Gunnedah woman is new project officer for Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards

Brittany Riley is the new project officer for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. Photo: Vanessa Höhnke
Brittany Riley is the new project officer for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. Photo: Vanessa Höhnke

There’s a new face at The Mackellar Centre.

Gunnedah woman Brittany Riley has taken on the role of project officer for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, starting on Tuesday.

Ms Riley has taken over from 2017 project officer, Ruth Gilmour (nee Macaulay), who finished up in December to return to theatre and educational shows with her new husband, Tim Gilmour, under the umbrella of School Performance Tours.

Ms Riley’s role will be three days a week initially but will likely become full-time as the awards event draws closer.

Over the next few weeks, the former Gunnedah High School student will be learning the ropes and is looking forward to what’s ahead.

“[This role] is obviously in keeping with my passions,” she said.

“It’s so beautiful up here [at the centre] and I thought it would be a really amazing opportunity.”

Ms Riley is a third-generation Gunnedah resident and has grown up with an awareness of the long-running “prestigious” awards.

“I have written a bit of poetry and  being here and being surrounded by poetry is going to inspired me in my own projects,” she said.

The poetry awards open on March 1, with the optional theme “I have promises to keep”.

“The theme lets you think outside the box. You could do so much with that,” Ms Riley said.

The local has hopes of conducting poetry workshops later in the year and has been in talks with Gunnedah Shire Council’s youth development officer, Sewa Emojong.

“I’m hoping the poems they write in the workshops can then be entered into the competition,” she said.

The 24-year-old is currently writing a second book and has just enrolled in an advanced diploma majoring in writing and screen writing through the University of New England, which she will do part-time.

To find out more about the poetry competition, visit


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