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2013 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Edwards Property Mentorship Award

Ipswich Theme Awards

A Walk through Ipswich by Majella Pearl (5-17 Yrs. Winner)

The Legacy Lives On by Brenda Joy (Open Age Winner)

” Mary Jane my little sister do not wander in so far – 
though the flowers look so pretty, water lilies for Ma-ma, 
purple flowers we’ve collected — now it’s time to hurry back 
for our father will be waiting. See, the evening sky grows black!”

“Bridget Kate l am so little, I can’t fight the water’s flow.
Help me get my feet untangled. It’s so murky down below… “
But the sister’s aid was futile and come night-fall searchers found
in Walloon’s enticing waters, two small Broderick girls had drowned

Just a simple country errand on an Autumn afternoon
then a couple left in mourning for the babies of Walloon.
Where emotions had no outlet in those early, stoic years,
so the parents fought their sorrow in the secret flow of tears.

Through intensity of grieving, within months the mother died,
yet the father and the brother kept their pain locked up inside.
But they moved from out the district to Rockhampton far away
to escape all recollection of that fateful Autumn day.

When the poet, Henry Lawson wrote The Babies of Walloon*
and immortalized the sisters who had left this life so soon,
to commemorate the poem of the loss of little girls,
so a city paid its tribute – that’s how history unfurls.

In a park of nature’s beauty that would bear the Lawson name,
there a statue was erected and to see it children came.
It was beautiful and moving, so iconic for the town
and it bore a hopeful message that no future child would drown.

As the girls in weathered metal seemed to dance to heaven’s tune,
so the school and town watched over their two babies of Walloon.
And a little girl called Hannah loved to join them in their dance
when the moon illumed the heavens and the starlight would entrance.

But there came an awful sequel to the Babies of Walloon
for the tiny tot who’d revelled in their play beneath the moon
then herself became a victim of the risky water’s ways
when the back-yard pool she entered saw the end of childhood days.

How the tears of bitter mourning tore a family apart,
while publicity and stigma fed the torment in the heart.
And another grieving mother nearly left this earthly life,
till a mission of salvation would relieve her inner strife.

As she formed a twin Foundation* aiding others in their grief,
so the sharing of the sorrow brought some mutual relief.
And the statue in the park-land was a salve to ease their pain:
In the moonlight of their mourning, little Hannah danced again.

Till some vandalizing ferals with their angle-grinding tool,
on a night of degradation, through an action rough and cruel,
brought all residents to outrage when their statue was defaced –
such a wilful act of evil saw humanity disgraced.

But community endeavour, with ‘Crusader’* in the lead,
would refuse to be defeated by this cowardly, callous deed.
So through Council* and Foundation funds were raised to counteract
the effects of this disaster and to bring the babies back.

In the warm, October sunlight in the park of Lawson fame,
a new statue was unveiled and the girls were ‘home’ again.
There before the true descendants of the sisters who had drowned,
Hannah’s most courageous mother told of consolation found.

Then with wreaths and floral emblems and the blessings found through prayer,
the re-dedication service touched the hearts, for all could share
in the pathos of these stories from life’s endless cavalcade
and pay tribute with compassion – that’s how history is made.

Now the water-hole’s protected and the statue is secure
while the region is determined that the legend will endure.
In their record of the stories of the dramas wrought from lives
writers move the soul and heartstrings – that’s how history survives.

Notes –
The Babies of Walloon          poem by Henry Lawson (1891)
Foundation                           The Hannah Foundation – two-fold purpose
                                            (i) to help families and friends rebuild lives after water tragedies and
                                            (ii) to help prevent child drowning. 
Crusader                              Cr. David Pahlke, Rosewood Councillor, Tourism and Libraries Committee Chairperson
Council                                 The Ipswich City Council


Chair’s Encouragement Awards

Rosewood Green Award – Open Age Local Poets

Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Award – Open Age Other Poetry

Metro Hotel Ipswich International Award – Open Age Bush Poetry

Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years

Broderick Family Award – 14-15 Years

Queensland Times Award – 11-13 Years

Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years

River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years