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May Gibbs

The Home Front: Australia during the First World War

May Gibbs, artist, illustrator and author

May Gibbs
May Gibbs, 1916. National Library of Australia, vn4583514.

May Gibbs’s gumnut babies first appeared on the cover of the Lone Hand magazine in January 1914. Within months, they featured on calendars and postcards and, from 1916, in a series of booklets that were both a critical and a commercial success. The Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie was published shortly before the war ended, and became an Australian classic.

Gibbs drew her inspiration from the flora and fauna of the Australian bush. Her detailed drawings and gentle humour created a magical world that brought joy to children and adults at home, and to soldiers on the front.

More

May Gibbs in the Australian Dictionary of Biography 

Postcards designed by May Gibbs, National Museum of Australia

May Gibbs’s house ‘Nutcote’ – museum website

 
An unused postcard featuring a colour drawing by May Gibbs depicting gumnut babies captioned 'We're still alive and kicking!'.
Postcard designed by May Gibbs, 1914–18. National Museum of Australia.
An unused postcard featuring a colour drawing by May Gibbs depicting two gumnut babies kissing and a poem titled 'OFF TO THE WAR'. The poem reads 'Goodby my little Gum Blossom / And don't you fret for me / We'll soon be back together / In the old Gum Tree'
Postcard designed by May Gibbs, 1914–18. National Museum of Australia.

 

 

 

 

'In thousands every week now, the whimsical cards and other art productions from Miss Gibbs’s prolific brush and pen are being sent to our boys in the trenches, and each breathes a message redolent of home as no more serious mementos could.'

The Sun (Sydney), March 1917