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Australian Reading Hour

The Australian Reading Hour is back! Join us on 9th March 2023, to celebrate reading and storytelling with some of your student’s favourite authors and illustrators including Peter Hellier, Sally Rippin, Gregg Dreise and more!

Book a session on Thursday 9 March 2023

Term 1, 2023

Book now for this event on Thursday, 9 March at 11am AEDT.

Following the livestream, the digital event will be available on demand. Watch at any time, from the comfort of your classroom. Duration: This program runs for approximately 30 mins

Suitable for Years K - 6

This program is recommended for Early Stage 1 - Stage 3.

This event is free for Australian schools

All digital programs are free to Australian schools and a viewing link will be emailed to you in advance. Terms and conditions apply. Fees apply for all international bookings.

This program runs for approximately 30 mins

Program duration is a guide only and may be subject to change.

The Australian Reading Hour is back!

Join us on 9th March, 2023, to celebrate reading and storytelling with some of your student’s favourite authors and illustrators! Hosted by comedian and Frankie Fish series author Peter Helliar, our stellar lineup of authors - Sally Rippin (Billie B Brown series), Gregg Dreise (My Culture and Me) and Andrew McDonald (Real Pigeons series) - will work together to create and narrate an imaginative and collaborative story, line by line.

Listening attentively, the evolving story will be illustrated LIVE by 3 celebrated illustrators - Ben Wood (Real Pigeons series), Chris Kennett (School of Monsters series), and Shiloh Gordon(The Underdogs series). They’re all listening to the same story as it evolves, but will their illustrations all LOOK the same when revealed at the end? Together Peter Helliar and our other talented creators will discuss the multiple interpretations a single story can have while introducing students to key storytelling techniques, encouraging them to think in ways that are imaginative, creative, interpretive and critical. After the event, use our free teacher resources to apply these learnings in the classroom! Stream it live at 11am AEDT on 9th March 2023, or watch it with your class on-demand.

This event is presented by Sydney Opera House in association with Australia Reads. This event is supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. 

More about...

Peter Helliar has been one of Australia’s favourite comedians since his first appearance on our TV screens as a core cast member on the Logie Award winning Rove back in 1999.

Pete has performed stand up for more than twenty years, selling out shows right across the country, where he makes the difficult business of being funny look dead easy. Now the Gold Logie Nominee is making people laugh four nights a week on Network Ten’s The Project, the beloved show where the news is delivered differently.

A man of many talents, Peter created and co-produced two series of the award winning It’s A Date for ABC TV, and How to Stay Married for Network Ten which premiered in 2018 and is now currently filming its third season. He has directed episodes of both shows.

He is the author of the much loved children’s book series, Franky Fish which is published by Hardie Grant/Egmont. In 2018, Frankie Fish was voted one of Australia’s Top 50 kids books in the annual Better Reading Top 50 Kids Books poll and Frankie Fish and the Sonic Suitcase was shortlisted for the ABIAs for Book of the Year for Younger Children in 2018. Pete’s new children’s book Trippin’ With Kids, co-authored with his wife Bridget Helliar, was released in 2020. Peter Helliar used to be Strauchanie and his French accent has not improved.

Pete Helliar

More about...

Sally Rippin is Australia’s highest-selling female author and has written more than 50 books for children and young adults. Her widely popular Billie B Brown books are beloved across the globe, and have sold more than ten million copies in eighteen countries. She loves to write stories with heart and characters that resonate with children, parents and teachers alike.

​Sally is a passionate ambassador for the 100 Story Building creative writing centre, was a regular presenter on 3RRR radio and is a popular speaker at schools and festivals. She taught Writing For Children as a part of the Professional Writing and Editing Program at RMIT as well as the Faber Academy and has mentored many emerging writers and illustrators.

​Sally's most recent books include the School of Monsters series as well as her book for parents, called "Wild Things: How We Learn To Read And What Can Happen If We Don't".

Sally Rippin

More about...

Gregg Dreise is a gifted artist, storyteller and musician, and he features the didgeridoo and guitar in his performances at schools, libraries and festivals. He is a descendant of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi people of south-west Queensland and north-west New South Wales.

He is the author and illustrator of Cunning Crow; Silly Birds; Kookoo Kookaburra; Mad Magpie and My Culture and Me. All these stories are about teaching morals. They address self-image, friendship, kindness, bullying and Indigenous culture.

Gregg is also the illustrator of the classic story Tiddalik the Frog (Pearson Publishing) and has poetry with his illustrations in the anthology A Boat of Stars; and illustrations in High 5 to the Boys and contributions towards Why I Love Australia. He has a Children’s Music CD titled Sing. Dance. Walk Together.

Greg Dreise

More about...

Chris Kennett - Born in Canterbury, England way back in the mid-70s I grew up in a very busy house. As the youngest of five kids, I would take every opportunity for some quiet time. For me, that came in the form of drawing.

I drew a LOT!

As a result, I'm quite skilled at shutting out the noise and getting on with the job. This comes in particularly handy when working from home and raising kids!

In 1998 I moved to Australia to live with my Aussie girlfriend (now wife) and we've since settled in the beautiful town of Bendigo, Victoria with our two kids and two cats.

Chris Kennett

More about...

Shiloh Gordon has a passion for creating lively, engaging illustrations that are full of character and fun. He graduated with a BA in animation from the Queensland College of Art and has worked as a professional illustrator for over 20 years. His work has included illustrations for magazines, eBooks and educational materials. Shiloh lives in Brisbane with his wife and three kids, who are an endless source of fun and inspiration.

Chris Kennett

More about...

Andrew McDonald is a reader and writer of books for young readers.

His series REAL PIGEONS debuted in 2018, with hilarious illustrations by Ben Wood.

His first children’s novel, The Greatest Blogger in the World featured the story of Charlie Ridge, a young blogger navigating family, friends and the perils of internet life. His second novel Son of Death, a black comedy about a family of modern grim reapers, was named by The Age as one of the ‘best books of the year’ in 2015.

He is also the creator of a blog post about ‘camera loss’ that somehow went viral and he wasn’t embarrassed enough to decline an invitation to be a Cleo Bachelor in 2011.

Ben Wood and Andrew McDonald

More about...

Ben Wood is an illustrator for children’s books based in Victoria, Australia. Ben has illustrated picture books, junior fiction and non-fiction titles. He has worked with top publishers in Australia such as Hardie Grant Childrens PublishingScholastic, and Penguin Random House.

Ben’s work has had notable listings for the Children Book Council Australia, been shortlisted for Readings Children’s Book Prize, and shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards in 2019 and 2020.

Best known as the co-creator of the bestselling series REAL PIGEONS by Andrew McDonald, the series has been published in 11+ countries. In 2020 the pigeons were released in Germany, US & Canada and in the UK in 2021.

About our Digital Creative Learning program...

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Frequently Asked Questions -  Non-Interactive Programs

What equipment do I need?

All you need is an internet connection! Schools can connect through Youtube in an internet browser however works best for your students (as a classroom or on individual computers.)

The viewing link will be emailed to you in advance of the event. 

If you require technical assistance with your video conferencing facilities, contact your schools’ tech support or alternatively contact our Creative Learning team on 02 9250 7770.


How do I book?

Click on the link for your preferred session time. If it is the first time you have used DART Connections you will be required to set up a username and password. 

Please note that DART connections is the booking platform for all of our sessions and you will need to book here even if you are not a NSW or DET school.

Once your booking has been confirmed, our team will be in touch with relevant dial in details and to address any technical questions you may have.


What if I can't book in for the session I want?

Our on-demand program, including performances, workshops and talks, are available for a minimum of 10 days after the premiere. This gives you greater flexibility to watch at a time and date that’s convenient to your class.

What if I need to change or cancel my booking?

You don’t need to do anything! If you can no longer attend our on-demand program of events, book in for another on-demand event at a time that suits you better.

If you would really like to attend outside of the event dates, please contact the Creative Learning team on and we will try our best to accommodate you

How can I prepare my class for their session?

Once your booking is confirmed, our Creative Learning team will send you an email with all the details to prepare for your session. 

To ensure your students get the most out of the experience, a Teachers’ Resource Pack is available for most programs. We recommend using these resources in advance of your digital excursion.

For the Digital Talks Program, your students can record their questions for the speaker and send them to us in advance of the talk. The details of how to do this will be emailed to you by our Creative Learning Team. 

How many students can I have participate in the one group?

As the program is non-interactive, you can book for as many students as you like - a whole school booking of 500 or a single home learner - all are welcome and can be accommodated!

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