Rees, Lu (1901-1983)

Also known as
Rees, L. F. H. (Lucy Frances H)
Rees, L. F. H. (Lucy Frances H) (1901-1983)
Rees, Lu
Rees, Lucy Frances (1901-1983)
Rees, Lucy Frances H.
Rees, Lucy Frances H. (1901-1983)
Rees, Lucy Frances Harvey (1901-1983)
Waugh, Lucy Frances (1901-1983)
Field of activity
Bookseller; Book Collector; Authority on children’s literature; Secretary; authority on children’s literature
Libraries Australia
http://nla.gov.au/anbd.aut-an36036823
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-608221

Biographies

Lucy Frances Harvey Rees (1901-1983), bookseller, book collector and authority on children’s literature, was born on 19 September 1901 at Armidale, New South Wales, eldest of three children of New South...

View the full record at Australian Dictionary of Biography

After an upbringing in the bush Lucy Frances Harvey (Lu) Rees worked as a shearers' cook on a family property during the Depression; she moved to Canberra with her three sons in the late 1930s. In 1950 she became inaugural secretary of the Canberra Branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers remaining a central figure in the organisation for many years. In 1955 she opened Cheshire's Canberra bookshop which she managed for ten years. Always passionate about children's literature she amassed a personal collection that became the nucleus of the ACT Children's Book Council collection. It was donated to the University of Canberra where it is named the Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children's Literature in her honour. She was created a Member of the Order of Australia and awarded the inaugural Dromkeen Medal for services to Australian children's literature, both awards being announced posthumously.

Lucy Frances Harvey (Lu) Rees was born on 19 August 1901, the eldest child of James Harvey Waugh and Jeanette Isabel Waugh, nee Johnston, at Guy Fawkes Station, a Waugh family property, near Ebor, on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. Her schooling was limited to a short period following a horse-riding accident that made attendance difficult. Drawing on her father's collection of poetry and the classics, she was largely self-taught, a child with a highly retentive memory, who claimed always to have a book in her saddle bag.

After the family moved to Sydney she worked at several Red Cross convalescent homes caring for World War I veterans. In 1925 she married Wilfred Benjamin Rees, a former member of the First AIF; they had three sons, John, Paul and Lauron. During the Depression the family moved to a Waugh family property at Bogan Gate where Lu cooked for station hands and shearers until the early 1930s when Wilfred Rees was appointed by the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Colonel J. L. Treloar, to market war histories and other Memorial publications in Queensland. Sometime later Lu was also employed by Colonel Treloar in the War Memorial's Brisbane office.

At the beginning of 1938, after the Australian War Memorial Brisbane's office closed, Lu Rees and her three sons moved to Canberra. Lu was employed at the Australian War Memorial at first in a clerical position and later as assistant to Dr Graham Butler in researching the medical volumes for the History of World War I. Wilfred Rees after putting his age back ten years, enlisted at Townsville in the Second AIF as a sapper on 18 September 1941. The family effectively separated as after his discharge in June 1945 he farmed a soldier settlement block in Queensland.

In 1950 Lu became inaugural secretary of the newly formed Canberra Branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers. For the next 25 years she was a familiar figure at monthly meetings that featured prominent local and international writers. Much of the planning for the Fellowship's landmark anthologies, published in the 1950s, took place at meetings of the Editorial Committee at her home in Reid. It was largely through her initial approach to publisher, Dr Andrew Fabinyi, that F.W. Cheshire published , edited by T. Inglis Moore, in 1953; , edited by T.A.G. Hungerford, 1956, and , edited by Lionel Wigmore in 1958.

In 1955 she accepted a new challenge to open and manage a bookshop for Cheshire's in Canberra. It was an unfamiliar field for which she was given a few weeks training at Cheshire's headquarters in Melbourne. Under her management, Cheshire's bookshop in Garema Place, Civic, became a friendly meeting place and a venue for book launches until she retired in 1968. On behalf of the Commonwealth Government, she was responsible for selecting and dispatching representative collections of Australian books as gifts to emerging nations.

Always interested in children's literature, in 1957 Lu Rees was instrumental in establishing the Children's Book Council in the ACT becoming first president. She remained an office bearer or committee member until her death and published a history of the Council. When the Children's Book Council became a national body, she was successful in gaining support from the Literature Board and Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council for Children's Book Awards. She assembled exhibitions for the international children's book fairs and in Canberra inaugurated Christmas gifts of books for needy children.

As evidence of her passionate devotion to children's literature, she amassed a personal collection of children's books and compiled archival files on Australian children's authors and illustrators. She was indefatigable in writing to authors, editors and publishers seeking copies of children's books, particularly international and translated editions, and her generosity in sharing her resources became legendary. Her books and files became the nucleus of the Children's Book Council's ACT Branch's collection which in 1980 was donated to the Canberra College of Advanced Education (now University of Canberra) for study and research purposes. It was named the Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children's Literature in her honour.

Lu Rees was a tall woman, rangy in build, described in an obituary as having 'immense vitality, generosity and warmth'. Beneath a gentle manner she had a consummate ability to get things done. Those who knew her could never say 'no' to the many inspired projects she instigated. Over many decades, innumerable meetings of the organisations she cherished were held in her lounge room, collections of children's books lined her walls and her garage developed into an office annexe.

In 1964 she was awarded Member of the British Empire Medal for services to literature. In 1983 she was created a Member of the Order of Australia for services to Australian children's literature and was awarded the inaugural Dromkeen Medal, both these awards being announced posthumously. The Dromkeen Medal was awarded for her significant contribution to the appreciation and development of children's literature in Australia.

Lu Rees died in Canberra on 23 January 1983.

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

 An acclaimed expert in the field of Australian children's literature, Mrs Lucy Frances Harvey Rees, died in Canberra on Sunday, aged 81.

View the full record at Obituaries Australia

Resources for Lu Rees

Selected resources (14)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Rees, Lucy Frances Harvey
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. A Gift to Japan
    [1978]
    Series: IspartOf Reading Time
  3. Obituary
    [1983]
    Series: IspartOf Canberra Times
  4. Lu Rees - An Appreciation and a Tribute
    McDonald, Kath
    [Canberra]
    Published: Lu Rees Archives
  5. Finis to a Bookshop Chapter: History of Dalton's Bookshop, Canberra
    Dalton, Teki
    [1987]
    Series: IspartOf Canberra Times
  6. Rees, Lucy Frances Harvey
    Clarke, Patricia
    Published: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University
    Series: IspartOf Australian Dictionary of Biography
  7. The Lu Rees Archives of Australian Children's Literature
    Alderman, Belle
    [2003]
    Series: IspartOf Reading Times
  8. The Children's Book Council Collection of Children's Books by Australian Authors
    [1980]
    Published: The Lu Rees Archive Collection, Lu Rees Archives, University of Canberra
    Series: IspartOf Reading Time
  9. The Children's Book Council of Canberra, 1957 to 1972: a brief account of the formation and activities of one of the six Councils which now form the Children's Book Council of Australia
    Rees, L. F. H.
    [A.C.T. Branch]
    Published: Children’s Book Council of Australia
  10. From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2013]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  11. Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services 1914-18. Vol. III: Problems and Services
    Butler, A.G.
    [Canberra]
    Published: Australian War Memorial
  12. Lucy F. H. Rees, 'A note for Alec Bolton, NLA, on handing over the early records of the Fellowship of Australian Writers in Canberra', Reid ACT
    [15 November 1978]
    Series: National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    MS 8363
  13. HMSS 0048 Fellowship of Australian Writers, ACT Branch Records
    [3.39 m : 1948 - 1998]
    Series: ACT Heritage Library
    The collection is presented largely as received from FAW ACT. It contains correspondence, financial records, reports, manuscripts, reviews of anthologies, membership details, circulars and other papers emanating from the activities of the FAW ACT and the production of the anthologies.
    HMSS 0048
  14. Papers of Patricia Clarke, 1887-2010 [manuscript]
    [9.45 m : 1887 - 2010]
    Series: National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    MS 8363 comprises correspondence, drafts and research material relating to Clarke's books The governesses: letters from the colonies 1862-1882; A colonial woman: the life and times of Mary Braidwood Mowle, 1827-1857; Pen portraits: women writers and journalists in nineteenth century Australia; Pioneer writer: the life of Louisa Atkinson, novelist, journalist, naturalist; Tasma: the life of Jessie Couvreur; Life lines: Australian women's letters and diaries, 1788-1840 (with Dale Spender), and Rosa! Rosa!: a life of Rosa Praed, novelist and spiritualist. Also contains correspondence with Janet Cosh (43 boxes, 1 carton). The Acc06.025 instalment comprises papers relating to Clarke's role as editor of Judith Wright's autobiography, Half a lifetime, published in 1999, including material from Judith Wright, correspondence, notes, drafts, reviews and obituaries, ca. 1997-2000; research material on proposed writing on wartime censorship, ca. 1983; research material, ca. 1984-1988, for the chapter on Government House in Gables, ghosts and governors-general: the historic house at Yarralumla, Canberra (1988); and, papers, articles and talks, ca. 1989-2005 (4 cartons). The Acc11.100 instalment comprises papers reflecting Clarke's activities as a writer, editor, public speaker and member of academic and historical societies. They include material from Judith Wright, correspondence, notes, drafts and reviews relating to Clarke's role as co-editor, with Meredith McKinney, of The equal heart and mind: letters between Judith Wright and Jack McKinney (2004) and With love and fury: selected letters of Judith Wright (2006); papers relating to Steps to Federation (2001), which Clarke edited; Australian dictionary of biography research material, correspondence and drafts; and other papers relating to Clarke's PhD. Thesis, articles and talks. In addition there is correspondence, minutes and other records documenting Clarke's roles in the Independent Scholars Association of Australia, the Canberra and District Historical Society and other organisations, between ca. 1950-2010, and papers relating to her Medal of the Order of Australia (10 boxes).
    MS 8363

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  1. Lu Rees Archives
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  1. PROBATE JURISDICTION. In the will of Martha Rees, late of 302 Victoria-avenue, Chatswood, in the State of New South Wales, widow, deceased.
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 4 October 1929 [Issue No.132] p 4155

    Government Gazette Private Notices

    ... lu the Supreme Court of New South Wales. PROBATE JURISDICTION. Iii the will of Martha Bees, late of ... South Wales, in its Probate Jurisdiction, on the 16th day of May last past to John Christopher Rees and ... 303 words
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  2. IN BANKRUPTCY. Re Lyle Henry Dawes Carey and others, trading as Wm. Rees & Co., and in the separate estate of Lyle Henry Dawes Carey, of Talbot-street, Parkes. To the Official Assignee and Creditors.
    Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 - 2001) Friday 8 March 1929 [Issue No.33] p 1253

    Government Gazette Private Notices

    ... . (26,480) IN BANKRUPTCY Be Lyle Henry Dawes Carey and others, trading^s Win,' Rees & Co., and in the ... provisions of the Bankruptcy, Act, 1898.—Dated £his 5th day of lU'gi'/il) 1Q9Q " LYLE HENRY DAWES CAREY. 903 ... 127 words
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  3. NOTICE OF INTENTION TO DECLARE DIVIDEND. In the matter of a deed of arrangement between JOHN JAMES FLYNN and ALFRED CHARLES DOUGLAS MOSES, trading as Penray Manufacturing Co., 101 ...
    Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National : 1901 - 1973) Thursday 8 March 1951 [Issue No.17] p 671

    Government Gazette Private Notices

    ... NOTICE OF INTENTION TO DECLARE DIVIDEND. lu the matter of a deed of arrangement between John James ... such dividend. Dated this twenty-third day of February, 1951. GEORGE REES ) Trustees ANGUS T. REES ... 110 words
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  1. Lu Rees Collection to college
    The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) Wednesday 16 July 1980 p 11 Article Illustrated
    ... Lu Rees Collection to college , ' Mrs Lu Recs, of.Reid, with tl^e council chairman of the Canberra ... , for the college, the Lu Rees , ; Archives Collection of Australian children's literature: 1,500 books ... 67 words
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  2. REES-WlNTER WEDDING.
    The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) Saturday 10 November 1923 p 13 Article
    ... REES-WlNTER WEDDING, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Wallaroo, was the scene of a wedding on ... Wednesday evening, October 31, when Miss G. Rees, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W Rees was married to Mr ... 279 words
    • Text last corrected on 10 May 2015 by anonymous
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  3. MR. H. REES FAREWELLED.
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    ... MJt. 'H. REES FARKWELLED. Tho Mayor (Miv J. r2\ Stratton, J.P.) , presided over a largci ... Oiat Mr. Rees has -beon removed to Richmond, a comparatively .easy but important station on the ... 721 words
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