Gunnedah’s Anne Knight has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the General Division for service to the arts.

The writer, poet and visual artist said the honour was as much a recognition for herself as it was the people of Gunnedah.

“I’m really pleased for my community,” she said.

Mrs Knight is a life member of Arts Gunnedah, a two-time recipient of the Henry Lawson Award and has been shortlisted for the Premier’s Prize for poetry.

Mrs Knight is also a founding member of the Gunnedah-based Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society since 1983 and now a life member. But her first involvement with the society almost didn’t happen.

She recalled what occurred when approached by respected former Gunnedah councillor, post-war immigrant and society founder, Mikie Maas.

“[Mikie] asked me to be part of it and at the time I said ‘no’,” Mrs Knight said.

“Later on I thought here’s a woman from another country doing what she can, I need to help.

Gunnedah’s Anne Knight has been awarded an OAM

“So I said I’d do it for a little while and now it’s been 40 years.”

Mrs Knight’s community involvement also includes as volunteer poetry visitor to Gunnedah Public School and Gunnedah South Primary School (1970s-80s); as a contributor with the New South Wales School Magazine since 1970s; a committee member for the art section at the Gunnedah Show (1960s-70s) and as a committee member and instructor with Gunnedah Pony Club (1950-70s).

But it was her work with children’s poetry, published as Anne Bell, that brought particular delight.

“It gives me a great deal of pleasure,” she said.

“I grew up when people knew the ballads and would quote them.”

She thought it important children understood the basics of the written word in all in its forms.

“It’s communication,” she said.

“It’s important they learn to express themselves and listen to others.”

She also thought the future is bright for the next generation of young creative writers.

“Children’s writing is getting much more sophisticated,” Mrs Knight said.

“The kids are way ahead to where they were 20-30 years ago.”


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