Robert Holden graduated with an Honours degree in English from The University of Queensland in 1973, a Post-Graduate degree in Library Science in 1973 and an Honours degree in Fine Arts from the Power Institute, The University of Sydney in 1981. He has published across a broad spectrum of interests and is well-known for his publications on the history of children's book illustration and design in Australia. He has curated more than 50 exhibitions that have invested Australian cultural and social history with a popular appeal, in venues ranging from the National Library of Australia and regional galleries throughout Australia to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Robert has been a lecturer and guest speaker in Australia, New Zealand and England - most notably the Australian National Word Festival at the National Library of Australia (5-8 March 1993) - a joint presentation with Carmel Bird on 'The Interchange Between Writer and Reader'; The Childhood Re-Collected International Children's Literature Conference at Oxford University (22-25 September 1994) - 'The Pied Piper : Seven Hundred Years of Allure' and at Cambridge University's Art History Conference 'The Child in Art' (1998).
He was also the founding Director of the Australian Museum of Childhood and Curator of the James Hardie Library of Australian Art Books. In 1996 he was awarded a Senior Fellowship from the Literature Board of the Australia Council to write his Orphans of History : The Forgotten Children of the First Fleet(2000).
In 2008, he was the joint recipient of the CH Currey Fellowship, researching the forgotten history of a little-known band of ANZACS - the Gallipoli Signallers.
Bunyips : Australia's Folklore of Fear2001single work criticism This book examines the role of the bunyip in Australian folklore from the first European settlers to the present time. The bunyip was important in Aboriginal mythology and the origins of the word are discussed. One chapter is devoted to Australian literature and the portrayal of bunyips. There are also extracts from Australian stories.