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Oam Medal For Redcliffe Songwriter

Story: Sally Gordon | Photo: Pete Johnson
Feb 20, 2020
The patriotic music and poems of Redcliffe’s Valerie Dawson have been recognised with an Order of Australia (OAM) medal. The talented 86-year-old recently received the OAM for her amazing contribution to Australia’s performing arts as a singer and songwriter.

For more than 35 years, Valerie has been writing songs and poetry celebrating Australian culture, its places and people, as well as the nation’s outstanding achievements in sport and global events. Her poetry includes tributes to Australian icons such as former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and long-distance runner Ron Grant.

Valerie’s passion for songwriting ignited in 1983 when racing yacht Australia II won the America’s Cup for the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

“When we heard Australia had won, my husband suggested I write a song about it,” Valerie said. “So I wrote one … while I was doing the washing.”

Valerie’s America’s Cup Waltz was the first of many inspiring songs and poems written in tribute to milestone moments and events in Australia’s history.

Through her creative work, the mother of five and wife to the late Donald Dawson, has captured everything from the National Servicemen’s Association of Australia's 50th anniversary, to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 through to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

As well as being formally recognised with an OAM, Valerie’s work has been preserved in the National Archives of Australia. The keen writer also has two poems, Our Star Black Caviar and One in a Million Winx, on display at The Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Flemington.

Adding to her impressive portfolio of work, Valerie recently had a book of poems published called A Collection of Poetic Gems.

As well as capturing great moments from the past, Valerie said her work was a way of keeping memories alive for the younger generation and her family. “I like writing and I wanted to do it for future generations, so they can see what we achieved in that era,” Valerie said.

The Redcliffe writer will be officially awarded her OAM at a special ceremony at the heritage-listed Government House in Paddington, Brisbane.