Photo competition entries reflect Macleay Valley’s beauty and diversity

A spectacular image of the magnificent purple blooms of jacarandas on the river bank behind Kempsey traffic bridge has won the I Love the Macleay Valley Coast photo competition.

Captured by Cheridyn Bennett, the photo was selected for its natural composition and the reflections of the vivid colours of the flowering trees on the Macleay River.

A judging panel comprising representatives from Kempsey Macleay RSL Photographic Club and Kempsey Shire Council had the tough task of selecting the winning image from more than 260 entries.

Second place was awarded to Alan Rouse for his stunning sunset photograph at Back Creek footbridge at South West Rocks, while Jane Walsh took third place with her beautiful image of Kookaburra Waterfall in the mountains west of Kempsey.

The photo competition was run in conjunction with the recently-launched I Love the Macleay Valley Coast campaign and attracted a broad range of entries from landscapes and sunsets, to people and animals.

Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Officer, Kristy Forche-Baird, said the entries were judged on selection criteria including sharpness, composition and relevance.

“We had a huge response, with 264 original submissions showcasing just how diverse and beautiful our Macleay Valley really is,’ Ms Forche-Baird said.

“It was really pleasing that the winning entries reflected our Shire’s diversity from Kempsey, to the coast of South West Rocks and up river to the scenic mountains.”

Cheridyn won an Akubra hat for her efforts, Alan will receive a Steve Parish coffee table photographic book, and Jane Walsh was awarded a giant tin of Macleay-made Milo.

A selection of the best submissions from the competition will be on display in the Nulla Gallery at the Slim Dusty Centre from 16 May to 16 June.

The public is invited to attend the exhibition launch at 5:30pm on Thursday, 16 May with entry via a gold coin donation.

Local Indigenous artist, Elwyn Toby, will be special guest on the evening to perform the Welcome to Country and welcome Nulla Nulla Koala back to Kempsey as part of the multi award-winning Hello Koalas Sculptures Trail.

To view the selection of photos, search #ILovetheMacleayValleyCoast hashtag on Instagram and Facebook or visi:

Cheridyn Bennett took this prize-winning photo of the Kempsey traffic bridge from Riverside Park

Alan Rouse captured this scenic sunset at Back Creek footbridge, South West Rocks

Jane Walsh’s photo depicts the tranquillity of Kookaburra Waterfall and surrounds

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