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Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival

Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson was born in Orange on 17 February 1864. We celebrated the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2014 with a community festival. Since then, Orange has run an annual festival. Each year, the Rotary Club of Orange partners with Orange’s tourism organisation (Orange 360), the Orange and District Historical Society, the Yeoval community and the Councils of Orange, Cabonne and Blayney to celebrate Australian poetry. This celebration, the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival includes:

  • An Australian Poetry Competition for poets reciting their own original poetry
  • A Family Market Day with walk-up bush poetry as entertainment
  • Inspection of the restored Emmaville Cottage from the property on which Banjo Paterson was born
  • Displays and activities at Yeoval in conjunction with the exhibition “Banjo Paterson – more than a poet”
  • Breakfast and poetry in the Civic Centre precinct, Orange
  • Birthday celebrations for Banjo Paterson’s birth in Orange


2023 Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival

The Festival begins with a celebration of Banjo’s birthday on Friday 17 February 2023 and runs through to Sunday 26 February 2023.

There will be about 20 events over that time and at least 7 opportunities for walk-up performances in pubs, wineries and open air at breakfast.

Included in the program for the Festival in Orange, are four key poetry competitions.

  1. National Bush Poetry Performance Championships.

These will be run by the ABPA and guidelines are available on the ABPA website. Entries will be open as soon as the entry forms have been developed, but plans are for 4 categories (Original Humorous, Original Serious, Modern and Traditional) with a $10 entry fee for each category and prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category, as well as an overall National Champion. The National Championships will be held at the Orange Ex Services Club on Thursday and Friday 23 and 24 February 2023.

Details and entry form for this competition can be found here


The Rotary Club of Orange is organising three additional competitions.

The first two of these competitions are performance competitions and will be held on Saturday 25 February –

  1. A Youth poetry performance competition

Details and entry form for this competition can be found here

  1. An Open performance competition for those poets who do not enter the National Championships.

To avoid confusion, poets cannot enter this open competition if they are in the National Championships

Details and entry form for this competition can be found here


The third is a poetry writing competition

       4.The Deidre Penhall Memorial Poetry Prize 2023

This competition is for writing original poetry and is open to women aged 18 to 30 years on 31 December 2022 and residing within a 200 km radius of Orange, NSW and west of Penrith, NSW

  • Entries close at 5 pm on Wednesday 21 December 2022.
  • A presentation ceremony will be held at an event in the Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival on Saturday evening 25 February 2023 at which winners will be invited to read their poems.

Details and entry form for this competition can be found here