Join a celebration of culture, Country and connection with the minds behind the extraordinary new picture book series, Welcome to Our Country. Former Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, co-writer Ellie Laing and Barkindji illustrator David Hardy take children on a journey through First Nations history, traditions and ceremony. Together, they share what caring for Country means to the world’s oldest continuous culture. Hosted by children’s book author Deborah Abela. 

Recommended for ages four and up.

Photo credit: Alex Vaughan (2021)


Adam Goodes (Australian)

Adam Goodes

Adam Goodes is an Adnyamathanha and Narungga man and community leader. He is a former Australian Rules footballer, having achieved the greatest heights in the game, and was named Australian of the Year in 2014 for his public work in the fight against racism and his advocacy in First Nations affairs. Together with his cousin Michael O'Loughlin, Adam founded the GO Foundation, which supports and inspires the next generation of First Nations leaders. With a diploma in Aboriginal Studies and his own daughter approaching preschool age, Adam was motivated to publish a series of books for young children and families about Australia's First Nations history.

Photo credit: Alex Vaughan (2021)

Ellie Laing (Australian)

Ellie Laing

Ellie Laing (nee Southwood) is a political adviser and former journalist and presenter who lives on the lands of the Gammeraygal people on the northern beaches of Sydney with her husband and two sons. When Ellie's eldest son Harvey came home from preschool reciting Acknowledgements of Country and singing Aboriginal lullabies, she was inspired to collaborate with Adam Goodes on a series of books aimed at helping families with young children to talk about Australia's First Nations history. She is currently completing studies in Traditional Aboriginal Cultures.

Photo credit: Alex Vaughan (2021)

David Hardy (Australian)

David Hardy

David Hardy is a Barkindji man, author and artist with more than eight years of animation experience with Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is currently a Senior Gaming Illustrator/Animation Manager for Lightning Box Games. David has worked on twelve animated feature films, including The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata and Return to Neverland. His books for children include Alfie's Search for Destiny, On the Way to Nana's, Aussie Kids: Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo. He is the illustrator of new series, Welcome to Country, written by Adam Goodes and Ellie Laing.

Photo credit: Alex Vaughan (2021)

Deborah Abela (Australian)

Deborah Abela

After completing a teaching degree, Deb went to Africa where she was caught in a desert sandstorm, harassed by monkeys and thrown in jail…twice! She produced a national kids’ TV show before writing twenty-eight internationally published and awarded books, including her cranky climate-change trilogy, Grimsdon, New City and Final Storm, The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee, Wolfie, An Unlikely Hero and the CBCA notable, Bear in Space. Her next book, The Book of Wondrous Possibilities, is about the power of books to change our lives.