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2019 Peter Carey Short Story, the inaugural Moorabool Shire Libraries’ Best Local Entry Award and Moorabool Young Writers' Award

Peter Carey Short Story Award Logo    


The Peter Carey Short Story Award is thrilled to announce our winner and runner-up for 2019. On a wonderful awards day on Saturday 1 June, judge Nic Low read from his report and delivered his verdict to a packed Bacchus Marsh library.

Huge congratulations to Alex Cothren for his story ‘Let’s Talk Trojan Bee’, winner of the 2019 PCSSA. Runner-up is Paige Clark, for her story ‘Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’. Alex and Paige receive $1000 and $500 respectively, and their stories will appear in the spring edition of Meanjin. Winner of the inaugural Best Local Entry Award is Ballan writer Bob Carey-Grieve for his story ‘Act III’. Bob receives $250 and an excerpt of ‘Act III’ will appear in The Moorabool News in the coming weeks.

Nic Low’s judge’s report is available to read here: 


Peter Carey Short Story Award Judge's Report

Nic Low

There's an old Ngai Tahu chant from the South Island of New Zealand called 'Na Te Ao' by Matiaha Tiramorehu. It starts with the famous lines “Na te ao / Ko te ao turoa / Tana ko te ao marama”. Passed down over generations, Matiaha's chant tells our creation story from the gods down through the ancestor-mountains and winds to the world of humans, all in a dozen lines. 

Short stories evolved out of oral traditions like these. Tales passed word-of-mouth over generations get whittled down until just the essentials remain. The brevity and precision of the classic written short story owes a lot to these oral roots.

Where I come from in New Zealand we have karakia, pūrakau and pakiwaitara, chants, histories and stories that spring from local landscapes, yet share narrative DNA from across the Pacific. Contemporary Māori authors capture something of the form in print.

Closer to home, Kulin Nation stories narrate local dreaming tracks—routes taken by creator spirits that are also trade routes, and vectors for the transfer of knowledge over tens of thousands of years. Aboriginal writers today also draw on these traditions in numerous ways.

Meanwhile, contemporary Western short stories have their roots in the rich traditions of myths, fables and fairytales.

In each of these traditions, the best written short stories still have the compression, the immediacy and the distilled wisdom of verbal tales.

But—times have changed.

Oral history meant people sitting together, talking to one another, generation after generation. Who does that any more? Nights spent telling our own stories are a thing of the past.

We're more likely to sit together but play with our phones. If we talk, it's via social media instead. Twitter, Facebook, viral news stories and syndicated opinion-pieces are the oral histories of our time.

Which begs a question: if the classic short story form evolved from oral storytelling, what new short story forms will evolve to reflect the social media landscape of today?


The answer is the the winner of the 2019 Peter Carey Short Story Award: Alex Cothren's 'Let's Talk Trojan Bee'.

'Let's Talk Trojan Bee' is a polyphonic piece built entirely from quotations spanning Twitter, Fox News, The New York Times, IPCC reports, as well as Breitbart and Infowars. On first read it's reminiscent of George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo. But where Saunders uses a cacophony of ghosts to explore the emotional life of Abraham Lincoln, Alex's cocophony is about, and built from, the deafening noise of our time: the internet.

Alex tells a tale of climate change and the impact of collapsing bee populations. But the frame quickly expands to encompass migrant workers, border control, far-right conspiracy theories, mass shootings and ultimately civil war. It's ingenious, timely, and politically and socially astute. It's also hilarious. The polarisation of opinion and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theory are two defining features of our time. 'Let's Talk Trojan Bee' makes black comedy from both.

Congratulations, Alex, on a wonderful piece of work.


Runner-up for the 2019 Peter Carey Short Story Award is 'Elisabeth Kubler-Ross', which is the name of the story, not the author; it's by Paige Clark.

In 'Elisabeth Kubler-Ross', a pregnant woman makes a deal with god: a god with a lower-case 'g', one who's lonely, and covetous, who takes a shine to the woman's horse, and her lover, their unborn child, even their ute.

In a reversal of Faust, it's God who craves more, and the bargain grows more outrageous until the woman begs god to take everything, even her own life, if he'll leave their unborn child alone. It's an exquisite piece of writing: ascerbic, poignant, and wickedly funny, too.

The story's depth only increases if you know that the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross of the title was the renowned psychiatrist who developed the five stages of grief model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Kubler-Ross suffered two miscarriages herself.

'Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' is highly polished. Paige has written and then edited it down to the bone with an angular confidence that frequently made me suck in my breath. This compression gives the piece the air of a time-honed oral history, even of a myth.

Congratulations, Paige.


Congratulations, too, to all of the shortlisted writers.

In Claire Aman's 'If there are Zebra Finches' Alessandro and Dolores run outback motorcycle tours. They take two strangely birdlike scientists into the desert looking for rare birds. It's a lyrical story, full of insight and melancholy, and one that brings echoes of Charles Darwin into the modern age.

'Long Road Becoming' takes us for a run at dawn with a man fresh out of prison and finally clean of drugs. It's written in second-person: you're caring for your cancer-ridden Dad, living in his run-down house, trying to create yourself a new life, cell-by-cell. Mykaela Saunders' story is beautifully crafted, full of pitch-perfect colloqualisms, and offers a portrayal of an urban Indigenous life that doesn't skim over the darkness while remaining focussed on the light.

Laura Elvery's 'Place, Lost' starts from a delicious premise: the elderly members of a small town develop a collective consciousness, and escape their retirement home to live a carefree, telepathic life on an island off the coast. It's also an ambitious and deft story because it's written from the point of view of all of the retirees, using a collective 'we'. Stop trying to figure out who's who and accept that you're inside a hive-mind, and you find yourself immersed in the dream-like, out-of-sight, out-of-mind world of a whole community of retirees.

Sketch in Room 16 by Jocelyn Richardson is about motherhood, illness, and remembering and misremembering your own past. Two daughters visit their mother in hospital, who's tripping off her face on ketamine, and is by turns vulnerable and outrageous. It's an emotionally astute and highly engaging piece of writing, with a strange and moving ending where parent and child roles reverse.


Congratulations, again. I hope you'll all follow these writers, and support them every step of the way!



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This year, 155 brave young writers from across Moorabool entered the second annual Moorabool Young Writers’ Awards. Judge Allyse Near was regaled with tales of adventures and exploration. From pigeons, snakes and bears, to zombies, princesses and reluctant heroes, the collective imagination of Moorabool’s young residents is something to behold. At the awards ceremony, Allyse read from her report and announced her winners from across the three categories. They are:



First: Matilda John, Mount Arapiles Adventure

Second: Tafheem Hazari, Tom and Elip: The Best Friends

Third: Ryan Simson, The Very Normal Boy

Commended: Ivy Tyley-Miller, Going Camping

Commended: Bryson McMillan, How the Axolotls Got Their Legs



First: Alisha Rizvi, The Dragon’s Castle

Second: Jessica Hutchesson, A New Home

Third: Owen Simson, The day we went camping

Commended: Indiana Tyley-Miller, The Virus

Commended: Charlie Mckinnon, The Magical Basketball Shoes



First: Grace Fisher, War: A pigeon’s Perspective

Second: Jack O’Leary, Voice of the Wind

Third: Matthew Michalik, The Itch

Commended: Charlotte Caligari, Under the Bridge


A huge thank you to everyone who made the staging of the 2019 Peter Carey Short Story Award / Moorabool Young Writers’ Awards possible. A very special thank you to Natalie Grero, who after three years has stepped away from the awards. Nat was pivotal in the growth and success of the award, as both a founding member and organiser on behalf of Moorabool Shire Libraries, and the PCSSA Committee (Wayne Marshall and Jem Tyley-Miller) wish Nat all the very best in everything she does next.     



School Holiday Program

Stay tuned for our Winter School Holiday program activities

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Week 1

Mon 1 July - Boomerang Bags - Darley Neighbouthood House

Tue 2 July - Movie Screening - Bacchus Marsh

Wed 3 July - Movie Screening - Ballan

Thu 4 July - Slime Workshop - Bacchus Marsh

Fri 5 July - Slime Workshop - Ballan


Week 2

Mon 8 July - NAIDOC Craft - Bacchus Marsh

Tue 9 July - NAIDOC Storytime - Bacchus Marsh

Wed 10 July - Boomerang Bags -  Ballan

Thu 11 July - Wind Chimes -  Bacchus Marsh

Fri 12 July - Wind Chimes - Ballan



A free monthly interactive forum, where experienced presenters facilitate enlightening conversations on social issues, philosophy, wellness and life matters with practical applications. Sessions are held the first Saturday of every month (except January) from 10.00am - 12.00noon at the Lerderderg Library.

May BacchChat - Saturday 6 July, 10am - 12noon- Our History, Our Story, Our Future - NAIDOC Week

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Audio of May BacchChat- Itchy Feet

Audio of April BacchChat- Forever Young

Audio of March BacchChat- The Search for Other Worlds

Audio of February BacchChat- Human connections in a digital world


With thanks to Apple FM 

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Photography Classes

Photography class final


Join Bacchus Marsh and District photography club's beginner photography class at the Bacchus Marsh Library. 

This event is booked out. Please phone to be placed on the waiting list. 

Bookings essential. Bring your own camera. 

Phone: 53667100 to book. 


Movie Events

Screenings operate at the Lerderderg Library on the last Friday of the month at 10.30am, on a wide variety of films from various genres.

Next screening is on Friday 28, June 10.30am with the film "Bohemian Rhapsody"



Author Talk

Author talks and book signings are held throughout the year at Ballan and Bacchus Marsh by local and popular authors.

Featured Authors

Heather Anthony

Book your free ticket

Saturday 29 June, 10am

Ballan Library

Join talented artist Heather as she shares her story of

how she developed "Mouse Sprouts" and brought the characters to life.

Library Programs


Moorabool Shire Libraries are introducing a new program for tweens and teens titles “STEAM Lab workshops”.

STEAM focuses on learning through Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

These activities will be held at both Ballan and Bacchus Marsh branches.

Term 2

Bacchus Marsh- Sphero Balls and Robotics- no bookings required

Sessions start Thursday 9th May for 6 consecutive weeks. 


Ballan- Lego stop motion and board games- no bookings required

Sessions will be held each Friday, 3.30-4.30pm during the school term. 

STEAM term 2

Get Crafty!

Get Crafty.png  Moorabool Crafters



Calling all booklovers to join in the conversation!  

A book chat is just that – a relaxed chat about the books you’re reading or have read. Share your reading experiences with like minded people over some light refreshments.

New participants are warmly welcomed.

Lerderderg Library: Second Wednesday of each month @10am

Event Details

1000 Books Before School

1000 Books Before School, a program which encourages parents and carers to read 1000 books with their children before they begin school, is now open for registration!

Reading to preschool-aged children has been shown to develop early literacy by building vocabulary and language skills essential for learning to read.

Given that the average picture book takes just five minutes to read, spend just 15 minutes reading three books with your child each day and you will read 1000 books in a year. Even if you only have five minutes a day, you can reach that milestone in three years.

Visit any Moorabool Library Service or email to join the program. You will then receive your first reading record pack for your child. 

Throughout your journey, your child will receive special rewards at 100, 250, 500, 750 and 1000 books. 

Participating families will also be invited to special milestone events to celebrate the adventure.

Watch a video about 1000 Books Before School program

Download your reading record sheets

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Baby Bounce

Bacchus Marsh - Tuesdays 2.30pm

View program details

Rhyme Time

Bacchus Marsh - Tuesdays 10.00am

Ballan - Wednesdays 10.00am

View Program Details

Pre-School Storytime

Bacchus Marsh - Thursdays 10.30am

Ballan - Wednesdays 11.00am

View Bacchus Marsh Program Details

MoorArt Space

Moorabool Shire Libraries offer free gallery space at the Lerderderg Library for artists, community arts groups, students and any creative individual in the wider Moorabool community to showcase their artwork. There are three spaces available including the Moor Art Space, Arena Area and a Glass Cabinet. Exhibitions are on display for one month and advanced bookings are required.

Current Exhibitions 


 Moor Art Space Application 


    Library Services and Resources

    Home Library Service

    The Home Library Service is an outreach program that provides a delivery service to those who are physically unable to access the library directly. Please ask our friendly library staff for more information and to register. Apply Now

    Free Technology Help

    Free group technology help sessions are provided by our friendly volunteer Ian, every Wednesday at the Lerderderg Library from 9.00am - 12noon.

    Tech help is also available at the Ballan Library on Fridays between 9.30am and 3.30pm. Phone 0419 519 650 to book. 

    We can help you with computer basics, basic internet searching, Microsoft Office, email set up, Ipads and android devices, digital photo uploads, facebook basics and online buying and selling tips.

    He cannot help you with any online banking, repairs to hardware, software updates, e-tax or internet connection issues.

    Contact the library for more information. No bookings required. Please bring along your device that you require help with.

    Justice of Peace @ Lerderderg Library

    A document signing station will be open in the Lerderderg Library, Bacchus Marsh, Wednesdays between the hours of 10.00am and 12 noon on the following dates:

    20 February, 6 and 27 March, 3 and 17 April, 1, 8 and 27 May, 5 and 19 June 2019.

    A registered JP will be available to certify documents, witness statutory declarations, affidavits, enduring power of attorney or signatures. This is a free service.


    Storytime Pods


    Children and parents can explore and engage in a range of short and fun age specific digital storytelling books for kids, through our new Storytime Pods at the Lerderderg Library. Available in various languages and themes, children can touch the screen and choose from a variety of books to listen to, some featuring famous authors.

    Older children can explore the basics of programming through the blocky games series. They can learn programming skills through simple puzzles, mazes, animations and movie design.

    Don’t forget that these stories also contribute to your 1000 books before school reading record!

    Games, Gaming and Puzzles

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    A variety of classic and modern board games and puzzles are available for in-library play at Ballan and Lerderderg Library by children, teens, adults, and families.

    The Lerderderg  library also offers children and young adults in-library use of video gaming systems.  These include Nintendo Wii, PlayStation and X-box with a variety of games.

    What can I borrow?

    • Books, audio books, e-books and e-audio books: 4 weeks
    • DVDs, CDs and magazines: 2 weeks

    All items can be renewed twice providing they are not on hold to the next borrower.

    Did you know the Lerderderg Library offers a sports library?

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    Lerderderg Library offers the following resources for our community:

    • 10 desktop public computers
    • Free WiFi (read our Acceptable Use of Internet Policy)
    • Printing, fax and copying
    • Access to laptops
    • Sports library
    • Game consoles including Xbox 360, Wii and Playstation 4 consoles
    • 2 self loan stations
    • Meeting rooms available for hire

    Online Resources

    Central Highlands Libraries offer a number of online information and databases relating to art, craft and antiques, computers and technology, family history, health, homework help, languages, law, multicultural services, newspapers, magazines and journals.

    Tween and Teen Reading

    Visit Inside a Dog, a website that is run by the Centre for Youth Literature at State Library Victoria. Inside a Dog is a community hub for bookish teens aged 12-18yrs where they can share their love of reading and books.You can create blogs to share creative writing, discuss your favourite books and invite friends to collaborate.

    You can also:

    • join online workshops
    • be inspired by regular writing prompts
    • interact with guest writers in residence
    • hear about upcoming events and opportunities
    • enter competitions
    • connect and collaborate with people who love books as much as you.

    Kanopy- free video streaming for library card holders

    We stream thoughtful entertainment to your preferred device with no fees and no commercials by partnering with public libraries and universities. Everyone from film scholars to casual viewers will discover remarkable and enriching films on Kanopy. Log in with your library membership and enjoy our diverse catalog with new titles added every month.

    Ancestry- free access from public computers @ Lerderderg Library, Australia and New Zealand's leading family history website, offers members access to one billion searchable Australian, New Zealand and UK family history records.

    Library Policies

    Library Locations and Opening Hours

    Lerderderg Library – Bacchus Marsh

    Address: 215 Main Street, Bacchus Marsh

    Phone: (03) 5366 7100

    Mondays and Thursdays  8.30am - 8.00pm
    Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays 8.30am - 5.00pm
    Saturday 9.00am - 2.00pm
    Sunday and Public Holidays Closed

    Ballan Library

    Address: 143 Inglis Street, Ballan

    Phone: 0419 519 650

    Wednesday 9.30am - 1.00pm
    Friday (New opening time!) 9.30am - 5.00pm
    Saturday 9.30am - 1.00pm

    Regional Mobile Library Service

    Phone: 0419 519 650

    Day Location Hours
    Tuesday St Brendans PS, Dunnstown 8.50am - 10.00am
      St. Mary's PS, Clarke's Hill 10.50am - 11.10am
      Bungaree- In front of General Store 11.30am - 12.30pm
      Gordan- In front of Public Hall 2.00pm - 3.30pm
    Wednesday Greendale- Egans Reserve 12.45pm - 1.15pm
      Blackwood- Memorial Hall 1.30pm - 2.00pm
      Blackwood- Main St, along from General Store 2.00pm - 2.30pm



    Frequently Asked Questions

    • How do I renew my library items?

      Visit the Central Highlands Libraries website to log in and  renew your library items, or you can renew items in person at the library.

    • How do I become a library member?

      Join in person by speaking to a library officer. You will need some form of identification such as a drivers licence or passport. Or, become a member online and you can pick up your card from your local library when you display your identification.

    • How do I search the library catalogue?

      The catalogue can be found on the Central Highlands Libraries website.

    Last Updated:

    Thursday, 26 May, 2016 - 10:27