We’re pretty sure you know who wrote and illustrated Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, but did you know that the same author also designed posters for baby clinics?
Well, this drawing of a kookaburra and a gumnut baby each with a mask over their mouth was crafted by none other than May Gibbs, and was found in a 1935 government research file that included press cuttings on the influenza epidemic of 1919.
The folios of correspondence, reports, newspaper cuttings and photographs were used in the preparation of a series of official pamphlets called ‘service publications’, published by the health department between 1912 and 1935. The file was maintained by Dr JHL Cumpston, the department’s first Director-General, who would never have imagined the relevance of the drawing today given the recent outbreak of bird flu in Turkey.
Incidentally, Gibbs' posters for baby clinics showed a stork with a kookaburra. The image became synonymous with health and baby care.