Ponies, ponies, ponies
Fae Hewston Stevens was born in 1907 in Wedderburn, Victoria, a member of the Hewston family, who were well known in both musical and sporting circles. She lived much of her life in Lockington, and celebrated her 100th birthday there in 2007. As a child, she lived at a farm at Kinypaniel, near Korong Vale. Horses were part of life: when she was thirteen, Fae and her two sisters were being driven home in the gig by her mother from a school concert. The horse jumped a puddle, and Fae’s mother was thrown out of the gig. The horse bolted the two miles home, until it crashed into the closed gate of home. Fae and her sister May climbed out of the gig and took the baby home. All were well: Fae’s father had been following on behind, and found her mother wandering, dazed, in the road.
After Fae passed her school examinations, she became a music teacher at the age of sixteen. The only way of getting to her pupils was on horseback, so she used to cover 40 miles in three days, giving fourteen or more lessons. She carried on teaching music in between caring for members of her family, until 1934, when she decided to train in mothercraft nursing. She was posted to a station property in New South Wales, and as there was nowhere to go on her days off, she took a correspondence course in journalism.
During the Second World War, Fae lived with her family in Melbourne, and worked at a kindergarten in the mornings. After the war, Fae nursed and travelled until she returned to Australia to care for two boys. When they went to boarding school, she had time on her hands, and so did more writing courses and published some short stories. She then wrote novelettes, for which she was paid $40.00 each. Her children’s novels form a series: I’m uncertain about how many are pony stories. The Koronglea series is about the Dixon family, who live on a sheep station 300 miles from Sydney, with their animals, including their ponies Flare and Paint.
Finding the books: although all published in England, they are not particularly easy to find here. Koronglea Twins appears to be the hardest to find.
Fae Hewston Stevens
Ward Lock, London, 1961, illus Ian Nimmo Forrest
The eldest Dixon sister is bringing her young son
to visit the family from America.
Ward Lock, London, 1962, illus Ian Nimmo Forrest
Noelle and Anne, two Dixon cousins, come to
visit while their parents are away travelling.
Ward Lock, London, 1963, illus Ian Nimmo Forrest
Ward Lock, London, 1965, illus Ian Nimmo Forrest
Unexpected things happen when Jonny goes for a ride
Ward Lock, London, 1967, illus Ian Nimmo Forrest
The Mallee Riders
Stockwell, Ilfracombe, 1975