Penny Hutchens Memorial Fund

The WA Branch of the CBCA established the Penny Hutchens Memorial Fund in 1980 for the purpose of donating books annually to an organisation that cares for children. From 1983 the fund was donated biennially.
The committee is now looking for the 2021 recipient of the Penny Hutchens Memorial Fund

Do you know of a worthy recipient? Contact Gail Spiers:

Book Plate Designed by Kelly Canby

2019 Recipient: The Spiers Centre 

The 2019 Recipient of the Penny Hutchens Memorial Fund is the Spiers Centre in Heathridge. The Spiers Centre works to develop strong, caring and resilient communities through the provision of Financial and Personal Counselling, Community Support and Play Groups, a Creche and Emergency Relief.

One of the Emergency Relief services is the provision of Bedtime Bundles for children from families in crisis. A Bedtime Bundle contains a pair of pyjamas, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a hairbrush and one or two books. The Spiers Centre expected to provide support for between 100 and 200 families this year and was very grateful for the donation of 173 books through the Penny Hutchens Memorial Fund and donations from CBCA WA Branch members.

CBCA (WA Branch) members Gail Spiers and Chloe Mauger presenting 6 boxes of books to The Spiers Centre CEO, Gaelle Gouillou.

Contents of a Bedtime Bundle

The Spiers Centre chief executive Gaelle Gouillou and community support officer Leanne Durie with Children’s Book Council of Australia WA member Gail Spiers.
Picture Martin Kennealey

This gift of books honours two women who were valued in their communities: Penny Hutchens who was passionate about children’s literature and worked to bring books and children together in the 1970s and Frances Sophia Boughton Spiers, after whom The Spiers Centre is named, for her kind-hearted generosity in the early 1900s. All and sundry were welcomed at her Wanneroo home which was in many ways an ‘unofficial community centre’.

Frances and James Spiers at their Homestead at Martin Hole Central Ave Wanneroo
(Circa 1930s)


In 1980 the WA Branch of the CBCA initiated a trust fund to perpetuate the memory of Penny Walton (nee Hutchens). Penny died at the end of 1979 and is remembered as a person who gave much of her time and effort towards children and their books.

Penny was a member of the Children’s Book Council for many years and was the WA Judge for the Australian Children’s Book of the Year Awards for 1978 and 1979.

In her memory, the Penny Hutchens Fund was established for the purpose of donating books annually to an organisation which cares for children, as Penny’s concern was always to get books into the hands of children.

Recipients of Penny Hutchens Fund

2017 The Patricia Giles Centre

2015 Keeping Kids Safe Project, an initiative of the Women's Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)

2013 CARAD (Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees)

2011 Bidi Bidi Mount Magnet

2009 ASeTTS (Association for Services to Trauma and Torture Survivors) Multicultural Playgroup

2007 Braille Literacy Nest

2005 Mungallah Community near Carnarvon

2003 Princess Margaret Hospital playgroup for children with cancer

2001 Kindred Family Services - family reading project with Wooroloo Prison

1999 Ronald McDonald House Playsense

1997 Nardine Wimmin’s Refuge

1995 Heart Kids

1993 Princess Margaret Hospital

1991 Sir David Brand Centre

1989 Intergrated Resource Unit for Children with Handicaps/Special Needs

1987 Speech Pathologist Phyllis Ferguson Pineview Preschool Education Centre

1985 Association for the Advancement of Brain Injured Children

1983 Award changed to biennial

1982 Sister Kate‘s Children’s Home

1981 Speech and Hearing Centre

1980 WANSLEA Family Services