About the Folklore Collection

One of the main aims of the AFTS is to collect, categorise, preserve, and present Australian fairy tale folklore for the purposes of encouraging a nationwide network of enthusiasts, making the collection accessible to academics and the general populace alike. Designed to gather fairy tale related folklore in one location, it both promotes material from other collections and encourages new contributions through our online form.

It has been categorised using the most common fairy tale folklore forms, based loosely on Graham Seal’s ‘Basic Folklore Forms’ (The Hidden Culture, p.10), and includes both ATU index codes and popular fairy tale names which can be targeted through the search function.

Administrators: Toby Eccles, Reilly McCarron.


Folklore is past, present and future. It is the lore of the folk, or the ways of people, and weaves through our everyday lives.

If you ever: tell a joke / anecdote / story; sing a nursery rhyme; make a toast; use slang; sing your own words to a well known song; give a thumbs up; shake your booty on the dance floor; knit some graffiti; exhibit street art; learn / change / pass on a recipe; drink lemon and honey for a sore throat; put lavender under your pillow for sleep; knock on wood; cross your fingers; throw salt over your shoulder; say ‘jinx’; choose not to walk under a ladder / open an umbrella inside; make a wish on a shooting star / evening star / first star you see tonight; gather together with friends or family to celebrate the time of year; hum something your mother sang to you as a child; arrange flowers; wear a costume; display / send a pertinent comic strip to work colleagues; make a mud pie; have your face painted; quote someone… then you are creating folklore.

Fairy tales, as a form of folklore, are adaptive to their time, setting, and audience. This means we have acquired a rich resource of unique versions of tales from around the world, as well as evolving our own. While it seems only a small number of tales enjoy continued popularity, there are countless versions (of both well known and lesser known fairy tales) across cultures and throughout the ages. Australia is no exception to this trend.

There is no definitive version of a fairy tale, perhaps with the exception of literary tales such as those penned by Hans Christian Anderson and Oscar Wilde. Yet even these stories are lifted from the page and given new life in a variety of mediums. Australia also enjoys a history of original literary fairy tales with Olga Ernst, May Gibbs, and Norman Lindsay among others.

Fairy tales continue to capture the imagination of young and old. These perfectly shaped, deceptively simple, little stories reveal the dynamics of the human condition through symbolic motifs and metaphor. They provide a safe stage on which dangerous emotional states can be played out, explored and analysed, where dark inner landscapes are illuminated, and where deep insights and wise guidance are found. They delight both the emotions and analytical mind, and encourage the invaluable art of play.

We hope you join us in exploring Australia’s wealth of home grown enchantment, and contribute your own fairy tale folklore to our new collection.

Do you have a something to contribute? Contact us to discuss adding your piece of folklore to our collection.