Universal Children’s Day was established by the United Nations in 1954 and has been celebrated throughout Australia on the fourth Wednesday of October. In 1979, during the International Year of the Child, community involvement increased to such an extent that the activities were spread over a week, which then resulted in the formation of Children’s Week. More than 151 countries observe Universal Children’s Day and some, like Australia, celebrate with week-long activities.

Each year the Children’s Week Council of Australia adopt a theme and this year’s theme is Article 24 from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as per above.

The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia was welcomed as Patron in 1997 and each successor has continued as National Patron to this present time.


In 1954 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Universal Children’s Day as a day to promote friendship and understanding among children of the world. From this beginning it developed into a day that focused attention on the issues and needs of children and their families. UNICEF has been charged with the development of this concept worldwide. UNICEF charged countries to determine the date for Universal Children’s Day to fit in with their own arrangements.


In the 1980’s the Commonwealth Government was eager that Universal Children’s Day should be celebrated throughout Australia and requested every State and Territory Children’s Week Committee to agree to hold their Child Care Week celebration (formerly held at different times according to local convenience) in conjunction with Universal Children’s Day.


In 1985, after many years of state observance of a week focusing mainly on children in care, it was decided to coordinate a national week to include all children. Under the name of Children’s Week, celebrations and activities would be held on the same date throughout Australia, commencing the Saturday before Universal Children’s Day and concluding on the following Sunday and in addition the celebrations would broaden to include all children.


In 1987 the first Annual General Meeting of the Children’s Week Council was held in Melbourne, and the Council incorporation took place in 1992. Representatives of state children’s week committees from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia met to confirm the establishment of a national Children’s Week Committee. Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory joined the committee thereafter. The committee was to be known as the Children’s Week Council of Australia (CWCOA).