Parson Dick of Pinginup

Book Description

This story will make you uncomfortable. Should it have stayed lost in the archives, or was it right to expose it? You decide.

Deep in the Australian newspaper archives, we found this forgotten short story from 1908. It wasn't written for children. In it, May Gibbs tells a tale of unrequited love and second chances that takes the reader from Perth, Australia to London, England. Beneath the surface, however, it’s a story about so much more. 

Cecilia May Gibbs MBE (aka May Gibbs; 1877-1969) is one of Australia’s most treasured and revered illustrators, artists and children’s authors. She created an Australian bush fantasy world featuring innocuous characters like ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’. Her work has been capturing the imaginations of children in Australia and beyond for more than a century. The children’s stories penned and illustrated by May Gibbs are synonymous with Australian identity. In contrast, her adult fiction works are generally unknown to literary communities and within Australian society.

This publication offers a new laneway within the study and critique of both Australian culture and the work of May Gibbs. But, you're encouraged to wander down this laneway with caution.

Does this taint the legacy of May Gibbs? Should it have stayed lost in the archives? Or, is it worth exploring these issues, which we're still grappling with today?

Over to you, dear reader. What do you think of this? You're invited to read it and make up your own mind!

Share your thoughts via social media using the handle @editinghistory1, or leave a review!

Book Details

Title: Parson Dick of Pinginup

Author: May Gibbs (Cecilia May Gibbs MBE)

Preface: Penelope Fry

Published: 8 March 2021

Publisher: Editing History

First Publication

This book has been published, and is available via Amazon Kindle.

My research for this book was also provided and recognised as input for this excellent article written by the incredible Dr Joanne Faulkner:

Faulkner, J. (2021). Gumnuts in the garden of good and evil: racialization and fetishism in May Gibbs’s Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Continuum, 35(6), 955–971.

Being cited in this article is a real honour!

Editing Philosophy

This work has been published unabridged and true to the author's original text, except for the removal of one offensive word. 

It's an excellent example of a Victorian era narrative that's worthy of critical examination, not only because of the issues in the story. This is a work that sheds light on a whole different side of an Australian children's author who has been revered for over a century. 

A preface has been added to provide the reader with context. Annotations are provided to explain and comment on sensitive issues recommended for critical evaluation, debate and discussion.