A BRIEF HISTORY

CHILDREN'S WEEK

UNIVERSAL CHILDREN'S DAY

THE CHILDREN'S WEEK COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA Inc - web page

CHILDREN'S WEEK

Prior to 1977 Child Care Week was held in a number of States/Territories.   The emphasis was placed on children in care and in institutions.   Child Care Week was celebrated at different times of the year according to each State's preference.

Following the International Year of the Child in 1979 the Commonwealth Government was anxious that States and Territories adopt a common focus for children.   It suggested that Universal Children's Day be celebrated throughout Australia and in 1980/8 each State and Territory Committee was asked to agree to hold celebrations in conjunction with Universal Children's Day . The Commonwealth Government offered each State and Territory $2,000 to celebrate children during October with Universal Children's Day being central to this celebration.   The name was then changed to Children's Week to take in a wider audience.

Children's Week Committees in each State and Territory seek to focus attention on the theme of Children's Week - A Caring World Shares - with due regard to the rights, needs and accomplishments of children, within the context of the family, the community and the world.   They seek to celebrate childhood and young people while valuing their unique culture and situation.    They also assist in the organisation of local activities that support and involve children, young people, their families and all who care for them.

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UNIVERSAL CHILDREN'S DAY

In 1954 the United Nations General Assembly recommended (Resolution 836 - IX) that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day , to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children.   It recommended that the Day was to be observed also as a day of activity devoted to promoting the ideals and objectives of the Charter and the welfare of the children of the world.They also recommended that the observance of Universal Children's Day should be used for a concrete and effective expression of the support of Governments for the purposes of UNICEF.   The General Assembly suggested to Governments that the Day be observed on the date that each country considered appropriate.  

Universal Children's Day is now observed across Australia on the fourth Wednesday in October and forms the central focus of Children's Week celebrations. Other countries celebrate Universal Children's Day on 20 November - the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

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CHILDREN'S WEEK COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

In 1985 a proposal was made for the formation of a National body and in 1987 the First Annual General meeting and Conference was held in Melbourne. It was suggested that each State/Territory Committee pay an annual fee to the National body and that there be annual meetings to keep each Committee aware of Australia-wide activities. It was resolved that:

•  A National Children's Week Coordinating Committee be formed - the Children's Week Council of Australia

•  Children's Week be held on the same date in each State/Territory, from the Saturday before Universal Children's Day to the Sunday following Universal Children's Day

The Children's Week Council of Australia was incorporated in 1992 and in 1997 the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir William Deane, became the Council's Patron.   All subsequent Governors General have continued this patronage.

The current Council Secretariat is held by South Australia. The 2010 Council Conference will be held in Perth.