The thought of hosting the 2012 Bush Poetry Championships would have been the last thing on their minds, but from humble beginnings that’s what happened to the Townsville Bush Poetry Mates.

After being awarded the event by the Australian Bush Poets Association they went about raising enough money to cover the event. This is itself was an enormous ask for such a small group, but with perseverance and the generosity of individuals and businesses it became a reality.

At the end of the first day of competition the competitors got a well earned rest after some fierce competition returning in the evening to be entertained by the judges who performed in a sell out Saturday night concert.

Sunday morning is always the traditional Poet’s Breakfast, catered for by the Alice River Lions Club. This early morning event gives anyone a chance to perform in public and test new material while sharing a hearty breakfast. A very relaxed and informal gathering of both amateur and professional poets as well as poetry fans who enjoy the great company and atmosphere.

With the completion of all the poetry sections and the second day getting close to the presentation there is the Yarn Spinning and the One Minute Tug-O-Words left to go, this is a one minute poem on a theme determined by the judges the previous day.

Carmel Lloyd

Carmel Lloyd – Calen
Winning the Yarn Spinning, collecting her prize from Manfred Vijars (President of the Australian Bush Poets Association) Carmel was the MC for the two days of competition, entertaining the audience between each competitor with her yarns, one liners and words of wisdom – A worthy winner.


 Angus Ogivie –  Townsville
1st  Under 13 Humorous: (My Teacher Ate My Homework by Ken Nisbit)

Seiko Burnside

Seiko Burnside  -Townsville
1st Under 13 Serious: (My Aussie Story by Max Burnside)
with Val Dart.

 Brook Jurss

Brook Jurss – Charters Towers
Brook scooped the pool in the Under 18 taking out the three sections.
1st Serious: (White Crosses by Zita Horton)
1st Humorous: (Good Looker by Glenny Palmer)
1st Original: (Inland Tsunami)

Lyn Tarring

 Lyn Tarring – Townsville
Lyn also scooped the pool in her first poetry competition taking out the three sections in the Novice.
1st Traditional: (Nostalgia by Lola Gornall)
1st Modern: (Poor Old Grandad by Grahame Watt)
1st Original: (The Swimsuit Blues)
Against all comers won the One Minute Tug-O-Words ( “…and then the bell rang” )
Well done Lyn.

Geoff Stuart McLean

Geoff Stewart-McLean – Mackay
Geoff won two sections in the Open Male competition and took the prize for best Open Male.
1st Traditional: (How McDougal Topped the Score by Thomas Spencer)
1st: Original Humorous: (The Fishing Trip)

Kevin Dean

Kevin Dean – Strathpine
Kevin won the other two sections in the Open Male also with one of his Originals.
1st Original Serious (Questions From the Grave)
1st Modern: (Going Home by Claude Morris)


Kathie Priestley – Townsville
Kathie won two sections in the Open Female competition and won the overall becoming the Queensland Open Bush Poetry Champion for the second year running.
1st Traditional: (He Always Rod to Win by Will Ogilive)
1st Modern: (The Lines on Her Face by Barry Anderson)

Wendy Oss

Wendy Oss – Charters Towers
Wendy is being presented her award by Lyn Tarring for Open Female Original Serious.
1st Original: (Throw Down Your Hat Mate)

Val Dart

Val Dart – Townsville
Val Dart is congratulated by Manfred Vijars for her Open Female Original Humorous win.
1st Humorous: (B.B.B.)


The theme for the One Minute Tug-O-Words was taken from the trophies. These Queensland Iconic Condamine Bells were hand made here in Townsville by the Poetry Mates and supervised by Ian Mackay.
With the generous donations of material  and money from locals and local businesses and with labor from the Poetry Mates made these trophies possible, they will be cherished by all the worthy winners.


The hand crafting continued by the Bush Mates with the prizes for the raffle, a painting by Del Luke and a quilt and stuffed teddy made by Rhyl Graham.

Judges 1From left: Lyn Tarring, Neil McArthur Judge and Colleen McArthur Events Administrator. 

Judges 3From left:  Manfred Vajirs President ABPA, Kathie Priestley President TBPM, Carmel Lloyd MC, John Lloyd Judge and Colleen McArthur. 

downloadFrom left: Colleen McArthur, Manfred Vijars and Bill Kearns Judge.
Being presented with their hand made Condamine Bells as a thank you for a job well done.  

“Townsville turned on the weather and the hospitality for their first hosting of the Queensland Bush Poetry Championships on 1st 2nd and 3rd of June this year.

The Townsville Bush Poetry Mates put together a wonderfully successful weekend which incorporated the Championships, a Sold out Saturday Night Concert, featuring John Lloyd, Bill Kearns, Melanie Hall and Neil McArthur, a Poet’s Breakfast on the Sunday and all after a Meet and Greet in the Townsville Mall on the Friday.

The coordination was of a high standard and praise must go to the committee and the Alice River Lions Club for their last-minute catering. Camel Lloyd for her excellent MC skills and a great community for coming along and enjoying all the Poetry on offer.

From the Juniors through to the Open, to the yarn-spinning and the competitors in the One Minute Tug-O-Words, it was truly unforgettable weekend.
Congratulations to all involved and we wish the Townsville Bush Poetry Mates all the luck in the future. Neil McArthur Editor A.B.P.A. Magazine.”

The 2012 Queensland Bush Poetry Championship section results are as follows:

Under 13 Years Serious:
1st Seiko Burnside – Townsville (My Aussie Story by Max Burnside)
2nd Jae-Ho Park – Townsville
3rd Kayleigh Bull – Townsville

Under 13 Years Humorous:
1st Angus Ogilvie – Townsville (My Teacher Ate My Homework by Ken
2nd Jae-Ho Park – Townsville
3rd Kayleigh Bull – Townsville

13 Years and Under 18 Years Serious:
1st Brook Jurss – Charters Towers (Small White Crosses by Zita Horton)
2nd Gun-Ho Jang – Townsville
3rd Justin Jones – Townsville

13 Years and Under 18 Years Humorous:
1st Brook Jurss – Charters Towers (Good Looker by Glenny Palmer)
2nd Gun-Ho Jang – Townsville
3rd Justin Jones – Townsville

13 Years and Under 18 Years Original:
1st Brook Jurss – Charters Towers (Inland Tsunami)
2nd Gun-Ho Jang – Townsville

Novice Traditional:
1st Lyn Tarring – Townsville (Nostalgia by Lola Gornall)
2nd Bill Moline – Townsville
3rd Maureen Luke – Townsville

Novice Modern:
1st Lyn Tarring – Townsville (Poor Old Grandad by Grahame Watt)
2nd Rusty Dart – Townsville
3rd Maureen Luke – Townsville

Novice Original:
1st Lyn Tarring – Townsville (The Swimsuit Blues)
2nd Ian Mackay – Townsville
3rd Maureen Luke – Townsville

Open Male Traditional:
1st Geoff Stewart-McLean – Mackay (How McDougal Topped the Score
by Thomas Spencer
2nd Kevin Dean – Strathpine
3rd Barry Ellem – Murrumba Downs

Open Male Modern:
1st Kevin Dean – Strathpine (Going Home by Claude Morris)
2nd Barry Ellem – Murrumba Downs
3rd Barry Graham – Townsville

Open Male Original Serious:
1st Kevin Dean – Strathpine (Questions from the Grave)
2nd Geoff Stewart-McLean – Mackay
3rd Barry Ellem – Murrumba Downs

Open Male Original Humorous:
1st Geoff Stewart-McLean – Mackay (The Fishing Trip)
2nd Barry Graham – Townsville
3rd Barry Ellem – Murrumba Downs

Open Female Traditional:
1st Kathie Priestley – Townsville (He Always Rod to Win by Will Ogilvie)
2nd Jan Facey – Innes Park
3rd Wendy Oss – Charters Towers

Open Female Modern:
1st Kathie Priestley – Townsville (The Lines on Her Face by Barry
2nd Wendy Oss – Charters Towers
3rd Val Dart – Townsville

Open Female Original Serious
1st Wendy Oss – Charters Towers (Throw Down Your Hat Mate)
2nd Jan Facey – Innes Park
3rd Kathie Priestley – Townsville

Open Female Original Humorous
1st Val Dart – Townsville (B.B.B.)
2nd Cay Ellem – Murrumba Downs
3rd Dot Church – Magnetic Island

Yarn Spinning
1st Carmel Lloyd – Calen

One Minute Tug-‘O-Words:
1st Lyn Tarring – Townsville (And Then the Bell Rang)

The Townsville Bush Poetry Mates (the Mates) are a small group consisting of men and women who are interested in performing, promoting and writing Australian Bush Poetry.  Their long term goal is to promote Bush Poetry in the Townsville area and to the wider community particularly within schools and by conducting local workshops.

Bush poetry is an art form incorporating all ages and sexes, takes in performing other peoples work, or composing your own.  By taking it to the regional schools we can ensure that the tradition is carried on

Our short term goal is that the Mates, chaired by Kathie Priestley, current Queensland Open Champion, host the 2013 Queensland Open Bush Poetry Championships in Townsville.

The 2013 competition will be on 14-16 June consisting of an open championship for males and females, an intermediate section, a novice section for beginners, a junior section for teenagers and the younger generation and a duo section to help draw the public to enjoy the competition at all levels.  On Saturday evening there will be a concert given by the three judges, Melanie Hall, Susan Carcary and Johnny Best.

The championships will give Townsville the opportunity to showcase Bush Poetry as an art form and will promote our heritage commenced by the bush bards of yester-year telling tales of Australia and its people.  It will give our novice and junior contestants the chance to experience working with professional people and understanding what is expected of them at that level.

The championships will be held at the Pimlico Performing Arts Centre which will give the public of Townsville access to cultural interaction with both professionals from all over the state and the local bush poetry mates.




The students of Gilroy Santa Maria College in Ingham have had a head start with Bush Poetry being introduced into the National curriculum for term two in 2013. Ballad writing is high on the agenda for the assignment that will be the culmination of studying and learning the techniques of both Traditional Poets e.g. Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson as well as poetry from some local Bush Poets including works by Dan Sheehan the author of The Pub With No Beer.


school students 145


Students from left to right: Harrison Rinaudo, Paris Cantwell, Felicity Flanagan, Daniel Mossop and Madison Tantalo.


Gilroy Santa Maria College students are eyeing off the Quart Pot trophies for the under 18 and under 13 years poetry performance sections of the QLD Bush Poetry Championships. Medallions will be presented for the schools own competition winners in conjunction with the Queensland Championships.


President of the Australian Bush Poets Association Manfred Vijars said “having Bush Poetry added to the national curriculum will keep our culture and heritage alive, “Bush” meaning Australian and written with rhyme, meter and verse, these unique stories will be preserved and re told in the future. He added that this was not only important but absolutely marvellous to finally have Bush Poetry recognised and valued by having it including it in the National Schools Curriculum.”


What a Party!!!

As the year draws to a close so all good things must come to an end. Our small band of ‘little’ Bush Poets did that in fine style, on the lawn, under the trees near the Aitkenvale Library.

The theme of the day was to be one of either Christmas, Santa Claus or the holidays.

Well true to form the kids did not all stick to the above but that was fine the aim was to write and to share your writing with others and for all to enjoy the experience.

I think all the adults were pleasantly surprised to hear the children’s work. I know I was.

As well as a feast of poetry we also had a small feast of food. The parents and helpers did a great job in providing a sumptuous ‘picnic’ to share and thanks go to those who prepared the food as well as those who stayed to join us for the occasion.

Thank-you also to those Bush poets who have done such a great job working with the children – Well done!

I believe the following is true – I teach, therefore I learn!

There certainly is no better way to learn as you very quickly find out your own strengths and weaknesses.

Here is the real feast:

A great time is coming! We wish it was here.
The very best time in the whole year.
I’m counting time, each day on my fingers.
The weeks need to pass so Santa Claus can come.

Then when the first snowflakes begin to fall down
And the wind whistles sharp and the branches turn brown.
I’ll not mind the cold though my fingers are numb
For it brings the time nearer for Santa Claus to come.

By Clara & Seiko

Oh Santa he is very fat
He also has a big black cat.
They all live in the icy Pole
There they see a helpless mole.
It had a message in its mouth
And there they saw an icy house.
Inside was the Santa’s sleigh
Then the sun fell away –
It was a thief upon the house
And there came a little fearless mouse.
Then they helped the helpless work
After they were chasing a thief
Then the thief chucked a beef
In the Santa’s cosy house
Then they took their way to south
It was almost 12 o’clock
He was so tired he couldn’t even jump over a block!

By Sean & Ron

Santa is so happy and fat
He looks like a red flying bat.
He has to dodge the mango trees;
Santa try not to pick them please!
Beware the green ants will attack
Keep some insect spray in your sack.

By Joanna

There’s a war going on
We need to win this war!
There are the allies and the central powers,
It’s full of blood and gore

There’s a war going on
It’s going on forever and ever
It’s a new mechanical war
With traps and a turning lever.

There’s a war going on
And I’m in a battle!
Oh no, I’m shot
But the guns will still rattle.

There’s a war going on
And I’m still alive,
The guns are still shooting
And the seldom exploding C5.

I’m never going to war again
Even if I’m insane!

This poem is written in acknowledgement of World War 1 (The Great War) Jeong Oh Park

One Saturday morning the sun came out
And you could hear the young children shout.
For it was Christmas Day come to greet them all.
The Grinch had heard and had said, “Tonight, Christmas shall fall.”
He smiled at the thought of ruining the celebration,
But he could not focus over the noise of their joyous celebration.
He finally focussed on his plan so evil.
That Santa would tremble like a fly, so weak and so feeble.
The Grinch built his horrible and diabolical machine,
And bought some cleaning fluid and began shining it to a sheen.
He wheeled it out into the sunlight.
Ready to give the poor kids a fright.
He readied his weapon about to fire
When he realised he was too low and had to go higher
And his machine went tumbling down the fiord
He then realised that Christmas was sacred,
So he sobbed and slumped back to his cave.
By Makobo

Santa gives gifts to girls and boys
And if they’re good they will get toys
Santa comes on Christmas eve night
Outside you’ll see Rudolph’s red light
When you wake up good things you’ll see
Underneath the big Christmas tree.
By Jay

Merry Christmas to all!!!!

One Response to Archives

  1. Lyn Tarring says:

    2012 Judge Neil McArthur wrote in Volume 18 No 1 of the February 2013 edition of the ABPA Magazine:
    If it is anything like last year’s Championships, then I would recommend to anyone who can attend to do so. There is no more welcoming and competent hosts in Australia than the Townsville Bush Poetry Mates”.

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