May Gibbs’ legacy

May Gibbs' legacy
Posted on Wed 25 Nov 2020

May Gibbs’ (1877 – 1969) is one of Australia’s most beloved artists and author of children’s books.  

She was one of the first professional woman cartoonists and caricaturists, and the first Australian woman known to have drawn local political cartoons.  

But it was her deep love for the Australian bush that has made her a national icon.  

The Gumnut Babies, May Gibbs’ classic book about Australian bush fairies, was first published in 1916 and was followed by many other Gumnut stories including her famous creations Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. 

Through her delightful stories and illustration, she engendered her own love of nature in generations of Australian children.  

When she died, May Gibbs bequeathed her works to two charities, one of which is Cerebral Palsy Alliance. At the time of her death, the Spastic Centre (as it was known then) had been operating for 24 years. It ran research-backed therapy services, ran a hostel for country children with CP, and provided employment for adults with CP alongside their able-bodied peers.  

Through her foresight, May Gibbs has helped thousands of Australian children with disabilities and their families. The money from royalties has been spent on ground-breaking research, innovative programs, new equipment and technologies, and vital services that are not covered by government funding. 

If you would also like to pass on something wonderful for future generations of children with cerebral palsy, and make a difference for years to come, you can find more information about leaving a gift in your will here.

You will see May Gibbs merchandise in Australia Post, Myer, David Jones and Cotton On this coming year. For more information, visit  

Ian MAYER, of Caringbah South: Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the general division for service to the community through charitable organisations.

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