May 24 - 30, 2020: Issue 451

Our Youth page is for young people aged 13+ - if you are younger than this we have news for you in the Children's pageNews items and articles run at the top of this page. Information, local resources, events and local organisations, sports groups etc. are at the base of this page. All Previous pages for you are listed in Past Features

For You This Week:

Aquatics Operation Crayweed’ Manly: Engaging The Manly Community In Restoring Manly’s Lost Underwater Forests + Newport and Freshwater to come!

Mona Vale Road Upgrade: The Machines Helping Build The Road – For Younger Readers: This is a story about the road-building machines we included in last Issues’ Pictorial. Some of our younger Readers have asked us ‘but what’s that one and what is it used for?’ so it seems best to put it all in a page for you. We didn’t get ALL the machines being used – but here’s some insights into those we did, and a bit more, for those who want to know more.

Welcome Back to Barrenjoey 2020

Published May 22, 2020 by Barrenjoey High School

Monday 25th May

It has been eight weeks since ‘Learning from Home’ commenced so Monday 25th May will be a special day as we celebrate all students returning. On behalf of all the staff we are looking forward to it!

Pittwater Highs' Ollie Gets Official Boost

Some nice photographs of Pittwater High Schools therapy dog Ollie have been shared online by the NSW Department of Education this week. Ollie has been hard at work during the last few days of Home Learning! 

Like all Pittwater High staff, Ollie is passionate about professional development.  He’ll be back stronger than ever next week and ready to help. Go Ollie!

Some snaps of Ollie from Pittwater Highs' Facebook page - love that bowtie:

The 2020 Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating The Hall Of Fame Airs This Sunday, May 24th 

May 21st, 2020: from Surfing Australia
Hosted by surf media icons, Ronnie and Vaughan Blakey, the thirty-sixth Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating The Hall of Fame will go to air on Sunday, May 24th on Channel 9 in an exciting digital format as a special episode of ‘The Hold Down’.

Under current conditions, this allows us to still celebrate the amazing achievements of our nominees & winners in an exciting new format the public can enjoy from the comfort of their own living rooms.
With iconic guests on the panel, Ronnie and Vaughan honour the best of the best over the past twelve months across thirteen award categories, adding to the excitement of our biggest gong, the announcement of our latest Hall of Fame inductee.  

The results are in and it's a who's who of Australian Surfing in the top three across all categories. Big names like Gilmore, Wright, Fitzgibbons and Wilson all feature as top three finalists in both Male and Female Surfer of the Year categories.

Surfing Australia CEO Chris Mater said: “ The Awards are a hugely important event on our calendar because they give the Australian surfing community a chance to honour our best, whether it be in the water competing or behind a lens or administration desk. And of course, inducting our latest Hall of Fame member is always a massive moment we cherish.”

Again in 2020, entries in the Nikon Surf Video of the Year were of the highest standard with judges working overtime to adjudicate on a top-three finalists list.

Check your local guides for exact airtimes on Channel 9 and tune in for an unforgettable 2020 Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating The Hall of Fame. 

Finalists – 2020 Australian Surfing Awards Incorporating The Hall of Fame:
Jack Robinson
Owen Wright
Julian Wilson
Stephanie Gilmore
Sally Fitzgibbons
Isabella Nichols

Molly Picklum
Zahli Kelly
Piper Harrison
Dakoda Walters
Xavier Huxtable
Joel Vaughan
Russell Bierke
Ollie Dousset
Felicity Palmateer
Peter Owens, Fight For The Bight Alliance
Kurt Nyholm, Surfers Unite to Fight Suicide
Andrew McKinnon, GWC2020 

Rob Bain
Doug Lees
Matt Grainger
Glenn Hall
Jake Paterson
Richard Marsh
Chris Friend, LiveHeats
Shapers Co, Spine Tek
Aaron Trevis, Surf Lakes
Jed Smith and Vaughan Blakey, “Ain’t That Swell” podcast series
Shane Stedman, The Shane Gang
Andrew Kidman and Jon Frank, Beyond Litmus

North Shore Boardriders Club
Merewether Surfboard Club
Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club

Already Announced Winners:
Andrew Kaineder, Flow State
Ren McGann’s ‘The Right’

The winner of the Nikon Surf Video of the Year Award will receive a Nikon Z 6 kit while the winner of the Nikon Surf Photo of the Year Award will take home a Nikon Z 7. Each will come with a NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S and FTZ adapter.

World-renowned Surf Journalist Nick Carroll continues in the role of Curator of the Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame.

The Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame is proudly presented by Surfrider Foundation and supported by Tourism and Events Queensland, Nikon, nudie, Hyundai, Australasian Surf Business Magazine, 2XP,  Griffith University and OnStone.

The Hold Down airs on Channel 9 and Channel 9 HD on Sunday May 24th, 12 - 1pm, in Sydney.

HSC timetable released for 2020 exams

May 15, 2020

A HSC exam timetable announcement from the NSW Education Standards Authority.

The 2020 HSC written exam timetable was released today for the 75,000 students sitting the exams this year.

NESA Chief Executive Officer Paul Martin said the timetable would provide the certainty that students, teachers and parents have been looking for around the HSC.

“Students have known that the HSC would be going ahead and this timetable provides the certainty many have been seeking about when their exams will take place,” Mr Martin said.

“This timetable starts five days later giving students some extra time at school after the Autumn holiday period while keeping to the original timeframe for releasing results.

“I want to reassure parents and students that the exams will be conducted in line with the expert health advice at the time of the exams, which are still five months away.”

NSW schools are supporting the return of HSC students to the classroom from this week with HSC students receiving on average three to four days at school each week.

“I trust that now students have a definitive plan and timing for the exams that they can focus on achieving their best as they return to school,” Mr Martin said.

  • 120 written exams will start with English on 20 October and 51 oral language exams will start on 15 August.
  • Students will receive their HSC results on 18 December.
  • All 2020 HSC students can access their personalised exam timetables via their Students OnlineExternal link account from 10am today.

For more information:


Applications open for $15,000 Bert Evans apprentice scholarships

May 15, 2020

Applications are now open for the NSW Government’s Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships offering $15,000 to apprentices across NSW. 

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the scholarships support apprentices who are experiencing financial or personal hardship, demonstrate a high aptitude for vocational education and are committed to their on and off the job training.    

Mr Lee said up to 95 scholarships will be awarded to outstanding apprentices at a time when the state faces challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“An apprenticeship is a great way to kick-start a career, and apprentices are vital to our state’s growth, but we also understand it’s not always easy to complete a qualification,” Mr Lee said.  

“We want to back our apprentices by giving them a helping hand to complete their training and gain a qualification so they can make a strong contribution in their jobs and in the lives of their families and communities. 

“The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has meant many industries are experiencing a pause, so this scholarship could not come at a better time.” 

The scholarship program is named in honour of the late Bert Evans AO, a passionate advocate of vocational education for more than 30 years.  

Find more information and lodge an application online or phone 13 28 11 to contact. 

BirdLife Australia 2020 Photo Comp

The BirdLife Australia Photo awards are now open! Special theme this year is Fairy-wrens, Emu-wrens, and Grasswrens. The Comp is open til August 3rd.
⁠For more on our judges, categories
This stunning image is of a pair of White-throated Grasswrens, by Laurie Ross. 

Letters To Capture Historic Period In Time

May 20, 2020
Australia Post has launched Dear Australia, an initiative encouraging Australians to share handwritten letters of hope and inspiration with the nation about their COVID-19 experience, with all letters to be sent to a national letterbox.

Australia Post Executive General Manager Community & Consumer, Nicole Sheffield, said that while 2020 had tested us in ways we could never have imagined just months ago, it had also highlighted the importance of authentic connection.

“Writing a letter is a very human way to connect with people, which is why we’re inviting individuals, schools, communities, and organisations to write a letter to the nation about their own unique experiences during the pandemic,” Ms Sheffield said.

“It can be a message of hope, a story of community spirit, a poem, song, artwork from your son or daughter, or part of a time capsule project for school. Whatever the reflection, this is a chance to share your story with the rest of Australia and preserve it for future generations.

“Today, the more opportunities we have to connect and feel what it means to be human, the better,” said Ms Sheffield.

Selected letters will be shared on the Dear Australia website ( allowing people to reflect and connect with stories throughout the campaign.

On conclusion, eligible letters will be archived for posterity at The National Archives of Australia in Canberra.

National Archives Director-General David Fricker said the letters would be a unique and valuable resource for current and future generations, providing first-hand accounts of Australian life in the pandemic.

“The National Archives connects Australians with the nation’s memory, identity and history. We are proud to be working with Australia Post to ensure these letters will be safely kept and made accessible into the future.”  

To take part, send your letters or artwork to Dear Australia, Locked Bag, Australia 9999 with a stamp on the front of the envelope.

Dear Australia letters can be placed in any red street Post Box, with individuals and families encouraged to post their letters before August 18th.

For further information on the campaign, including terms and conditions and handy tips on letter writing, visit Australia Post’s website at, and share with friends with #dearaustralia.

Wallaby Colony Survives In Kangaroo Valley

May 17, 2020

The entire colony of brush-tailed rock-wallabies in Kangaroo Valley survived the 2019-20 bushfires which devastated the region, with the support of emergency food drops, announced Environment Minister Matt Kean today.

The life-saving food included carrots and sweet potatoes, as part of the Saving our Species (SoS) program to help this significant colony of a native species.

“After the ferocious fires, it was a welcome relief to hear monitoring cameras and the GPS collars confirmed all the wallabies survived the blaze after trapping several wallabies to assess their health and remove GPS tracking collars,” Mr Kean said.

“It was great to hear the wallabies were in good health, with one wallaby identified as a joey that was not previously known.

“This level of intervention is vital to help maintain these colonies and allow them to recover. At this stage feeding is expected to continue until natural food resources and water become available in the landscape during post fire recovery,” Mr Kean said.

Member for Kiama Gareth Ward welcomed the announcement by Minister Kean.

“I am thrilled to hear rock-wallabies are in good health thanks to the emergency food drops and incredible work by NPWS rangers across our region.”

Thousands of kilograms of carrots and sweet potatoes were delivered to wallabies in the Capertee and Wolgan region, Yengo National Park, Kangaroo Valley, Jenolan and Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, in the immediate aftermath of the bushfires helping to ensure the survival of the endangered iconic species.

The NSW Government’s Saving our Species program aims to secure the future of threatened plants and animals, such as the brush-tailed rock-wallaby in the wild.

Young Writers' Competition 2020

Splash through puddles, hear a suspicious splash or have your face splashed across the news... How will you make a splash? 

The Northern Beaches Young Writers' Competition 2020 is now open!

Write an original story using this year's theme word 'splash' for a chance to be published as an author in a library eBook. 

The competition is open to students up to and including year 12 who live or go to school on the Northern Beaches and are members of the Northern Beaches library service. 

How to enter:

Complete the online entry form and attach your story as a Word document. If your story is hand-written, then a clear, readable photo or scanned PDF can be submitted. All entries must be submitted by 8pm, Wednesday 10 June. 

Not a member of the library? Don't worry, we will use this form to create a membership for you. Just mark 'no' under the library member field in the online form. If you are a member and unsure of your library card number, just mark 'yes' in the library member field in the online form and we will find your library membership number. 

About the competition:

Entries will be judged according to characterisation, originality, plot and use of language and will be arranged into six different age group categories.

Winners from each category will have their stories published in an eBook that will be added to our collection. 

For more information, please email our Library Programs team or call 9976 1739. 

Want some inspiration? Check out the 2019 Young Writers' Competition winning entries in the eBook Wild.

Armchair Antarctic 4: Penguin Personalities

Published May 20, 2020 by Australian Antarctic Division
In this episode of #ArmchairAntarctica … meet some penguins, their personalities, and their people.
Bird of the Month photography by Michael Mannington of Community Photography and Pittwater Online News Features Photographer.

New Shorebird Identification Booklet

The Migratory Shorebird Program has just released the third edition of its hugely popular Shorebird Identification Booklet. The team has thoroughly revised and updated this pocket-sized companion for all shorebird counters and interested birders, with lots of useful information on our most common shorebirds, key identification features, sighting distribution maps and short articles on some of BirdLife’s shorebird activities. 

The booklet can be downloaded here in PDF file format:

Paper copies can be ordered as well, see for details.

Download BirdLife Australia's children’s education kit to help them learn more about our wading birdlife

Shorebirds are a group of wading birds that can be found feeding on swamps, tidal mudflats, estuaries, beaches and open country. For many people, shorebirds are just those brown birds feeding a long way out on the mud but they are actually a remarkably diverse collection of birds including stilts, sandpipers, snipe, curlews, godwits, plovers and oystercatchers. Each species is superbly adapted to suit its preferred habitat.  The Red-necked Stint is as small as a sparrow, with relatively short legs and bill that it pecks food from the surface of the mud with, whereas the Eastern Curlew is over two feet long with a exceptionally long legs and a massively curved beak that it thrusts deep down into the mud to pull out crabs, worms and other creatures hidden below the surface.

Some shorebirds are fairly drab in plumage, especially when they are visiting Australia in their non-breeding season, but when they migrate to their Arctic nesting grounds, they develop a vibrant flush of bright colours to attract a mate. We have 37 types of shorebirds that annually migrate to Australia on some of the most lengthy and arduous journeys in the animal kingdom, but there are also 18 shorebirds that call Australia home all year round.

What all our shorebirds have in common—be they large or small, seasoned traveller or homebody, brightly coloured or in muted tones—is that each species needs adequate safe areas where they can successfully feed and breed.

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is managed and supported by BirdLife Australia. 

This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Port Phillip Bay Fund is acknowledged. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is made possible with the help of over 1,600 volunteers working in coastal and inland habitats all over Australia. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring program (started as the Shorebirds 2020 project initiated to re-invigorate monitoring around Australia) is raising awareness of how incredible shorebirds are, and actively engaging the community to participate in gathering information needed to conserve shorebirds. 

In the short term, the destruction of tidal ecosystems will need to be stopped, and our program is designed to strengthen the case for protecting these important habitats. 

In the long term, there will be a need to mitigate against the likely effects of climate change on a species that travels across the entire range of latitudes where impacts are likely. 

The identification and protection of critical areas for shorebirds will need to continue in order to guard against the potential threats associated with habitats in close proximity to nearly half the human population. 

Here in Australia, the place where these birds grow up and spend most of their lives, continued monitoring is necessary to inform the best management practice to maintain shorebird populations. 

BirdLife Australia believe that we can help secure a brighter future for these remarkable birds by educating stakeholders, gathering information on how and why shorebird populations are changing, and working to grow the community of people who care about shorebirds.

To find out more visit:


The 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards" are now open for entries: new astrophotgraphy with your Smartphone this year

Proudly supported by CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Sciences, The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and Canon Australia.

The Central West Astronomical Society is proud to announce the 2020 CWAS Astrophotography Awards judged by Dr David Malin - the "David Malin Awards".

Click here to see the Conditions of Entry.

This year's competition continues to build on the experience of previous years to help make it the premier competition of its kind in Australia. The competition this year will have three sections of entry - General Section, Open Themed Section and a Junior Section (18 or younger). The general section is divided into five categories; Wide-field (camera shots), Deep Sky (telescope shots), Solar System, Nightscapes and Animated Sequences. The Animated Sequences category has two subsections - Scientific and Aesthetic. The Junior Section will have one open category and entries can be of any astronomical subject, and can be an animated sequence.

The Competition Structure:

General Section:

  • Wide-Field
  • Deep Sky
  • Solar System
  • Nightscapes
  • Animated Sequences
  • Scientific
  • Aesthetic
  • Junior Section (18 or younger) - One Open Category (can be of any astronomical subject)
  • Open Themed Section - "Astrophotography with your Smartphone"
  • The "David Malin Innovation Prize" may be awarded, at Dr Malin's discretion, for a striking astronomical image that shows exceptional imagination, innovation or an unusual approach in any of the categories.
  • An additional prize, "The Photo Editor's Choice", will also be awarded. This will be judged by a major news organisation's photo editor or editors.

The Solar System category is for images of solar system objects taken with a telescope. Wide-field solar system shots may be entered in the Wide-Field or Nightscape categories depending on the subject and composition.

The Nightscapes is intended to showcase the increasing popularity and evolution of this relatively new genre of astrophotography, combining beautiful terrestrial foregrounds with a night sky scene - often in a single exposure (HDR is OK) or as a multi-shot panorama.

Animated Sequences should be videos that are intriguing or highlight concepts and events not obvious or significant in stills. Astrophotographers are invited to submit animations, produced as either time-lapse sequences or with other forms of video. They can be of any subject, provided there is a distinct astronomical link. This category will have two subsections - Scientific and Aethestic. Scientific animations are short sequences that have an obvious scientific purpose, perhaps changes in the appearance of a planet, comet or other celestial body, or where the footage was used for the timing of a transit, an occultation, or even in studying dome seeing. These sequences usually require great skill and/or perseverance in first obtaining the data and then in collating them to reveal an aspect of scientific merit. Aesthetic sequences are animations that are aesthetically pleasing in some way, where the use of appropriate music and editing is encouraged, but always with a strong astronomical component. Scientific animations should be silent and be less than one minute in duration. Aesthetic animations must not exceed two minutes in runtime. All animations must be submitted as MOV, MPEG, AVI or MP4 files.

The Open Themed Section is open to all astrophotographers. They are encouraged to see who can be the most inventive and creative in evoking the theme, which this year will be "Astrophotography with your Smartphone". Smart phones are everywhere and some are capable of impressive low light-level photography. We are looking for images that have been taken with a smartphone of an astronomical scene that has some aesthetic appeal and/or that has captured something you might not expect to see from such a tiny camera.

All entries must be images that faithfully reflect and maintain the integrity of the subject. Entries made up of composite images taken at different times, different locations or with different cameras are not acceptable. Image manipulations that produce works that are more "digital art" than true astronomical images, will be deemed ineligible.

All still images must be submitted as digital files via a dedicated web site that can be accessed at this web address. For judging purposes, still images must be submitted as JPG files with the longest side having a dimension no greater than 4,950 pixels. All images must be in Adobe 1998 RGB colour space and will be judged using a calibrated monitor. Similarly, winning images will be printed from the files as-received, so it would be prudent for entrants to calibrate their monitors if possible. It does make a difference. Click here for an example of a very detailed set of calibration procedures for all platforms. For Mac users, a useful monitor calibration program can be found under "Monitors" in System Preferences, and the ideal solution for monitor calibration is a stand-alone device such as the Spyderexpress.

Submission of entries will be accepted from Wednesday, 1 April 2020, and will close at 24:00 (AEST) on Tuesday, 30 June 2020. Entrants must register in advance. This can be done from 1 April from the Submit Entries link on this page.

Entry payments can be made by cheque, money order or direct deposit. For the entries to be accepted, the payments must be received by the deadline. Entry fees are $15 per entry. Payment details will be presented following each entry submission.

The photographs will be judged by world-renowned astrophotographer, Dr David Malin. During the course of the judging process, Dr Malin may invite, at his discretion, the views of other distinguished international astronomers to aid him in his deliberations, with Dr Malin's decisions being final.

All entries will be judged without David being aware of the identity of the photographer, and to preserve anonymity, the submitted image files should not contain identifying metadata. The winners will be notified and presented with the "David Malin Awards" during a special ceremony at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory in the presence of invited dignitaries on a date to be announced. All winners are required to make every effort to attend the presentation of the awards.

A selection of the finest astrophotographs received will be professionally printed courtesy of Canon Australia by Sunstudios and exhibited for the entire year at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre. In addition, a second set will tour the country in a travelling exhibition, organised by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, to selected venues beginning with Sydney Observatory.

There is a limit of five (5) entries per category per photographer. All photographs must have been taken no more than 2 years before the closing date of entry, and no re-entries from previous DMA competitions will be accepted. All entries must be submitted in electronic form via the dedicated submissions web site. The entrants must provide brief details of the equipment, exposure times, processing and, where relevant, the location where the image was taken.

It is not just technical skill that David Malin will be looking for, but an aesthetically pleasing picture that reflects and captures the beauty, inspiration and interest of astronomy. All images will be judged by these criteria.

Canon Australia is supporting the competition with significant prizes.

Finals Judge: Dr David Malin

Presentation Ceremony for the 2020 CWAS "David Malin Awards" to be held at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory on a date to be announced.

Entries close at 24:00 (AEST) on Tuesday, 30 June 2020.

Click here to Submit Entries


Wide field winner in the 2018 CWAS David Malin Awards: Barrenjoey Milky Way Arch
Supplied: ©Tom Elliott/David Malin Awards - published Front Page Issue 368

The world at your finger tips: Online

With current advice to stay at home and self-isolate, when you come in out of the garden, have had your fill of watching movies and want to explore something new, there's a whole world of books you can download, films you can watch and art galleries you can stroll through - all from at home and via the internet. This week a few suggestions of some of the resources available for you to explore and enjoy. For those who have a passion for Art - this month's Artist of the Month is the Online Australian Art Galleries and State Libraries where you can see great works of art from all over the world  and here - both older works and contemporary works.

Also remember the Project Gutenberg Australia - link here- has heaps of great books, not just focused on Australian subjects but fiction works by popular authors as well. Well worth a look at.

Short Stories for Teenagers you can read for free online

StoryStar is an online resource where you can access and read short stories for teenagers


Storystar is a totally FREE short stories site featuring some of the best short stories online, written by/for kids, teens, and adults of all ages around the world, where short story writers are the stars, and everyone is free to shine! Storystar is dedicated to providing a free place where everyone can share their stories. Stories can entertain us, enlighten us, and change us. Our lives are full of stories; stories of joy and sorrow, triumph and tragedy, success and failure. The stories of our lives matter. Share them. Sharing stories with each other can bring us closer together and help us get to know one another better. Please invite your friends and family to visit Storystar to read, rate and share all the short stories that have been published here, and to tell their stories too.

StoryStar headquarters are located on the central Oregon coast.

NFSA - National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

The doors may be temporarily closed but when it comes to the NFSA, we are always open online. We have content for Kids, Animal Lovers, Music fans, Film buffs & lots more.

You can explore what’s available online at the NFSA, see more in the link below.

NLA Ebooks - Free To Download

The National Library of Australia provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include our own publications and digitised historical books from our collections as well as subscriptions to collections such as Chinese eResources, Early English Books Online and Ebsco ebooks.

What are ebooks?
Ebooks are books published in an electronic format. They can be read by using a personal computer or an ebook reader.

This guide will help you find and view different types of ebooks in the National Library collections.

Peruse the NLA's online ebooks, ready to download - HERE

The Internet Archive and Digital Library

The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge." It provides free public access to collections of digitised materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies, videos, moving images, and millions of public-domain books. There's lots of Australian materials amongst the millions of works on offer.


Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards 2020

It's been a few years since we reminded you of this one - but it's on again, entries close June 30th, and this may be the year you send yours in!

Named for a lady poet who had a lovely place at Lovett Bay and for whom our electorate is named - The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards are back!


"Our poets are encouraged to take inspiration from wherever they may find it, however if they are looking for some direction, competition participants are invited to use this year's optional theme to inspire their entries."

In 2020, the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society has chosen the theme “We Used to Live There.” Instantly a nostalgic feeling of home and belonging washes over you, but we’re sure Australian students will surprise us with their interpretations. As always, it is an optional theme, so please write about whatever topic sparks your poetic genius.

For a copy of the wonderful theme poster, please click here.


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 Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. It comprises a volunteer committee of community members from a wide range of backgrounds.

The poetry competition has grown from 300 entries in 1984 to tens of thousands of entries each year from school students across the nation. The competition also has a dedicated following from teachers whose support is integral to its continued success.

Jean Isherwood was also deeply touched by My Country and in 1983 set herself the task of painting a series of watercolours that she hoped would reflect the beauty described in the verses. This collection can be viewed at the Mackellar Centre.


The Dorothea Mackellar statue is now one of Gunnedah’s most visited landmarks. 

For the historians, the bronze statue was constructed in 1983 by a well know sculptor Dennis Adams and faces towards Kurrumbede and The Rampadells, the Mackellar family holdings in the early 20th century.

The parkland around the memorial has been developed and dedicated to the founder of the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society, Mrs Maas. 

Dorothea Mackellar Statue 


*PLEASE NOTE: If you're registering as an individual student, put your HOME address in your personal details and not your SCHOOL'S address! The address you list is where your participation certificate will be posted!* 


(primary school and secondary school, anytime during the competition period)

  1. Teacher/parent - registration completed online (invoice will be emailed within 2 weeks of registration)
  2. Log in to your page
  3. Enter student details and submit poem(s) (cut and paste or type in poem content direct to the webpage) PLEASE DO NOT UPLOAD POEMS AS ATTACHMENTS AS THAT FUNCTION IS FOR POSTAL ENTRIES ONLY.
  4. Repeat step 3 for every student/individual poem


(primary only)


  1. Teacher/parent - registration completed online (invoice will be emailed within 2 weeks of registration)
  2. Print out and complete entry form for/by each student. Entry form available here.
  3. Print out poems (text must be in a easily distinguishable font – Arial, Times New Roman, hand-written poems not accepted)
  4. Glue completed entry form to the back of each entry
  5. Teacher to collate all entries, enclose entry fee or a confirmation of payment and mail to the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, PO Box 113, Gunnedah, NSW, 2380
  6. Mailed entries are individually scanned and submitted online by the Awards’ organisers. Please consider online entry to help us save valuable time during this hectic period and reduce our environmental footprint. We can all make a difference. 


  • Have a read of the judges' reports from the previous year. They contain some very helpful advice for teachers and parents alike!
  • It is recommended for schools to appoint a coordinator for the competition.
  • Only a teacher/parent can complete the registration form on behalf of the student/child.
  • Log-in details: username is the email address and a password of your choice.
  • Log-in details can be given to other teachers/students for poem submission in class/at home.
  • Log-in as many times as necessary during the competition period.
  • Teachers can view progress by monitoring the number and content of entries.
  • Individual entries are accepted if the school is not participating or a child is home schooled. Parent needs to complete the registration form with their contact details. Please indicate 'individual entry' under school name and home postal address under school address.
  • Invoice for the entry fee will be sent to the registered email address within 2 weeks.
  • ‘Participation certificate only’ option available for schools where pre-selection of entries has been carried out. Poems under this option will not be sent to judges, students will still receive participation certificate for their efforts.

Please read the Conditions of Entry before entering. Entries accepted: March 1 to June 30, results announced during early September.


Check out our learning resources or browse the previous years’ themes and winning entries.

For more, please visit:


Lower Primary (Years K – 3)  
Winner: $300, trophy and prize pack
Runner-up: $150 and prize pack

Upper Primary (Years 4 – 6, Inc. Year 7 in SA)
Winner: $400, trophy and prize pack
Runner-up: $200 and prize pack

Assisted Learning Primary
Winner: $400, trophy and prize pack
Runner-up: $200 and prize pack

Entries to be submitted by the teacher, eligibility criteria:

  • students on assisted learning programs
  • students with English as a second language.

Junior Secondary (Years 7 – 9)
Winner: $500, trophy and prize pack
Runner-up: $300 and prize pack

Senior Secondary (Years 10 – 12)
Winner: $500, trophy and prize pack
Runner-up: $300 and prize pack

Assisted Learning Secondary
Winner: $500, trophy and prize pack
Runner-up: $300 and prize pack

Entries to be submitted by the teacher, eligibility criteria:

  • students on assisted learning programs
  • students with English as a second language.

Schools’ Award
For schools that demonstrate effort, achievement and a high standard of entries, awarded at the judges’ discretion.
Winner Primary: $1000, trophy and prize pack
Winner Secondary: $1000, trophy and prize pack

Prize Packs
Prize packs include a unique trophy and a wonderful collection of books from a number of publishing houses and local businesses.

Find out more at:

Avalon Youth Hub: More Meditation Spots

Due to popular demand our meditation evenings have EXPANDED. Two sessions will now be run every Wednesday evening this term at the Hub. Both sessions will be facilitated by Merryn at Soul Safaris.

6-7pm - 12 - 15 year olds welcome
7-8pm - 16 - 25 year olds welcome

No experience needed. Learn and develop your mindfulness and practice meditation in a group setting.

For all enquires, message us via facebook or email

BIG THANKS The Burdekin Association for funding these sessions!

 Keep A Look Out For (iOS and Android App)

Keep A Look Out For is a Northern Beaches app, featuring upcoming events, groups, places and job opportunities. Download for free at: - for and by young people! Like our Facebook page -

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Green Team Beach Cleans 

Hosted by The Green Team
The Green Team is back for 2019! 
It has been estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050...These beach cleans are aimed at reducing the vast amounts of plastic from entering our oceans before they harm marine life. 

Anyone and everyone is welcome! If you would like to come along, please bring a bucket, gloves and hat. Kids of all ages are also welcome! 

We will meet in front of the surf club. 
Hope to see you there!

The Green Team is a Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative from Avalon, Sydney. Keeping our area green and clean.

 The Project Gutenberg Library of Australiana

Australian writers, works about Australia and works which may be of interest to Australians.This Australiana page boasts many ebooks by Australian writers, or books about Australia. There is a diverse range; from the journals of the land and sea explorers; to the early accounts of white settlement in Australia; to the fiction of 'Banjo' Paterson, Henry Lawson and many other Australian writers.

The list of titles form part of the huge collection of ebooks freely downloadable from Project Gutenberg Australia. Follow the links to read more about the authors and titles and to read and/or download the ebooks. 

Profile: Ingleside Riders Group

Ingleside Riders Group Inc. (IRG) is a not for profit incorporated association and is run solely by volunteers. It was formed in 2003 and provides a facility known as “Ingleside Equestrian Park” which is approximately 9 acres of land between Wattle St and McLean St, Ingleside. IRG has a licence agreement with the Minister of Education to use this land. This facility is very valuable as it is the only designated area solely for equestrian use in the Pittwater District.  IRG promotes equal rights and the respect of one another and our list of rules that all members must sign reflect this.


Research shows that one in five Australian children aged 8 to 17 has been the target of cyberbullying in the past year. The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner can help you make a complaint, find someone to talk to and provide advice and strategies for dealing with these issues.

Make a Complaint 

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 gives the power to provide assistance in relation to serious cyberbullying material. That is, material that is directed at a particular child with the intention to seriously embarrass, harass, threaten or humiliate.


Before you make a complaint you need to have:

  • copies of the cyberbullying material to upload (eg screenshots or photos)
  • reported the material to the social media service (if possible) at least 48 hours ago
  • at hand as much information as possible about where the material is located
  • 15-20 minutes to complete the form


Our mission

The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner is Australia's leader in online safety. The Office is committed to helping young people have safe, positive experiences online and encouraging behavioural change, where a generation of Australian children act responsibly online—just as they would offline.

We provide online safety education for Australian children and young people, a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying, and address illegal online content through the Online Content Scheme.

Our goal is to empower all Australians to explore the online world—safely.


The Green Team

This Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative has been attracting high praise from the founders of Living Ocean as much as other local environment groups recently. 
Creating Beach Cleans events, starting their own, sustainability days - ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 

National Training Complaints Hotline – 13 38 73

The National Training Complaints Hotline is accessible on 13 38 73 (Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm nationally) or via email at

Sync Your Breathing with this - to help you Relax

Send In Your Stuff

Pittwater Online News is not only For and About you, it is also BY you.  
We will not publish swearing or the gossip about others. BUT: If you have a poem, story or something you want to see addressed, let us know or send to:

All Are Welcome, All Belong!

Apprenticeships and traineeships info

Are you going to leave school this year?
Looking for an apprenticeship or traineeship to get you started?
This website, Training Services NSW, has stacks of info for you;

It lists the group training organisations (GTOs) that are currently registered in NSW under the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Act 2001. These GTOs have been audited by independent auditors and are compliant with the National Standards for Group Training Organisations.

If you are interested in using the services of a registered GTO, please contact any of the organisations listed here:

There are also some great websites, like 1300apprentice, which list what kind of apprenticeships and traineeships they can guide you to securing as well as listing work available right now.

Profile Bayview Yacht Racing Association (BYRA)
1842 Pittwater Rd, Bayview

BYRA has a passion for sharing the great waters of Pittwater and a love of sailing with everyone aged 8 to 80 or over!

 headspace Brookvale

headspace Brookvale provides services to young people aged 12-25. If you are a young person looking for health advice, support and/or information,headspace Brookvale can help you with:

• Mental health • Physical/sexual health • Alcohol and other drug services • Education and employment services

If you ever feel that you are:

• Alone and confused • Down, depressed or anxious • Worried about your use of alcohol and/or other drugs • Not coping at home, school or work • Being bullied, hurt or harassed • Wanting to hurt yourself • Concerned about your sexual health • Struggling with housing or accommodation • Having relationship problems • Finding it hard to get a job

Or if you just need someone to talk to… headspace Brookvale can help! The best part is our service is free, confidential and youth friendly.

headspace Brookvale is open from Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:30pm so if you want to talk or make an appointment give us a call on (02) 9937 6500. If you're not feeling up to contacting us yourself, feel free to ask your family, friend, teacher, doctor or someone close to you to make a referral on your behalf.

When you first come to headspace Brookvale you will be greeted by one of our friendly staff. You will then talk with a member of our headspace Brookvale Youth Access Team. The headspace Brookvale Youth Access Team consists of three workers, who will work with you around whatever problems you are facing. Depending on what's happening for you, you may meet with your Youth Access Worker a number of times or you may be referred on to a more appropriate service provider.

A number of service providers are operating out of headspace Brookvale including Psychologists, Drug & Alcohol Workers, Sexual Health Workers, Employment Services and more! If we can't find a service operating withinheadspace Brookvale that best suits you, the Youth Access Team can also refer you to other services in the Sydney area.

eheadspace provides online and telephone support for young people aged 12-25. It is a confidential, free, secure space where you can chat, email or talk on the phone to qualified youth mental health professionals.

Click here to go to eheadspace

For urgent mental health assistance or if you are in a crisis please call the Northern Sydney 24 hour Mental Health Access Line on 1800 011 511

Need Help Right NOW??

kids help line: 1800 55 1800 -

lifeline australia - 13 11 14 -

headspace Brookvale is located at Level 2 Brookvale House, 1A Cross Street Brookvale NSW 2100 (Old Medical Centre at Warringah Mall). We are nearby Brookvale Westfield's bus stop on Pittwater road, and have plenty of parking under the building opposite Bunnings. More at:

Profile: Avalon Soccer Club
Avalon Soccer Club is an amateur club situated at the northern end of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. As a club we pride ourselves on our friendly, family club environment. The club is comprised of over a thousand players aged from 5 to 70 who enjoy playing the beautiful game at a variety of levels and is entirely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. 
Profile: Pittwater Baseball Club

Their Mission: Share a community spirit through the joy of our children engaging in baseball.

Year 13

Year13 is an online resource for post school options that specialises in providing information and services on Apprenticeships, Gap Year Programs, Job Vacancies, Studying, Money Advice, Internships and the fun of life after school. Partnering with leading companies across Australia Year13 helps facilitate positive choices for young Australians when finishing school.

Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) Practice run Online

Did you know you can do a practice run of the DKT online on the RMS site? - check out the base of this page, and the rest on the webpage, it's loaded with information for you!

The DKT Practice test is designed to help you become familiar with the test, and decide if you’re ready to attempt the test for real.  Experienced drivers can also take the practice test to check their knowledge of the road rules. Unlike the real test, the practice DKT allows you to finish all 45 questions, regardless of how many you get wrong. At the end of the practice test, you’ll be advised whether you passed or failed.

NCYLC is a community legal centre dedicated to providing advice to children and young people. NCYLC has developed a Cyber Project called Lawmail, which allows young people to easily access free legal advice from anywhere in Australia, at any time.

NCYLC was set up to ensure children’s rights are not marginalised or ignored. NCYLC helps children across Australia with their problems, including abuse and neglect. The AGD, UNSW, KWM, Telstra and ASIC collaborate by providing financial, in-kind and/or pro bono volunteer resources to NCYLC to operate Lawmail and/or Lawstuff.

Kids Helpline

If you’re aged 5-25 the Kids Helpline provides free and confidential online and phone counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 55 1800. You can chat with us about anything… What’s going on at home, stuff with friends. Something at school or feeling sad, angry or worried. You don’t have to tell us your name if you don’t want to.

You can Webchat, email or phone. Always remember - Everyone deserves to be safe and happy. You’re important and we are here to help you. Visit:

Youth Source: Northern Sydney Region

A directory of services and resources relevant to young people and those who work, play and live alongside them.

The YouthSource directory has listings from the following types of service providers: Aboriginal, Accommodation, Alcohol & Other Drugs, Community Service, Counselling, Disability, Education & Training, Emergency Information, Employment, Financial, Gambling,  General Health & Wellbeing, Government Agency, Hospital & GP, Legal & Justice, Library, Mental Health, Multicultural, Nutrition & Eating Disorders, Parenting, Relationships, Sexual Health, University, Youth Centre