The Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition & Festival 2021

Another competition and festival has wrapped up for 2021. Due to Covid we couldn’t have our festival in person again however, we did have a fantastic time getting together via Zoom and celebrating the competition and all of our winners online. A hearty congratulations to everyone for participating and for our winners a double congratulations.

Jim Brown has kindly edited the Zoom festival down to approximately 1 hour for you to view and the link is below if you would like to see what we got up to on the day but weren’t able to join us at the time.

2021 The Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Festival – Zoom

All anthologies, prizes and certificates went flying out the door a week or so after the Zoom festival. This year’s winners also received a special gift, proudly donated by Bolin Publishing, an audio CD of “A book for kids” by CJ Dennis of course!

The 2021 competition and festival was largely made possibly by the generous financial grant from the Australian English Speaking Union and I think we impressed them with the amount of talent and passion our competition raises when it comes to poetry and short story writing.

Whilst 2021 had its challenges it also provided opportunities we could not have imagined before Covid hit the world stage. The competition accepted email entries for the first time and this proved very popular and will be continued going forward. The use of Zoom to give all of our competition winners and other entrants interested an opportunity to present their poems online from wherever they were. We even had people joining in from the park and their cars! Just goes to show it takes a lot to dampen the enthusiasm of the CJ Dennis supporter! We also changed the way we divided the Primary and Secondary School entries to ensure a more even peer competition into the following groups: Students Preps to Year 4; Students Years 5 to 8; and Students Years 9 to 12.  A complete list of our winners is below.

A special thanks is owed to everyone behind the scenes and especially the judges who worked tirelessly to bring you the brightest and best of the entries. As always a very difficult task.

Keep and eye out for more CJ Dennis Poetry Competition information in 2022 and we sincerely hope you will all enter again.

Sharon Keogh
The CJ Dennis Society Inc.






Category 1: Open Poetry (the Marian Mayne Award)

David Campbell, First Prize, The Last Goodbye

Shelley Hansen, Second Prize, The Barber of Peak Hill

Peter O’Shaughnessy, Third Prize, It Wasn’t a Triantiwontigongolope

Gwen Pascoe, Highly Commended, The P.M.

Peter White, Highly Commended, Who’s Got Dementia?


Category 2: Open Short Story

Jim Kent, First Prize, Are We There Yet?

Gwen Pascoe, Second Prize, The Man With the Daffodil

Shelley Hansen, Third Prize, The Axe-Man’s Apprentice

Gwen Pascoe, Honourable Mention, TheWink

Jasmine Craig, Honourable Mention, The Maiden in the Rainbow


Category 3: Poems Written by Adults for Children

Caroline Toohey, First Prize, Choosing Socks

Rebecca M Newman, Second Prize, Magpie Season

Jenny Erlanger, Third Prize, Easter Thief

Peter White, Highly Commended, The Grundys’ Undies

Susan Hancy, Highly Commended, I’d Love to Be

Shelley Hansen, Highly Commended, Willie Wagtail


Category 3: Poems Written by Adults for Children as Judged by the
Poonindie Community Learning Centre

Rebecca M Newman, First Prize, Magpie Season

Caroline Toohey, Second Prize, Choosing Socks

Di Scotte, Third Prize, Playmates for Pedro


Category 4: Students – Preps to Year 4

Clem Chapman, First Prize, A Bird Song

Rafe Wiggins, Second Prize, The Crab Song (Snip Snap)

Waratsaya Hartog, Third Prize, The Cutest Dog (Rosie)

Willow Walsh, Special Mention, Yellow


Category 5: Students – Years 5 to 8

Natalie Barr, First Prize, Little Mary-Jane and her Bike

Jerome Shaw, Second Prize, The Bearded Dragon

William Gong, Third Prize, Bushland

Taesha Korsten, Honourable Mention, A Light at the End of the Tunnel


Category 6: Students – Years 9 to 12

Kuhu Sharma, First Prize, Tame the Fire

Kuhu Sharma, Second Prize, Sunny Days

Noah Tasker, Third Prize, Soli-tied

Oshadha Perera, Honourable Mention, Radiance