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2 Jun 2018

Fairy tale creatures come to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

Once upon a time at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, some of the most imaginative and creative writers, storytellers and fairy tale enthusiasts came together for a magical event.

On Sunday the 10 June at the Garden of Good and Evil Story Telling Event the Garden will host the Australian Fairy Tale Society and a free public exhibit for all the family to enjoy, in celebration of their 5th annual conference.

The importance of fairy tales

This year’s conference will include a special twist: a family-focused, free event to help adults and kids alike rediscover the fascinating world of fairy tales. After talking with the President of the Australian Fairy Tale Society, Louisa John-Krol, we learnt more about how fairy tales benefit the social development of young people and why these events are so important for the community.

Louisa recalls many classic fairy tales with underlying sociological themes. The tale ‘The Three Little Pigs’ is a classic in many people’s childhood, and she explains, can be interpreted rising to challenge authority when something is unjust. Many similar stories can help to teach children about the importance of respecting one another and the world around you. Often in these stories, virtues such as kindness, imagination, courage and graciousness, are rewarded throughout the narratives, and help to reinforce these behaviours in the people who read them. 

Classics such as Beauty and the Beast have important messages, such as accepting people's differences and seeing below the surface.
Fairy tales aren’t just something of the past, we can reawaken and reinvent them. Our vision is for an intergenerational, intercultural, interdisciplinary revival of stories that carry wit and wisdom and have important underlying morals we can all learn from.
Louisa John-Krol, President of the Australian Fairy Tale Society

Fairy tales have a strong connection to the natural world, and messages on how to preserve and protect it, which is why the Gardens is a perfect location to host the event. Having storytelling events in a natural location can really help to strengthen this understanding and connection to the environment.

Many stories deal with magical plants and animals, as in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, ‘Frog Prince’, and ‘Rapunzel’, and reinforce a love for nature. There are also themes of enchantment and of falling in love with the world. As adults it can be difficult to pick up on these messages, but these principles are not lost on children, which makes it important to hear these fairy tale stories at a young age.

Many children are told to ‘not tell fairy tales’, but there are so many benefits to their imagination and development! We encourage you to let your imagination run free.

About the event

Founded in 2013, The Australian Fairy Tale Society will run their 5th annual conference in the Garden. This year’s theme is ‘Gardens of Good and Evil: Growing Life, Plucking Death’, which makes the Garden the perfect venue to explore the relationship between nature and magic within the Australian landscape. Find out more about the conference here.

At the public event, experts will weave storytelling magic to leave you and your family spellbound, taking you on a magical journey through imaginary worlds. So, come learn all about fantastical plants and gardens, in the most imaginative way.

The society is an amazing amalgamation of different disciplines, with artists and writers often working together to produce works such as the book above, written by artist Lorena Carrington and author Dr Kate Forsyth

We have a vision we want to share. The nature of fairy tales is that they travel across time and space and are stories to be told, through fantastic, immersive community events in magical locations, such as that of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

Louisa John-Krol, President of the Australian Fairy Tale Society

There is an incredible line up of workshops, puppetry, quilting and stalls. At the free 2-hour session for families there will be illustrators, authors and glass artists from the society, exhibiting, signing and selling their work. The program is designed for all ages, including a free puppet show for kids, garden walks for families and storytelling.

Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre will be performing in the Garden on the 10 June.

Special guests include ABC presenter Cheralyn Darcey, Australian bestselling author Dr Kate Forsyth (who has a PhD in Rapunzel), Morgan Bell who will explore plants in literature, and fairy tale creatures hiding in the garden, just waiting to play with the little ones.

Full details of the event can be found here and below or check out our Facebook event page for ongoing updates. 

  • What: Gardens of Good and Evil - Fairy Tale gathering
  • When: 12.00 noon – 2.00 pm (free for families); 9.00 am – 5.00 pm (for adults) on Sunday 20 June 2018
  • Age: The diverse noon program offers activities for all-ages
  • What to bring: Your imagination! Or why not come in costume, dressed as your favourite fairy-tale or magical creature. You might even win a prize from our fairies.
  • Events schedule:
    • 12.00 pm: Fairy tale garden tour with storyteller Jo Henwood, Ring Maiden
    • 12.30 pm: Puppet show - Frank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre, 'Rapunzel & Spinach'
    • 1.00 pm: Cheralyn Darcey: 'The Language of Flowers in Fairy Tales'
    • 1.30 pm: Goblin’s Gold: storytelling with Liz Locksley of Thrive Story
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