Christmas cards that you may not want to receive…

Christmas in Victorian times conjures up visions such as a  happy family gathered around a brightly lit Christmas trees,  plump Christmas puddings, an old fashioned Santa surrounded by laughing children awaiting their gifts and scenes from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. However, there was a darker side to the Victorian Christmas experience, which to our modern sensibilities seems macabre and very strange.

Christmas Curiosiites

In Christmas curiosities: Old, dark and forgotten Christmas author John Grossman draws on an extensive collection of antique greeting cards, postcards, advertising material and other ephemera to explore a different world of 19th century Christmas celebrations.



dead bird

Grossman shows us two Christmas cards from the 1880s which feature beautifully drawn images of dead birds and which wish their recipients “May yours be a Joyful Christmas” and “A Loving Christmas Greeting”. He says that a picture of a dead robin or wren (both bird species were beloved and considered sacred in British folklore) were “bound to elicit Victorian sympathy and may reference common stories of poor children freezing to death at Christmas”. Was this a genuine attempt to raise awareness of social injustice and change society or would the person who received such a card really just smugly consider themselves better off than a homeless orphan?


Continental children were not spared the horror of Christmas. When Santa Claus comes to town we sing that he is going to “find out who’s naughty and nice”. In Europe during throughout the 19th and early 20th century, the holy St. Nicholas enlisted the devil to help with his deliveries. St. Nicholas gave out treats to well-behaved children, while the devil, who appeared in many guises, kidnapped the bad kids and beat them with a stick! Perhaps “Grub vom Krampus” (Greetings from Krampus) in Germanic Christmas tradition, served as a warning akin to “You better watch out!”

Quirky or just plain scary? Why not decide for yourself by putting a hold on Christmas curiosities: Old, dark and forgotten Christmas, or check out any of our thousands of Christmas related resources through the library catalogue.

The Summer Reading Club

The Summer Reading Club is a national annual reading program designed to encourage kids to read over the summer school holidays in December and January.

This year the theme is ‘Adventure’. The program is divided into three levels with age appropriate activities for each group:

  • Preschool – children under 5 years;
  • Primary – children between 6-11 years;
  • Secondary – children 12+ years.

Summer Reading Club

The good news is anyone can register to enter! In December, pick up a Summer Reading Club form from Tea Tree Gully Library and use it to record all of the books you read over summer.

Those who read at least 10 books will be eligible to win a special prize pack, and other prizes including book shop vouchers and more.

Supanova is Coming!

Supanova Pop Culture Expo is this weekend at the Adelaide Showgrounds! A weekend of pop-culture goodness, featuring celebrity guests from TV, film and the comic scene, games and gaming areas, cosplay, traders and everything in between!
We’re probably most excited that Jack Gleeson, AKA Joffrey from George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, and Jeremy Shada from Adventure Time will be there.Profile-Jeremy-Shada-Version-B-320x97

Don’t forget we keep a massive range of the latest TV shows, films and Graphic Novels covering all sort of genres and interests. If you need to catch up on Game of Thrones, see what Adventure Time is about, or find out the latest Marvel Universe heroes are doing come to the Library or check out the catalogue on place a copy on hold today.

Garden design for your changing family

Why concrete in a playset in your backyard when your children will grow out of it in two years?

Tea Tree Gully Environmental Projects Officer Andrew Moylan and Maria Zotti from Nature Play SA will answer this question when they present a special talk about designing a garden for your changing family, which will be held at the Tea Tree Gully Library Friday 28 November at 11am.
nature play

Andrew will discuss the variety of evolving backyard ideas that will change with your growing children. Using simple ideas like sand pits, pebble areas, and planned planting, you can change your backyard easily and cheaply to keep up with your childrens’ development and rapidly changing interests.

Bookings are essential and can be made at the Library, by phone on 8397 7333 or book online.

May the odds be ever in your favour – Mockingjay competition


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 hits cinemas on November 20 and we have a $40 Hoyts voucher and Hunger Games merchandise to give away!

To enter, head over to our Facebook page please tell us who your favourite Hunger Games character is and why. A winner will be selected on November 17.

‘May the odds be ever in your favour

Island Hopping – Fraser Island

Following on from Helen’s travels to Easter Island, Penny talks about an island a little closer to home.

Located just off the coast of Hervey Bay, Fraser Island is situated 350km north of Brisbane. It’s a mysterious and beautiful place.

fraser-islandSwimming in the freshwater lakes is a memory that stands out for me. With an abundance of fresh water on the island, there are dozens of pristine mirror lakes, which are perfect for swimming in and drinking from. Lake McKenzie in particular is spectacular – it has clear blue waters and white sandy shores, and is probably the purest form of water I have ever experienced. Eli Creek was another gorgeous swimming spot.

maheno-wreckMore than 50 shipwrecks are marooned along the Fraser Island coastline. The most famous shipwreck is the Maheno, a former trans-Tasman luxury liner and a WWI hospital shop.


There are plenty of walking tracks on the island, which can take you to high vantage points overlooking the sea and the Queensland coastline, or to dense pockets of rainforest where you hardly see the sky. My favourite walking adventure was heading up on the island’s giant sand dune with my boogie board and surfing all the way down again!

Given it’s made entirely of it, sand is always something to contend with on Fraser. You drive on sand, you sleep on it,  you are always walking on it and getting it in your shoes. I remember friends getting bogged in the sand even before we had boarded the barge to head over to the island.

fraser island 4wdThe endless beaches are really sand highways with utes going up and down all day long. We only drove places during the day, as it was too scary at night with the high tides and pitch black skies.  While the utes get lots of space on the beach, the internal sandy roads are much narrower. Once we encountered a bus on a road in the rainforest that was not wide enough for two vehicles, and we had to sit there until the coach went past, scraping our vehicle and stripping off metres of paint.

The island has very little development, so it’s easy to imagine yourself as a member of an aboriginal tribe who lived there for more than 5000 years, seeing and encountering the same natural beauty that is still there today.

The Library has a load of travel books that are either on, or include sections on Fraser Island. Trip Advisor has lots of information regarding accommodation and 4WD hire.

Holocaust survivor to share his story

Holocaust survivor and Adelaide resident Andrew Steiner will be delivering a special presentation on 27 January 2015 at the library, where he will share his story on surviving the Holocaust.

On the same day, Tea Tree Gully Library will join the world to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, by commemorating International Holocaust Memorial Day.

This day of remembrance is noted internationally and is dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in the Holocaust under Nazi persecution.

Please check our News and Events page on the website closer to the date for more details about time and bookings.