We were delighted to once again see so many students from the Primary and Secondary School enter the prestigious Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. The theme for this year, “Is Anybody There?” encouraged students to probe a wide range of provocative topics; from refugee and environmental crisis to family relationships. In the Lower Primary section Samantha Cutbush (Year 3) was Commended for her poem entitled “What Do You Do?” Celeste Georgiou (Year 6) was Shortlisted in the Upper Primary section for her Villanelle “The sadness drowns me.” The Villanelle is a very complex poetic form and the judges commented on Celeste’s ability to effectively employ the form of the Villanelle without having her poem sound repetitious.

In the Junior Secondary section Ruby Cooney (Year 8) and Samantha Dawson (Year 8) were both Highly Commended. The judges commented on the “lush imagery and clever structure in Ruby’s poem “Paper Stars” and on the “strong imagery and powerful message” in Samantha’s poem “In the Crater”. Lucia Gelonesi (Year 9) entered a number of poems and was Highly Commended for “Sicilian Music Box” and Shortlisted for “Mothers as Others.” The judges described Lucia’s Shortlisted work as “a cracker of a poem - oozing with confidence and clever use of metaphor.”

We are so proud of all the students who submitted work for this competition. Certificates will be awarded to all participants in Year meetings. The high standard of SCEGGS entries was noted as we were Commended in the Secondary Schools’ Award. Well done to all entrants and their teachers.

Jenny Bean
English Teacher



The English Department is very pleased to announce that entries by Year 8 students, Ruby Cooney and Samara Foulds, were shortlisted in the Mosman Youth Awards in Literature, Annual Prose and Poetry competition, 2019.

At a presentation on 28 August, Samara Foulds’ short story, Finding Happiness, was announced the winning entry. We congratulate Samara and encourage both her and Ruby to keep writing!

en Misman Youth Award Samara Fouls

Marilyn Pretorius
Head of English



Acclaimed young poet Margot Lee (Year 12) has been shortlisted for the John Marsden & Hachette Australia Poetry Prize for her poem “Translunar.” Margot is invited to a writing masterclass in Melbourne where the prize will be announced on 5 September as a part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. We congratulate Margot on this wonderful achievement and wish her all the best for this opportunity to work with other writers and further develop her considerable writing talents.

Jenny Bean
English Teacher



Our English Extension 2 candidates will showcase on Monday 9 September the major works they have completed this year. Each candidate will discuss the evolution of her work and present a reading / or viewing of a chosen extract from her piece.
Teachers, parents and friends of the girls presenting, as well as Year 11 students considering Extension 2 next year, are warmly invited to attend.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to:  by Friday 30 August, 2019.

Sarah Hawkins



This year over 70 students from Years 7 – 10 entered the Betty Behan and Gwen Cockell writing prizes. The English Department were delighted to read so many powerful short stories and poems. Students should look out for their work in the Lux magazine released next year as we were able to include extracts from a number of the pieces.

We had so many good entries that we have also Highly Commended students in each competition. The prize winners will be awarded at speech night.

The Betty Behan Memorial Short Story Prize – Junior was awarded to Mathilde Leys in Year 7 for her vivid story “Danse Macabre.” Mathilde drew from her study of Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book” to create an ethereal representation of the Dance of Death. Lucia Gelonesi and Mary Williams, both in Year 8, were Highly Commended for this prize.

The Betty Behan Memorial Short Story Prize - Senior was awarded to Jedda Thorley in Year 10 for her short story “Saltbush.” Her poignant coming-of-age story focuses on Ethan, a young man coping with his mother’s serious illness. Claudia Hunt in Year 9 and Phoebe Masnick in Year 10 were both Highly Commended for this prize.

The Gwen Cockell Prize for Creative Writing was particularly hotly contested. We congratulate Lucia Gelonesi who has been awarded the prize after submitting three of her evocative poems. We have also Highly Commended Laura Davies in Year 7 as well as Kate Brenner and Emily Wu, both in Year 8.

Thank you to all of the students who shared their work. We are very proud of all of our writers.


Marilyn Pretorius
Head of English