The Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society Inc. was founded in 1983 by post-war immigrant Mrs Mikie Maas OAM PHF, with the support of volunteer judges Rosemary Dobson and Joan Phipson and local poet Anne Bell to recognise the contribution Dorothea made to Australian literature.

That same year, Gunnedah celebrated the unveiling of a bronze statue of Dorothea Mackellar sitting side-saddle on a horse. The statue is in ANZAC Park Gunnedah, opposite the Mackellar Centre on South Street. The statue was the result of several years of fundraising by locals, led by Mikie Maas. Upon arriving in Australia, Ms Mass read “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar and was deeply moved by the patriotism displayed in the poem. 

In 1984 the society established the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards – the largest children’s poetry competition in the country. The awards have grown from 300 entries in 1984 to tens of thousands of entries each year from school students across Australia and has a dedicated following from teachers whose support is integral to its continued success.

The Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society Inc Committee is made up of 8 local community volunteer members and 2 Gunnedah Shire Council representatives. Click here for more information on the Committee.

In 2024, we celebrate 40 years of the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards.