Volunteers & Donors

Our Volunteers

Our state support groups provide invaluable assistance by managing our studio apartments and conducting fundraising events and activities in association with our Creative Time Residential fellowship programs.

If you would like information about joining a support group in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra or Melbourne please contact our coordinator.

Volunteer Awards:

Judith Russell 2013 Dame Annabelle Rankin Award

SA Support Group Members past and present attend the Trust's anniversary brunch. From L to R: Judy Varcoe, Patsy Bennett, Mary Wilson, Margaret Wilkinson, Sue Wright, Alle Goldsworthy(Chair), Nan Halliday, Elizabeth Hutchins, Jean Medley, Sue Nosworthy, Barbara James, Jacquie Holdich and Sally Chance.

Our Donors

Our ability to operate is dependent upon the funds we receive from our donors.

Through their generosity we have been able to purchase studio apartments and our major donors have enabled us to establish a number of endowed Creative Time Residential fellowships, namely:

  • Iva Bridgland fellowships
  • Von Crompton fellowships
  • Irene Gough fellowships


Judith Russell receiving 2013 Dame Annabelle Rankin Award

Judith Russell receiving the 2013 Dame Annabelle Rankin Award

Meet the M.G.C.L.T Support Group 


Mary Wilson – Patron of the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust 

Mary has been involved in the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust since its inception by her husband, the late Ian Wilson (Chair), and Victorian Jeff Prentice (Deputy).

It all began in November 1989, with a phone call from author Christobel Mattingly  enlisting her support to help save May Gibbs studio home, Nutcote, which  had fallen into the hands of developers and faced demolition.

At the time, Mary was President of Delta Foundation, an Educational and Cultural body which encouraged a love of literature through book discussion groups. Delta was about to hold a seminar at Tanderra, Yankalila , entitled Children’sLiterature and the Environment….. how can we engage children to care for and understand the Environment ?

Christobel spoke at the seminar about May Gibbs and Nutcote’s plight, and they became involved immediately! Mary was Chair of  the SA  Action group -Nutcote for the Nation”,  and then  SA Friends of Nutcote. They supported the NutcoteTrust in raising money for Nutcote’s restoration, the Education Centre and the May Gibbs NutcoteWriters in Residence scheme.

When the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust was formed as a national entity they joined the MGCLT support group.

The more you learn about May Gibbs and her contribution to Children’s Literature, the more you realize how significant she was in her time, and how important good quality Australian children’s literature is today.

Mary is thrilled with the success of the Trust in supporting over 250 writers and illustrators from around Australia, who employ different mediums, as May did , and  who reflect the diversity of our social, cultural and geographical environments.  

Mary was
Chair of the Barbara Hanrahan  MemorialExhibition 1994,State Library of South Australia, during the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage, was awarded Life Membership of Delta Foundation in 1997, and appointed  National Patron of the MGCLT in 2013. She received an UNESCO Clubs Adelaide Chapter Achievement Award for her services to Literature  in 2017.

She has 4 sons, 7 grandchildren and enjoys bushwalking and reading.



Alle was invited to chair the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Support Group in Adelaide in 2011 and has held that position ever since. It was just as she was retiring from full-time work as the Project Manager of the Premier’s Reading Challenge in South Australia. This completed 40 years working in the Education Department, beginning as a classroom teacher. Following further study in Teacher Librarianship Alle worked in school libraries in both regional and metropolitan schools.

Alle was involved with school library professional associations, particularly as President of the School Library Association of South Australia. It seemed a natural progression to be a volunteer in the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, supporting authors and illustrators of children’s books and associating with like-minded people who value children’s literature.

 Having fun with six grandchildren and encouraging them to love books and also  playing golf and tennis adds to a busy and fulfilling life. Alle was Ladies’ President of the golf club and served on the Board for a number of years.

 She is also on the judging panel for a biennial award for the Psychologists for Peace Children’s Literature Award promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict in books written by Australian authors.


Sue Wright

Sue joined the support group in 2014 following a long career as a teacher and then a teacher librarian. In retirement she enjoyed a stint in retail selling, of course, books.

Her passion for books began as a four year old being taken into the Aladdin’s cave that was Aylesbury (UK) library. As a teenager much of her summer holidays were spent volunteering at Elizabeth North Public Library.

Sue is honoured and delighted to be part of the May Gibbs CLT group that supports many of Australia’s outstanding children’s authors and illustrators.

Barbara James

Barbara James has been attending MGCL Trust events since its inception and joined the Support Group in its early months. She has had a lifelong interest in children’s literature, coming back to it as an adult through an interest in childhood speech and language development.

Barbara worked as a writer, reviewer, copyeditor and illustrator in the medical/health field, but her interest in children’s books led her to review books for a professional journal of children’s literature and The Advertiser online.

Barbara was a member of various children’s literature groups including the CBC and SCBWI for many years, completing a Masters degree in children’s literature during this time.

She prints cloth books for very young children and likes drawing from nature.


Elizabeth Hutchins

Elizabeth was privileged to be the first May Gibbs Fellow, at Nutcotein Sydney. Involved in the Trust from its formation, she worked with Ian Wilson and Jeff Prentice to develop and refine the concept of creative time residential fellowships. Her chief role as a member of the Trust’s
Executive was to choose and chair a Program Committee which invited authors and illustrators to take up fellowships in Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra. Meeting and occasionally mentoring almost all of the first fifty Adelaide Fellows has been a highlight of her career as an author.

In time the Executive was expanded to become a board, with the awarding of fellowships now a competitive process overseen by a National Selection Committee, which Elizabeth chaired. These days she still has a role to play in selecting recipients of the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship – a particular pleasure – and ongoing contact with the Adelaide support group.

Apart from her writing career (13 books and counting) Elizabeth has been a secondary and TAFE teacher, and Executive Officer of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English.


Judy Varcoe


Born and raised in Adelaide, Judy Varcoe has been a member of the MGCLT committee for a decade.  Judy became involved with MGCLT after her family endowed a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship to enable a partnership with Seymour College in the name of her late mother, Von Crompton. 

A lifelong educator working in both the city and rural areas in multiple States, Judy has held Director positions, sat on Boards and Committees and provisioned successful new school services. 

Having encouraged the love of books in children, including her own, from an early age throughout her career, Judy is always interested in ensuring the availability of good quality children’s literature.  A home can never have too many books!  Judy’s interests include playing golf, tennis and bridge, travel, walking and her garden.  She is married with two daughters and an active grandmother to a granddaughter and six grandsons. 


Karen Mutton

Karen was a classroom teacher in a variety of Catholic Primary Schools before training, at UniSA, as a teacher librarian in the 1990’s.  Shecontinued working in Catholic Primary Schools as a teacher librarian where she emphasised the importance of Australian children having access to and reading quality Australian literature and hearing Australian voices in stories.   She joined the SA Branch of The Children’s Book Council of Australia and was President of the Branch during 2016 and 2017.

Upon retirement Karen joined the May Gibbs Literature Trust Support Group at the beginning of 2020 to support the trust in its work with Australian Authors and Illustrators.  

Sue Nosworthy

Sue initially enjoyed Primary School teaching. She was awarded a scholarship in the School Libraries Branch to continue her teacher librarianship training and produced a booklet for Early Childhood readers.

She taught first in the public system and then for fourteen years at St Peter’s College in the Junior School, where she loved teaching the students.  She introduced the ‘Library Labrador’ to the school.

During the course of that journey, amidst coaching soccer, she was appointed the South Australian Judge for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards for two years. This strengthened her interest and desire to support the ideals and philosophy of the May Gibbs Foundation as a volunteer.

These days Sue also thoroughly enjoys volunteering with numerous visiting authors and illustrators.

Sue loves revisiting and sharing stories with a group of like-minded enthusiastic women and also with her grandchildren in both Melbourne and Adelaide.