TOWNSVILLE BUSH POETRY MATES INC is a small group of people interested in Australian Bush Poetry. We meet generally on the 1st Tuesday of each month, with the emphasis being on reciting and performance of original poetry, and poetry written by others.
Non-members are invited to attend meetings, and encouraged to become members. We are a non-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging the writing, performance, and education in schools and of the general public of the merits of Australian Bush Poetry.
Our activities include:-
Junior Poetry workshops – in and out of school
Adult Poetry workshops – with resident and invited poets as facilitators
Competitions – both hosting and encouraging our members to take part in competitions held throughout Australia
Performances – members perform by invitation at various group gatherings.
AUSTRALIAN BUSH POETRY may be defined as poetry with rhyme and meter, written by Australians about Australia, its people, places, things, or way of life. Much of Australia’s culture and heritage is recorded and preserved through bush poetry. It’s hard to imagine any Australian who could not quote at least a bit of Banjo Paterson’s “Waltzing Matilda”.
A group of Townsville Bush Poetry Mates travelled to Mareeba over the weekend of 12th 13th October to entertain at two Bush Poet Breakfasts in conjunction with the Country Music Festival. Eileen Flynn, Wendy Oss, Janeen Mapson, Barry Graham and Bill McClure entertained the enthusiastic crowd on both mornings, with both serious and humorous poetry. Joining them were 4 or 5 local ‘walk-ups’ who mostly recited their own work which was very good. Janeen and Rhyl Graham (compere) tried out their first attempt at a skit to the poem “How Doherty Died”. The lucky participant who got to play Kitty Doherty was David Howard who happily went along with being a sad and forlorn widow, dressed in a frock and wig and got sprayed with water (representing tears). It had the crowd in fits of laughter, even with a few errors, like the paper getting wet and the print running.
A written competition was also held with 17 very good entries nominated. The winner was Bev Wilson with a beautiful poem “The Old Black Kettle” and 2nd was Barry Graham with “He Is His Mother’s Son”. Kay Kiely presented the winners with their prizes at the Sunday morning breakfast. Overall it was a very successful weekend and the camaraderie was thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated.
Recently Kathie Priestley and Lyn Tarring, from Townsville Bush Poetry Mates, spent a morning with Grade 5 students at Holy Spirit School. What a fun time they all had, especially the instructors!!
The program incorporated performance, audience participation, and a brief workshop. The students were very receptive to the idea of dressing up in costume, and acting out Banjo Paterson’s “The Bush Christening”. They also got involved in group work and enjoyed Kathie and Lyn’s version of “To Morrow”, a comic poem by Keith McKendry.
The visit was part of the mission of the Townsville Bush Poetry Mates club to engender a greater appreciation of poetry, and especially the place it has played in the culture and history of Australia. The enthusiastic reception that this visit received has ensured that further school visits will be a club priority.
Photo shows Kathie Priestley holding the “thank you” card the children presented to Kathie and Lyn. Kathie is the current female Queensland Bush Poetry performance champion.
The Queensland Bush Poetry Championships were a great success. Thanks to all the volunteers, judges, competitors and the public who came along to cheer on the contestants. The competition was fierce. Congratulations to all! Watch this space for the winners and some great pictures.