Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards 2014

DOROTHEA MACKELLAR  POETRY AWARDS 2014 РWhat shall we tell you?

There are only a few scattered things I’ve done in my life (so far) that have humbled me so much and brought me such a feeling of inner warmth, more than being part of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. It has been such a privilege to be involved with this vitally important and outstanding group of people and having the honour of serving as the judge for the Junior Categories for 2014/15. What can be more important than celebrating the beautiful words of Australian school children in Gunnedah NSW where Dorothea Mackellar left her legacy and mark with her superb poem, My Country?

As part of my role, I read and judged almost 5000 poems from primary school students aged 4 – 12 ~ some made me laugh, others made tears trickle down my cheeks and on to my lap-top keys and others touched my heart in a way I will never forget. Last week I traveled to Gunnedah to be part of the National Presentation Ceremony and it was so exciting to meet the young wordsmiths of the poems I’d plucked from the ocean of jewels. Joining me in this task was wonderful author Nette Hilton who judged the submissions for secondary students.

As I’ve said many times, this competition isn’t just about those who are the winners, runners up, highly commended and commended recipients, it’s about every one of those students across this wide brown land who were brave enough to share their words and to ‘have a go’. These awards are a prized and outstanding part of Australia’s literary heritage and support of this treasured group is vital so that children across Australia, in cities and in small country towns can continue to be given the opportunity to paint their words and make them dance.


I would like to share with you some special photos with the three winners of the Primary Category – Sarah Jaeger, Upper Primary, from Launceston, Tas., Jenna Rogers, Lower Primary, from Hobart, Tas. and Maryam Sathat Sobhani, Assisted Learning, from Melbourne, Vic.

The Schools’ Winner of the Sheelah Baxter Award for Primary was Footscray North Primary School, Footscray, Victoria and the joint winner of the Community Relations Award went to Yash Goel from Castle Hill, NSW.

All winning, runners up, highly commended and commended poems are now on the website –

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