Author(s): Nan Chauncy
Four English orphans - Cherry, Nigel, Brick and Nippy - migrate to Tasmania, to the care of their Aunt Jandie on her farm outside Hobart. Their arrival is greeted with enthusiasm by young farm boy Tas, and weeks of exploration and good times follow before Aunt Jandie goes to hospital, leaving the children in the care of Ma and Pa Pinner, her foreman and housekeeper.
A few days of tyrannical treatment by the Pinners forces the children to seek refuge in a secret cave, where they set up home to await the return of Jandie. Despite Pa's repeated efforts to recapture them, the children stay, fending for themselves in the bush, until Nigel's secret trip to town uncovers a plot by the Pinners to abandon the farm and swindle Aunt Jandie.
Nan Chauncywas born in England and emigrated to Tasmania with her family in 1912. She became one of Australia's most beloved authors, winning the CBCA Book of the Year three times and becoming the first Australian writer to win the Hans Christian Anderson Diploma of Merit. They Found a Cavewas first published in 1949. It was made into a popular feature film in 1962, which won Best Children's Film at the Venice Film Festival. The Children's Book Council of Australia presents the Nan Chauncy Award to recognise an outstanding contribution to the field of children's literature in Australia. Nan Chauncy died in 1970.
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NAN CHAUNCY was born Nancen Beryl Masterman in England in 1900. She moved with her family to Tasmania when she was twelve, to Bagdad, north of Hobart. Nan grew up surrounded by the bush that would inspire her writing. Her love of the outdoors led to a lifelong association with the Australian Girl Guides. She returned to the UK in her early thirties and lived for a time on a houseboat on the Thames. She travelled in northern Europe and taught English at a Girl Guide school in Denmark. On the voyage back to Australia in 1938 Nan met Helmut Anton Rosenfeld. They changed their name to Chauncy soon after marrying and lived in the family cottage at Bagdad, turning the property into a wildlife sanctuary, Chauncy Vale. Nan worked as a scriptwriter for the ABC and they had a daughter, Heather. In 1947 Nan published her first novel, They Found a Cave, set in the hills around Bagdad. She published a further thirteen books, including Tiger in the Bush, Devil's Hill and Tangara, which were awarded CBCA Book of the Year in 1958, '59, and '61. Her works demonstrate her respect for the environment, and her fresh style marked the beginning of shift towards a greater realism in Australian children's novels. Nan Chauncy was the first Australian writer to be awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Diploma of Merit, and the CBCA presents the biennial Nan Chauncy Award in her honour. She died at Chauncy Vale in 1970.