Ross Vasta says the next Dorothea Mackellar or Banjo Paterson may be living in Bonner and they should enter Australia’s largest and oldest poetry writing competition.

School students in Bonner have until 30 June to enter the 2019 Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. Last year, more than 8,500 students entered the competition.

Mr Vasta said writing poetry helped students use their imagination and discover a love for literature and the English language.

“The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards aim to inspire children to strive for excellence in literature while also giving young people a platform to showcase their creativity,” Mr Vasta said.

“Dorothea Mackellar was only 19 when she began writing one of Australia’s most loved poems, My Country, with its famous stanza:

‘I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.’

“These awards are named in her honor and are a fantastic way for Bonner students to explore poetry.

“I encourage every student to unleash their creativity, put pen to paper and have a go at writing an award-winning poem.”

Entrants go in the running to receive up to $500 in prize money and $1,000 for schools, as well as prize packs consisting of a trophy and a collection of books. Awards are categorised according to year group, with additional prizes for schools, students with English as a second language, as well as those whose entries focus on the theme for 2019.

The optional theme for 2019 is ‘Is there anybody there?’, a line from the poem The Listeners by Walter De La Mare (1873-1956), a famous British poet, novelist and short story writer.

Results are expected to be announced in early September. More information is available at www.dorothea.com.au/How-to-Enter-awards