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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

A Lesson in Life by Shelley Hansen (First Prize)

In the Wake of the Deluge by Brenda Joy (Second Prize)

The Untold Story by Leonie Parker (Third Prize)

How Long Will We Cry? by Kevin Pye (Highly Commended)

Fire at Dawson’s Run by Catherine Lee (Highly Commended)

The Tale of Molly Riley by Catherine Lee (Highly Commended)

She lived alone at Wombat Creek and tended to her garden-
a convict girl who’d since secured a governmental pardon.
They said she had the gift of sight with stars and moon to guide her,
a healing touch-though others swore the devil lived inside her.
But seek her out they did and came to warily respect her,
while legends grew round Molly and her lack of male protector.
Her cabin lay a mile from town amid lush vegetation-
she spent her time alone and in medicinal creation.

The only blight on Molly was unwelcome keen attention,
a guard named Gerald Rickman she’d rebuffed while in detention;
an arrogant and brutal boor who threatened, teased and taunted-
avoiding his advances she continued on undaunted.
Though often he would visit speaking words of false assurance,
she suffered him reluctantly with cordial endurance;
the false facade masked plain desire for merciless seduction,
his smirk of insincerity the essence of corruption.

The outlaw Billy Moyes possessed a horse of great devotion,
so one day when it sickened he approached to seek a potion.
The moment Molly met him they were bound in love forever,
the kind that neither human, beast nor law could hope to sever.
Despite a heavy bounty on his head for cattle stealing,
he risked his life to visit her-could not deny his feeling.
He’d softly whistle through the trees beyond the jacaranda,
and Molly’s arms would greet him on her fragrant dark veranda.

Then came that fateful night when Rickman, drunk and feeling frisky,
injected with an evil purpose thanks to malted whisky,
went trotting out to Wombat Creek in search of satisfaction
determined on a brutal path of shameful, wicked action.
The gentle glow of moonlight made the forest seem to shimmer,
and vague disquiet stroked him in resulting ghostly glimmer,
but shaking off his caution at self-pleasure he’d soon render
he kicked his horse and trampled through the verdant shadowed splendour.

The noise awakened Molly and she grabbed a weapon quickly-
a poisoned blade she kept inside-her breath came fast and thickly.
He squashed her foxgloves, slashed through ivy, wintergreen and roses,
while flattened lilies launched accusing perfume at their noses.
At first she watched impassively, regarding Rickman coldly;
contempt transformed her features as he lurched towards her boldly,
dismounting and approaching with disdain and coarse berating-
she smelt his lust for power, felt his anger emanating.

A dingo howled, a dry twig snapped, she heard the trickling water
as suddenly he grabbed her by the hair and roughly caught her.
“Enough of all these games you witch! Don’t struggle any faster-
your sorcery means nothing now-I’ll show you who’s the master!”
The blade had fallen down to earth to land amongst the nettle
while Rickman gripped her forcefully, an ancient score to settle.
The glazed expression in his eyes made Molly feel defeated-
she knew he’d not release her though she tearfully entreated.

A whip cracked loudly through the air and landed with precision!
Her arm was dropped-she watched surprise take over harsh derision.
“No Billy, don’t!” she yelled, then watched the look of consternation
on Rickman’s face convert to glee at this new situation.
The outlaw Billy Moyes would bring a bounty few could better-
he couldn’t miss this chance because he’d never get one better.
With narrowed eyes now boring into Billy’s blue and steely,
the loathing there was palpable and flowed between them freely.

They circled like two animals in seething detestation,
the night alive with malice and a common desperation.
This stand-off lasted moments, then they clashed in bitter fighting,
determined on conclusive course of absolute requiting.
When Rickman drew his gun she couldn’t stand it any longer,
for Molly knew the weapon made his chances so much stronger-
and sure enough he aimed and fired and since the gun was loaded
it stained the eucalyptus red as Billy’s chest exploded.

A blinding rage took hold and Molly scrambled for her dagger-
as blood gushed forth she watched the guard recoil in shock and stagger
He screamed his fury, cursed her as the devil’s evil strumpet,
then fell to earth amongst the thriving, toxic angel’s trumpet.
With Rickman slowly dying Molly focussed full attention
on Billy’s fatal wound, her world in horrified suspension.
She cradled him and watched the light within his eyes receding,
but tried in vain to will him back to life and staunch the bleeding.

With dawn’s arrival Molly sat alone on her veranda,
her heart in pieces, underneath the fragrant jacaranda.
Her tears fell ceaselessly to earth as, heedless of her garden
she dwelt upon the fact that this time round there’d be no pardon.
Although they said she had the gift, yet nothing could recover
the life of her beloved Billy-ally, friend and lover;
so seek her out they would and take her back for condemnation-
the gallows as her destiny, the noose her last sensation.

She watched them riding through the gums with rifles at the ready,
while grasping Billy’s lifeless arms for strength to keep her steady,
recalling as she looked around the way she’d once meander
through paths of cycads, larkspur, golden dewdrop, oleander.
The gentle susurrations in the trees and shrubs appeased her;
serenity prevailed as that oasis calmed and pleased her.
No witnesses could clear her name-she faced complete dishonour-
she resolutely raised her glass and drank the belladonna.

Now no-one lives at Wombat Creek, the garden lies untended,
while cobwebs drape the wooden porch and nothing has been mended.
An eerie shroud of silence cloaks the cabin in the clearing,
and superstitious dread descends on all who may be nearing.
Remaining blooms are overgrown, the dying foxgloves drooping,
while angel trumpets waft in wild profusion where they’re stooping
as if to mourn a girl destroyed by man devoid of honour-
and every slightest breeze transports the scent of belladonna.

The Property by Susan Sommerlad (Highly Commended)

100 Years Since Anzac by Jim Cosgrove (Highly Commended)

Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years

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