Dromkeen is a graceful nineteenth-century homestead that has been classified by the National Trust, and accredited through Museums Australia - Victoria. It is situated in the small township of Riddells Creek, outside Melbourne in Victoria. It is the home of the Australian Children's Literature Collection, a unique collection of original artwork, manuscripts and other pre-publication material from Australian children's books.
At the turn of the century, Dromkeen was the home of Judge Arthur Chomley, who presided over the County and Supreme Courts of Victoria. His country estate, built in 1889, was named ‘Dromkeen’ to maintain a connection with his mother’s family home at Tipperary in Ireland.
In 1973, Dromkeen was purchased by Joyce and Court Oldmeadow. They used the homestead as a private residence and as a bulk store and freight centre for their educational bookshop. Before long their love and interest in children’s literature led to the establishment of the Dromkeen Collection, and Joyce and Court's house became a home for Australian children’s literature.
Joyce and Court Oldmeadow dedicated their lives to preserving for public display the original artwork and manuscripts of Australian children’s literature, many of which had hitherto been lost or destroyed. Passionate in their desire to inspire children with the creative processes of children’s books in the making, they also wished to preserve this unique part of Australia’s heritage as a ‘living’ collection for everyone to enjoy.
Court Oldmeadow died in 1977, and in 1978 Scholastic Australia took over the responsibility of maintaining the Collection.
Joyce Oldmeadow continued to develop Dromkeen. In 1982, she inaugurated the Dromkeen Medal, which is awarded annually to an Australian citizen whose work has significantly contributed to the appreciation and development of children's literature.
To guarantee a permanent home for the Collection, Scholastic Australia purchased the homestead in 1985.
Joyce Oldmeadow died in 2001. Daughter Kaye Keck continues her parents' legacy as the present Director of Dromkeen.
Scholastic's involvement fulfils Joyce and Court Oldmeadow's dream that the Dromkeen Children's Literature Collection should be available for children and adults alike as a constant source of enjoyment and inspiration.
Author: Mem Fox
The Dromkeen Collection is a priceless exhibition of original artwork and manuscripts from our continuing heritage of Australian children's literature. Dromkeen also boasts fine gardens with Australian and English plants and trees.
The Man from Ironbark
Author: A B ('Banjo') Paterson
Children's literature comes alive through bronze garden sculptures, and the gazebo provides a welcome resting place following a walk around the Heritage Trail. You can picnic in the extensive gardens, or go visit some of the neighbouring wineries after you leave Dromkeen.
I remember fondly my first trip to Dromkeen as a child with my school. An Australian Author read one of her books to us and we sat in the garden near those sculptures o listen to her. The illustrator was also there. It is a magical place. And so, my love of books began here.. Mr Lizard and Gumnut Baby
Author/Illustrator: May Gibbs
My favourite thing of al here is the writing on the plaque accompanying the very top image hre on this post. It reads "Visitors will be captivated by characters from Australian Children’s stories including Koala Lou, Wombat Divine, Shy the Platypus and the inspiring dragon representing the children’s Dromkeen Dragons club."
Do visit and do touch!