The Civic was packed for this year's Dorothea Mackeller Poetry Awards.
Local students, teachers and community members turned out to support the long-running competition and celebrate the achievements of the winners from around Australia.
Both the judge of the primary section, Kathryn Apel, and the secondary section judge, Meredith Costain, attended the presentation and praised the entrants for their contributions.
Ms Appel said it was "a joy" to read the primary poems and she was "very proud" of the effort the students put into their work.
"It was a joy to read your work and an honour to judge it," she told the students.
She said poetry "builds muscle" and could be used in other areas of life and even the workplace.
"Poetry can be joyful, it can be fun," she said.
Secondary judge Mr Roy said she had "sleepless nights" as she agonised over placings because "the standard was so high".
"It has been a wonderful and daunting task," she said.
"It gave me a chance to tap into the issues and concerns of young people today ... The future of poetry is in very good hands."
This year's guest speaker, journalist, author and former foreign correspondent Gabrielle Chan, told the students to "write what you see", "stay true to your local places" and "pick up a pen and write it down".
"You are the keepers of the memories of this place ... No one knows your little corner like you do," she said.
She shared stories of discovering "my place" after moving from the city to the country 20 years ago and through her book Rusted Off istrying to "change the conversation" to look beyond stereotypes of rural people.
Local talent Steve McCauley and Alison Stuart performed during the presentation.
Winner Upper Primary:The Earth is in Good Hands, Sanu Kariyawasam, Seymour College, SA
Winner Lower Primary:The Beat, Lincoln Cecil, Rowena Public School, NSW
Winner Assisted Learning Primary:Untouchable, Felix Liu, Redeemer Baptist School, NSW
Winner Senior Secondary:When Penelope went sailing, instead of waiting for Odysseus to come home,Amelia Neylon, individual Entry from The Friends School, TAS
Winner Junior Secondary:Can you speak Sinhala? Janiru Liyanage, Baulkham Hills High School, NSW
Winner Assisted Learning Secondary:The Place I Live, Han Zheng, Redeemer Baptist School, NSW
Winner Primary: The Cottage School, TAS
Winner Secondary: Presbyterian Ladies' College, WA
David Maher Award
Forgotten Tree, Lachlan Spence, Booligal Public School, NS