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Colin and Joyce Clague with the set of books which they donated to the Yamba Library, written by Joan Woodberry. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Historic books presented to library

Lynne Mowbray |

A presentation of five children’s books written by 1950’s Maclean High School English teacher Joan Woodberry, was made to the Yamba Library on Friday, by former student Joyce Clague, MBE and husband Colin.

The series of books were published between 1959 and 1968, with the four ‘Rafferty’ titles set in Yamba during the 1950’s.

Dr Woodberry AM who was born in Narrabri, NSW on 10 February 1921 and died on 31 January 2010, was awarded for her service to Literature and Education and entered on the Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women, 2005.

During her life she was a major influence on the lives of young Australians through her writing, teaching and education of teachers.

One of those, whose life was significantly impacted by Joan Woodberry, was former Maclean High School student Joyce Clague (nee Mercy). Joyce attributes her love of literature and drama, to her former teacher.
The donated set of Joan Woodbury’s books, were written based on her experience here in Yamba and talk about the life of youngsters (including Joyce) at the time.

In Woodberry’s book, ‘Come back Peter’ she makes mention of Joyce.

The Clagues, spent time to source and track down the full set of books (some from overseas) in an effort to preserve an important part of our local history.

The presentation to the Yamba Library on Friday saw the books returned to their place of origin, where they can be preserved and shared with generations to come.

Student representatives from Yamba Public School, Palmers Island Public School and Maclean High School read excerpts from the donated books, during Friday’s presentation ceremony.

Representatives from Yamba Public School read excerpts from author Joan Woodberry’s books, during a presentation of her books to the Yamba library on Friday. The series of five books depicting the life of four young boys in Yamba back in the 1950’s, were donated to the Yamba Library by Colin and Joyce Clague, during book week. Image: Lynne Mowbray