Guide to the Childrens Literature Collection

Our collection is an important resource of historical and contemporary Children's Literature. The main focus is on Australian literature written for children and young adults, from the earliest to the most recent publications.

The collection consists of over 10,000 titles and was established for use by researchers, tertiary students, and the general public. It is a valuable resource for those interested in:

  • Children's and adolescent literature
  • Literary and illustrative techniques.
  • Publishing trends
  • The study of childhood, and the changes in society.

Highlights of the Collection

The collection has a focus on Western Australian and Australian materials, including published imprints, historical children's magazines and annuals, and award-winning books of the Children's Book Council of Australia and the West Australian Young Reader's Book Awards.

There are many rare items in the collection, including:

Popular books such as John Mystery's The adventures of Pearl and Plain which was printed on poor quality paper during World War II, are also represented.

The annuals' collection consists of historical English and Australian children's magazines, papers, annuals and comics. They reflect the reading habits of the time. The Australian boys' annual deals with stories of adventure, travel, and sport. Other titles, such as The Empire annual for girls include school life and historical stories, as well as more feminine practicalities.

An important resource is the Pre-1890 Australian children's books microfiche package produced by the State Library of South Australia.

You can follow the creation of a story from manuscript to published book by looking at the original archival materials, which include draft manuscripts, correspondence between authors and editors, and original picture book sketches. Original picture book illustrations from the Williams Collection feature in regular exhibitions in the gallery space at The Place.

Access to the Collection

Most of this collection, including many rare and valuable items, is held behind the scenes, however you can request items to view in the Reading Room on the third floor. Just ask a friendly staff member for assistance.

A selection of books is available to browse at The Place on the mezzanine level. There are books for babies to 12 year olds, and if you find a story that you and your child enjoy, make a note and borrow it from your local public library. Remember, it's free to join!


We welcome donations of original materials relating to the publication process, such as manuscripts, illustrations, editorial correspondence, as well as Western Australian titles not already in the collection. Please contact our Collection Development team for further information.

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Page last updated: Saturday 12 March 2011

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