Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell has announced what will be 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 competition is open to any Australian Citizen, living in Australia with all entries to be assessed by a select panel of judges.
Cloncurry Shire Council Mayor Campbell said the spirit of the Outback was the spirit of Australia.
"We wanted to present something to the nation that reflects the Aussie way of helping a mate, something we've experienced and benefited from in the last couple of years," Cr Campbell said.
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 competition will be called the 'Cloncurry Prize.' 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.
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.
Supported by the Hon Scott Morrison MP Prime Minister of Australia to whom Dame Mary Gilmore was his great-great Aunt. The Prime Minister said, "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."
"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 intent is that the competition will grow into a high-profile literary award for poetry that becomes a nationally prestigious event. The Prime Minister furthered his support by suggesting Dame Mary's great granddaughter Dr Gillian Miller join the judging Panel.
Joining Dr Miller will be a prestigious panel of judges. Professor Alexis Wright, Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne, is an internationally recognised award-winning author. Alexis was born and grew up in Cloncurry and is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Alexis is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award and the Stella Prize.
Alongside Dr Miller and Professor Wright is Ivor Indyk, Whitlam Professor in the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University, Founding Editor of literary magazine HEAT and Co- Founder of the Sydney Review of Books.
Rounding out the panel is friend to Cloncurry, singer, songwriter and TV presenter Tania Kernaghan, one of Australia's most recognisable and loved female country music recording artists.
Each year the theme will be reviewed and refreshed, and this year's theme is "The Spirit of the Outback" to honour the spirit of the people of the region. For the Mitakoodi people who have called this area home for millennia and the people who come together today as a resilient and vibrant community.
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