An enlightening new poetry project

An enlightening new poetry project

The City of Sydney is encouraging aspiring poets to wax lyrical about the night sky as part of an astronomy-inspired poetry competition Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.

There are prizes including three telescopes, each worth $800, to be won. Aspiring bards can enter the competition in the 5 – 11 years, 12 – 17 years and 18 + years and over categories. There is also a poetry workshop and a special event for Earth Hour on 29 March, 2014.

The City is sponsoring the competition alongside Sydney Observatory, the Sydney Outdoor Lighting Improvement Society (SOLIS) and Bintel.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was installing high-visibility, energy-efficient street lighting across Sydney that helped improve safety, but also reduced light pollution by directing light where it was needed.

“We’re installing new LED to save energy, make our city streets safer and brighter, and reduce glare so everyone can enjoy a better view of the night sky,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This poetry competition is a wonderful reminder for people to look up, take inspiration, and write about some of the wondrous things they can see in our sky at night.”

Sydney Observatory Manager, Toner Stevenson said the aim of the competition is to get people to look outside at night and see what they discover – a planet, an animal or stars.

“Everything looks different at night, even plants,” Ms Stevenson said.

“We want children to appreciate there are good reasons we need darkness. Animals need darkness to feed or just go home.

“And there is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander appreciation of the night sky. Dreamtime stories, like poetry, create images. How wonderful it would be to see the sky in the city as it was for the original owners.”

Competition winners will receive a telescope sponsored by Bintel and SOLIS, night family passes to the Sydney Observatory and entry to the Observatory’s Earth Hour evening of poetry, at which the winners will receive their awards and prizes.

Each Sydney resident who enters the competition will receive a free double pass to a daytime tour at Sydney Observatory.

A supporting event Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark poetry workshop for 13 to 18 year olds will be held at Glebe Library on Sunday 22 February. For inspiration visit

Entries for the poetry competition are open now and close on Friday 14 March. Entries are by email only and should be sent to

Pic: The Orion Nebular by The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Claire Thompson, phone 0408 414 376 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on 0477 310 149 or email