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Northern Sydney Sub-branch

northern sydney bannerCommittee for 2017

President: Marian McGuinness

Vice President: Wendy Fitzgerald

Secretary: Tonya Alexandra Ward

Minutes Secretary: Jean Saxby 

Treasurer: Louise Park

Lunch with the Stars Coordinator: Belinda Murrell

Other Valuable Committee Members: Lindy Batchelor, Belinda Murrell, Kirsty O’Rourke, Wendy Blaxland, Fran Jones, Jan Latta, Oliver Phommavanh, Jules Van Mills, Debra Tidball and Kristin Prescott.


Our Authors and Illustrators

We are lucky enough to count many distinguished authors and illustrators among our members. Visit their websites below to find out more, or come along to one of our meetings to speak to them in person!

Tonya Alexandra 

Kate Forsyth

Felicity Pulman

Lindy Batchelor

Yvonne Low

Jean Saxby

Wendy Blaxland

Marian McGuinness

Mark Thomason

Toni Brisland

Belinda Murrell

Debra Tidball

Wendy Fitzgerald

Oliver Phommavanh

 Marian McGuinness


Meetings and Upcoming Events

Anyone who would like to come along to our events and activities will always be made very welcome by our happy group of children’s book enthusiasts.

For further information please email our Secretary, Tonya Alexandra Ward at


Wednesday 26th July 2017

Event featuring guest speaker Yvette Poshognian talking about the Premier’s Reading Challenge.

Lindfield Learning Hub, 12-18 Tryon Rd, Lindfield.


Tuesday 12th September 2017

Lunch with the Stars at St Pat's Manly, with guest speaker Gus Gordon.


Wednesday 18th October 2017

At Chatswood Library. Program TBC.


Thursday 23rd November 2017

Christmas Party featuring guest speakers Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood.

Event details TBC.


Travelling Suitcase Project

The CBCA Northern Sydney committee have been working on a fantastic resource for local schools to borrow - called The Travelling Suitcase project. 

The first two suitcases will showcase the books of intrepid adventurer and photographer Jan Latta and best-selling author Belinda Murrell. The next two suitcases are from Louise Park (AKA H.I.Larry, Mac Park and Poppy Rose) and Kate Forsyth. Contents and borrowing details here.

However, it must be noted that The Travelling Suitcase Project was not our sub branch’s original idea. It was actually the very clever Jenny Stubbs, Book Links and the Children’s Literature Centre in Queensland who initiated The Travelling Suitcase Project back in 2006. Read more about this interesting story here.


Past Events

We had an evening with Allison Tait:

Some photos from the night:

Allison Tait talking about Author Platform at St Kevin's school


The crowd at the meeting

Travelling Suitcase presentations - Kate Forsyth and Louise Park:

Kate Forsyth and her travelling suitcase


Louise Park with her suitcase

We had a wonderful excursion to Nutcote in April 2017:


We farewelled our president Wendy Fitzgerald, treasurer Kirsty O'Rourke and committee member Alice Jones at our first AGM for 2017.


Our committee members met at the home of outgoing president Wendy Fitzgerald to plan our sub-branch's activities for 2017.


Our Vice President Lindy Batchelor took us on an enlightening tour through the NSW Art Gallery. Lindy was an inspiring guide, demonstrating the tour she gives to school children to teach them about storytelling through art.


Shelley Unwin and JC Burke were our enlightening guests speakers at our October 2015 Meeting, held at St Kevin's Primary School in Dee Why.

shelly and jc

Members of our Sub-Branch judged the 2015 Warringah Library Young Writers’ competition as an opportunity to support and encourage local authors in the making. Our judges attended the presentation night along with the mayor, pictured below.


The 2015 Big Book Day Out was a great success and we throroughly enjoyed taking part with our own stall, giving out goody bags to eager book-loving children. 

CBCA NSW Judge Cathie Tasker provided an enlightening talk on the 2015 Short List, the judging process and what makes a good books for kids and YA. Held as part of Gordon Library Literature week.

Our authors Belinda Murrell, Kate Forythe and Jan Latta enthralled the kids at Gordon Library with stories of magical, mysterious and brave adventures as part of their Winter Warmers series of events.

Author Afternoon Tea

Our 2014 end of year celebration featured author and illustrator Peter Carnavas who entertained us not only with his words, but through pictures and song as well. We also celebrated the release of our member Wendy Blaxland's picture book, The Christmas Rose. Friend of the committee and owner of Beecroft Children's Bookshop Paul Macdonald shared his picks for summer holiday reading.

Peter Carnavas

Peter Carnavas

Wendy Blaxland

We were thrilled to welcome our very special guest speakers, 2013 Children’s Laureate Alison Lester, and award-winning illustrator Sarah Davis at our end of year celebration for 2013.

alison lester

alison with committee members

Photos courtesy of Jean Saxby

Members got together for a fun catch-up dinner with past president, Lindy Batchelor at Harbord Diggers Club.

dinner with Lindy

Our 2013 Committee Planning Meeting at the home of our outgoing secretary, Antonette Diorio.

meeting at Antonette's

Our fabulous authors and illustrators at the 2013 Lunch with the Stars at St Patrick's, Manly. Guest author Gabrielle Lord and guest illustrator Serena Geddes regaled an audience of children's authors, teachers, students and librarians at this gala event.

lunch w stars 13