Carmel Bird (1940- ), born Launceston, Tasmania, was educated at the University of Tasmania and lived for a period in Europe and the USA before settling in Melbourne. Bird's fiction blends real and surreal, mundane and macabre with inventive irony, reflecting her perception of Tasmania itself as an 'ironic' island, whose picturesque surface masks deep secrets and is haunted by the ghosts of Aborigines and convicts. She has published two novels, Cherry Ripe (1985) and The Bluebird Cafe (1990), and four collections of short stories, Births, Deaths and Marriages (1983), The Woodpecker Toy Fact (1987), Woodpecker Point (1988) and The Common Rat (1993). She has also written a guide for writers, Dear Writer (1988), and edited a collection of short stories, Relations (1991).
The upstairs window of the Bluebird Cafe in the Tasmanian ghost town of Copperfield reflects only the sky, and above this window the gable rises to a point on top of which is a spindle of turned wood, painted blue. If you look up at the spindle and half close your eyes, especially at dusk, the spindle looks like a woman.
Bedrock Mean, the only human being for miles around, still lives in the cafe where she mourns for her young daughter Lovelygod who vanished from her bedroom in the middle of the night on the seventeenth of August 1970, ten years to the day before the baby Azaria Chamberlain vanished from her bed in a tent in Ularu.