Hundreds of schools sign up for poetry competition

MORE than 300 schools have registered for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards so far, with registrations and entries still open until June 30.

But organisers are on tenterhooks as they are a week away from knowing whether their three-year funding term from the federal government will be approved.

RECITING NEAR DOROTHEA’S STATUE: The 30th anniversary of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards will also feature a two-week festival celebrating this milestone year. Carinya Christian School Gunnedah students Aimee Crookal, left, Year 6, and Madi Simson, Year 5, read their entries with Zac Griffin, Zac Clarke, Keesha Thompson, Lucy Merlehan, Lara Hewitt, Kai Sanders and Caleb Austin behind. Photo: Barry Smith 300414BSA03

RECITING NEAR DOROTHEA’S STATUE: The 30th anniversary of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards will also feature a two-week festival celebrating this milestone year. Carinya Christian School Gunnedah students Aimee Crookal, left, Year 6, and Madi Simson, Year 5, read their entries with Zac Griffin, Zac Clarke, Keesha Thompson, Lucy Merlehan, Lara Hewitt, Kai Sanders and Caleb Austin behind. Photo: Barry Smith 300414BSA03

Project officer for the awards, Mila Stone, said she hoped this year’s forecast stringent budget on May 13 would not prevent their awards – the oldest and largest student poetry awards in Australia – from enjoying its 30th anniversary.

“We’re currently awaiting confirmation of our funding – hopefully, with the budget something will become clear,” she said.

A two-week poetry and art-themed festival will also be held to commemorate the awards in Gunnedah prior to the invitation-only awards ceremony at 10am on August 29 at The Civic.

During the festival, Tamworth Musical Society impresario Bill Gleeson’s musical Dorothea will be performed and there will be musical performances by a number of bands, including the Australian Zephyr Quartet.

Finalists in a photography exhibition will be on display at Chris Burgess’s community gallery in Barber St and there will also be “meet the authors” events, a poetry drive and poetry recitals.

Ms Stone said about 700 schools registered for last year’s awards and they were hoping to get similar numbers this year.

“The bulk of our entries come in May and June,” she said.

The 2014 awards theme is “What Shall We Tell You”, chosen from the verse poem The Golden Journey To Samarkand by James Elroy Flecker.

Also, many politicians from different levels of government had been asked and had written in with their own poems.

Poet Dorothea Mackellar’s family owned several properties at Gunnedah.  

Entries are accepted online via www.dorothea.com.au

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