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About us

Children's Book Council of Australia NSW Branch Inc. 

The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) NSW Branch Inc is a not for profit organisation run by volunteers. It is a financially independent member of the Children’s Book Council of Australia and runs autonomously.  


We strive to achieve a thriving, creative world embracing the transformational power of stories across generations. Our mission is to connect, communicate, celebrate and advocate for the value of stories.


​Best known for creating Children’s Book Week, CBCA was established at a time when Australian children’s books were few, and Australian authors and illustrators were virtually unknown. Running annually since 1946, the CBCA Book of the Year Awards promote Australian children's books of high literary and artistic merit. These awards are now celebrated in schools, libraries and throughout the general community. The CBCA also produces a range of promotional items to support Book Week celebrations.


CBCA NSW Branch Inc is a vibrant community of people passionate about connecting young people with books and raising awareness of the value of story. CBCA NSW Branch has eight associated regional committees across NSW which interact directly with their local area. We assist authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers and educational organisations to bring words, images and stories into the hearts and minds of children and adults.

CBCA NSW Branch believes that Australian children’s literature enriches our nation and nations across the world through international editions.

CBCA NSW Branch is primarily funded by membership fees. Now a registered charity, we are able to direct donations towards targeted projects. Where possible grants are sought to assist our valuable work.  


Share our vision? we encourage you to become a member.

Children's Book Council of Australia NSW Branch

In September 2020, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales and Mr Dennis Wilson agreed to grant joint Vice Regal Patronage to the CBCA NSW Branch. We are delighted as ‘Her Excellency brings her deep commitment to education, youth leadership, human rights and social justice to the role in service of the people of New South Wales.’


Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of COVID 19, CBCA NSW Branch was not able to hold an official function to celebrate this honour.


Their Excellencies the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley are Patrons-in-Chief of the Children’s Book Council of Australia.


2021 Her-Excellency-the-Honourable-Marga

The Honourable Margaret Beazley

AC KC, Governor of New South Wales

and Mr Dennis Wilson

Children's Book Council of Australia NSW Branch 

The Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) was established in Sydney in 1945. The Second World War had two effects on children’s books. Imports were restricted and a paper shortage curtailed local production, resulting in a groundswell among Australian educators to provide more and better locally produced books and to foster the growth of libraries for children and therefore improve literacy levels. Mary Townes Nyland worked at the USA Information Library in Sydney. When the US Children’s Book Council conceived the idea of sponsoring an International Children’s Book Week, she was the catalyst for an enthusiastic group who worked towards this. The US Information Library hosted a dinner for about twelve invited guests and were amazed at the response. Guests were authors, publishers, librarians, teachers and representatives from the Australian Broadcasting Commission. A committee was formed and the first Australian Children’s Book Week, held in November 1945, is generally regarded as the birth of The CBCA.


Celebrate with Stories.PNG

The main celebration every year is CBCA Book Week, but the NSW branch organises many other events throughout the year, including the presentation of the Lady Cutler Award for service to children’s literature in NSW. The full program can be found on the website or in the regular newsletters and notices to members.


Anyone who is interested and passionate about bringing children and books together - teachers, librarians, parents, booksellers - should be a member of the CBCA NSW branch and all members are encouraged and welcome to join a committee, either the main branch committee or a sub-branch committee, to help further this important work.


Margaret Hamilton AM.

September 27, 2019

The CBCA became a national organisation in 1958, with branches in every Australian state and territory, except the Northern Territory, which joined in 1991. The inaugural meeting was held in May 1959 at School Library Services in Sydney, with Maurice Saxby presiding as first National President. It is a not-for-profit, totally voluntary organisation, now administered by the CBCA National Board, made up of independent and branch directors. Branches across Australia organise local programs and events according to their members’ needs and the Board organises the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the Biennial National Conference.


The CBCA NSW Branch held meetings at Library Services for many years. However, in 1989, Library Services relocated to Ryde, so the search was on for a meeting venue. The NSW Writers Centre at Rozelle was newly established, so this was a natural home for the CBCA NSW Branch, where they have had an office ever since. The NSW Branch is the largest branch, with a dedicated voluntary committee working tirelessly organising events and programs for members. There are also seven sub-branches that have their own enthusiastic committees organising local events and promotions of children’s books for members in their area.


A note about the Notables: 


Notable Australian Children’s Books

The Notable Books list was conceived from Australian Children’s Books - a select list created by Lucy Harvey Rees. In 1990 Michele Huet, the judge representing the ACT Branch of the CBCA produced a list of 65 titles of her choice from the total list of 182 titles entered by publishers for the 1990 Book of the Year awards. This concept was then adopted by the CBCA. The 1991 publication highlighted books which the judges for the 1991 Children’s Book of the Year Awards deemed worthy of inclusion. The aim of this list, made up of 74 titles from the 169 titles entered, was to give prominence and recognition to books published in Australia, which had reached a commendable standard. Some of these books were considered for a variety of purposes, inclusion in public and school libraries, individual reading, or translation or for inclusion in international library collections.

At the 1993 AGM it was decided that this publication should be released within three weeks of the judges’ conference or as soon as possible after the Short List announcement to facilitate marketing, selection and publicity - and usefulness as a selection guide. The 1994 AGM the National Executive produced a Notable Book sticker in 1995 to be used for titles included in Notable Australian Children’s Books 1995.

Notable Australian Children’s Books was an annual printed publication from the CBCA, as was the Shortlist Information Book and the Awards Handbook. ‘Celebrate With Stories’, 1995.  Margaret Hamilton

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