Marian Mayne (my Mum) was a poet from a young age and brought her love of rhyme and stories to me and all of my family. When I first mooted a CJ Dennis poetry competition she enthusiastically backed me and said she would help me with the prize money. Along with that she helped sorting, cataloguing and all aspects of behind the scenes that make a successful poetry competition. The Marian Mayne Award is recognition of a great and generous lady.
The Marian Mayne Award is a gorgeous perpetual trophy which will remain at The Singing Gardens not only continuing to promote the competition but also the memory of Marian Mayne herself, whose generous bequest provided the trophy itself as well as ongoing prize money.
In 2020 Shelley Hansen won the Marian Mayne Award for the Open Category and had this to say about her winning entry. It is an immense privilege and pleasure for me to be named winner of the adult open poetry section of The Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition – 2020. As a lifelong devotee of Dennis’ work, I admire and support the aims of the CJ Dennis Society in keeping his legacy alive. My poem “My Singing Garden” was written in celebration of his poetry, and as a tribute to Jan Williams and her late husband Vic, in recognition of their tireless efforts in preserving the beautiful Singing Garden for all of us to enjoy. It is an honour to have my name added to the prestigious Marian Mayne perpetual trophy. Thank you to the judge, and to the CJ Dennis Society for their sponsorship of this competition, which gives modern poetry writers the chance to have their work recognised.
In 2019 the Marian Mayne Award was presented to Helene Castles for her poem Art in the Singing Garden. When I asked Helene to articulate what it meant for her to win the Award she had the following to say:
“I wrote the poem Art in the Singing Garden to honour CJ Dennis and to interpret the beauty, the sounds and the surrounds of The Singing Garden. I walked around the garden, on that sunny day, before the winners were announced and my poem came alive for me. I am happy to have my name on the Marian Mayne Perpetual Trophy – for winning the Adult Open section – The Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition – 2019 so that Art in the Singing Garden becomes a part of The Singing Garden story. Thanks to the CJ Dennis Society and to Marian Mayne’s bequest, for making sure that this important Australian story lives on.” Helene Castles