Yash Goel and Naomi So win Dorothea MacKellar CRC Award

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Sachin  and  Meeta Goel with  Hon Victor Dominello and their young son Yash Goel whose poem on his grandmother – ‘Being Nani’ won him this year’s  Dorothea Mackellar Community Relations Commission (CRC) Poetry Award


11 September 2014. Minister for Citizenship and Communities Victor Dominello on September 11    announced two NSW primary school students as dual winners of this year’s Dorothea Mackellar Community Relations Commission (CRC) Poetry Award.

The NSW Government, through the CRC, presents an award each year to the best poem highlighting the value of cultural diversity within the Australian community. A shortlist of entries is supplied by the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Society.

Mr Dominello presented Yash Goel, a six-year-old Castle Hill Public School student and Naomi So, a 10-year-old Lindfield Public School student, with a CRC medal and $250 prize money each at NSW Parliament this morning.

“Yash and Naomi were among 8,500 Australian students from 600 schools who submitted entries for the annual Dorothy MacKellar Poetry competition, the largest and oldest of its kind for school students,” Mr Dominello said.

“Yash’s poem Being Nani and Naomi’s poem I Am a Refugee were chosen by the judges for successfully articulating the value of cultural diversity, identity and belonging in Australia.

The competition judges described Yash’s poem as gentle and honest: “Told from the heart this young poet shares with us a precious aspect of his cultural heritage and the line ‘although I am Australian, I am Indian too’, says it all.”

They commended Naomi’s piece for achieving powerful imagery:

“The simple lined contradiction creates a powerful conclusion. It encompasses the fight and bravery to be classified as someone starting out all over again.

“Often those who join our Australian family from countries abroad bring a heightened appreciation for all that is great about this land,” Mr Dominello said.

“These two young poets have been able to eloquently express their feelings about life in Australia.

“Through their words, Yash and Naomi have articulated who they are and why they love their country ”“ just as the great poet in whose name these awards are made, Dorothea Mackellar said: ”˜All you who have not loved her, You will not understand’.

“That’s why this is a wonderful project to foster a love of country and a love of the written word from a young age,” he said.

This year the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Further information about the CRC prize can be found at: http://www.crc.nsw.gov.au/awards_and_events/dorothea_mackellar_poetry_award

Being Nani  

By Yash Goel


My Nani was born in India,

And now she lives in Australia.

I love my Nani,

Because she cares for me.

She has black hair and brown skin.

She is tall and very thin.

When my Nani wears a sari,

She looks very, very pretty.

Nani always wears a bindi on her forehead.

It is round and the colour red.

I like to wear the bindi for fun.

It makes me feel like I am an Indian.

My Nani cooks me Indian food.

Her cooking is very, very good.

Nani calls me ”˜Beta’ in Hindi.

”˜Beta’ means ”˜Son’ she told me.

Nani goes to the temple to pray.

She prays to statues made of clay.

I watch my Nani as she chants.

I stand with her and clap my hands.

I have fun learning about our Gods,

And all of their different jobs.

My Nani does lots of fun things on Diwali.

She makes colourful patterns called ”˜rangoli’.

We eat lots of Indian sweets,

And I get lots and lots of gifts.

My Nani tells me about India,

Because it is different from Australia.

She wants me to know,

That although I am Australian, I am Indian too.

I love you Nani, thank you.

I am proud of being like you.




I am a Refugee


By Naomi So


What shall we tell you?

The ear piercing cries that went through our ears

Or the heart breaking bangs of gunshots in war.

What shall we tell you?

How we fled?

How we survived

Or why we fled?

What shall we tell you?

The anxious feeling of getting on a boat with no clue

what you’re doing or why you’re doing it,

Or when we were dragged on a boat drifting off to sea,

Clueless of what’s coming

What shall we tell you?

The rough boat trip with hundreds of anxious people

Or children sitting lonely and depressed to leave everything?

What shall we tell you?

The sensation of relief as it is an island we see

Or how we tremble with fear hoping we’re not caught.

I struggled,

I survived,

I am a refugee.

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