Hairy Maclary's creator opens up exhibition in Rockhampton

SLIGHTLY HUMAN STORIES: Artist Lynley Dodd is in Rockhampton for the opening of her retrospective art exhibition today.
SLIGHTLY HUMAN STORIES: Artist Lynley Dodd is in Rockhampton for the opening of her retrospective art exhibition today. Chris Ison Rokcartist

HE'S Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy and loved by children and parents all over the world.

In her first visit to Queensland, Hairy's creator, Dame Lynley Dodd will today open Retrospective, an exhibition of her illustrations at the Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Fans have the opportunity to meet with Dame Lynley at a series of events over the weekend.

Dame Lynley said the idea for Hairy Maclary was first sketched on a shopping list in 1979 after a friend had been talking about her naughty little terrier dog.

"I thought it would be fun to do and stuck it in my ideas book," she said.

Four years later when another project fell through, a new idea was needed quickly.

Dame Lynley turned to her ideas book in a panic and out fell the bit of paper, quite literally.

Hairy Maclary and his colourful cast of cohorts celebrated their 30th birthday this year.

Dame Lynley was a freelance illustrator and school teacher before she began writing books.

She said she wasn't a wasn't a natural writer and found it difficult in the beginning.

"I wasn't confident initially, but Hairy Maclary came together very quickly."

Her great love for animals inspired a legacy of stories.

"None have magical powers or mythical qualities, they're just animals.

""But I think I'm telling slightly human stories of mischief and mayhem…and embarrassment, when Hairy won the prize for the scruffiest cat."

Dame Lynley said it concerned her deeply to see young children on iPads and gaming rather than reading.

"I do think books are terribly important still…nothing beats a parent or grandparent sitting with a child reading."

Meet Dame Lynley

Today 11am-2pm with loads of activities

Sunday at 9.30 walk your dog along the Fitzroy with vet Dr Greg.

Sunday In Conversation with Dame Lynley at 10.30am at the gallery.

Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective is showing until February 9.

Topics:  hairy maclary

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