Awards rewards


Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards 2015

– The Open Door

By Corinne Fenton

IMG_1188Last week was a very exciting and rewarding week – the culmination of four months reading, re-reading, agonising over and judging 6,000 poems received from primary school students Australia-wide. As this was my second year in the role, the mechanics and rules were easier but the volume of poems had increased which made the decision-making even more challenging. Following the decisions, there were reports to write and send off, followed by the final exciting part, the Dorothea Mackellar Awards National Presentation Ceremony held in Gunnedah, NSW on Friday 4th September.

IMG_1166-380x380First there was a warm welcome at the airport in Tamworth, at Gunnedah and at the Mackellar Motel, a quick walk about the town before an early night. Thursday was a day of school visits back in Tamworth, before a dinner at the Mackellar Motel to meet the young winners – always a thrill to meet these talented poets and put a name (and poem) to a face.

IMG_1227Friday morning’s first job was a radio interview on ABC Tamworth with two of the winners – upper and lower primary sections . . . I am so proud of these children and all the winners. We then raced on to the Award Ceremony where we heard from new president Jenny Farquhar, The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, new patron the Hon. Margaret White and guest speaker Sophie Masson. Then came the awards themselves presented by fellow judge Nette Hilton (Senior Categories) and myself (Junior Categories).IMG_1168-380x285IMG_1181

I returned to Sydney Friday evening, retreating into the warm, cosy and welcoming Hughenden Hotel. After a walk with fellow author and SCBWI Regional Adviser, Susanne Gervey first thing Saturday morning about Centennial Park, we journeyed out to be welcomed by Paul Macdonald at The Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft for a special Father’s Day book signing and reading of my dog books – Bob the Railway Dog, Hey Dad, You’re Great, Little Dog and the Christmas Wish and The Dog on the Tuckerbox.

I arrived back home Saturday night – in need of a good night’s sleep! Thank you Dorothea Mackellar Committee for looking after me so well – especially Jenny, Alice, Russell, lovely Anne and all those warm hearts who do such a wonderful job for poetry and the children of Australia – thank you.


Poem of the Day


My kite

by Walter de Jong


My kite’s caught in a tree.

I don’t think that I’ll be getting it down.

If I climbed up and my foot slipped

I could hurt myself when I hit the ground.

It cost a pretty penny. It was worth it all I guess

because the time when it was flying is the time I call ‘best’


My kite’s caught in the tree.

You can watch it now as it flaps in the wind.

So it’s more or less like a flag these days

of a country where I once was king.

It cost a pretty penny. It was worth it all I guess

because the time when it was flying is the time I call ‘best’


I can see it in my mind as it was lifted to the sky.

I could feel it pull away as it started on its rise.


My kite’s caught in a tree

but one day I think that I might get it back.

And it might be faded and it may be torn

but I’m pretty sure I’ll be right with that.

It cost a pretty penny. It was worth it all I guess

because the time when it was flying is the time I call ‘best’


Poem of the Day



                     by Kate O’Neil


I’m a biker. I’m a hiker

and I love acrylic lycra.


I’m specific that acrylic

is the lycra that I like

for especially when biking

it is greatly to my liking

to be free to frisk and frolic

when I reach somewhere idyllic

and I get down from my bike.


And lycra that’s acrylic,

when the heat is diabolic,

just wicks away the wet

so there’s never trickling sweat

to upset the mood euphoric

when I reach a place bucolic

on a long laborious hike.

… or a day-trip on my bike.


That’s why acrylic lycra’s what I like.


Words and pictures


sneakersAre you up for a creative challenge? Each week I’ll post a picture plus a word. They might – or might not – have any connection. Then it’s over to you to write a poem for children inspired by the word and picture. Send your poem to me at traffa-m(at) and I’ll post a selection on the site. I’ve made it really easy this week. Whenever I’m stuck trying to find the right word in a poem or a chapter in a novel simply isn’t working, I go for a walk along the beach path near our home. There’s something about getting physical that unlocks the block and the words flow again.

The word is: WALK

News update



  • The 12th annual Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Competition closed on August 15 and the entries have now been forwarded for judging, which this year is being done by Claire Saxby. The prize winners will be announced next month on the Australian Children’s Poetry website, in Buzzwords magazine and on relevant Face Book groups.
  • Spring Competition: Jackie Hosking is running a competition for poetry and stories in verse. Entry fee $10. Closing date October 21. Email jackiehosking(at) for details and an entry form.
  • Somerset National Poetry Prize

Open to Australian secondary students under 19 years of age

Closing Date 11 December

Do you know a young person with a flair for writing poetry? This competition is being held in conjunction with the Somerset Celebration of Literature 2016. Its purpose is to encourage a love of writing poetry amongst secondary school students, to affirm it as a worthwhile literary pursuit and to stimulate excellence in writing. It also has the aim of inspiring and enriching youth literature. Category prizes of $300 plus flights to attend the festival. Full details here.

Poetry pointers

To rhyme or not to rhyme?

Where do you get ideas? How do you write a poem? Do poems have to rhyme? What makes it a poem if it doesn’t rhyme? Who publishes poetry? How do I become a children’s poet? What is your top tip for writers who want to write poetry for children?

These are among the myriad questions asked by writers who want to write poetry. How would you answer them? If you have a poetry pointer to share, email me at

Poems wanted

Please keep submissions of poetry coming in for the Poem of the Day. Your submissions are much appreciated and I’m enjoying them immensely. If you’re a poet who is still thinking about whether to submit, please do! Poems are always needed and get posted so long as they are suitable for children (including teenagers). Previously published poems can be submitted provided you still retain copyright. Email

Articles, events, information and interviews

ACP is also happy to accept information about children’s poetry activities and events in Australia and overseas, poetry links, competitions, interviews with poets or publishers, poetry book reviews and relevant articles.

Poem of the Day

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Found a kite

by Marc Low


If you should ever find a kite

And fly it in the air,

You’ll find it flying beautifully,

Flitting, soaring there;


The people staring will be awed

And think that it’s your kite;

Poets and lovers will all laugh

And smile at your kite’s sight.


And when it rains the kite will fall

And flounder to the ground,

And with a sigh you’ll leave at last

With that kite that you found.