Dorothea Mackellar

DorotheaMackellarContact Dorothea Mackellar Society:

Postal Address
Dorotha Mackellar Society
PO Box 113,
Gunnedah NSW 2380

Office Location
Anzac Park (South Street)
Gunnedah NSW 2380

Telephone: 02 6742 1200
Fax: 02 6742 1435

Links & Information:
View offical Dorothea Mackellar website.
View My Country poem.
View Jean Isherwood's Collection.


Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar was born on 1 July 1885, at her family's home "Dunara" that stands on Point Piper, overlooking Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. The Mackellar family owned several properties in the Gunnedah area, including "Kurrumbede" and "The Rampadells" approximately 25 km north west of the town bordering the Namoi River.

In 1983, Gunnedah celebrated the unveiling of a bronze statue of Dorothea Mackellar sitting side-saddle on a horse drinking from a stream. The statue is in ANZAC Park Gunnedah  was the result of several years of fundraising by locals – led by post war immigrant Mikie Maas (OAM PHF). Mrs Maas, upon relocation to Australia, read My Country and was deeply moved by the patriotism displayed in the poem.

In 1983, Mrs Maas (OAM PHF), with the support of volunteer judges Rosemary Dobson and Joan Phipson and local poet Anne Bell, orchestrated the foundation of the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society Inc. – the body that now hosts the '30 years young' Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.

The poetry competition grew from strength to strength. In 1984 with initial numbers of 300 entries from schools throughout NSW the competition, now Australia wide, attracts up to 15,000 entries each year from school students. The competition also has a dedicated following from teachers whose support is integral to its continued success.

In 1982 Jean Isherwood (a famous artist) heard on the radio that a statue was to be erected as a memorial to Dorothea Mackellar at Gunnedah, on Australia Day, 26 January 1983. Isherwood had long had it in mind to create a series of works illustrating the writer's most famous poem. Prompted by the imminent celebration, Isherwood created a series of thirty four watercolour paintings for exhibition in Gunnedah in conjunction with the unveiling of the statue.

The Dorothea statue is now one of Gunnedah's most visited landmarks. During peak season, the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards' website plays host to thousands of visitors entering their own creative works, honouring the memory of one of the most enduring poets Australia has ever produced.

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards

In 1983 Mrs Mikie Maas OAM founded the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society in recognition of the contribution Dorothea made to Australian literature. To raise funds for a beautiful bronze statue of Dorothea Mackellar, sitting side-saddle on her horse, Mrs Maas started a poetry competition which had a small entry fee.

The aim of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards is to capture the imagination of school students across Australia, inspiring them with a passion for poetry and a love of country. It is a unique national project, giving Australia's youth a voice and an opportunity to strive for excellence in literature.

The Awards are conducted by the Society through recognition of the contribution Dorothea made to Australian literature and also to ignite a spirit of patriotism among Australia's young people through written verse. The poetry competition attracts some 10,000 entries per year from school around Australia and The Australian Government is the major sponsor of the Awards.

Go to for more information on how to enter the Awards.

Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Statue

This life‐size statue in bronze was erected and dedicated to Dorothea Mackellar by the people of Australia, the children of NSW, and the local community in 1983. It depicts Dorothea as a young woman gazing in the direction of her beloved 'Kurrumbede' and is located in Anzac Park, opposite the Gunnedah Visitors Centre in South Street.



Opening Hours
Mon to Fri: 9am - 5pm
Sat and Sun: 10am - 3pm

83 Chandos Street, Gunnedah, NSW 2380

02 6740 2230 | 1800 KOALAS





GSC Koala Web Logo