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Ella Holcombe


Ella is the author of  The House on the Mountain, a gently told, beautifully illustrated account of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires from a child’s perspective (recommended for 7+). Ella also loves to share her own stories of growing up in the bush, as well as her family’s current rebuilding process in Kinglake.

Where were you born?


What other jobs have you had?

Piano and clarinet teacher, nanny, ESL teacher. I’ve also worked at 3 different bookshops (including the amazing Paperback Books in Melbourne) and 2 toyshops! My first ever job was in the Kinglake Post Office/General Store – we mostly sold potato cakes!

What themes are recurring in your work?

Not so much recurring as I’ve only written the one children’s book, but the main themes in this book are probably family, loss, childhood, environment/place.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Definitely having my first children’s book, The House on the Mountain, published. And when my editor told me that John Marsden had read my book and liked it! Also, meeting David Cox (the illustrator of The House on the Mountain) and his wife Betty for the first time in Brisbane a few weeks ago.

Where have your works been published?

I had a book of poetry published in 2007 by Five Islands Press, called Welcome/No Vacancy. My poetry has also appeared in journals such as The Sleepers Almanac and Going Down Swinging.

What are you passionate about?

  • Family – my kids (Harry and June), my partner, my 2 brothers
  • Our block of land up in Kinglake where we’re currently rebuilding.
  • Also, in no particular order – the bush, the beach, books and dogs!

Haven’t I seen you before?

Possibly roaming the streets of Fairfield with my kids, or recently in the pages of The Australian Women’s Weekly (they did a story on me and my family and our experience in the Black Saturday bushfires).

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I LOVE dogs! I’m constantly approaching dogs in the street and I usually remember dogs’ names better than I do people’s!




The audience were captivated with Ella’s heartfelt story. The students asked many appropriate questions and were attentive and respectful which was testament to her engaging presentation. A wonderful presenter.

—D. McNaughton, St Joseph's PS, August 2019

It was good hearing Ella’s story and understanding how the book was created, and where the setting and background came from. The students were very engaged (which is not always an easy feat!), and the presentation was well pitched year 5.

—Teachers, Alphington Primary School, June 2019

Whittlesea Library was very proud to present Ella Holcombe and Ella’s new picture book  The House on the Mountain. Community members thoroughly enjoyed the moving story and shared experiences. The theme of the book is poignant to the Whittlesea area and this book brings a gentle child’s perspective. Ella shared her experiences in writing and working with illustrator David Cox, as well as her life growing up in Kinglake and her love of the bush and family.

—Coralie Kouvelas, Reading Coordinator , Whittlesea Library,June 2019

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