Aunty Bea Ballangarry
Aunty Bea Ballangarry

Aunty Bea honoured by writers award

WHENEVER she receives an award Gumbaynggirr elder and writer Aunty Bea Ballangarry OAM feels humbled.

But hearing the news that she was the recipient of the inaugural Jack Iggulden award for Indigenous Writing as part of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival resulted in more than the usual "butterflies in her tummy".

“I feel a little stunned and very proud that people have taken notice of the words I have written,” Aunty Bea said.

“It’s the first time I’ve been recognised for my body of work.”

Aunty Bea is a published writer of poetry, prose and short story. She is also a long-time advocate of social justice, economic and political change, especially in the areas of Aboriginal, women’s, youth and education issues. It is her most recent publication, Birth of My Woman, that won her the award.

In their comments, the festival’s judging committee described her book as “a wonderful collection of poems that deserves greater recognition”.

Aunty Bea said she loved the medium of poetry as the message was not congested with words - “often less says more ... and it’s also a type of therapy”.

The award recognises outstanding achievement by an indigenous writer and is named after the late Jack Iggulden, long-time resident, environmentalist, social activist and author of the Bellinger Valley.

His wife, Helen, said she was delighted that a writer and community leader of such stature had been selected as the recipient.

“Jack would have been honoured to see this award established and delighted to see it awarded to Aunty Bea Ballangarry,” Mrs Iggulden said.

The award includes the presentation of a specially designed and inscribed writer’s lamp produced by Planet Lighting, the company the Igguldens brought to Bellingen in the early seventies.

Aunty Bea will be presented with the award at a ceremony in Maam Gaduying Park outside the Bellingen Library at noon on Sunday. Everyone is welcome to attend.



  • Brilliant Voices with three of Australia’s emerging writers, Memorial Hall, 9.30am.
  • Free children’s book session with Colin Thompson, Bellingen Library, 10.45am.
  • Literary lunch with Michael Robotham, Old Butter Factory, noon, $60.
  • Jack Iggulden Memorial session featuring George Negus, Memorial Hall, 2pm.
  • Saturday Night Live, Memorial Hall, 7.30pm.

For more:

AWARD RECIPIENT: Aunty Bea Ballangarry Photo: Bruce Thomas.

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