12 Days of Christmas – Julie Hunt

And to round out 2016 we have the amazingly creative Julie Hunt who also hails from Tasmania. Here she is sharing her Christmas Memory of Rocky who was a Christmas pageant star! What a pageant this would have been to be watching!


My favourite Pony

I can’t remember being big on presents as a kid but one year I had a special wish. I wanted an oil painting of a horse. I don’t know where that came from; we didn’t have paintings in the house, oil or otherwise. When the big day came I thought the present looked rather small and when I opened it I was terribly disappointed. It was a little golden book called My Favourite Pony. I hated the pictures and I hated the pony.

However, later the same year all my Christmases came at once. As we drove home, towing the horse-box that Dad had proudly made, I told myself I would never forget this date – August 20 –  because it was the best day of my life, the day I got Rocky. Nobody had ever known such happiness. I looked out the back window in a state of unimaginable bliss. Rocky, 11 hands high and part Shetland, wasn’t tall enough to return my gaze but if he had been I imagine he would have fixed me with a knowing stare as he headed into his future life.

I knew it took seven falls to make a rider and I had them on the day Rocky arrived. Although advertised as ‘quiet and good with children’ he was endlessly inventive in getting me off. Shying, pig-rooting, bolting and stopping dead were just the beginning. When the happy day arrived when I only fell off once he became more devious and took to rubbing me off on the fence or getting down and rolling on me. Despite these vices he never kicked or bit and I adored him with all my heart.

I don’t know why Dad volunteered Rocky for the Christmas pageant. I guess donkeys were thin on the ground. Mary wisely slipped off before the trouble began and Joseph tied him up behind the manger. He began whinnying through Good King Wenceslas and by the time everyone started singing Away in a Manger he’d had enough. The three wise men jumped out of the way when Rocky broke lose. He careered through the crowd, shattering candles, song sheets and people. Dad went off in the dark with the torch and when he returned the event was over.

I admired Rocky. He was a perfect villian. People said I needed to show him who’s boss but we both knew who that was. I have Rocky’s photo in my toilet. I’ll never forget August 20. The date still fills me with joy. No idea what year it was.


Julie Hunt grew up in Exeter, Tasmania, and now lives on a farm near Cygnet. Her prize-winning books include The Coat, illustrated by Ron Brooks, Song for a Scarlet Runner and KidGlovz, illustrated by Dale Newman. Her work is a combination of humour, folk tale and poetic imagining.

The graphic novel, KidGlovz is her latest book and Shine Mountain will be published in August 2017. Find out more about Julie here: http://www.juliehunt.com.au/


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