Welcome to the ABPA website


, membership of the Australian Bush Poets Association (ABPA) is comprised of writers, performers and individuals who are interested in bush poetry and enjoy written and live stories in rhyme and metre. If you have an interest in this piece of Australian culture called Bush Poetry, you are welcome here.

The objectives of the Australian Bush Poets Association is to foster and encourage the growth of Bush Poetry in Australia. By definition, Australian Bush Poetry is metred and rhymed poetry about Australia, Australians and/or the Australian way of life.

To join the Australian Bush Poets Association and receive our bi-monthly magazine, go to our Membership page.

The ABPA keeps in touch with our members through this web-site (and forum) also a bi-monthly magazine of Bush Poetry news, events, results of written and spoken competitions as well as publishing contemporary bush poetry. Many members have books, CDs and other products. These can be advertised in the magazine. For rates, click here

Facebook Check out our Facebook page.

Competition Package is now available with guidelines, judging and competition sheets, accredited judges list and application form and approved competitions list. If found necessary, these documents are open to amendment or changes as required following membership input and committee approval.

Roll of Honour lists Australian Bush Poetry Champions and ABPA Executive members since inception. There are also tributes to members who have recently passed on.

New Australian Champions

The ABPA now has new Australian Champions decided at the National Championships held in conjunction with the Man From Snowy River Festival in Corryong Victoria from 9th to 12th April 2015.

ABPA Female Performance Champion - Rhonda Tallnash of Violet Town, Victoria.
ABPA Male Performance Champion - Roderick Williams of Myrtleford, Victoria.
ABPA Written Champion - Tom McIlveen of Port Macquarie, NSW.
ABPA Junior Written and Performance Champion - Caitlan Klippel (age 13) of Corryong, Victoria.
Caitlan was also the worthy recipient of the inaugural Frank Daniel Encouragement Award which was not decided on the basis of her wins but on her overall contribution to performing poetry and to volunteering throughout the Man From Snowy River Festival. ABPA committee member Robyn Sykes presented the award on behalf of Frank's daughter, Catherine Daniel, and it was felt by all three judges (Robyn Sykes, Carol Reffold and Brenda Joy) that Frank would have been delighted to give encouragement to a junior poet who is not only a very talented writer but who is passionate about all aspects of bush poetry; a true champion of the future whose interest and zeal deserves encouragement.

Rhonda Tallnash      Roderick Williams
   Rhonda Tallnash - Female Performance Champion            Roderick Williams - Male Performance Champion

Tom McIlveen     Caitlan Klippel
                  Tom McIlveen - Written Champion                          Caitlan Klippel - Junior Champion & Frank Daniel Award winner

Meet a Poet – Stephen Whiteside

Feature Poet - we are introducing our wonderful poets (both performers and writers) to newcomers and to the general public by featuring a different ABPA poet on the Website each month. Poets featured will come from the entire membership and may be professionals, semi-professionals or amateurs, but each will be a worthy role model to represent the ABPA membership.

Stephen WhitesideStephen Whiteside writes rhyming verse for both adults and children. He cites many poets as influences including Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson.

Stephen is a great admirer of C J Dennis, especially his Book for Kids (published 1921), and is President of the C J Dennis Society. He is a key organiser of The Toolangi C J Dennis Poetry Festival, held to celebrate his life and works, in the third weekend of October every year at Dennis' original Toolangi home in the timbered hills 65km east of Melbourne.

Many of Stephen's poems for children have been published by The School Magazine in New South Wales. His collection of original rhyming verse for children, The Billy That Died With its Boots On and Other Australian Verse, was published by Walker Books in May, 2014. The book won a Golden Gumleaf for Book of the Year at the Australian Bush Laureate Awards in January, 2015.

Stephen works as a medical practitioner (GP) in Melbourne. Learn more about Stephen from his website.

See previously featured poets.

Meet Your Committee – Wally Finch

Each month we will introduce a member or members of our hard working and dedicated committee.
This month we meet:

Queensland Delegate Wally Finch

Wally Finch

Wally is a multi-award winning performance bush poet experienced in writing for and performing at “…large scale productions, judging, club administration, and, major events — from kindy to aged care, from corporate functions to small clubs, from, Arena Spectaculars to Q150”. Wally says he is “… a born entertainer equally at home with large audiences and small groups, young, old or somewhere in between”.

Wally’s passion for our Australian culture, snippets of which he “… casually drops in between his yarns and poems...”, is obvious in all that he does. As editor of his own independent on-line Bush Poetry Newsletter, he researches and reports on all subjects pertinent to our history and heritage.

As well as being the Queensland State Delegate for the ABPA, Wally is also the President of the North Pine Bush Poets Group Inc. and the Vice-President of the Redcliffe Peninsular Poets.

Wally’s extensive range of products can be accessed through his Email:

We thank Wally for all the time and dedication he puts in towards the ABPA Committee and the preservation of the Bush Poetry genre.

See previously featured committee members.

Member Achievements – Jack Drake

The ABPA also wishes to acknowledge the achievements of members who specialise in specific areas which help to promote the cause of the ABPA and of Bush Poetry in general.


Jack Drake

Jack Drake’s poetry is drawn from his variety of country life experiences, through his early days on his father’s sheep property in Otago New Zealand, his years in the W.A. wheat field area, his Gold Coast days and finally to his years in the mountains south east of Stanthorpe.

Jack’s wife Stella tells us, “Jack broke in his first horse at age 14 and for the rest of his life he has been a ‘horse man’. He has been a farrier and a saddler and has followed rodeo circuits. On the Gold Coast he ran the first Aussie Outback Show at Koala Town and worked with horse drawn vehicles. Once settled near Stanthorpe he ran a horse back trail riding business, drove a horse drawn Phaeton carriage for weddings and winery tours, ran pack horse schools and worked the farm with heavy horses.”

In amongst all this, Jack promoted Australian bush poetry by running O’Mara’s High Country Poets’ competitions in Stanthorpe.

He won the Women’s Weekly/Asthma Foundation ‘Poet of the Year’ in 2001 with his iconic verse, The Cattle Dog’s Revenge and his book of poems and short stories of the same name won a Golden Gumleaf award for Book of the Year in 2004.

“His interest in historical events saw Jack, among other things, run a re-enactment of the court case on the centenary of Breaker Morant’s execution, a re-enactment of a bush ranger hold up for the Stanthorpe Show Society and take on the persona of a packhorse mailman for the centenary of the Stanthorpe Post Office celebrations. He was commissioned to portray Sir Henry Parkes and deliver his Federation speech for the Centenary of Federation celebrations in 2001.”

One of Jack’s favourite interests in historical matters produced his extensive two volume set of books which compare the frontier stories of Australia with those of America’s wild west.

Jack is very interested in encouraging youngsters to take an interest in our unique Australian Bush Poetry and with this in mind, he has produced a teachers’ package for schools based on his Golden Gumleaf award winning CD Australian Bush Poetry Classics including the history of each poem and its author plus activities for the children relative to each poem.

…and in Stella’s words, “…mix all of these life experiences with a wicked sense of humour and you get JACK DRAKE.”

email for details of available CDs and books.

See previously featured achievers.