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AUSTRALIAN GNOMES live in all parts of our country but they are not native to Australia (although Douglas Lockwood, the well-known outback writer, supports the theory that 'Aboriginal' gnomes also are present but simply have not cared to reveal themselves).
The first gnomes to land here were the Hairy Peruvians. They sailed across the Pacific in their vessel the Poppykettle, but unfortunately all traces of them have been lost.
The gnomes now living here are descended from those who later arrived from overseas: the Leprignomes from Ireland, the Boccherini gnomes from the Mediterranean, the Beijing gnomes from China, and the European or Forest gnomes from Britain and Europe. The Gaucho gnomes were assisted migrants, imported by cattle rustlers in the 1880s.
The descendants of these twigs of the Greater Gnome Family have adapted themselves to the needs of the Australian environment. Many are helpful to humans and other animals. They include the Rain Forest gnomes of Queensland, the Reach gnomes of the River Murray, the Knackergnomes of the copper mines, and the Pagagnomes who aid musicians.
Others, such as the Marram gnomes, resent our violation of the environment and have ways of making their protest felt.
But the majority of Australian gnomes simply live in harmony with the environment, with their human neighbours, and with each other. Much of their time is spent in celebration, in accordance with the Gnome Calendar worked out by Ludwig Thursday.
A comprehensive work on Australian Gnomology has been a long-felt need, but Robert Ingpen was able to prepare this book only because of a chance meeting with Theresa Green. One of the most respected of gnome leaders, she helped him to present a book which covers many aspects of the life and lore of Australian Gnomes.
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