Saturday May 3 might have been an unseasonably bitterly cold day in Armidale, but the atmosphere was wonderfully warm for our 20th anniversary celebrations! The day started with a short sub-branch meeting, which was attended not only by members but by our special guest Ursula Dubosarsky. This was followed by an entertaining, lively public talk given by Ursula,also at the same venue, on the subject of how she started as a writer and the development of her career. This was a well-attended and popular event, with the appreciative audience including children, young adults and adults, who asked many questions afterwards. During this time we were joined by Gail Erskine, President of the NSW branch of CBC, and Denise Cramsie, immediate past President of the CBC NSW, who had just arrived from Sydney. After the talk, Reader’s Companion bookshop organised a book sale and signing and queues soon formed to get Ursula’s delightful signing designs–animal stamps, small drawings, and a flourish of inked signature–into their precious Dubosarsky collection!
In the afternoon, Ursula visited a local creator’s shop, Granny Fi’s Toy Cupboard in Uralla, and met illustrator David Allan and editor Beattie Alvarez who are part of new local children’s publisher Christmas Press, with whom Ursula has a picture book coming out in August, Two Tales of Twins from Ancient Greece and Rome (illustrated by David Allan.)
The 20th Anniversary Dinner starred in the evening, with a most convivial gathering of present and past members, supporters and friends of the New England and North West sub-branch, and a delicious dinner in the cosy surroundings of a local hotel . Our President Sophie Masson made the introductions and welcome, then Secretary Sylvia Ransom read out a list of apologies from people who would have loved to have been there but couldn’t–including from our Founding President Wendy Smith, whose health issues sadly made it impossible for her to attend. Gail Erskine and Denise Cramsie then spoke on behalf of CBC NSW, and expressed the home branch’s admiration for our record of longevity–we are the oldest continuously-running sub-branch in NSW–and their appreciation of the work we do in furthering CBC aims, with Gail presenting us with a beautiful glass trophy to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the sub-branch.
Ursula Dubosarsky’s dinner speech was as entertaining and interesting as her earlier talk, but focussed instead on the important role played by childhood books, including early readers, in the evolution of both readers and writers, and the important part played by the CBC in fostering exposure to books for young readers. Guests at the dinner also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to mingle, to meet Ursula, Gail and Denise informally, and to celebrate together a wonderful anniversary. And everyone got to take home a lovely permanent souvenir of the night–laminated place mats created by CBC members Heather Fisher and Lyndal Knuckey from copies of articles from the sub-branch archives held by Treasurer Ann Young!
Thanks to all for making this such a fantastic day and evening!
Below are photos from all the events.