Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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RiP Albert Ullin

The Little Bookroom founder Albert Ullin has died, aged 88.

Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1930, Ullin moved to Australia in 1939 before the outbreak of World War II. In Melbourne, he become a bookseller at Robertson & Mullens, where he developed an interest in children’s books.

In 1960, Ullin opened The Little Bookroom, Australia’s first bookstore dedicated to children’s books, which is named after Eleanor Farjeon’s book of modern fairy tales. In 1997 he sold the store to three of his employees, who then sold it to the Lambert family in 2008. While working at the bookstore, Ullin built one of Australia’s largest collections of children’s picture book art, which he donated to the National Gallery of Victoria in 2015. For The Little Bookroom’s 50th anniversary in 2010, Jeff Prentice wrote a history of the bookstore, The Little Bookroom: Fifty Years With Children’s Books (Braidwood Press).

Ullin was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1997 in for ‘service to the promotion of children’s literature in Australia and overseas’ and the Dromkeen Medal in 1986 for ‘outstanding achievement in the creation of Australian children’s and young adult literature’.

In 2009, Ullin was presented with a lifetime achievement award at the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) annual dinner. In accepting the award, Ullin said it was a great honour to have been acknowledged by his peers and he urged fellow booksellers to open a children’s book section if they had not already done so. Ullin also received the Leila St John Award in 2010, presented by the Victorian branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) for services to children’s literature in Victoria.

The Little Bookroom writes:

‘We are deeply saddened by the passing of this glorious and visionary man.’

‘In 1960 he recognised the value and importance of reading to childhood, and opened Australia’s first bookshop devoted to children’s books. What unusual foresight!’

‘Albert’s life was devoted to supporting Australian authors and illustrators—his efforts and dedication made an enormous contribution to the thriving children’s literature community that nourishes us all today.’



Category: Obituaries