‘Cloncurry Prize ~ The Spirit of the Outback’
MEDIA RELEASE: Cloncurry celebrates the Spirit of the Outback
The next bard of the Australian Outback has been discovered! Cloncurry Shire Council congratulates, Mr David Campbell, winner of the very first ‘Cloncurry Prize ~ Spirit of the Outback’ poetry competition. All prize-winners were announced at an official event at Chinaman Creek Dam on Monday evening.
The National competition, launched in December 2020, has a first prize of $10,000. The call was met with over 220 poems from writers all over Australia. Mr Campbell’s, ‘The Heart and Soul of Australia’, impressed the judges by capturing the essence of the Outback. The deserving winner travelled to Cloncurry from the South Coast of Victoria for the official announcement.
Mr Campbell said he was delighted to take out the prestigious prize in its first year. He said, “This competition is a wonderful initiative by the Cloncurry Shire Council. In providing one of the richest poetry prizes in Australia, the Council is encouraging poets to use their skills to continue the great poetic traditions established a century ago by such well-known names as Dame Mary Gilmore, who is buried alongside her husband in the Cloncurry cemetery, Henry Lawson, ‘Banjo’ Paterson and CJ Dennis. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be involved and congratulate those instrumental in creating the award…may it provide inspiration to poets in all styles of poetry for many years to come!”
Mayor Greg Campbell said, “The competition was launched to draw attention to the Outback and promote it to the rest of Australia. The concept of the prize was to highlight our wonderful country and ignite our sense of national pride during the COVID-19 lockdown. David’s poem represents the spirit of the outback and pays tribute to services in the bush, which included a reference to the Royal Flying Doctor. The ‘Cloncurry Prize’ is an open competition, and all styles of poetry are encouraged. This year’s winners included a ballad and contemporary poetry”.
Other prize-winners were announced on the evening, which included runner up, ‘Broken Down’, by Jennifer Harison and meritorious mention, ‘A portrait in the Theatre of Desire’, by Brian Obiri-Asare.
Copies of the poems and future information on the competition is available on the Cloncurry Shire Council website. Start writing for the 2022 ‘Cloncurry Prize ~ Spirit of the Outback’ for your chance to pocket $10,000.
The Heart and Soul of Australia - by David Campbell
Broken Down - by Jennifer Harrison
a portrait in the theatre of desire - by Brian Obiri-Asare
Submissions for the 'Cloncurry Prize ~ Spirit of the Outback' poetry competition closed on 1 February 2021. Announcement of the winner will be 22 March 2021. This will be an annual competition so stay tuned to this page and our Facebook page for the next round. And get writing!!
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.
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