Built in 1889 in the hamlet of Riddells Creek in the Macedon Ranges, the Dromkeen homestead was part of the country estate of Judge Arthur Chomley (1837–1914), who presided over the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria. Judge Chomley named the homestead Dromkeen after his mother's family home in Ireland.
In 1973, Dromkeen was purchased by Joyce and Court Oldmeadow, who used the homestead as a private residence and storage centre for their educational bookshop.
Before long their love and interest in children’s literature led to the establishment of the Dromkeen Collection, and the house became a home for Australian children’s literature.
The Oldmeadows dedicated their lives to preserving the original artwork and manuscripts of Australian children’s literature for public display. Following Court’s death in 1977, Scholastic Australia took over responsibility for maintaining the Collection.
Joyce Oldmeadow continued to develop Dromkeen and in 1982, she inaugurated the Dromkeen Medal, awarded annually to an Australian citizen whose work has significantly contributed to the appreciation and development of children's literature.
To guarantee a permanent home for the Collection, Scholastic Australia purchased the homestead in 1985.
Following Joyce’s death in 2001, her son John continued the Oldmeadows’ legacy as the Director of Dromkeen. Scholastic's involvement fulfilled Joyce and Court Oldmeadow’s dream that the Dromkeen Children's Literature Collection should be available for children and adults alike as a constant source of enjoyment and inspiration.
In 2012, the Dromkeen Foundation and Scholastic Australia gifted the entire Dromkeen Collection, along with the Dromkeen archive, to State Library Victoria.
The Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection is a unique collection of original artworks and manuscripts, including approximately 7500 original illustrations from many of Australia’s best loved children's books. Importantly, the collection includes not only original finished artwork but also sketches, preliminary artwork, diagrams and mock-ups, revealing the complex creative journey in producing picture book stories for children. The Dromkeen Collection showcases Australia’s brilliant picture book illustrators and provides a visual record of Australian heritage, history, environment and culture.
'We are honoured to bestow the Dromkeen Medal and Librarian’s Award in acknowledgement of the excellent work accomplished in the Children’s Literature domain in Australia today. This tradition wouldn't be possible without the opportunity the Library was afforded through the generosity of Scholastic Australia and support of John Oldmeadow and the Dromkeen community.'
– Kate Torney, CEO