settler in Redcliffe when Catherine died in 1884. Like they mostly did back then, Alexander married again and he actuallymarried another pioneering family, the Tubbs family, Alice Tubbs and she's buried here as well.

Now the Tubbs family, if you know the area there's Tubbs Streetnamed after them. Here in Redcliffe you've got Cameron and Alexander Street are named after the family and Alex when he retired he was into - he had a really big apiary and he loved his bees and there's all these stories about him in the paper and how he made all this honey and he actually called it Cameron's honey and it was very well known throughout this area.

When Alexander passed away he was buried here with his two wives which is quite unusual in itself, imagine being buried and having your first wife and your second wife with you but it's rather sweet and it's quite big. The fence as you can see has been rusted shut. This is one of the oldest graves in the cemetery.

Okay so I just told you about Alexander Cameron and how he married Alex - Alice Tubbs, just this one here is Robert - Robert Frederick Tubbs. So he would have been related as well to the Tubbs family.

So we're just coming this way to the Copsons. Thomas and Annie Copson are one of the really pioneers of this cemetery. When they arrived here from - Thomas arrived here and Annie, his wife. Annie came from England originally and she came over here to be a ladies maid and she just worked over at Sandgate and then what's interesting to note is that Catherine Cameron who we just heard about her - Annie came and actually looked after Catherine on her death bed, so there's a connection in every - every grave you look at there's always the connection to someone else.

Now Thomas and Annie actually bought land along McDonnell Road which is that road over there and they owned quite a few acres, it was over 251 acres they owned and they were the keepers of this cemetery. So Thomas would have helped lay the land, help erect the fences and things like that and Annie, she was only a little lady, she was married when she was 38 which is quite elderly. The following year they had a son, named Ebenezer, he unfortunately died when he was very young. Annie had to earn some money so she became a grave digger. She would have been in her 40s and can you imagine digging graves here, a 40 year old woman, there's no such thing as bulldozers or any machinery that could have helped her she would have had to do it the hard way just with the shovel, a pick, an axe, whatever she could to dig the graves so it's befitting I think that the two people who looked after this area for so long are actually buried here in the place that they loved and worked.

Okay we're going to move over to one of the sadder ones of this cemetery.

It's actually a Peter Boardman. Boardman Road is named after their family. Now Peter was only 16 when he was accidentally killed and as you can see from the - his headstone this is a broken column and a broken column is for a life cut short. It's the only one of this kind in this cemetery and it's for Peter Williamson Boardman.

Now he loved his horse, he loved riding his horse, he would- they'd have rodeos here and he was well known in the community for riding his horse and he was very almost - not reckless but he would go over jumps and he was very well known, they also called him Snowy. Now in 1934 when he was only 16 years old he was helping to corral horses on his father's property and there was this one wild horse and it was running towards a tree so Peter galloped after it on his horse. Now he didn't get to the other horse in time because he ran into the tree but Peter actually stopped and the horse that he was sitting on threw him.

Okay I'm going to take you over to the Korsch family grave now, on our way you can see this here this was another form of fence that was very popular at the time as well.

Okay so we're going to take you to the Korsch family grave it's just about there's not many that had the tiled seat there but the tiles put on the cemetery plot that was about the 1950s it became quite common to do that rather than just have the concrete or the dirt.

If you're looking at the headstone you can see it's an open book headstone there are spirals on either side and these indicate eternal life, the clasped hands in the centre are framed on either side by a cluster of leaves, often when two hands are clasped together as you can see here, it can be a symbol for a last farewell or for the living it can be a hello to the heavens.

Now Korsch street is named after the Korsch family and here you can see Dorothea, the wife. You've got William who's the husband. You've got Headley William Korsch, he was the son and you've got Dorothea Korsch. Now Dorothea Lillian Korsch, she actually died in 1936. She was -  they were all living at Redcliffe - she was working at the Redcliffe Hotel and she fell sick, ended up with septicaemia and she passed away, that's when they would have bought this plot. You've got Dorothea the wife and she was born in 1888 and she died when she was 85.

Now they were married in 1915 and they came to Redcliffe in the 1920sWilliam went into the butchering business and their son Hedley worked as a sawmiller. He also became a fisherman and had his own trawler. Now when Hedley Korsch was 10 years old he was on his way to school, walking along and he saw a hole in the ground and being a young 10 year old boy of course he put his hand down the hole and he got bitten by a snake. He survived he was very lucky to survive but he was rushed to Dr Roberts’ Surgery which there was lucky there was a surgery at the time and he was treated and conveyed to Nyleam hospital which was up at the Redcliffe Parade along the seafront. Now Hedley went on and he married a Jean Offer in 1943. Together they had three children and the three children; William, Elaine and Merle all married in a triple wedding ceremony in 1964.

And here we are at William Sparkes's grave William Sparkes was one of the first settlers at Deception Bay. He was born in England and married Sarah Bishop about 1870. Now William was a farmer over in Devon but because of the economic depression they like a lot of other people decided to immigrate to Australia. They came to Australia with their two children: Can you imagine hopping on a boat in England in 1874 with two little kids and you're coming to a place, a land of unknown, you wouldn't know what to expect - what was going to be here. Just the journey over here would have been horrifying enough but when you landed there was just nothing here but they were a strong family, they lived out at Deception Bay. The two kids would have had to walk to school and the nearest school was at Humpybong so that's up at Margate where Humpybong school is. Now William was instrumental in getting a school for Deception Bay. He was only 57 when he was tragically killed, although reading his headstone, it sounds like he was - just went peacefully - it actually says on here: “short was the call he had from above not a word to his loved ones could say his eyes were closed in death like a babe in sleep as he peacefully passed away”, now that makes it sound like he went to sleep one night and didn't wake up but he was actually lowering a house at Humpybong and several of the stumps of the house had already been removed - a strong gust of wind came along and blew the house over on top of William and he died.

Why does this cemetery mean something to you?

It's just so important we can learn about the things all about the history of Redcliffe and just imagine coming here and a lot of them came from overseas from England and we go on a trip today and we just think it's you know jump in a plane and off we go whereas back then they had to say goodbye to all their family their friends the life that they had, quite often the women were pregnant when they came over here and they would be put on this block of land that they had bought and they would have had to do everything they wouldn't have known anyone. Imagine all the snakes and the kangaroos, they wouldn't have seen the kangaroos, it just would have been such a hard life for them and to keep their memory alive and how hard they worked and they built up this beautiful place called Redcliffe now so without the pioneers and listening to their stories and what they did with the land - you know there used to be a sugar cane farm, sugar cane, they grow sugar cane down at Clontarf and you've got to think the only way over here was by boat because there was no road to Redcliffe then, Anzac Avenue only came along after the war. There was a very bumpy dirt road but it would take days to get here from Brisbane, so if you got sick in the early days there weren't any doctors here, you had to go on a boat to go over to Sandgate and maybe get the train from Sandgate so they had a hard life and we need to remember the things they did, it's such fascinating stories.

This one here is an Office of the Australian War Graves, now during the commemoration of World War One you could actually write to them and you could say - there would have been nothing here at all at the time - and they would have contacted them they would have come out done the grave for them and done the headstone you can see it's Crittenden and he was in World War II but you can tell them by the sign there so that was one of the really big projects that the Office of the Australian War Graves did. There's quite a number of them here.

Just as we walk past this grave you can see these tiles here now they were salt tiles and they were very popular around the time in 1902.So there's a few graves you can see with some of these not many are left now but there are.

Okay we're looking at Charles Cutts and William Williams and Martha and Susanna's gravestone. As you can see the headstone is marble set in a sandstone footing and you can see quite often the stonemasons who made the headstones you can see their names down the bottom, this one actually says A.L. Petrie, so they normally put them at the front or at the back and Petrie you might have guessed was from the Petrie family, Thomas Petrie is everyone knows him in Pine Rivers and you've got Andrew Petrie he was actually a stonemason, and if you go around the graves next time you're at a cemetery have a look to see if you can see the names because that actually gives you an insight into the more parts of the history of that family. Now Charles was born in England and he migrated to Queensland when he was 23. He married Martha Williams in 1866 and they moved to the peninsula with her parents he was very active in the community and he was instrumental as well as the Copsons of requesting this land as part of the cemetery. He was also instrumental in getting a church for this cemetery. So probably no one knows exactly where - there are some old maps up in the local history room, but the church would have been over there so a lot of the times you can still see in old country towns the little church with the cemetery there's a lovely one up at Caboolture on Caboolture River Road, that's your classic old example with the church and the cemetery but the church is long gone now.

Now Charles tried his hand just about everything they owned a grocery store and a mixed business on Redcliffe Parade. It also had a post office there.

Martha was almost 90 years old when she passed away and she died in 1938, so that's a very good age because most people didn't live very long in those times. She had lived to see about half of the thinly populated farming district to which she had come, develop into a popular resort. Redcliffe became a popular resort it became known as a seaside place to go on the north side of Brisbane. And you've got also William Williams and Susanna as well Susanna died in 1896 and William in 1891.

Thank you for coming along this morning I hope I've given you an insight to some of our pioneering families.

There is as you can see a lot more here and when all these restrictions leave look out for our cemetery tours we hold them here, at Lawnton, and Caboolture. There's also a book called The Redcliffe Cemetery that you can borrow from the library and we also have our local history team. You can call on us for any information that you like. You can actually look up to see who is buried at the Redcliffe cemetery from our library catalogue on the history and heritage section.

I could talk all day about some of these people they're just amazing to me, I can't tell you how much and how passionately I am enthralled in their lives.

So thank you for listening and be sure to give us a call if you need us at the Moreton Bay Libraries.

Research South African ancestors

I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Tur-bal people and the traditional country in which this event is taking place and the Elders both past and present I also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future Elders and leaders.  

Hello everyone and welcome to the first Moreton Bay Region Libraries family history month event. I'm Helen Cossins the local studies leader and it's wonderful to have you all joining us online today to hear Bob McAllister from the Strathpine Family History group talk to us about researching your South African ancestors.  

Just a reminder the libraries and local history rooms are now open again. If you aren't already a library member please see a staff member and join today. It's completely free and will give you access to a lot of online resources including family history magazines, and (for now) Ancestry and Find My Past online. We have more history talks coming up so please check out the library website for further information.  

Many of you will know Bob from the Strathpine family history group. Welcome Bob.  

Okay thank you Helen. So always a fraught moment when you have to move from one section of the talk to the other to find out whether things are actually going to happen so if you bear with me for one moment we'll just start the presentation and I'll keep talking while we fill the dead air.  

Here we go I was almost going to do this before we started and I thought no what happens if I start it and then it stops? So I'm now going to have a shot at uploading and sharing that presentation there and with a little bit of luck we're underway.  

Okay so first let me give the disclaimer that I'm by no means an expert on researching South African origins or ancestry in South Africa. I got this job by default based upon the fact that I've got quite a bit of experience working with the two genealogical societies QFHS and GSQ and dealing with people coming in off the street and saying I want to research in such and such a country something that I know nothing about so I built up some strategies that I hope I can apply to pretty much any country about which I don't know much and that's what I'm going to show you today.  

South African origins of course we tend to think of South Africa as a European country, rather ignoring the fact that it was the place where the earliest humans came, that in fact when the Europeans arrived in South Africa there were societies present there and that those people are still around today but for our focus we're going to be looking at post-European South Africa and we can pretty much sum up in the 20th century the history of South Africa in its flags. The union of South Africa in the bottom left then it became a republic and finally in the late 20th century the rainbow nation but of course that was only the end of a fairly long and torturous trail. The first flag that Europeans flew over South Africa wasn't that of a nation at all. This is the flag of the VOC the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie the United East India Company which we tend to label the Dutch East India Company to distinguish it from the British East India Company, and here we can see some ships of the VOC lying at anchor under Table Mountain, interestingly Cape Colony and Southern Africa wasn't seen as a destination in its own right it was simply the best stopping off place on a voyage between Amsterdam and Batavia.  

So it was a safe harbor a good place to swap crews and merely a station rather than a destination. Now the fact that the Cape was midway between Amsterdam and Batavia also meant that it was midway between Rio de Janeiro and Madras and that was why in the 1790s the British Navy sailed into the Cape Colony and said sorry VOC we're in a war with Napoleon at the moment and this is a highly desirable spot. We'll take it over thank you, which was a curious thing to do because at that stage Holland and England were supposed to be allies in the war against Napoleon but needs must when the Royal Navy comes to town.  

This is a lovely map showing the Cape Colony around the 1790s, the early 1790s when it was still rather than a country, a big business. The VOC had spread out over quite a large area, Cape Town itself Stellenbosch and a number of smaller villages. There were in fact four law courts in the area and the other side, on the left side of the map in the index it also tells us there were two, four, six, about eight churches and interestingly six of them were Dutch Reformed, one Lutheran and one was Moravian, hinting at some of the future that was to come when good Church of England sailors suddenly landed.  

Within a very few years the VOC flag no longer flew over Cape Town the flag on the top right is the governor of the Cape Colony and the first governor was Earl Caledon. Technically I guess he was an Irishman. His father had an Irish title but since before he succeeded to the earldom he was known as Du Pre Viscount Alexander he doesn't sound very Irish to me but he was the quintessential British civil servant. He'd been the Governor of Grenada the Governor of Madras, had reputedly turned down the role of Governor General of India which was probably not a great career move and finished up looking after the Cape Colony at a crucial time in the wars against Napoleon.  

Of course Cape Colony was only a tiny part of what was to become British South Africa and here we see the flags that eventually flew over the Cape on the top left, Natal bottom left, Transvaal top right and the Orange River Province on the bottom right, but of course the control by the British was not uncontested and here we see a number of other flags which flew over South Africa and significantly the top left is Natalia the Boer state which existed. Bottom left was called the South African Republic long before there was a republic of South Africa it was in fact what we would now call Transvaal. Swap the blue and the green on the top right and we've got something called Neue Republic or New Republic also thrived in Transvaal. Bottom right the Orange Free State this most spectacular flag that one and in the middle something which if I didn't know better I would say was an Islamic emblem is in fact the state of Stellar Land.  

So if we take these flags as an indication of dominance and control there were a lot of them, in the space of hundred years states came and went and so it was a highly contested area. This particular flag very famous one was only in official use for a very short time in Transvaal but it is in fact the Voortrekker flag, the flag flown by the Dutch Afrikaans people who said right we've had enough of being British subjects we're going to head up country and effectively split what we now call South Africa into two parts and things were, seemed to be going pretty well until someone discovered that unfortunately the diamonds were in the orange bit and that didn't seem like a good idea for the British and although it was far more complicated than that this led us to this wonderful image it looks like something straight out of boy's own adventure doesn't it? The great Anglo-Boer War.  

We tend to forget that this striking image could be people out camping until you see heading off into the distance the rows and rows of tents. It was at this time that the British Army invented what came to be called in the not too distant future concentration camps. Places where you could concentrate the combatants or the non-combatants of the other side in one place and it was around this time of course that South Africa became of interest to Australians because it was a place where we could go and shoot people.  

This is the South, the South Australian Mounted Infantry shortly before they headed off in 1898-99 interestingly no emu plumes on their hats because they were from South Australia and it was the Queensland Mounted Infantry who brought in the tradition of emu plumes for light horsemen.  

Now we could talk for several hours about those factors but what's all this got to do with family history? We like to imagine that our families are unitary things, all of the factors which shape their decisions are internal but in fact all those political factors, economic factors impinged upon the decisions that our ancestors made to migrate or not to migrate, to leave the family farm and go and work in the gold mine or not to marry, to have children, to having migrated to South Africa to leave.  

All of these issues arise out of those factors and they shaped our ancestors lives. Now most of us are not interested in writing a comprehensive history of Southern Africa under colonial influence but we do need to think about if we're researching births in Transvaal in 1860, who was in control of Transvaal in 1860? Who were the dominant churches? How safe did our families feel? So consequently a key part of understanding our South African ancestors is to look at the factors which shape their lives. Now as I say we don't want to spend the whole talk on that so I'll leave it at that but on the way through the rest of the talk I'll mention a number of places where you can obtain information.  

Now we all know that we're supposed to conduct family history research in an organized way with a plan and a log of everything we do and we all positively subscribe to that view but we also know that the most amazing moments are when you're wandering through a repository you look over someone's shoulder and you see a fabulous record, and say how on earth did you get that? and so I couldn't resist the opportunity of showing you this which I found. It's some sort of an account book from the 1790s, it relates to a ship and in fact it's part of the salaries paid to crew members by the VOC, the United East India Company.  

The site on which I found it very conveniently offers a transcription however as you can probably guess, the transcription the transcription up in the top left is in Dutch. I spent a moment running that through some translation software which I'll mention later to find out that what we have here is the record of one Hendrick Blom of Rotterdam who joined the VOC in November of 1792 his job function was boy and as the transcript explains - explanation of function under 17 years of age did all kinds of jobs. He sailed on the ship and I suspect that that is a transcription error but I haven't yet tracked down whether that IJ probably should be a Y. It then tells us that in March of 1794 Hendrick Blom left the company, the last line there in the Dutch simply says last record - whether he died decided being at sea wasn't for him, I don't know.  

A fascinating thing but how did I get it? Well I grabbed that from the National Archive of the Netherlands which has the archives of the VOC, thousands of crew records. Well what on earth led me there? Well a link here, from the eGGSA, the virtual branch of the Genealogical Society of South Africa and how did I find that? I got to that from here which is the most amazing collection, categorized, of records relevant to South African Genealogy online and how did I get to that? Well I found that in Family Search and the next part of our talk is going to be how I hope you can set yourself up to make the same sorts of discoveries.  

Oh but I couldn't resist one more image from that fantastic archive and that one would be a real challenge to sort out particularly you'll notice that while the VOC was nominally a trading company his function on board the ship was soldier in the military division so different type of merchanting.  

So let's move on and have a look at the Research Wiki the Family Search Research Wiki, a vital tool for researchers in South Africa or for that matter anywhere else. Unfortunately for something that's so wonderfully valuable Family Search makes it incredibly difficult to find. If you simply open up your Family Search account there's no obvious place that says go to the wiki. It is in fact hidden under its own little subdirectory and as Helen said there is a virtual handout for this virtual talk and that link is available in it, but when you do find it you are presented at least today, you are presented with this map.  

Now I don't want to sound bitter but the front page of the Research Wiki has been altered twice since I began putting this talk together and I had to go back and throw slides away but I'm not concerned about that. So you jump into the wiki and you select the continent that you want to research unfortunately it doesn't work simply by clicking on the patch of colour which as many people would expect these days, you actually have to click on the word Africa and when you do that it pops up a subsidiary menu.  

Now I've had to magnify that so you can see it because when I first came to this page and began working on it I couldn't work out why nothing was happening when I clicked on Africa because it doesn't matter what continent you choose the other menu always opens over in Alaska so once you click on where you want to start head for Alaska it lists the countries available in Africa, select South Africa, it opens up another menu which says there's a South African page and there are nine other pages which you would recognize probably as the nine provinces of modern South Africa.  

So let's choose the whole country and jump in here, and you get an extremely detailed page. This is the top half, there's even more further down when you scroll down and you notice that at the top of this second page or the middle if you regard it as a long page, there's a set of links to all of those other pages so you don't need to go back to the start once you've chosen the South Africa page you can get to any of the provinces from within this page.  

So let's head back up to the top and see what it has available. First thing is this little table of contents down the side one section dealing with records organized by type and I think I chose immigration- yes I did and it opens up this page.  

Now this is where I hope you see the point of my introductory talk about the politics and the time changes. This page sets out where people came from and where they went to depends upon who was in charge at the time and that will decide where the records are kept, so well worth reading this carefully drawing yourself up a little timeline to find out the period when your ancestors would be coming in.  

Next section down talks about background, history, geography and languages and again there's a nice potted timeline summary there and some extra resources to go and have a look at to build up that background knowledge that I was arguing we all need. Fourth section at the bottom, local research resources, gives us things like how to locate the archives and the libraries, historical papers, lots of links in there. You could probably spend a couple of hours just working through each of these pages to get a feel for what is available there's an awful lot. Now you probably noticed that I skipped over at the top of the table of contents where it says beginning research, research strategies now surely that's the most relevant to people but it's also the one page in this wiki where there isn't anything there's currently no text in this page.  

So let's jump back and see what else we've got. Notice here under South Africa research tools a number of options I've picked two to have a look at, a research guide for beginners which isn't published where it was anymore but it's been deemed so important by someone that they've captured it in the internet archive and provided a link to it.  

It's quite an old paper but it's generally regarded as the best place to start if you're looking for researching ancestors in South Africa and this one, just an individual's web page but I found it gave me a really nice overall feel so those two I think are well worth looking at but the big blue button is the key one - South Africa online genealogy records. Click on that and it opens up this page which you saw a little of before. I think yep it's scrolls down over two sections. You notice a few things there, there are a lot of dollar signs at the end of titles because they haven't just limited it to the free things so even subscription sites, if they are relevant, have been marked so you can decide how you want to get there and use them. Some of the places we can link to a set of records which is on Family Search itself so from that page we can just jump straight through and begin searching an individual collection and you recall I mentioned the large number of Dutch Reform churches in the Cape when it was taken over in 1890 and here we see the Dutch Reform Church records in Stellenbosch archive 1690-2011.  

So a huge collection there you notice on the bottom of the screen there the blue line - there are almost half a million images there. I mentioned that this same list will provide you links to paid subscription sites so this will jump you out to Ancestry because it has a very strong collection of South African immigration indexes. Some of them are just plain weird. I very rarely use Geni it's a, an online collection but in this case it has a very detailed article and timeline and references to where sources are of French Huguenots who emigrated to South Africa. So these of course were French Protestants who were being persecuted by the Catholic government of France and were therefore were looking for somewhere to go many of them of course headed into what we now call the Netherlands in Europe and consequently a number of them headed on to South Africa.  

This is also a Family Search set but you notice it doesn't have a capacity to search because this is an unindexed set. There are 40 000 images from Reformed Church records 1856 to 1988 but no way of searching them and a little later in the talk we might return to how we can deal with those. Right back to our Research Wiki main page. Beside the blue button we've got the lilac button- lavender who knows- called ask the community, click on that and it takes you through to an alphabetical list of groups of people. So click on s for South Africa and it tells us that Family Search has a community just to do with African research that Family Search Facebook groups Asia, Africa and Pacific genealogy community and other groups, German genealogy, our African genealogy, all of those are links on the page that you can follow through and explore - is this the sort of group that you would want to join in order to advance your search.  

Right so that's the top half of the wiki page. When we scroll down there's a clickable map and of course this serves as yet another index to the provincial ones. I think I chose Gauteng did I? Yes I did, which opens up a separate page. This time instead of trying to give an overview of the whole country it provides a history of the province. Now you'll notice at the top you've got the same big blue button which will take you to records that apply to the whole province but there's a table of contents there which I've chosen to hide but if we show it like that, it indicates what's on this page about just this province. So you could look for- oh yeah I'm particularly interested in Methodist Church records and go straight to it. It's an unfortunate feature of these pages that if the contents are open they actually fit in the space between the big blue button and the heading historical overview, which means that all the text is pushed off the screen and if you don't know that you might not scroll down and you'll never find all the goodies which are hidden. This is a second one of those nine provincial pages, the Eastern Cape map showing where it fits.  

A little bit of its modern history about how it incorporated some of the homelands which had been set up under the apartheid scheme but you'll notice right on the bottom of the screen there a list of cities and towns in the Eastern Cape and when you click it you actually leave Family Search and go through to Wikipedia. I think this is a great idea that why do you make up another list if you know one exists so the Research Wiki says if you're looking for places in the Eastern Cape there's a fabulous resource in Wikipedia and here's how to find it and we can choose one of those and for the moment I can't recall the name, oh Braunschweig, that's right. We're still in Wikipedia here and it tells us it's a quite an amazing story of a town which quite literally no longer exists. The whole town was picked up and moved but there's a wonderful Lutheran Church behind and some fantastic photographs if in fact your ancestors came from that area.  

Oh time is flying okay back to our main wiki page where at the bottom under the various provinces we've got something called more South Africa research tools, now this is a bit of a mixed bag- some of them extremely useful like this page from the South African government where can I get assistance to trace my ancestry family tree, sadly a number of them simply those links are broken but you pay your money and you take your choice I guess and for those who may have looked at the Research Wiki before that was the original start page so if you were expecting to see that that's been replaced by that multi-coloured start page.  

And just before I pause to take some questions, what's this caper of not having a handout? Well I have a horror of generating lots of pieces of paper which then finish up in the trash. So what I've done is I've created a little website to support today's presentation. That's the list of its contents. Looking at the time I'm not going to cover all of those but I'm confident that those that I don't get to you will be able to go to the site and work out what you need to know for yourself and here is one page, an example of the category on e-resources which provides a link to the State Library of Queensland e-resources collection, a few snapshots there of the sorts of things you can find in the State Library of Queensland, wonderfully detailed maps from the National Geographic virtual library, the Britannica Library with a collection of biographies of famous South Africans, full text articles scholarly articles from Jstor and up at the top if you don't have a State Library of Queensland membership I've provided the link that you can sign up and dive in. And as Helen said when you get your email after this talk asking you to say how wonderful I am or to tell the truth whichever you prefer in that email there will be this link telling you how to get to that virtual handout.  

Helen would you like to tell us what questions have come up? 

We've got a question Bob, from Marilyn asking what about other denominations please.  

Other than Dutch, Dutch Reformed? Yep certainly there are lots of church records listed on that same page the- after this little question break we'll have a quick look at Ancestry and I think you'll see there there are a number of other church records on Ancestry. Yep anything else? No well I'll be very unprofessional and have a sip of coffee.  

Do have one more question-  

Good, good-  

It is from Rick and asking are you any relation to Heather McAllister who ran the Ancestry 24 website from South Australia. 

No Rick I'm, I'm not have very few direct relations in Australia, my Dad arrived from Belfast in 1928 as a small boy and very few of the McAllisters are we closely related to. So let's just close up that first presentation.  

Oh I've got another couple of questions if you've got time Bob-  

Yep, keep going.  

Susan asked where can we find information of people immigrating from South Africa to Kenya in the years 1900 to 1940ish?  

Whoa internal migration that's as a public servant in a previous life I would suggest that I'll take that question on notice. Quite frankly I don't know, but I will see what I can find and if I can find something I'll whack up the link on the site. That I think is the great advantage of my little virtual handout when I discover things that I should have done but didn't I can fix them up afterwards.  

And Jan asks what do all provinces have access to BDM sorry BDM records where can we find immigration records from Britain to South Australia- South Africa circa 1883 to 1900 sorry two questions there –  

Certainly- South Africa is a federation like we are and so the BDMs are at a provincial level the catch is of course the nine provinces were only created in their current form in 1994 so you may need to go back through your timeline and sort out which current province covered the area where your ancestors would have been born and tracked that down. British migration should get a mention in the second half of the talk and if it doesn't someone remind me.  

So how are we doing for time here? Whoa well not as bad as I usually am but that's not a good thing so if we quickly uh hang on- we'll throw that up and share that and let's see what the story is-  

The question of course that people ask and you hate answering which subscription site should I pay for? And the correct answer of course well it depends upon where your ancestors are from, what time they were born and what type of record you're looking for but if we limit it to South Africa it turns out to be pretty clear. This here is the card catalogue of Ancestry I'm sure that you know that you go in and search, card catalogue is the last item that pops down under search and on the left hand side you can see that you can then filter by country, Africa, South Africa, down individual province and here we see that the province- Northern province which would be the old Transvaal there are 31 record sets there, some quite amazing ones.  

By contrast when I go in to Find My Past and look at the a-z of record sets the only references I can find to South Africa are essentially to do with the Boer War or the First World War or this British Royal African Company 1694 to 1743. So Find my Past has virtually no specific South African references.  

If we look at My Heritage which is struggling to find its place up against the big two they have just four sets of records in their South African collection; the Dutch Reform Church registers, interestingly a very large set of Methodist parish registers 1822-1996. So if you're interested in non-DRK churches My Heritage might be the place to go but in summary if you are looking specifically for South Africa collections now there will be references to South Africans in all sorts of other places, but in terms of dedicated collections Ancestry wins by a mile and, of course, don't forget at least until the end of this month you can search Ancestry Library Edition and Find My Past from home for free through the library website so there's no reason not to jump in there and see what you've got.  

But let's look quickly back at set at Family Search again because it's such a huge collection now this is outside of the wiki now. I've gone into search records and this is the screen I'm presented with and there are two ways of getting into them well there are three ways just throw in a name and hope on the left hand side but that's never really a good strategy, if you want to work with a particular collection you can click on the map of Africa just as we did in the Research Wiki which pops up the same type of sub menu- select South Africa- we're taken to a South African page and you'll notice at the bottom of the right hand side it says filter by collection. Now it only shows the most popular five so you watch very carefully for that 'show all' and click it and you will get 25 sets of South African records and there's those Methodist parish registers popping up again. Church of the province of South Africa 1801 to 2004 that would be the Anglican Church by the look of it I think. So there we have 25 record sets. Second option at the bottom of the page there browse all published collections which takes us to a list of all 2836 collections in Family Search but with filters on the left hand side. If we click on Africa we reduce that to 42 and if we then click on South Africa we've got it down to 29 collections. So oh and we can focus it down even more then by saying well show me probate and court records, we can filter it even more if we like by choosing a time.  

So what we have here are two parts: click on the map, click on the catalog you finish up in the same place. Well not exactly. One path tells you there are 29 collections the other shows 25. What's the discrepancy? Well the discrepancy is that there are some collections that can't be searched, there are four collections in fact that can't be searched so they don't show up on the on one path and they have browse images and we'll spend a little time looking at some of those later because they're particularly interesting. I think we might skip a section- what I've skipped over is portals and lists which is sad because I love it but if we've got time we'll come back to it at the end and if we haven't it's very comprehensively treated in the handout. So this image only collection when you search in Family Search you're all very familiar with running a search- on the left hand side you see the transcription and then view the original document sometimes of course the image isn't available or you need to go out to Ancestry or Find My Past to see it- now that's not so good, but there's a third set such as this one which has images only and this is a description from the Research Wiki when we go in there we see no way no place to enter a name, no index to search, so how do we use them? You've got a link there called browse through 40 337 images, click on it and it opens this up and says where do you want to browse in this reformed church records?  

Well I'm interested in Natal. Click on that and in fact I had to click on Natal a couple of times to finish up looking at the records for Pietermaritzburg 1856 to 1988 and you see just above the blank screen I've got a choice of Baptisms and Christenings, marriages or church memberships. I'm looking for a marriage so we'll click on that one and it opens up just 67 records. So while it said I'm going to browse through 40 000 the filtering system lets me reduce it down and here we have an image of the original marriage register as we say it's got 67 records there from the original 40 000. We have back and forward arrows so we can click and move forward simply flipping pages if you like we can also enter a number directly so if I typed in 45 I can jump through to the 45th record.  

Why would I want to jump forward backwards like that? Because they are in numerical order or date order so if I know roughly when the marriage I was interested in could take place, then I can flip through. There's another icon we can choose there which says would you like to see all the pages at one time? Well it's not enormously useful but some people like to use this by magnifying the screen up and in essence what you're doing is flipping through the pages of the book quickly to find the one you want and here we have 13th of December 1952 a marriage that I'm looking for- notice that the form is bilingual everything is written twice in Afrikaans on the top line and English underneath, except of course the handwritten bits because this is an Afrikaan speaking family they haven't provided a translation for things like occupation but remember the Research Wiki said that I could download an Afrikaans genealogical word list. It's about 12 pages I think, very very useful, alphabetical order little mini dictionary, have it beside you while you're browsing fabulous resource.  

So here, although there's no index for this document I have the information that Hendrik Petrus Breytenbach got married 30th of December 1952 and he was 21 years of age so if I now leave this for the moment and jump out and find a person, copy the information across, seems like a pointless exercise of course because we knew or were told this hadn't been indexed. What I'm looking for now is are there any other records for Hendrik that have been indexed and wonderfully in the shared family tree there we have the marriage of Hendrik. We can go in there - here he was born in 32 so he was approximately 21 years of age.  

You notice across the top it says there are no sources attached to this. Now that of course is a terrible thing for any family historian to see someone's built a tree with no sources but because I've just found a source why don't I jump back to it and look up at the top right corner attach it to the family tree. I can create a source- in the notes I've transcribed there next thing I need to do is select a person and because I'm logged into Family Search it has remembered that the last person I was looking at was Hendrik Breytenbach so I choose him and now the document that was previously sitting in an unindexed collection is attached to Hendrik Petrus Breytenbach. If someone searches for him they can now go directly into that unindexed image collection.  

If we look at it here it is if you open the source, notice index information this record has not yet been indexed view the original document. Now in my noble ambitions for this talk I then continued on and attached the same document to his wife but since we're running out of time we might jump ahead and yep how are we doing for- oh not terribly late okay- I was a terrible sceptic about YouTube you know it's just full of silly cat videos and things but in fact if you go into YouTube you can search and here I've gone into YouTube and I've searched for South Africa in quotes and family history in quotes so I want those exact terms because I don't want Africa family or South history or anything like that.  

Naturally we get a bunch of ads but we can trim them out and just magnify up what we're looking for and an interesting thing happens, the top choices for YouTube videos on South African family history all made by the same guy- let's go through and have a look. This is his channel, you see that he has a range of programs there, he has a thousand subscribers so he must be doing something right. When we look at the list of videos he's put up some of them are just general family history stuff some of them are highly specific to his South African ancestors but often he's illustrating points about his search for his family so that right in the middle of the screen there we can see a 16 minute video called South African genealogy a case study, and I must admit to getting somewhat distracted by that whilst preparing this talk but there's Matthew's YouTube channel and again it's in the handout if you want to follow that up, and astonishingly Helen I have come very close to time.  

Thank you everybody.  

Thanks everyone.

To have & to hold: Divorce

I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Tur-bal people and the traditional country on which this event is taking place and the elders both past and present. I also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future elders and leaders.

Hello everyone and welcome to this Moreton Bay Region Libraries event for National Family History Month. I'm Helen Cossins the local studies leader and it's wonderful to have you all joining us online today to hear Helen Smith from Dragon Genealogy talk to us about the history of divorce in Australia.

All right so let me introduce Helen, welcome Helen.

Okay so let's start, so to have and to hold but not to hold, divorce in Australia. Now interestingly enough we actually got to start considering England first because the Australian colonies ran under English common law from 1828 so effectively what that meant was when things changed in England, the Australian colonies tended to implement them. Not necessarily exactly the same and not necessarily at exactly the same time frame but it did tend to follow on so let's go back to England for a little while. Now marriage has always been considered an important institution for social stability and yep I'm sorry I don't mean to be men bashing throughout this but you can't talk about divorce or marriages without the fact that basically men ruled the roost for many many, many, many years and a lot of this was to do with the fact that marriages were under equal ecclesiastical jurisdictions before 1857 so that meant the church ran the concept of marriage and we always know the churches tend to be quite conservative and go tend to run multiple number of years behind what society is happening at the time.

So the church had a number of ways they could declare a marriage null but what they could do also was to grant a separation from bed and board which effectively meant you separate - you were legally well you were separated in the eyes of the church however you were not allowed to remarry. Now private acts of parliament in England could allow a divorce to be granted but it was very, very expensive and we do hear about it a bit because it was something the aristocracy and the wealthy could choose but you know we're not still not talking huge numbers and this could occur between 1699 and 1857 so before 1714 there were 10 private acts that went through. 123 in like the next 70 years and between 1800 and 1854 we started to get into the idea of this and they had 184 now pretty much all of them are based on wife's adultery effectively no woman gained a divorce she was the responding party prior to 1800 and after that only really four were gained at the behest of the wife and it couldn't be granted on just male adultery it needed to be aggravated with something else so effectively she's claiming the male is committing adultery but he's also doing it incestuously and of course there's a couple on bigamy and you know technically if he's married to someone else it really doesn't mean your marriage was legal and cruelty grounds but it's out of reach for the majority of people the normal standard people like us.

So yes we had wife selling but generally in a lot of ways what happened was people would leave their partner and they'd set up again so a number of these times when you're hunting for that marriage you can't find it it's because they were never legally separated from their first marriage and they're just basically running under a married name when they were never married but wife selling certainly occurred and this was a way of really showing people that you were leaving husband number one taking up with husband number two. Most of them were actually pre-arranged with the consent of the wife in fact this couple in the paper where the wife doesn't think she's getting enough and she actually runs her own wife sale and there's a few things there between 1837 and 1901 there are still 108 documented cases. Any of you with Yorkshire ancestors? Quarter of them are up in Yorkshire. You do see it in the papers quite a bit and a bits made of it.

So in 1850 there was a royal commission in England on divorce law and in 1857 they instituted the divorce matrimonial causes act and again massive double standard a man could divorce a wife with for adultery but she needed other compounding offences, cruelty, desertion, incest, beastiality, sodomy, bigamy etc and the court still did allow separation from bed and board without the right to remarry which they called a judicial separation but the massive double standard happened and this has had a lot to do with the fact that the wife could confuse the inheritance of property by introducing illegitimate children as Samuel Johnson stated at the royal commission between a man and his wife a husband's adultery is nothing the man imposes no bastards on his wife a man is to be sure criminal in the sight of God but he does not do his wife any material harm if he does not insult her and insulted by this we mean physically harm her.

There was also a belief that the man was believed to have a property interest in his wife and that her adultery decreased the value of that and the husband in fact could sue the correspondent in the divorce for damages. The wife however if her husband was committing adultery could not sue the other woman now there's a lot of issues around this as well because the society basically believed we lay back and thought of England when the husband was having his way and of course it's our wifely duty to do whatever he wants and we of course ourselves the sexless chaste beings who gain no pleasure from the act so if we're committing adultery that means we're actually being an unnatural being because we've seeking out this physical activity. So quite an interesting scenario.

The other issue of course is that when we got married the husband and wife became one person in law. As a single woman I have some rights I'm allowed to own property I may be under my father's control but I'm allowed to own property I'm allowed to sign a deed I'm allowed to make a will because I have a legal entity as soon as I get married I literally belong to the husband my husband and I are as one. I lose the right to sign legal contracts I - any of my debts belong to my husband I can't start a business in my own name I can run a business if my husband agrees he of course owns the business and everything to do with it so I have no separate entity.

So again for some of you are having issues with people getting no their first husband's died and you found the death but you never found them remarrying even though they're living together that could also be because she knows as soon as she remarries she loses all control again so that it definitely did occur.

Right so the Matrimonial Causes Act was introduced in 1857 in England it took us a little bit longer to introduce it here Queensland's 1861, South Australia is up there, Tasmania is up there and sorry I've forgotten Victoria it did happen in Victoria too but I can't remember what the date was off the top my head. 1873 in New South Wales, New South Wales was actually the latest to introduce it and of course because we were separate colonies each colony had its own rules and as you know even today marriages births and deaths are all done under separate under the colony and divorces were handled the same way and they all had their own procedures for the divorce as to what you had to go through what the grounds for actually claiming a divorce is, the amount of length of time separated the reasons you could choose. Queensland not surprisingly was extremely conservative and we were the hardest to get a divorce and that actually continued up until 1959 but we'll talk about that in a bit. South Australia and Western Australia were the easiest and the others basically fell in line in between interestingly enough New South Wales was the only colony you couldn't get a divorce based on the grounds of insanity of the partner.

So if we're lucky enough to find a divorce file what are we going to find in it? Well in an ideal world you'll find all of this so that you'll find the petitions for the dissolution of marriage, the affidavits and of course the affidavits are the bits we're really interested in because it tells us who did what to whom or at least who's saying who did what to whom and when and where and all of the interesting details around it. You may find petitions for maintenance you can find the marriage certificate. If the court did find grounds for the divorce you may find the decrees nisi now the decrees nisi’s when the court has decided that they will grant the divorce but it's not absolute until a certain time frame has passed which is the decrees absolute which may also have a copy in there and that time varied between each of the colonies as to how long it needed to be. Various correspondence backwards and forwards and miscellaneous items you can find literally all sorts of extra little treasures. I don't find them in any of the files I look at for my family but other people are much luckier there's certainly there's been photos found there's been notebooks found there's been all sorts of interesting little things.

So Queensland now before you get all hyper excited in this time of Covid I hate to tell everyone but Tasmania is the only one that has digitized divorce files on for online that you can view, everyone else has some sort of index which you've actually got to go to the archives to view it but remember all of the archives offer a copying service certainly may be restricted currently but they do offer a copying service so once you've actually found your entry in the index it's always worth clicking them an email and saying okay I've got this entry how much would it cost me to get this done? So the index from 1861 to 1894 of the Southern District Supreme Court is online and it's available as a csv file you can download as is the writs from 1857 to 2008 and for after 1894 the matrimonial writs are indexed in with the other writs that went through the supreme court because you had writs for all sorts of things, no bankruptcy the whole bit, sadly in 1968 there was a fire in the supreme court and the 1961 and 1962 writs were lost in the fire.

Alrighty so this is Jane Hargrave's file and so this is the front section for 1861 when it started in Queensland and this is the very first bit telling you things so in 1861 we have Jane Hargrave and Isabella Glascott so there was two and so we didn't have huge numbers. So let's look at Jane and what Jane's really asking for is that she wants protection because remember she's the invidious situation that her husband's left her she's trying to keep herself together, she's got no government support and she's actually trying to run a little business but everything she owns can be taken off her because he legally owns it because they're married if he has a gambling debt down in Sydney his creditors can come after her, everything she's got. So what she's actually going through is she's going to the court to make sure that anything she has earned on her by her own right after he deserted her that she can keep and that's what she claims and so she's asking for the privileges of and to be regarded as a femme sole as prescribed under the act and it was granted.

So Elizabeth Heilbron is another one she's applying for a protection order and sometimes these are the things you can be looking for even before you actually see a divorce file application because you'll see often in a police gazette that her husband's left her so she's put it out and about that he's deserted her, protection order if he has been violent towards her so Elizabeth Heilbron is quite interesting and so you can get some nice files I've got a couple of things from her file here so she's done an affidavit talking about things that she's actually petitioning for this. So so on the 19th day of September she was lawfully married in South Sydney in the colony in New South Wales that after her marriage they lived together and cohabited in Brisbane and that they had not had any children. That her petition that she's now 25 and that Henry carried out a licensed auctioneer and pawn broker on the 10th day of April in 1867 and between that and in the first day of April he commits adultery with the local barmaid Mary Boone. Henry and Mary nick off and they run away together literally and they ran away together across to San Francisco. So she's saying that she knows that they've actually had sex multiple times in various places and dates and that he then leaves Newcastle on board the Royal Saxon. Now she actually didn't know that initially, however Henry actually gets arrested in San Francisco for committing fraud and it all starts to come out and suddenly she knows where he is and this is actually quite interesting because the Courier Mail article there's a cut out of it that was actually proffered in the supreme court in her bid to get this divorce.

So there's a number of different petitions and documents and things relating to this and it takes a a reasonable period of time to actually get this this is not a fast process. So Luckman versus Luckman and on the front of this you can see the listing of the files the documents that was in the file and the various petitions and the various statements backwards and forwards about things. Sometimes you can be really lucky and you get some really nice writing now George is actually looking for this because Elizabeth's nicked off with George- so George Luckman's looking for this because Elizabeth's nicked off with George Taylor. Wonder if she just like Georges, but anyway and then he gives some information and saying that she's not staying with him and so on and he gets his divorce and the men do tend to get it faster than the women.

Okay in Victoria you've got- you can look at the index to actually get some information and then you click in through into that and I just used a surname of Bailey and you can see that it's telling you that there's an Ada Bailey and Richard Henry Bailey is the respondent and then he's going through and of course they're all physical items again remembering your archives copying service. Victorian government gazettes are online at the Victorian government gazette and their from post 1997 or online on a different website.

Now you look at your government gazettes for a few things divorces as such may not be in there and that varies from state to state but what you will find in there is amendments to the laws and that can be quite interesting because you're looking at the time frame your ancestor was applying for something to see what the rules and regulations were at that time because as you know we're very interested in the the law for the time and place and I really liked the 1885 amendment in Victoria because they started getting very particular about what information they needed in the initial petition and that gives us lots and lots of extra information. Something else I found quite interesting in the Victorian government gazette was in 1887 a wife who is in South Africa has actually put a notice in the Victorian gazette because her husband supposedly nicked off to Melbourne and she's basically telling him that um I put- I've put it in the gazette, if you don't turn up before the court I'm applying for a divorce. I have no evidence as to whether he ever did turn up or not.

Now each of the states has their own separate closure period as to what you're going to be able to get access to, we'll talk a bit more about that as we go through, generally your indexes don't come up to what the closure period is but New South Wales has got 1873 to 1923 and you get a bit of information there there's about 20 000 entries in this divorce index for them but if you click through to that you'll actually get the information, you'll get the number and the title and then from that you can actually again ask for a copy. You've got some various different collections to actually get that and if of course you're at the archives they've actually got some extra indexes you can use there post this time frame to actually get your register case number so you can order the file and then they've got some separate series and most archives will have these and depends on what it is, so they've got things like the orders for payment of alimony, they've also got copies of letter sent so in the old days if you think back you had what you called a letterpress book so the first page is the actual letter that was sent, the second page is like an onion skin paper which is a copy of that letter and then that's what's kept as the control copy and archival copy about what was sent.

So showing you how some of the changes cropped in for the divorce law so in New South Wales it started in 1870 as I said they were the last colony to actually implement it and a man could petition on wife's adultery, double standard totally in rules because it wasn't until 1881 that a wife could petition on a husband's adultery. In 1884 the government did actually work out providing a way providing maintenance for the wife if the husband can't pay. 1892 they introduced drunkenness and assault as grounds for a divorce and that's long-term drunkenness. In 1923 and this is something you also need to be thinking about because there's not necessarily always reciprocal arrangements within the Commonwealth in England so that actually started happening from that point then in 1959 the Commonwealth Matrimonial Causes Act came in which we'll talk about in a bit and in New South Wales and in most of the states if a divorce has been granted there will be a notation on the original marriage certificate entry to state this has occurred and then when someone gets remarried if they're honest and they say they got a divorce it will be mentioned.

Sadly I couldn't find any nice divorce certificates to actually show you this, I did find a beautiful one for England which was really good because she was really making sure that everyone knew that she's remarrying she was divorced and he was at fault and she actually had that written there that it was divorced and husband- ex-husband was at fault.

So you know this is what I say about some of the treasures you can find, this is in the New South Wales Bush versus Bush file by 1944 and there's a photograph which would be wonderful if it was mine but it's not can see it's restricted for 50 years, but Tassie are wonderful. Under the Tasmanian name indexes you can actually log in there and look and find the digitized file between 1861 and 1920. So with the Tasmanian names index if you haven't used it you go in there initially and you do a search for a surname then you have to go through and actually find the record type so it's telling me it's got 277 instances of divorces for the name that I picked. I can't remember what name I picked we'll find that out on the next slide- oh I used James now I was thinking of James as a surname for this but what it's done is it's picked up James as a first name which is actually something you can consider for some of your common names so this is James Daly who's petitioning against Katherine Daly the- his wife and then you have 34 pages in this file and you can download each of those.

So you see there it's give the initial petition it's asking for the dissolution of marriage and then it's going through all of the various details and then we can also look in our newspaper and we'll talk more about newspapers in a bit because they'd be wonderful. So South Australia has a closure period of 100 years which is the longest of any of them now pre-1859 South Australia did have private acts for divorce but not that many of them actually happened but they actually started Matrimonial Causes Act in 1859 and the case files are listed in the catalogue so you can search for it there.

The married woman's property act came in in various time frames within but they instituted one which was the Married Woman's Protection Act in 1896 which gave a woman the right to separate from her husband and still retain custody of the children, now remember divorces were not considered socially acceptable and in many, many instances a woman who was divorced was not granted custody of the children because it was considered that she was at fault assuming she has been the one that's actually committed adultery or whatever and so she never got the child. So a lot of women actually stayed even bad situations because they knew they wouldn't have much chance otherwise and realistically unless you've actually got a means of support it's really, really difficult.

At the archives there you've got the hard copy index for supreme court matters for later cases they hold records to 1975 and then after that you need to contact the Family Law Court for South Australia. Western Australia state record office holds it again it's a supreme court jurisdiction from 1863 to 1976. Family law court after 1976. They've got a 75-year closure and your early volumes include your precis and your decrees and then you get more information later. These are available on microfilm at the state records office there and there is an index, again there is a copying service if you can get them to reply. Be quite interesting apart from this so we're looking for these for things because effectively the wife will often make notice that her husband's deserted her and this is for a couple of reasons one it actually gives an indication for the start date of the desertion because all of these acts had a required period of time of separation and so you needed some way of being able to say yes he really did desert so it's a good way of doing it. It's also of actually doing it to hopefully try and avoid too many people coming after you for your husband's debts but for most of us the thing we're going to be looking at really, really strongly is the newspapers and of course we're hugely lucky because we've got Trove and reporting can be extremely salacious but it can be in great detail even in newspapers that are not salacious now we do have a number of newspapers that sort of kind of take salacious to the greatest extremes, so an example of this is the divorce reporting from 1906: Matrimonial Misfit. Redland Bay Rortiness. A Frisky Fruitgrower's Fun and Frolic, and you say that a few times quickly and so when you actually read this you know everything's got the worst sort of implication on it etc. It's slightly better reported in the Courier Mail and it's listed under the law report and it tells you the supreme court thing and it's Smith Smith versus Collins and it goes through it gives lots and lots of detail but it's a touch less biased and salacious in its reporting.

Newspapers are definitely and many of these are the divorces are actually reported in quite interesting detail and particularly when it's the woman who is who's trying to get the divorce because effectively you have to lay your soul bare of everything and this is even up into fairly modern times to 1975 when Australia introduced no fault divorces, women who went through the process of getting a divorce were basically shamed and humiliated across the way.

So you have a range of things and again in this instance Mr Smith actually claimed for damages from Mr Collins because he had subsumed the affections of his wife. So we look for our law notices and we'll see these either under divorce courts, law notices, sometimes you'll just see a little notice saying decree absolute so you need to be looking and thinking of under a few different terms and divorce isn't necessarily the term you're going to be seeing. It could be dissolution of marriage decree nisi, adultery of course is something that comes up quite often and it's one of the ways of actually doing it.

So if we do a search and I basically did adultery and cruelty together because remembering a wife generally could not actually get a divorce simply because the husband committed adultery she needed aggravated adultery so needed to be adultery with another offense and so cruelty is one which is actually quite difficult because when you actually start looking at some of these and a number of these of course just because you apply for a divorce doesn't mean so it's going to be granted and often cruelty is not the right one to go for because A you leave your soul extremely bare and B a number of the judges actually didn't necessarily decide that what you've defined as cruel is actually enough to actually grant you a divorce.

So cruelty is not one that was had a high rate of success even in quite a few situations where she's been put into hospital etc so lots and lots of issues there. This was doing better she decided to go under adultery, cruelty and desertion altogether and she actually gets the alimony and this is in 1920. He apparently likes it pretty well because she knows that he's nicked off with this other woman but he's also a co-respondent in another divorce within the time frame of the three years he separated from her.

So New South Wales government gazette you'll see of a few situations occurring there where you may actually get some information letting people know that she's applying for the divorce. And habitual drunkenness for three years and cruelty and if he doesn't turn up she's got a good chance that she'll get the divorce and you get a fair bit of extra information in some of these so you know in this one that Eliza Campbell was formerly Eliza George and so you can go through from there so the Married Woman's Property Act came through in again varied time frames around the country and this was the thing that actually gave a woman a legal entity in her own right even if she was married and that meant she could actually have money or thing of her own and her husband's debts didn't automatically become her debts. So that tended to be quite interesting with all of these situations it's not necessarily just one law that gets pulled into place so certainly the Matrimonial Causes Act the Married Woman's Property Act, the Protection of Children Acts can come into it, simply assault can sometimes come into it. Now we became a Federation in 1901 and the Commonwealth had the right to do an overarching legislation relating marriage, relating divorce at that point but they did not exercise that right until 1959 and once they exercised that right they did a national law that superseded all the state laws so for the first time we had a unified system of divorce across Australia.

Yep someone was still to blame and this is still really important because it becomes what the grounds for the divorce are. Now the 1959 Matrimonial Causes act was not effective till the first of February 61. And you had 14 grounds for divorce so it standardised the amount of time where it's desertion but still needs to be at least two years, refusal to consummate the marriage, adultery habitual drunkenness or other intoxicating drug for a period of not less than two years, cruelty for a period of not less than one year and this as I've said there's real, real issues of defining what cruelty is. If he's been up to actually pay maintenance and he's wilfully failed to pay court ordered maintenance for two years so effectively you've been two years without getting the maintenance the court said that you needed to get. Within the last five years he needs to have been imprisoned for not less than three years and habitually also not just being imprisoned but left you without the means of support. Not less than three years for a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment and within one year the petition if he's actually tried to kill you. I'm not quite sure what they meant by unlawfully killing, was there a way he could lawfully kill you? This is the 1959 Matrimonial Act remember and I get a little concerned about the fact that unlawfully killing is mentioned in that frame.

You need to have separated and lived separately apart for at least five years with no likelihood of cohabitation being resumed and that they've been absent for such a time as in reasonable grounds for presuming they are dead. Either party is of unsound mind and unlikely to recover where technically you needed to be in an asylum for periods aggregating not less than five years in the six years prior to the petition. Either party is suffering from venereal disease of communicable form not many of them were going through on that although syphilis was still an issue. The wife is pregnant by a person other than the husband but we had to prove fault now.

So someone had to do it, so this is where we get all those lovely private detectives and things and this is all the way through you had to prove a fault. So our detectives come through and they're trying to take pictures in motels and hotels and document and get all of that sort of interesting information. The theory was this would allow the ending of marriages for genuinely injured spouses but we're still in the situation and there was huge amounts of argument about this that instituting this sort of act nationally would actually contribute to the moral decline of Australia and the institution of marriage and you had huge amounts of letters going to the editor and lots and lots and lots of debate in governments, and you were not allowed to collude if the court thought that you were colluding in trying to get a divorce they could actually ban you from getting the divorce although basically it did happen.

There were still some ways you could legally void the marriage if the other person was already married your marriage was voided. Now you have a prohibited degree of consanguinity that's the degree of blood relationship and also the degree of relationship that was allowed. We had gotten past the point by this stage of not being allowed to marry your brother's brother in the event that your brother had died. So a lot of those ones had changed in the 1880s and 1890s. Not a legal marriage because of age, you were forced into it, you married this person believing him to be this person when in actual fact he was someone else, you weren't mentally capable of understanding what a marriage contract was.

So we certainly did have divorces through this time frame and you are going to find those in the family courts. It wasn't until 1975 that Australia introduced no fault divorces. So we no longer have to determine who is at fault and yep there was a bit of a rush for getting some divorces through in this time frame so the only grounds for a divorce that were necessary has now become an irretrievable breakdown of marriage demonstrated by a minimum of 12 months separation, and as they stated it was designed to enable marriages that have irretrievably broken down to be dissolved by simple dignified inexpensive proceedings heard in private, so the actual family law act prohibits the publication of details of the actual cases which identify parties associates or witnesses and it really strongly aims to protect the privacy of the parties.

So the courts no longer have the power to make a decree of restitution to conjugal rights because this is one of the problems that have been going back right through those previous time frames, the '59 law and the various state laws, if you have refused conjugal rights and you've actually done your separation time frame, a fellow could actually come back for a day and then you'd have to start your separation again because the minute you refuse him conjugal rights you weren't going to be able to get your divorce. So there's a whole range of very, very sad stories you're going to actually see if you actually start perusing the papers.

Now I'm not saying that there weren't lies told by various people throughout the time frame of divorce seeking and sometimes it's a situation that someone deliberately commits adultery or at least says they've committed adultery in a bid to try and get a divorce through the time frame so again you've got to take some of those situations within as you're actually looking and researching the particular divorces. In a general situation you're going to find for a woman to seek a divorce prior to 1959 that things are going to be in a fairly difficult state because there was indeed a huge social stigma for a woman plus the fact that there really wasn't a lot of government support for her when she's trying to raise children etc. So lots and lots of women stayed in marriages that weren't great in a bid to keep things happening because they needed to keep eating and they needed their children supported etc. Certainly lots of men ran away and then she didn't have a lot of choice if she's trying to hope to actually get remarried. So post 1975 it's federally kept so you can actually, you can- some of the records are kept on a state basis because the family law court whilst it's a federal scenario it's held in based in each state so again you sort of need to keep keeping access to some of these is of course not likely unless it's your own personal divorce because in many instances you're within a time frame, there's only a couple of places that are like 30 years most of them are 50 75 or 100 years closure but if you do have a divorce in the family I do suggest looking in the newspapers first and then once you find it in the newspapers that gives you the time frame and everything else to go hunting through further from that and in many instances you really are going to find more details particularly on the early divorces in the newspapers than you are going to find in the government records, as I mentioned for Elizabeth Heilbron that early one where he nicked off with the bar maid Moone and they went off to San Francisco the information that was in the Courier was absolutely fantastic, there was a couple of pages of that over a few days but you're still only talking of 25 documents or so within the actual archives.

So divorce has not always been easy to get and some of the situations have been extremely tragic as we went through double standards certainly applied for a very very long time until we got to 1975 until we instituted no fault divorces.

Thank you.