Today is the birthday of Charles Darwin. Currently reading “Evolution in the Antipodes” by Tom Frame which does give some details about the time Charles Darwin spent in Australia but is more generally a discussion of the history of creationism.
According to Frame, Darwin didn’t find much to interest him when he travelled on horseback from Sydney across the Blue Mountains to Bathurst in 1836. But we do have this quote which can be read on a plinth at the famous spot for viewing the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley at Katoomba.
“Below is the grand bay or gulf, for I know not what other name to give it, thickly covered with forest.”
On a cold wet winter’s day, there is nothing better to do than spend some time browsing in a cosy bookshop. A few months ago we spent some time in Megalong Books in Leura in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. Lot of nooks and crannies to investigate in this well-stocked shop.
Dorothy Wall, another children’s book writer and illustrator, lived in the lower Blue Mountains in the 1930s. She wrote a series of books about a mischievous koala called Blinky Bill that are still popular with young readers today.
A bus stop shelter in Glenbrook at the bottom of the mountains, has been decorated with characters from the Blinky Bill stories.
The Magic Pudding is another children’s book with Australian themes, published early in the 20th century and still popular today. The cast of characters include Bunyip Bluegum who is a koala, and Bill Barnacle a sailor, and the penguin Sam Sawnoff who have to prevent the Magic Pudding from being stolen by thieves who are a wombat and a possum.
The author, Norman Lindsay, was a renowned artist who was born in 1879 in Victoria. He moved north to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney where he bought a cottage in 1912 and lived there until his death in 1969. The house which he called Springwood is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public. Characters from The Magic Pudding can be seen around the house and garden.