Bubbay lived alone in the Australian outback with only his goats for company. Down on the plain below lived a lonely lady called Mrs Timms. Every now and then, Bubbay swapped some of his goats' milk for her eggs. Mrs Timms came to love this kind little boy.
Bubbay slept under the stars and when one fell to earth, he knew it came to keep him company. It was Christmas Eve and he longed for a family, a home, and a Christmas tree. Suddenly, a Christmas tree appeared beside Bubbay and said, 'If you can find five special things to decorate me, you will have a lovely Christmas tomorrow.' These things Bubba needed to find were challenging: a stone, an egg, a seed, a feather and most difficult of all, a shell. They must be found before sunrise.
Bubbay was sad and worried. How would he find these, especially a shell? Fortunately, grandma Gubarlee appeared and led him to animals that each, in turn, gave Bubbay these prized objects with the last coming from Gibarlee. The story happily concludes with Bubbay and Mrs Timms forming a family and finding love together.
Often the story behind the story adds another dimension. In 2020, ‘Bubbay’s Desert Adventure’ was republished in a new edition titled, 'Bubbay : A Christmas Adventure'. The storyline in both versions is similar, but there is an important change which takes the story in a different direction. Budding writers and illustrators may enjoy discussing these changes. The underlying story remains the same—finding love, family and a home.
The author, Josie Wowolla Boyle, is a Wonghi woman, born in the desert of Western Australia. She is an acclaimed storyteller, singer and artist. Fern Martins, the illustrator, is an Ngarabul woman from New South Wales. She launched her career at the age of 19 with a one-woman sculptural exhibition and now has a career as sculptor, printmaker and artist.