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Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Banksia man

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is the name of a well loved, classic children's book written by May Gibbs. She was Australia's version of Beatrice Potter in that she wrote and illustrated children's books with delightful characters. That's where the similarity ends. The obvious difference between the two was that Beatrice Potter was English and her books are quintessentially English. Her characters were those found on an English farm, May Gibbs was Australian and her Australianness was reflected in her characters which were created out of what she found in the Australia bush. Snugglepot and Cuddlepie were based on flowering gum nuts. The 'bad guy' in the books was the Banksia man, May Gibbs looked at the seed pod of the Banksia plant and imagined a nasty character for her bush stories.

This is a flowering Banksia, named by Joseph Banks after himself. He was the botanist that sailed to the southern hemisphere with James Cook and was the first European to record the plants and animals he found.



Once it has flowered and the flowers die away, all that is left is the seedpod.


After seeing this I can understand where May Gibbs got her idea of the bad Banksia man. All this pod needs is eyes at the top and it's the Banksia man!

Just a little something I found whilst bushwalking in a national park!

Something else that I found was this amazing web complete with spider!

It was reasonably high up so wasn't being damaged by people walking into it. I've never been afraid of spiders so was more fascinated than any thing else. The spider was a large one that I hadn't seen before and unlikely to cause anyone any damage. Whilst admiring this spider an American tourist that I had encountered on the path and had a brief chat, (the camaraderie of the hiker!) stopped again and I pointed out the spider. Here's your introduction to Australian wildlife! Like pretty much all tourists that have a close encounter with Australian spiders, the first question was "Is it poisonous?" Australian spiders have a really bad reputation with tourists! No, I reassured him, only 2 spiders are venomous and both of them are actually quite small, big spiders are fine!

Here's a close up!






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