Gunnedah was the inspiration for the Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar (1885–1968) and her ode to this drought-stricken land, My Country, penned while staying on her family’s property here. The opening stanza is familiar to most Australians, who learn it by rote at school:

I love a sunburnt country

A land of sweeping plains

Of ragged mountain ranges

Of drought and flooding rains…

Today, Dorothea Mackeller lends her name to Gunnedah’s nationally recognized poetry award (dorothea.com.au). A poets’ drive has been established around town, with plaques at selected points, and it finishes at the quirky Lyrical Loos which offer piped poetry and words carved into the back of the door; a more cultural than average call of nature.

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