50th Birthday Messages

50th Birthday Messages

Congratulations to the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature on 50 stellar years! Children’s books are that fundamental gateway to lifelong learning. They provide early exposure to the power of words; to how words transport a person’s imagination, knowledge and creation to the minds of another. Children’s books leave indelible impressions, helping to make sense of emotions or events, and as transportation to other times and places. Australian children’s book authors uniquely tap into that very Aussie experience and express it memorably. From the effects of a parent’s retrenchment in Christobel Mattingley’s The Sack to the characters who feel more like friends in Rachel Flynn’s I Hate Fridays series, to Steven Herrick’s verse novels, the experiences children’s books gave me have become lasting scenes in my mind, from amplifying and untangling formative experiences, to giving me such a strong appreciation of the magic of expression. That these gems are collected, preserved and revered—and have been for 50 years—is something that has well and truly demonstrated its value. What this collection means to children’s literature and to generations of Australians will only continue to magnify in the next 50 years. Congratulations—and thank you!

Tara Cheyne MLA
Member for Ginninderra

Minister for the Arts, Culture and Creative Economy
Minister for City Services
Minister for Government Services and Regulatory Reform
Minister for Human Rights

Kids Book Explorer
The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature Celebrates 50 Years

Natalia Bragaru

Such a wonderful resource, so lovingly cared for by a passionate and determined community of children’s literature aficionados! You truly deserve to enjoy this birthday as you look back at all that you’ve achieved over the last 50 years. Happy Birthday… and many happy returns (if you’ll forgive the play on words)!

Cate Whittle, Author

Children’s books uplift, inspire, comfort, enlighten and enchant. They also shape adult readers and foster lifelong literacy. Making kids’ books is a lot of fun but my greatest joy is the impact they have on young minds and the future use of those minds. It’s beyond wonderful to have a place that catalogues and celebrates Australian children’s books but it’s also insightful and important. NCACL is a place that understands the importance of story and the development of young minds while simultaneously crafting a nest for the hard work and passion of kidlit creators and their publishing teams, many of whom dedicate their hearts and lives to juvenile book creation. Thank you, NCACL, for the hard work and passion you dedicate to the Centre. You really are a glorious nest.

Tania McCartney, Author Illustrator Designer

Congratulations to the present and past staff, and volunteers of an amazing centre.
I enjoyed my visit to NCACL when I was researching the life of Edel Wignell.
and would love to return to visit NCACL in the future.

Karen Mills, Author & Poet

My involvement with NCACL has spanned 4 decades. Throughout this time the goals for housing and sharing this magnificent collection with the Nation have never waivered. The dedication of all the volunteers over the years has been inspiring and heartfelt. The depth of the collection is masterful and has adapted over the years as technology has advanced and  now includes free online databases, teaching resources and the chance to do a virtual tour through the Centre. The 50th Anniversary deserves to be recognised and applauded. Congratulations to past and present supporters and may there be many more people who benefit from this National Treasure house of Australian Children’s books, School Magazines, artworks, author and illustrator files and sometimes quirky ephemera.

Julie Long OAM  BEd

Congratulations NCACL 
Fifty years young

More than fifty seven thousand books on your shelves
our stories for our kids, tuned to their sensibilities
which have changed through the years
as your collection shows.

I came to know you as Lu Rees Archives with Belle at the helm, Dr Belle
Emeritus Professor of Children’s Literature AM although it never seems like that
Craig Smith says “I figure our generation was lucky to have a bit of a golden aura
about it with some terrific personalities and talents. I reckon we were lucky that
school libraries were important and librarians bought Australian titles.”
I agree.

Children’s books, especially picture books – that seemingly effortless marriage
of words and pictures – reflect families and infect families, enriching and binding,
favourites become part of family lore
in other countries they can know us by our books in their language
as your collection shows.

NCACL you are precious
You stand up for us in the turbulence of this digital revolution
May your dedication remain heartfelt
and may your spine not fade.

Elizabeth Honey

We children’s authors do our best to create in each of our books a home for the imaginations and feelings of our young readers. We do this because they deserve such a home, and in case they don’t have one elsewhere. At the end of a long day of story-making, many of us authors and illustrators give a weary but grateful sigh. Because we love our work, and because it has a home too. Happy 50th birthday, National Centre For Australian Children’s Literature. May you become the biggest home in the land. For stories, and for the young people who make them possible.

Morris Gleitzman, author

Fifty Years On- and the NCACL at FIFTY
Libby Hathorn

And I remember all of them! Published over the last 50 years my first picture storybook Stephen’s Tree (Methuen 1979) was 45 years ago;  but my first text book on poetry, the handsome Go Lightly (Boden Press 1974)  was this year, 50 years ago too!

Early books went to the Lu Rees Archives established 1974! There’s a well tabulated history of when and how we grew and grew to evolve renamed as the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature, never forgetting Rees’s legacy and dream.  But our dreams are bigger now as the archives live and grow representing very significant writers and illustrators in children’s literature Australia, encouraging newcomers, more research, special celebrations and a lot more besides.

Beautifully housed now with so much more display and storage in the University of Canberra, there are still many of us who long for the day of a building as graceful and well situated as the National Library of Australia. A stunning repository of Australian children’s literary culture and a wonderful tourist attraction.

Libby Hathorn’s Dream

The House of the NCACL
Gracious, large, welcoming and architecturally unique-
And in that place exceptional, our children’s books row on row,
And in that place unique, our art for children piece after piece,
And in that place our dreams, papers, paintings, archives,
And perhaps a ghost or two to take up residence, awaiting…
And in that place a courtyard dedicated to poetry for children,
And in that courtyard a cascading central fountain of poetry!
And in that place the inimitable spirit of Australian children’s literature.
Matchless and distinctive, a treasure trove!

How lovingly my 45 years of archives that went to the NCACL only a matter of a few years ago as part of the Cultural Gift program in 2019, were received. Not in a pantechnicon but in a car with capacious boot. Under the competent and inspired leadership of Professor Belle Alderman who has steered this precious National archive, the collection continues to grow and thrive. Her work in preservation and celebration  of diversity and friendship to the creators and supporters, continues as the Centre thrives.

Congratulations NCACL and all on 50 wonderful years!

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) applauds The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL) for their continuing dedication and professionalism. We share an important role in Australia; to build and maintain a national repository of cultural artefacts pertaining to children’s literature. Our Awards encourage the development of quality literature, and consecrate the winning stories, but NCACL protects the incredibly important stories about these stories in their collections. With their team of dedicated volunteers they ensure we all have access to the hearts and minds of creators. Without the full story they provide, our culture would be impoverished. We thank them.

Wendy Rapee
Children’s Book Council of Australia

‘The existence of NCACL gives strength to Australian children’s book creators, knowing their work Is valued and respected beyond the world of publishing. Thank you for all you do to honour the work of Australian children’s authors and illustrators.’

Kirsty Murray, author

‘We take great delight in making books for children, inviting them to discover how the eastern bearded dragon digs a shallow burrow to lay her eggs in or to witness the Spring Festival with Little Brother in rural northern China. Australian children’s authors and illustrators are world-class. There are few greater pleasures than receiving a perfectly simple and perfectly wonderful manuscript for a picture book – a pleasure perhaps only rivalled by glimpsing an illustrator’s first storyboard and roughs. Rhymes that make us smile, description that transports, characters we feel we know: children’s books can be where a lifetime love of reading and learning begins.

Our books can also be a child’s entry point to their National Library. They might not make the connection between that little classical building in our logo and our building in Canberra, but one day they might walk through our doors as an author, academic or researcher, completing the journey that begins with NLA Publishing.

We send our warmest birthday wishes to the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature for their 50th anniversary. As a collecting institution ourselves, we recognise and appreciate the remarkable importance of holding a record of these stories, these artists and writers, this significant legacy. Thank you for your work preserving this part of Australia’s history.’

National Library of Australia

‘Warmest congratulations to the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature Inc
celebrating its 50th birthday. What an incredible milestone you have reached, not only in the
magnification of books and resources you hold but to the many lives you have touched.

Books will always play an important role in our lives and have a special impact for our young
ones. They can make us laugh and cry and help us understand ourselves. They carry the
exceptional power to introduce us to worlds we know and ones we can only imagine. Who
could forget the wonderful lands the magic faraway tree let us escape to.

Books can show us how to develop an appreciation of our own and other cultures and reflect

on what is right and wrong. They are generational and connect us with those near and far.
Books can teach us about anything from history to mathematics to how to follow our dreams.
Books are certainly great companions, and one is never alone when you have a book to read!’
Yvette Berry MLA
Minister for Education and Youth Affairs

‘Congratulations and thank you to the many volunteers who have made NCACL such a wonderful resource.
Nella Pickup
National Executive- International Board of Books for Young People/IBBY Australia Inc
Children’s Book Council of Australia, Tasmanian Branch – Life Member
Book Council of Lutruwita Tasmania (formerly National Book Council Tasmania) – Life Member

“Reading and books play an important role in the lives of all Australians.

For our youngest Australians, it helps them learn to communicate, and to understand about dinosaurs, space and the different cultures that call this planet home.

For many school aged children, it only takes one special book to discover their love of reading. A book that can spark ideas, increase knowledge, or escape into different worlds.

Dr Seuss’ book ‘The Cat in the Hat’ was my favourite book as a young child, I loved the colours and the storyline.

 Congratulations to the National Centre for Australian’s Children Literature on their 50th Birthday. What an achievement, and how important it is that we continue to share our love of reading with future generations, so they can in turn enjoy all the wonderful stories that we did as children.”

Angie Bell MP
Federal Member for Moncrieff
Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education
Shadow Minister for Youth

“Congratulations to you and all our colleagues on this wonderful milestone.
As a publisher of children’s books, it’s so great to know that our books are taking their place at the centre.
We hope you have a beautiful evening celebrating this enormously important milestone, and we look forward to sending you many more children’s picture books in the future.”
Dr. Peter & Kathy Creamer
Little Pink Dog Books

“Congratulations to a most exceptional literary body, NCACL – a true intergenerational celebration of the power of story and literature in the lives of us all. As an educator, a parent and a reader, I am thankful for the caretakers of NCACL whom I can stand alongside in this celebration and say, “what a marvellous collection and contribution to the social and cultural fabric of Australia”. We are all the richer for having you in our lives, classrooms and communities. ”
Alex Wharton Educator, Literary Critic and Judge

“A thousand congratulations! Or perhaps 1,050.
All the very best,”
Mem Fox xxx

“Congratulations on your 50th celebration. A considerable achievement for the world of children’s literature.
best wishes, ”
Hazel Edwards

“Dear Ruth and Belle – just wanted to drop you a note of congratulations, though I won’t be able to be there on the day.
All the very best,”
Graeme Base

“Dear Friends, of the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature,
On behalf of The School Magazine, I am writing to extend our heartfelt
congratulations to you on your 50th Anniversary. This is a significant
milestone that speaks to the dedication and passion, of everyone involved in
the National Centre of Australian Children’s literature.
We would like to take time to acknowledge the traditional custodians of land,
waterways, skies and culture, the Ngunnawal People, on which this wonderful
collection is housed. Story telling connects the work of the NCACL to the
Ngunnawal People.

Over the past five decades, you have made an indelible impact on the
landscape of children’s literature in Australia. Your commitment to collecting,
preserving, and documenting developments in Australian children’s literature
has not only enriched the lives of countless young readers but also
contributed to the cultural heritage of our nation. The School Magazine is but
one small part of this extensive catalogue, and we are proud to be included in
your preservation efforts and will continue to support your work.

Your work has been instrumental in making the collection available to the
people of Australia. By providing access to a diverse range of literature, you
have opened up new worlds for them to explore, sparking their imagination
and nurturing their intellectual growth. In places where children can feel safe
to wonder and learn, possibilities are endless. NCACL provides this type of
boundless environment.

The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature stands as a beacon of
inspiration for authors, illustrators, and educators alike. Your extensive
collection of books, manuscripts, artwork, serve as a valuable resource for
students, researchers, and others interested in their study and research.

Your efforts provide encouragement and inspiration for current and future
authors and illustrators of children’s literature. You assist in recognising the
contribution of Australian children’s authors and illustrators to children’s
literature around the world. This work is of utmost importance, and reaching
this significant milestone is a testament to your unwavering commitment.

As you celebrate this remarkable achievement, we hope that you continue to
inspire and educate future generations with your invaluable work. Here’s to
many more years of success and innovation in the field of children’s

Congratulations from your friends at The School Magazine
Best Regards,”
Elise Moore (Literacy Advisor: The School Magazine)

“Congratulations on the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature reaching the milestone of 50!
May your organisation grow from strength to strength!
Theresa Fuller (Author)

Happy 50th Birthday to a remarkable Organisation
“From Mem Fox’s “where is the green sheep” to Pamela Allen’s “waddle giggle gargle paddle poodle”, the best of children’s books stick in your mind for many years afterwards. Although our three boys are now in double-digit ages, my wife Gweneth and I still enjoy reading them the occasional bedtime story. Books have marked their growing up, as they moved from May Gibbs to Norman Lindsay to Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton to Morris Gleitzman to Jack Heath. We’re lucky to live in a nation with such remarkable Australian storytellers, where you can almost smell the eucalyptus leaves on the page. Congratulations to the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature on your 50th anniversary, and I look forward to the remarkable achievements to come in the next half century.”
~ Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fenner

“The NCACL is a landmark organisation that is an invaluable repository of children’s and YA literature. Thankyou for the first 50 years and looking forward to the next.”
Susanne Gervay OAM

“Fifty years of the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature—what a delightful cause for celebration! It is wonderful to know this is merely the first fifty years and that there are many still to come with the Centre collecting and preserving materials that tell the stories of Australian children’s literature. Thanks for all you do.”
A Visit from the North – NCACL
Professor Gregory Bryan, University of Manitoba, Canada.

Support 50 more years showcasing treasures. Donate to the NCACL today!