Dr Gwenda Beed Davey was born in Sydney NSW, but spent most of her life in Melbourne. Her primary school years in Altona, one of Melbourne's western suburbs, had a strong influence on her life. So too do her memories of World War II, and her family's evacuation from the coast. She recalls with profound affection her 'one wonderful year' at Upwey Higher Elementary School.

She graduated from Melbourne University with a BA (Hons. Psych) and a Dip. Ed, and worked for a number of years as a school counsellor in Melbourne primary schools. Several subsequent years as a lecturer in psychology and child development at the Institute of Early Childhood Development (now Melbourne University, Faculty of Education) cemented her interest in children's traditional play.

In the late 1970s Gwenda received a one-year grant from the then Children's Commission, to produce materials for young immigrant children. The Multicultural Cassette Series recorded traditional songs, stories and rhymes from a number of non-English-speaking immigrant groups in Melbourne. This work is now housed in the National Library of Australia and Museums Victoria, and has been fully digitised. It was the basis for her MEd thesis from Monash University, where she also completed PhD Studies in 1993.

A Commonwealth appointment to the National Inquiry into Folklife in Australia in 1986 led to a new career in cultural heritage research. She was a member of the cultural commission of UNESCO Australia for several years, and was the founding manager of the National Library's major oral history project into the Stolen Generations.

In the years 2006-2010 Gwenda was a principal researcher at Deakin University for the Australian Research Council's project 'Childhood, Tradition and Change'. This project documented children's playground play in every state and territory, and produced reports and a data base available online.

Together with Dr June Factor, Gwenda founded the Australian Children's Folklore Collection. Now housed at Museums Victoria, it is one of the world's largest collections of children's traditional playground lore, and in 2004 was placed on the UNESCO Australia Memory of the World Register as one of the nation's significant documentary heritages.

Gwenda is an Honorary Associate of Museums Victoria and a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Play. She has been a Harold White Fellow at the National Library of Australia and a Scholar in Residence at the National Film and Sound Archive. In 1998 she was made a Member in the Order of Australia (AM) for services to the protection and preservation of folklore and folklife in Australia.

Gwenda's academic publications include:

The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore, edited Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal. Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1993.
A Guide to Australian Folklore: From Ned Kelly to Aeroplane Jelly. Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal. Kangaroo Press (Simon and Schuster Australia), Sydney 2003.
Girl Talk: One Hundred Years of Australian Girls' Childhood.
Gwenda Beed Davey, 2017, Arcadia.

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