Forms and Electronic Subscriptions
On This Site
of Modern Bush Poets
Many Poets have products and services available
Roll of Honour
Australian Bush Poetry Champions
and ABPA executive members
See and hear some of our
modern Bush Poets
Poets often tell yarns too.
Read some great Aussie yarns
ABPA Strategic Plan
2015 ABPA Committee
- ABPA Committee
President - Hal Pritchard
Vice President - Manfred Vijars
Secretary - Brenda Joy Pritchard
Treasurer - Gregory North
- Committee Members
- ABPA State Delegates
Qld - Wally Finch
NSW - Tom McIllveen
Vic - Jan Lewis
Tas - Philip Rush
SA - Bob Magor
WA - Irene Conner
- Magazine Editor - Neil McArthur
Webmaster - Gregory North
President's Report, Jun-July.Sadly, the ABPA has lost another of its finest sons. Milton Taylor died on 16th May and the whole ABPA community went into mourning. Tributes to Milton as a poet and as a man have flowed in and many are featured here and in the
ABPA magazine. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
On a brighter note, it was wonderful that, after three years, we had the ABPA National Championships in conjunction with The Man from Snowy River Festival in Corryong, Victoria. As featured on this website, this means that we now have new Australian Champions for Performance and Written. Also, special is that we also have a Junior Australian Champion. Thanks go to Jan Lewis and to the dedicated team for successfully running the National Championships and congratulations to the winners and all the competitors who made the various aspects of the festival so memorable.
They say that you should go to the MFSR Festival at least once and Brenda and I were pleased to be able to do so as President and Secretary. It was wonderful to experience the atmosphere of Corryong and to meet with more of Australia’s wide-spread family of poets. It did become clear, however, that it is imposing a strain on the hardworking organisers to run an ABPA Championship in conjunction with an already full schedule of festival events. We will be seeking submissions from co-ordinators throughout Australia, who are not so over-loaded with in-place commitments, to hold the next Nationals in 2017. It may be that the Nationals are held bi-annually in future. The ABPA does need to have one premier showcase event annually and for 2016, as voted at the AGM, efforts and funding will go towards the ABPA Golden Damper Awards in Tamworth.
A heartfelt aspect of the 2015 Nationals was the presentation of the inaugural Frank Daniel Encouragement Award. Corryong unearthed some very talented juniors who will, hopefully carry the banner forward into the future.
Congratulations to the trophy winner Caitlan Klippel and to Jan and all who are encouraging the development of poetry through school visits and through emphasis on across age junior written and performance components at the
There are many innovations being trialled at festivals and events, in particular the beginnings of digital components in
performance competitions. It is felt that this will be part of the future and that the ABPA needs to be involved in the initial stages of this development with the aim of setting up helpful guidelines. Vice President Manfred Vijars and
State Delegate Wally Finch will be working towards this.
With respect to the relevance of performance bush poetry, confirming what Brenda and I discovered on our journey, it has now been tabulated that 60% of those who are on the road in recreational vehicles of various description, are aged between 35 and 54. The term ‘grey’ is becoming somewhat obsolete as more and more ‘younger’ people decide that it is time to explore our great land. Our potential to reach to more areas of the age spectrum via travellers is
increasing year by year. We are still exploring all the ways possible to convert this widening exposure into membership of the ABPA. The ABPA gives the assurance that the genre itself fulfils the purpose of our organisation to
uphold and expand the tradition and language that is our foundation and not to become submerged in the mainstream of festival entertainment. It is always a matter of ‘going with the times’ but also of maintaining and
taking forward the basic principles and culturally significant factors unique to our craft. We are exponents of storytelling in rhyme and metre, and through yarns, about Australia, Australians, Australian history and the Australian way of life. It is up to us to make these facets appealing in whatever way we can.
It was of interest to see in a recent Australian newspaper, that a rhymed and metered poem by one of our highest regarded poets, was featured for the ANZAC theme and that there was also a collection of rhyming poetry and an
article with an opening quote supporting it.* Exposure such as this can only enhance our cause.
On the last leg of our ‘around-Australia- trek, we linked up with the Australian Bush Balladeers at the Spirit of the Bush Festival in Boondooma, Queensland. The Balladeers add acoustic music to the ‘poetry’ but still retain the basic
requirement that lyrics must have Australian content. It was a very moving place to spend the commemorative day for one hundred years since ANZAC. Bards and balladeers fit well together in reminding us of who we are and where we have come from.
*The Australian – Saturday 2nd May, 2015.
Poem -- Bruce Dawe's Gallipoli. Article Geoff Page (beginning with a quote by Robert Frost ‘Writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net.’ Review of rhyming poetry collection by Jamie Grant.
Welcome to the ABPA website
WELCOME, 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.
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
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 - Female Performance Champion Roderick Williams - Male Performance Champion
Tom McIlveen - Written Champion Caitlan Klippel - Junior Champion & Frank Daniel Award winner
- 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
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 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.
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 is a multi-award winning performance bush poet
writing for and performing at “…large scale
productions, judging, club
administration, and, major events — from kindy to aged care,
corporate functions to small clubs, from, Arena Spectaculars to
Wally says he is “… a born entertainer equally at
home with large
audiences and small groups, young, old or somewhere in
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.
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.
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENTS – Jack Drake
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.