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17 January - May Gibbs, "Snugglepot and Cuddlepie"

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17 January - May Gibbs, "Snugglepot and Cuddlepie"

Unread postby Max ADU » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:15 pm

Australian Birthday Today - Cecilia May Gibbs MBE, born 17 January 1877, Sydenham, Kent UK – died 27 November 1969, Sydney NSW, publishing under the name May Gibbs, was a British Australian children's author, illustrator, and cartoonist.

    She is best known for her gumnut babies (also known as "bush babies" or "bush fairies"), and the book Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

    She was second child, was named after her mother, had the nickname "Mamie".

    The family moved to South Australia to set up a farm in 1879 due to father's failing eyesight, the result of a boyhood injury. However, as May had caught the measles, her father and uncle went to Australia, leaving her mother in England to care for the children

    Over the next few months, the brothers became disillusioned with the land. Cecilia discovered that she was pregnant again, and decided to make the voyage to Australia with her children.

    When May was eight years old, she was given a pony by her father. May enjoyed exploring the bush riding her pony. This period of her childhood, and her imaginative interpretation of the bush, was formative in the development of the anthropomorphic bush setting found in her work.

    When May was 10, the family moved to Perth. May was published for the first time in 1889 - in the Christmas edition of the W.A. Bulletin.

    In 1905 May was working for the Western Mail and after finishing school, Gibbs spent seven years studying art in the UK. While overseas, she published her first book, About Us.

    Returning to Australia In 1913, and took up residence at Nutcote, in Neutral Bay, in Sydney, New South Wales.

    1913 also marked the first public appearance of the gumnut babies, on the front cover of The Missing Button, by Ethel Turner, which Gibbs had illustrated.

    She produced postcards depicting gumnut babies in uniform to support Australia's role in World War I at this time.

    Gibbs' first book was published in 1916 and was about the gumnut babies, titled “Gumnut Babies”.

    Her most famous work,Snugglepot and Cuddlepie was published 2 years later in 1918

    Gibbs continued to write and illustrate children's books, publishing Little Ragged Blossom in 1920 and Little Obelia the following year.

    Bib and Bub 1924-1967 and Tiggy Touchwood 1925-1931, were two comic strips in opposition newspapers done by Gibbs.

    May Gibbs died in Sydney on 27 November 1969, but her legacy to children lives on.

    Gibbs bequeathed the copyright from the designs of her bush characters and her stories to Northcott Disability Services (formerly The NSW Society for Crippled Children) and The Spastic Centre of NSW.

    The residue of her estate was left to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.

    In 1985 a postage stamp honouring Gibbs, or her best known creations, was issued by Australia Post as part of a set of five commemorating children's books

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