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2014 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Chairperson’s School Award

Edwards Property Mentorship Award

Ipswich Theme Awards

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

Wholly in the Deep by Kate Wilson (First Prize)

Return to Jerusalem by Joshua Dunne (Second Prize)

Dear Ma by Gabriella De Oliveira (Third Prize)

Indigo Shadows by Tessa Campisi (Highly Commended)

Across the Seas by Tessa Campisi (Highly Commended)

1398:
For ten years she lived in the land of the sun.
Beneath boundless skies,
One and connected as the birds and the beasts.
Until sails appeared on the horizon;
Deceptively white clouds to a latent storm.
The people of the sun watched from the sand. 
Strange men, pale faces. 
Foreign footsteps and deceiving smiles.
They furtively approached these peculiar strangers;
Curiosity and open arms. 

A whip,
A sickening thunderclap. 
Children fell before her. The water stained ruby red.
Men were seized. Women snatched.
Babies whisked from mothers,
discarded in the deep.
Screaming.
Running.
Red.
Thunderous shots,
Blistering her skin.
Swept up and stolen. Stowed away.
Whisked across the seas and perilous waves.
Rocking to and fro, a sickening lullaby.

Below the waves
Bloodthirsty predators lurked.
Above deck,
Even more. 
Icy Fear pierced her heart. Hot metal pierced her skin.
Rotting flesh, tears and the dark, 
dark, 
dark.
3 feet below deck, 
already buried alive.
Robbed of her innocence by flickering candlelight.
Mocking faces and callous hands.
A new soul thrust into her arms, ensconced in her womb, 
A second heartbeat that too soon faded to nothing.

Ten thousand miles from home. 
Four hundred lost souls. 
Eighty unlucky survivors.
40 days and 40 nights.
Finally the new land came to view,

The skin on her back craved the sun’s tender affection.
Yet the sun was not the same.
The birds and the trees did not sing her song.
The people remained pale; rejected by the sun’s warmth.
Stripped and beaten. Starved and whipped.
Her mangled body screamed hunger. 
Her eyes searched for familiar faces. Her heart yearned for home.
The strange land brought strange smells and strange tongues.
Her own language felt heavy and strange in her mouth,
Lost in a void of silent consent, 
at mercy to the hand of the white man.

2014:
For ten years she awoke to fear, ensnaring her limbs.
The black night followed in the shadows,
Gunpowder thick in the air;
Burning stars and hopeless dreams.
Fear and bullets quaked the house in the night.
The smell of death,
wafting down the street.
Families reduced to less than the rubble underfoot.
All she could do was run.
Her mother’s hand slipping from her grasp,
A tenuous grip on reality in the foreboding dark.
Her brother and she.
Leaving behind her life.
Her friends.
Her family.
The only trace their footsteps in the dust.

The sound of the crashing waves lost to the thunder overhead
The screaming.
The gunshots.
A stranger’s blood upon her hands.
They clambered upon the wearied, wooden fishing-boat.
Perilous for but 10 souls. 
100 grievously crammed inside. 
The decrepit hull moaned,
Speeding through the cold and the damp and the dark,
Dark,
Dark.
Tears froze on her face,
All she could do was clutch her brother close
And pray to Allah.
Her hope fading fast,
like her brother’s breath and lifeless stare.

The waves toppled and teased the boat,
40 days and 40 nights.
Finally the new land came to view,
With the silent hope of a new life
Free from pain.
Refuge. Asylum,
Where you could walk fearlessly down the street,
Where hunger no longer plagued every waking moment.
Where you could praise your own god freely.
Hope shone like a candle in the dark.
Snuffed out like a candle in the dark.

White men looked down upon her,
Dirty sneers and sleazy remarks.
They lounged, 
Languid,
And abused her from their TV sets.
Politicians held her life in their hands,
Unwilling to share their 
‘Beauty rich and rare’.
“Illegal”
“Dirty”
“Boat People”
How was she different to them?
Did they not all seek happiness and safety?
Her pain,
Her fear,
Her brother and her mother and countless hours on the Pacific Ocean.
Rejected. Deported. 
Lost in an ocean of politics and paperwork.
At mercy to the hand of the white man.

A Trojan Elegy by Joshua Dunne (Highly Commended)

Verging upon Virgil by Emma Hartley (Highly Commended)

Marri Yatarla by Meg Stroud (Highly Commended)

Fruit Bats at Lockyer Crescent by Serena Green (Highly Commended)

Junk Dragon by Luka Zubcic (Highly Commended)

Little Girls by Emily Eastwell (Highly Commended)

Queensland Times Award- 14-15 Years

Broderick Family Award – 11-13 Years

Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years

River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years