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Joan Phipson (1912–2003) was born in Warawee, New South Wales, and spent her childhood travelling between Australia, England and India. She was educated at Frensham School, and in 1936 was commissioned by the headmistress, Winifred West, to start the Frensham Press. Their first publication was Frensham student Rosemary Dobson’s poems. Joan Phipson studied journalism, and during the war, worked for Reuters in London. She married a farmer (Colin Fitzhardinge) in 1944, and in the 1960s they moved to a farm, Wongalong, near Mandurama in Australia.
Phipson wrote 30 books, winning the Book of the Year Award of the Children’s Book Council of Australia for Good Luck to the Rider in 1953, winning again with The Family Conspiracy in 1963. Good Luck to the Rider was her first book, written when she was told to rest when pregnant. She wrote the book instead. Her earliest books were adventure stories, but she wrote darker, more complex books later in her career, and her contribution to Australian children’s literature was recognised in 1987 when she was awarded the Dromkeen medal. Nicholas Tucker, in her obituary, said: 'Never talking down to her young readers, she preferred instead to travel with them on a voyage of mutual understanding and discovery.'
The bibliography below includes books in which the pony content is fairly minimal. Many thanks to Anne Pickles for sending me this: 'Good luck to the rider is probably the only Joan Phipson book that is really a pony book. There are horses in The Boundary Riders, but they are not the focus of the book and horses are only incidental in her other books dealing with farming families.'
Finding the books
All the books listed below are easy to find. Boundary Riders was published by Puffin in paperback, and is the easiest, and cheapest to find.
Links and sources
Joan Phipson’s obituary in The Independent
An article on Joan Phipson
Wikipedia article on Joan Phipson
Many thanks to Danyele Foster for the photograph.