NCACL celebrates 50 years of championing children’s stories
The Sector > Practice > Family Day Care > NCACL celebrates 50 years of championing Australian children’s stories

NCACL celebrates 50 years of championing Australian children’s stories

by Jason Roberts

March 26, 2024

The National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL), based at the University of Canberra, has reached an exciting milestone of 50 years of operation. The Centre is continually developing its comprehensive collection of resources about Australian authors, illustrators, publishers and their creative works.


Over the last 50 years, NCACL has curated a collection of over 58,000 children’s books thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers.who collect and catalogue each book. The total collection of the Centre is currently valued at $12.8 million.


“NCACL is an extraordinary resource of cultural importance to the arts in Australia, and is run with such dedication and expertise by Belle and the volunteers,” said Bob Graham, renowned author and illustrator.


A part of this work has included compiling and curating several free-to-access databases:


  • Picture Books for Older Readers
  • NCACL Cultural Diversity Database
  • NCACL Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Resource


Situated on the University of Canberra campus, the archives have become a valuable resource for research, work integrated learning and internships.


NCACL’s Acting Chair, Mr John Faulks articulated that “The thing that most distinguishes humans from machines is the imagination, and we are the tellers of things we imagine and things we observe… knowledge locked away is knowledge lost. NCACL works to make it accessible to all.”


To mark this momentous occasion, the Centre enjoyed a week-long celebration with workshops, a panel event, guided tours of the collections and a meet and greet event with authors, partners and well-wishers. 


The cocktail event was well-attended, including a welcome address from Mr Bob Graham. He spoke of how the 50th anniversary had him as “a big brown bear standing in a stream, snatching at salmon… swiping at memories.”


Mr Graham and Rose Howes, a NCACL volunteer of over 30 years, were both awarded for their service and collaboration.


The celebration was a moment of reflection for many, looking back on the beginning in 1974, when the Australian Government gave $500 to the Australian Capital Territory brand of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, prompting the national collection, initially housed in member’s homes.

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button