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Who killed cockatoo?
Title : Who killed cockatoo? Who killed cockatoo? View More Images
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Creator : Cawthorne, W. A
Source : Who killed cockatoo?
Place Of Creation : Adelaide
Publisher : J.H. Lewis
Date of creation : [1862]
Format : Book
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

Based on the old nursery rhyme 'Who killed Cock Robin', Cawthorne's Who killed cockatoo? was an 'attempt to familiarise our nursery folk with the animated nature of the colony' (Introduction by Bayfield to Facsimile edition 1996). Published in 1862 the book is considered to be the first illustrated book for children published in Australia.

Both the text and the illustrations are by William Anderson Cawthorne, who arrived in South Australia in 1841 and established a school in Currie Street, Adelaide. He taught in a number of schools over the next two decades including as Headmaster at Pulteney Grammar School from 1852 to 1855. He opened the Victoria Square Academy in December 1855. Cawthorne wrote and published a number of books and had an interest in the Aboriginal people of the colony. He and his son later opened a music store, Cawthorne & Co., which flourished in Adelaide until the early 1970s.

Only two copies of the original edition of 1862 are known to exist: while it is not recorded how many copies were printed, perhaps this is an indication that the book was read and re-read by children until it fell apart.
Further reading :

Cawthorne, W. A. Who killed Cockatoo? by W.A.C. Adelaide: Friends of the State Library of South Australia, 1996 [Introduction by Juliana Bayfield provides background information on Cawthorne and the publication of Cockatoo]

Muir, Marcie. A history of Australian childrens book illustration, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1982

Wall, Barbara. 'A landscape of writing for children', Southwords: essays on South Australian writing, edited by Philip Butterss, Kent Town, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1995

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