The Ditmar Awards are named for Australian fan Martin James Ditmar Jenssen. Founded in 1969 as an award to be given by the Australian National Convention, during a discussion about the name for the award, Jenssen offered to pay for the award if it were named the Ditmar. His name was accepted and he wound up paying for the award for more years than he had planned. Ditmar would eventually win the Ditmar Award for best fan artist twice, once in 2002 and again in 2010. The Ditmar Award for Best Australian Long Fiction (alternatively, Best Australian Novel) has been presented each year the Ditmar Awards have existed. The 1979 award was won by Robert Ingpen for his artbook, Australian Gnomes at Swancon 5, held in Perth.
In 1979, in his Ditmar Award winning book Australian Gnomes, Australian author/artist Robert Ingpen created a version of Australia in which gnomes lived, mostly unseen, amongst humans, much as Brian Froud would do with the subsequent Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book (1984). Since Australia is a land of immigrants, Ingpen’s gnomes also came from different places around the world, each group retaining ties to its specific culture of origin and based on the human society from whence they came. His gnomes come from Ireland, Northern and Southern Europe, Mongolia, and Argentina. Just as with the humans who have settled Australia, they have built a combination culture even while retaining their ties to their homelands.