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State Library receives the Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection

Media release

This is an archived media release. Links were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed or expired.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

The Dromkeen Board of Governors, Scholastic Australia has presented the State Library of Victoria with the entire collection of the Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection.

The internationally significant Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection consists of approximately 7500 original artworks and illustrations from prepublication material of many of Australia’s best-loved children’s books. The collection also includes a historical book collection, six bronze sculptures of picture book characters and the Dromkeen archive.

Premier and Minister for the Arts the Hon Ted Baillieu said the donation was ‘a remarkable gift to the people of Victoria’.

‘Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection will find a very welcome home at our magnificent State Library – a place which already holds a vast collection of children’s literature, and one deeply committed to fostering a love of reading and supporting literacy among young people.

I know the State Library of Victoria will ensure that the Dromkeen legacy will live on and be shared with future generations.’

Welcoming the donation of the Scholastic Dromkeen Collection, the President of the Library Board of Victoria, the Hon John Cain, said, ‘We are delighted to accept this important national collection.  The Library will build and exhibit the collection, support research and continue programs to engage young people in the Library and on-line.  In this way we will maintain the vision of Courtney and Joyce Oldmeadow, and Scholastic as Trustee, and work to support literacy amongst young people.’

Ken Jolly, Chairman of the Board of Scholastic Australia said the Dromkeen Governors felt the State Library of Victoria was the most suitable home for the collection.

‘The collection needs to be housed in a manner that makes it accessible through exhibitions and displays, as well as online—somewhere that engages children and adults with the world of books and children’s literature. The State Library of Victoria ticks all of these boxes, and the Library was extremely keen to ensure the collection’s continued presence here in Melbourne,’ Mr Jolly said.

Mr Jolly said that Dromkeen will maintain its Exhibition and Education program at the Dromkeen Homestead in 2012. It is anticipated the transfer of all parts of the collection to the Library will be completed by the end of the year.  

Information for editors
The Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art collection was founded by Courtney and Joyce Oldmeadow at the historic ‘Dromkeen’ homestead in Riddell’s Creek in 1973.

Dromkeen quickly became a haven for illustrators and authors and attracted many thousands of school students and teachers.  Joyce Oldmeadow’s vision of ‘bringing children and books together’ saw the implementation of inspiring educational programs and teacher development workshops. Within a few years, their efforts had received international recognition, winning the Eleanor Fargeon Award for contributions to children’s literature.

Following Joyce Oldmeadow’s death in 2001, her daughter, Kaye Keck, took on Directorship of Dromkeen until her own passing in 2010, after which her brother, John Oldmeadow, assumed the role.

In 1982, Scholastic Australia became the Trustee for the Collection and has overseen the ongoing acquisition, preservation and exhibition of original artworks.  The company also ensured the continuation of the education programs, as well as general upkeep of the property.

The Dromkeen Collection of Australian children’s book art will now be know as Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection.