2018 Poetry Awards

2018 Optional Theme: I Have Promises to Keep

Our poets are encouraged to take inspiration from wherever they may find it, however if they are looking for some direction, competition participants are invited to use this year's optional theme to inspire their entries.

Download Theme Poster


NEW! ‘DAVID MAHER AWARD FOR SMALL SCHOOLS’* Awarded to the best individual entry from a small school student (less than 30 enrolled
students) to the value of $250. (*Years K-6 only. Distance students are not eligible for Small Schools award) 


How to Enter

*PLEASE NOTE: If you're registering as an individual student, put your HOME address in your personal details and not your SCHOOL'S address! The address you list is where your participation certificate will be posted!*

Online Submission 

(primary school and secondary school, anytime during the competition period)

  1. Teacher / parent - registration completed online
  2. Log in to your page
  3. Enter student details and submit poem(s) (cut and paste or type in poem content direct to the webpage)
  4. Arrange the entry fee (invoice will be emailed within 2 weeks of registration)


Submission via mail ($10 administration fee applies- see Conditions of Entry for details)

(primary only – please consider online submission; it helps the environment and saves time!)

  1. Teacher / parent - registration completed online
  2. Print out and complete entry form for/by each student. Entry form available here
  3. Print out poems (text must be in a easily distinguishable font – Arial, Times New Roman, hand written poems not accepted)
  4. Glue completed entry form to the back of each entry
  5. Teacher to collate all entries, enclose entry fee or a confirmation of payment and mail to the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, PO Box 113, Gunnedah, NSW, 2380
  6. Mailed entries are individually scanned and submitted online by the Awards’ organisers. Please consider online entry where possible to help us save time and the environmental footprint.


Useful tips

  • It is recommended for schools to appoint a coordinator for the competition.
  • Only teacher / parent can complete registration form.
  • Log in details: username is the email address and a password of your choice.
  • Log in details can be given to other teachers / students for poem submission in class /at home.
  • Log in as many times as necessary during the competition period.
  • Teachers can view progress by monitoring the number and content of entries.
  • Individual entries are accepted if the school is not participating or a child is home schooled. Parent needs to complete the registration form with their contact details. Please indicate 'individual entry' under school name and home postal address under school address.
  • Invoice for the entry fee will be sent to the registered email address within 2 weeks.
  • ‘Participation certificate only’ option available for schools where pre-selection of entries has been carried out. Poems under this option will not be sent to judges, students will still receive participation certificate for their efforts.


Please read the Conditions of Entry before entering. Entries accepted: March 1 to June 30, results announced on the 2nd of September.


Need some inspiration?

Explore videos of poetry lessons with instructions, check out our learning resources or browse the previous years’ themes and winning entries.

Primary poetry workshop example: http://www.literacyandnumeracy.gov.au/video/poetry-workshop-primary-lorraine-marwood

Secondary poetry workshop example: https://www.literacyandnumeracy.gov.au/video/poetry-workshop-%E2%80%93-secondary-lorraine-marwood

Primary School Print Instructions

High School Print Instructions.


For more information contact our Project Officer on 02 67421200 or email dorotheamackellar[at]bigpond[dot]com[dot]