Two school students have had their literary work recognised in the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Competition.

Rowena Public School pupil Max Shearer and Sacred Heart School student Evie Watt received awards.

Max was presented with the David Maher Award for small schools while Evie took out the Kurrumbede Award as the best entry from a school within a 100 kilometre radius from Gunnedah.

The national awards celebrate the work of Australia’s Dorothea Mackellar, a much-loved bush
poet whose famous poem ‘My Country’ was written at the age of 19, after a bout of homesickness while travelling overseas.

The awards aim to give young people from across the country an opportunity to express themselves through poetry.

The judges described 11-year-old Max’s poem ‘Darkness’ as: “A thoughtful poem particularly relevant to this year, where we need to remember to celebrate those shining moments… and share the light with others!”.

Evie’s poem ‘Cotton’ was described as: “An informative and entertaining introduction to the production of fluffy white clouds of cotton”.

“My poem was about cotton that we were growing on our farm at the time,” eight-year-old Evie said.

“I talk about every step involved when you’re growing cotton, all the way to making the clothes.

“It’s my favourite crop on the farm … it’s just so fluffy and it makes you feel peaceful and happy and it’s the thing that makes your clothes.

“I enjoy that there’s so much space [while living on a farm], that you’re not confined and you can just go wherever you want.”

Read the poems below:

By Evie Watt

Fluffy like soft clouds in the sky,
Bright white like cold snow,
on our farm at Boggabri
Cotton is what we grow.

It all starts with a tiny seed
as small as a single green pea
With fertiliser we will feed
It has a lot to grow, you would agree.

The seed turns into a little cotton shoot
It is like a baby… it has lots to grow
Hopefully not to get trod on by a boot
While the crop is still very low

The plant grows bigger into a bush
With lots of leaves and pinkish white flowers
The wind gives the flower a little push
Then out comes the bolls in hours

The green bolls dry and burst
Showing the fluffy white cotton
I think this paddock will be picked first
As the leaves fall to the ground, rotten

Vroom, Vroom the pickers come in
gobble up the cotton fluff,
then throw it in the picker bin
and roll it tight and tough.
This cotton could one day be many things
Pyjamas, t-shirts, jeans and bed sheets
It is amazing how a plant brings stuff to us.
Next summer it all repeats!

Cotton is my favourite crop on the farm
The fields of fluffy white cotton balls
Make me feel peaceful and calm
Like rain when it finally falls.

By Max Shearer

Dark shadows haunt me in the night,
Engulfed by the darkness.
The evil of the world, in the corner of my eye.
We whisper as it lingers.
A soft glimpse of candle light,
Guides your way through gently.
Softly glowing, warding off the dark.
A flash of light breaks the darkness,
And swings back again.
The lighthouse’s beam warns us,
Protects us from being consumed.
The bonfire rages, breaking the night.
Intense balls of flames roar like lions,
Embers soar hopeful,
Sailing through the blackest seas.
From high above lights twinkle,
Like fireflies the stars shine through.
Scaring the evil from above.
The darkness broken and lost.
Moments of light, burn the darkness away,
But to conquer, use the light from within.

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