‘Cloncurry Prize ~ The Spirit of the Outback’



Mary Gilmore


Cloncurry Shire Council Mayor Greg Campbell has announced one of Australia’s richest poetry competitions. ‘The Cloncurry Prize ~ Spirit of the Outback’ will showcase the essence of Cloncurry and uncover the next bard of Australia, to celebrate our past, our present and our future.

The Cloncurry Prize is expected to become an annual event with a generous cash prize of $10,000 for the successful winner, plus an additional section and prize for juniors. Announced today, entries will be accepted from 15 December 2020 to 1 February 2021 with the prize announcement on 22 March 2021. The competition is open to any Australian Citizen, living in Australia with all entries to be assessed by a select panel of judges.

Announced to commemorate the 155th Birthday of Dame Mary Gilmore DBE, who returned to Cloncurry to lay rest with her husband in December 1962. The national competition pays tribute to Dame Mary, an Australian writer and journalist who features on the $10 note, known for her prolific contributions to Australian literature and the broader national discourse.


Any queries, email cloncurryprize@cloncurry.qld.gov.au


Application Fee

There is an application fee of $25 (inc GST) per entry. Any queries around this please contact cloncurryprize@cloncurry.qld.gov.au

Direct Deposit
Bank: Westpac
Name: Cloncurry Shire Council
BSB: 034-173
Account Number 000-071
Reference: Poetry Comp
Details: [Full Name] 


Payment by Mail
Cheques or money orders made payable to:
Cloncurry Shire Council
PO Box 3




In Person / Over the Phone
Payments by cash, EFTPOS, credit card (Mastercard or Visa), cheque or money order are accepted. 
Phone: (07) 4742 4100
Address: 38-46 Daintree Street, Cloncurry, Queensland. 
Open 8:30am - 5pm Monday to Friday


Message from the Prime Minister 



I am delighted that Cloncurry Shire Council has initiated the ‘Cloncurry Prize ~ Spirit of Outback’ Poetry Competition.

Dame Mary Gilmore was my great-great aunt. She was a beloved family member, and a source of pride - for her poetry and her place as a voice of our people. 

When I see her wise face looking out from our $10 notes, I imagine her surveying modern Australia with wonder, and I suspect with a few helpful suggestions. 

Much of what she spoke for has come to pass, so much of what she valued remains, and so much of our nation's promise has been fulfilled. I can't think of a better place than Cloncurry, where Aunt Mary rests with her husband William, to uncover the next bard of Australia, whoever she or he may be. 

Australia is an ancient land of stories that reach back for millennia. The rich oral and visual imaginings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, the poems of colonial Australia, and the verse that grew from our developing nation reflect the epic narrative of our history. In times of trouble and challenge, these are the stories we turn to for comfort and hope. 

The stories of Australia come from the city and the bush. They are made in the past and the present. They are our beacon for the future. They are the words of our national spirit, which transcends politics, religion, ethnicity or capital. Aunt Mary wrote once 'I see the world as one'. It's my belief that true poetry comes from that vision and brings people together. 

Our poets tell our stories and show us who we are. Sometimes, as the days race by, we forget to stop and listen to those voices. I'm grateful to the people of Cloncurry who have endured so much in recent years, for encouraging us to change that - to hear our stories anew and celebrate the spirit they represent. 

The Hon Scott Morrison MP
Prime Minister of Australia

September 2020