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

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

Meet the ACLF Board

Ron Gorman, ACLF Chair – 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.


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 now a life member. She’s currently a board member of the Australian Society of Authors, a member of the IBBY (Australia) Inc Committee, and president of the Curtis Coast Literary Carnivale Committee. She was recipient of the 2011 CBCA (Qld) Dame Annabelle Rankin Award, and the 2012 CBCA Nan Chauncy Award for Distinguished Services to Children’s Literature in Australia. She looks forward as a member of the ACLF board she assists the Laureates in their important role of promoting the work of their Australian creators.


Ann James was an art teacher who moved into designing and illustrating education publications before establishing herself as an award-winning illustrator of children’s books. Ann particularly loves illustrating picture books and texts for young children. She has collaborated with many authors and publishers to illustrate over 60 books, many of which have been translated into other languages including The Midnight Babies, Little Humpty, Lucy Goosey, The Way I Love You,  Sadie and Ratz, Chester and Gil and the Audrey series..

Ann, with partner Ann Haddon, established Books Illustrated in 1988. This gallery for book illustration now focuses on creating exhibitions promoting Australian picture books and their creators that travel throughout Australia and overseas - most recently in Italy, China and Korea. Together in 2000 they were awarded the Pixie O’Harris Award for Distinguished service to Australian Children’s Literature. In 2003 Ann received the Dromkeen Medal awarded annually to an Australian citizen for work that ‘makes a significant contribution to the appreciation and development of children’s literature.’

Since 1996 Ann has represented illustrators on the Australian Society of Authors Committee of Management. She is a founding Board member of the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance whose primary initiative is selecting and managing the Australian Children’s Laureate/s. She lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.


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 KaneKim 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).


Linkedin PhotoMandy 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 bookseller before spending a decade in trade publishing and magazines in the UK. For many years she worked at arts consultancy FMcM Associates where her clients included authors and illustrators, publishing houses, literature festivals, books fairs, prizes, charities and arts organisations. She has a particular passion for children's books and has worked closely on The Bookseller'sYA Book Prize, Hay Fever Hay Festival Children's Programme and The Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge. Emily has also lectured on children's book publishing at UCL (University College London) and was a judge of The Bookseller'sChildren’s Marketing Campaign Award. She returned to Australia in 2017 and currently works at the ASA.

Bruce Ellis  
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.


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.