Meet the ACLF team

The Australian Children's Laureate Foundation relies on the skills, passion and abilities of many individuals in order to achieve its goals and meet its objectives. On this page you can find out more about partners and friends of the ACLF, the ACLF board, and ACLF office staff.

Partners & Friends of the Australian Children’s Laureate Initiative

ACLF would like to thank our funding partners, sponsors donors and friends for helping us make the Australian Children’s Laureate initiative a reality.

Major funding has gratefully been received from the Federal Government via the Australia Council for the Arts, the Copyright Agency Ltd Cultural Fund, the Australian Publishers Association, and the Australian Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia. Previous support from Bolinda Audio and the Cages Foundation was also vital to ACLF's development.

Other financial support has been received from the Children’s Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishers’ Association (APA), Australian Society of Authors (ASA), Children's Book Council of Australia and its branches, State Library NSW, State Library Queensland, National Library of Australia, MONA, Book Links Qld Inc, and the Department for Education and Early Childhood Develeopment (SA). Publisher support has been received from: Penguin Random House Australia, Allen & Unwin, and bookseller Mark Rubbo.

In-kind support has also been received from the volunteer ACLF board members, Books Illustrated, the Australian School Libraries Association, Scholastic Australia, the Micador Group, Splitting Image, Penguin Random House Australia, Allen & Unwin, HaperCollins Publishers Australia, the Australian Booksellers Association, and Carclew Youth Arts.

If you would like to support the Australian Children's Laureate Initiative by offering financial, in-kind or volunteer support, please contact ACLF via email on


The Laureate Patron:  Noni Hazlehurst AM

Alison Lester AM, Noni Hazlehurst AM and Boori Monty Pryor. Photo credit: Andre Castellucci

Meet the ACLF Board

Bruce Ellis, ACLF Chair, Bruce is a Partner at PwC in Melbourne with over 30 years’ experience in advising a broad range of clients with a focus on closely held private and family businesses and their owners. He provides independent advice to financially successful individuals, families and business owners. He believes that community and philanthropic organisations play a vital role in binding society together and has been involved in community organisations for 30 years in committee and office bearing roles. His belief in the power of storytelling and reading for his children led to him joining the Board of ACLF in October 2017. Bruce is a Fellow and Accredited Financial Planning Specialist of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.  He holds a Bachelor of Business degree (with distinction) from RMIT.

Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright, ACLF Deputy-Chair, has operated justified text writing and publishing consultancy services since 1997 and has published widely on children’s and YA literature. She’s judged several awards including being inaugural chair of the judging panel for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (Children and YA) in 2010 and 2011. She began her career as a children’s librarian, later co-established a small children’s publishing imprint, and was also inaugural Executive Director of the Queensland Writers Centre (1991–7), of which she is a life member. She’s currently President of IBBY Australia Inc. She was recipient of the 2011 CBCA (Qld) Dame Annabelle Rankin Award, the 2012 CBCA Nan Chauncy Award, and the 2014 QWC Johnno Award.

Ron Gorman, – Deputy Director AISWA, The Literature Centre, Board Member – Fogarty Learning Centre, Edith Cowan University, Convenor – Small Schools Collegiate Group. Ron Gorman is the Deputy Director of AISWA, a position he has held since 2008.  Ron was the organisation’s Senior Literacy Consultant and Projects Manager from 2000-2008. He is a former classroom teacher who taught in Victorian schools in the early 1980s, at Culunga Aboriginal School in Guildford WA in 1983, and at Lance Holt Primary School in Fremantle from 1984-1991. He was principal of Lance Holt from 1991-1999.

Laurine Croasdale has had a long career in publishing, working as an editor, packager and consultant in both Australia and the UK. She has written scripts for the television show Hi5 and had over 15 fiction and non-fiction books published for children. Her latest book, iHarry, was released by Penguin in 2011. Laurine also presents workshops to schools via video conference with Literature Live! and tutored at the Sydney Writer’s Centre and the NSW Writer’s Centre.

Kim Kane
writes fiction for children and young adults published in Australia and overseas. Before she commenced writing full time, Kim was an intellectual property and commercial lawyer in both private practice and for a listed company. Prior to ACLA, Kim was the Vice Chair of Express Media Inc. She also sat on the board of the Australian Teachers of Media (Vic) (ATOM).


Mandy Vandenelshout is a media lawyer with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She assists program makers and journalists with defamation, contempt, contract, intellectual property, privacy and consumer law advice.  She has also worked as the in-house lawyer for the ABC’s Commercial arm dealing with all kinds of projects involving artists, authors, publishers and actors.  She works with a number of community organisations including Primary Ethics.  Mandy is also endeavouring to learn the Chinese language!


Bill Hanlon is a CPA accredited accountant and has worked in commercial organisations. He has also spent15 years working in the not-for-profit sector. This includes a volunteer position as a director on the board of a credit union rising to the position of chairperson over a 10 year period. Bill enjoys working as the Treasurer of ACLF, using his financial skills to assist in the important work of the Foundation.


Emily Banyard is a marketing, publicity and digital communications specialist. She started her career as a publicist at Simon & Schuster, Random House and Michael O'Mara Books in the UK. She then worked at arts consultancy FMcM Associates in London where her clients included authors and illustrators, publishing houses, literature festivals, books fairs, prizes, charities and arts organisations. She returned to Australia in 2017 and is currently Marketing and Communications Manager at the Australian Society of Authors.



The ACLA office Team


Lindy Batchelor, ACLF Program Manager, has always been an enthusiastic participant in the world of Australian children's literature. She has worked as a primary teacher; a librarian in schools and public libraries as well Taronga Zoo; author; reviewer; bookseller, and event coordinator for a children's bookshop. Lindy was the founding President of the Northern Sydney sub branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia, and is actively involved in various aspects of the Australian children's book industry, including her voluntary involvement with the NSW Committee of the Australian Children's Laureate Foundation since 2015. She is looking forward to her new role as Program Manager in working to help promote the ACLF's statement that 'reading changes lives'. Lindy works as a volunteer children's guide at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.


Lee Burgemeestre, ACLF Office Administrator, is a graphic designer and illustrator. She has a Master of Fine Arts and a Diploma of Graphic Design. Early in her career she decided to focus her design expertise on education, health and the arts, as these are close to her heart. As well being a book designer and illustrator, Lee has lectured at Monash University and worked in design studios, theatre, and television post-production. She relishes finding the most artistic and functional approach to each project. Her close association with many people in the Australian children’s book industry has made for a particularly delicious creative journey.