The C.J. Dennis Society

News & Events

29 Oct 2016

C.J. Dennis Poetry Competition and Festival

Hello everyone-

Just  quick report on the 2016 C.J Dennis Poetry Competition and festival.

It has undoubtedly been the most challenging event our Society has ever organised.  Nature certainly tested everyone to the limit.

It started with the ferocious storms which ravaged South Australia and then a couple of weeks ago moved into Victoria.  

"The Singing Gardens" were not spared, and this photo from Steven Whiteside showed just one of the many trees which toppled and caused great damage.

Other buildings were destroyed, and despite a massive cleanup effort, there were still trees in danger of falling over, so only part on the grounds could be used by accessed by the public and the danger areas were fenced off.   

This became theoretical because on the first day of the Festival,  Saturday 22nd, the weather was again atrocious with non stop torrential rain and occasional hail.   So the whole of Saturday’s program was moved inside to the tea rooms.

The weather so bad that, according emails I have received, several people on their way to Toolangi were driven back by fallen trees blocking local roads.

Jan williams, her family and friends worked miracles, tirelessly provided a welcoming atmosphere, food, and refreshments in the tearooms, and Jan’s efforts in particularly will never be forgotten.

Despite all the tribulations, from the feedback received so far, the Festival was a great success.   Those who braved the weather were rewarded with some fine performances of Australian poetry, with open mikes on Sunday morning providing an hilarious poets’ breakfast.

The concert on Saturday afternoon and evening featuring Geoffrey Graham, who performed the complete works of “The Moods of Ginger Mick” was simply a knockout.

The permanent trophy for the recently created “Marian Mayne Award” was unveiled with the first two winners engraved for posterity.

When we get a chance to recover there will be more photos sent out and placed on the website.

The official results of the 2016 C.J. Dennis Poetry Competition are set out below.

All the prizewinning entries are in the 2016 Poetry Book

The book is now available, and is a quality publication thanks to the efforts of Daan Spijer.

To order contact  

Jan Williams,
“The Singing Gardens”
1694 Main Rd
Toolangi Vic 3777
phone 03 5962 9282 or email email

The cost is $10 plus 2.50 postage and handling


OPEN AWARD (The Marian Mayne Award)

1ST      Golden Wedding                                Shelley Hansen
2cnd    From Gallipoli with Love                   Tom McIlveen
3rd       Bobby’s return                                                Tom McIlveen

OPEN THEMED AWARDS (Inspired by Ginger Mick)

1st                   Dear Rose                                           David Campbell
2cnd                Blarst the Flaming War!                       Shelley Hansen
3rd                   Thew Ghost of Ginger Mick   Stephen Whitseside


1st                   Grandmas’s Party                               Graham Watt
2cnd                A scarf and a half                               Jenny Erlanger
3rd                   The Bin Brigade                                  Jenny Erlanger

The same entries judged by Children

1st       `           Toolangi Pie                                        David Campbell
2cnd                 My Teddy and I                                  Shelley Hansen

Highly commended-
The Day the Clock stopped by Stephanie M Ward,  
My Little Brother by Wendy Seddon  
Noses by Peter O’Shaughnessy


1st       `                       My Grandpa                            Isabella Wallace
2cnd                            The Brumby                            Gabriella Manifold
3rd                               The Wackergonginee              Lily Dracapoulos


1st                               Classroom                               Sebastian Brooker
2cnd                            Flames Always Burn               Tiarne Guyatt
3rd                               The Love of the Sea               Tiarne Guyatt  


President Stephen Whiteside's report can be found on his blog-