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Bombala playing host to iconic Australian characters – this week only

By Ian Campbell 8 October 2018
The Gumnut Babbies are on show until Friday at Bombala Library. Photo: MayGibbs.org

The Gumnut Babies are on show until Friday at Bombala Library. Photo: MayGibbs.org

Some of Australia’s most loved characters are spending the school holidays in Bombala.

It’s more than a century since May Gibbs’ classic Australian characters found their way into the homes and hearts of kids and families.

For many, it’s hard not to look at a gum tree in bloom and see the brothers Snugglepot and Cuddlepie or the Gumnut Babies, not to mention the fear Banksia trees can inspire with the thought of being harassed by the Big Bad Bankia Men!

Bombala Library is celebrating this history and imagination with a free travelling display featuring these iconic characters created by May Gibbs.

The display runs until Friday (October 12) and features reproductions of some of her most beloved personalities and artworks. Kids are also able to make a gumnut hat and go looking for the Big Bad Banksia men.

Make a gumnut hat this week at Bombala Library. Photo: Bombala Library Facebook.

Make a gumnut hat this week at Bombala Library. Photo: Bombala Library Facebook.

“Generations of Australians have fond memories of growing up with the Gumnut Babies and their friends, and passed the books they read as children down to their own children,” says Alison Wishart, Senior Curator, State Library of NSW.

May Gibbs was Australia’s first, full-time, professionally trained children’s book author and illustrator, her bush families and their adventures were an instant hit when they first appeared on December 5, 1916 in a booklet published by Angus & Robertson.

The display at Bombala Library explores May Gibbs’ early work, the characters of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Ragged Blossom and Little Obelia, her process and examples of how the war and conflict of her time influenced her work.

May Gibbs. Photo: State Library of NSW.

May Gibbs. Photo: State Library of NSW.

“Not many people know that during the First World War she designed a series of postcards and bookmarks featuring her popular characters to send to the soldiers overseas,” Ms Wishart says.

“May Gibbs was a keen environmentalist and was also fiercely patriotic.”

Bombala Library is on Maybe Street and open Wednesday 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, Thursday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
and Friday 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.

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