BORN in the Northern Rivers, children's entertainment series dirtgirlworld is taking on the universe after winning the children's music category in the International Songwriting Competition.

The United States-based award is the first international honour for the Whiporie creative duo of Hewey Eustace and Cate McQuillen, who created the animated series in 2002.

They have since won eight awards, including a Dolphin Award, an Australian Film

Industry Award, and were nominated for a British Academy Award, one of only three in an international category.

“We have our own shelf now,” Mr Eustace said. “When I found out we were in the final eight that was enough. But, to win, it's just gob-smacking.”

The song, Every Little Drop, which earned the duo the win, will feature on Dig It, the follow-up album to Get Grubby, set to be released later this year.

“It's a reggae-inspired song with the message behind it of how precious water is,” Mr Eustace said. The prize for the duo is valued at $3000 and includes a range of useful musical equipment.

The animated series is now screened in 212 places around the world, including Canada, the

United Kingdom and Turkey, as well as the United States. Dirtgirlworld is aimed at sending messages to preschool-age children to get out and explore the world with an underlying message of preserving the environment.

The series of 11-minute episodes is screening on ABC1 at 3.35pm weekdays.

Australian country singer Kasey Chambers, who played recently at Bluesfest, took out the grand prize in the competition with her song Beautiful Mess.

Chambers will collect a prize of $25,000 in cash and $20,000 worth of prizes.



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