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The Magic Pudding Illustrations

Video clip synopsis – Norman Lindsay’s The Magic Pudding is one of our best-loved children’s books and the central character, one of our great Australian anti-heroes.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 4min 9sec
Tags - animation, conscription, heritage, media, World War 1, see all tags


The Magic Pudding Illustrations

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About the Video Clip


The Magic Pudding is an episode of the series National Treasures produced in 2004.

The Magic Pudding
How did bohemian artist Norman Lindsay, famous for painting provocative nudes, end up producing one of Australia’s best-loved children’s books? Cartoonist James Kemsley reveals the legend behind the creation of the first great Australian anti-hero – Albert the never-ending pudding – as Warren Brown takes a look at Lindsay’s original illustrations at the State Library of New South Wales.

National Treasures
Take a road-trip of discovery with the irrepressible Warren Brown – political cartoonist, columnist and history “tragic” – as he reveals a fascinating mix of national treasures drawn from public and private collections across Australia. On its own, each treasure is a priceless snapshot of an historic moment. Together, they illustrate the vitality and uniqueness of the Australian experience.

National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus


Reading — Students read, view, analyse, critique, reflect on and discuss
contemporary and classical imaginative texts that explore personal, social,
cultural and political issues of significance to their own lives. They also read,
view, analyse and discuss a wide range of informative and persuasive texts
and identify the multiple purposes for which texts are created. They explain
how texts are shaped by the time, place and cultural setting in which they are
created. They compare and contrast the typical features of particular texts and
synthesise information from different texts to draw conclusions.

Writing — Students write persuasive texts dealing with complex ideas and issues and control the linguistic structures and features that support the presentation of different perspectives on complex themes and issues. They select subject matter and begin to use a range of language techniques to try to position readers to accept particular views of people, characters, events, ideas and information. They compose a range of other texts, such as feature articles, webpages and workplace texts. They plan and deliver presentations, sequencing and organising complex ideas. They write accurately punctuated, grammatically sound and complex sentences with embedded clauses and phrases. They are able to maximise the effects of rhythm and tone, and write with developing fluency. They proofread and edit their own writing for accuracy, consistency and clarity.

This material is an extract. Teachers and Students should consult the Victoria Curriculum and Assessment Authority website for more information.

Background Information


The Magic Pudding is a children’s book by Norman Lindsay, published in 1918.

It is the adventures of the koala Bunyip Bluegum in search of his missing parents. One of his companions is a magic pudding, which magically renews itself whenever part of it is eaten. A gang of pudding thieves stalk the magic pudding, who is protected by his companions.

When Bunyip Bluegum finds he can no longer live with his uncle’s annoying whiskers, he sets out to find his own place in the world. Rather quickly he meets Sam Sawnoff (a penguin) and Bill Barnacle (a man with a long white beard) and their pudding, Albert. Albert can taste like steak and kidney pie, or plum duff, or any number of things. Albert is rather cranky and his goal in life seems to be to get people to eat as much of him as possible.

The pudding owners are in constant conflict with a couple of pudding thieves, who frequently succeed in stealing Albert for short bursts of time, until they are set upon and beaten up by the Society of Pudding Owners.

The story is a variation on the ‘three wishes’ theme common in fairy stories.

Classroom Activities

  1. Understanding the video clip
    1. What is The Magic Pudding?
    2. Why was it created?
    3. Why has it been a popular book?
    4. How do the illustrations show the skill of the artist Norman Lindsay?
    5. What is meant by an ‘antihero’?
    6. Who is an example of an antihero today?
    7. Why does the character of the Pudding appeal to many people?
  2. Exploring issues raised in the video clip
    The Magic Pudding was published in 1918; it was created as an animated film in 2000.
    1. Allocate a chapter of the book to a small group. The task is to report on it by referring to the story, characters, language, attitudes and values, etc.
    2. Now watch the animated film and compare these features. Also discuss the filmic elements: voices, animation, music, language and style.
    3. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of the two different media?
    4. Write a comparison OR a review.

Further Resources


For more National Treasures information and video clips go to the Investigating National Treasures website