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2015 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Chairperson’s School Award

Edwards Property Mentorship Award

Ipswich Theme Awards

I Love Ipswich by Mathew O’Neil (5-17 Yrs. Winner)

Jacaranda by Leonie Parker (Open Age Winner)

In the front yard of my Grandma’s old Queenslander it stood tall.
Underneath it all our secrets were laid bare.
Little children’s Christmas wishes, lover’s vows, it heard them all. 
Oh, the stories that old tree could surely share.

I stood beneath its branches half a century ago 
as my mother had some twenty years before.
With Grandma’s locket at our throats in gowns as white as snow 
we thought our vows would last for evermore.

My mother’s ‘evermore’ fell victim to the wrath of war.
My own just sadly seemed to fade away.
The past when one is older beckons just behind the door 
of memories we’ve closed and locked away.

I wondered what I’d find if I should venture back in time, 
go back to where our story first began. 
Would that old tree still be there for the kids today to climb? 
Or fallen to the careless hand of man?

I grabbed my senior’s Go-Card and I caught an Ipswich train, 
half expecting disappointment at the end. 
Half a century brings changes, only memories remain, 
growth and progress is a younger person’s friend.

When I left the railway station and continued through the town 
I found little to remind me of my youth. 
An evolving modern city, with its river heart the crown; 
seems the transformation stories were the truth.

When I walked around the corner where my Grandma’s house had been 
I prepared myself to take a bitter blow, 
but imagine my surprise when there before me was a scene 
like so many more enacted long ago.

A purple blossom canopy was drifting down to green 
reminding me that spring was in the air. 
My Grandma’s house looked lovelier than it had ever been 
as backdrop to the bridal party there.

The beautiful young couple looked my way and then they smiled. 
I felt my heart go out to them and more,
I looked towards my Grandma’s house and thought I saw a child 
who smiled at me from Grandma’s open door.

But when I looked again the door to Grandma’s house had cleared, 
the little girl no longer in my view. 
Perhaps she was a vision of the future as it neared, 
or me just looking back as oldies do.

Happily I turned to travel back from whence I came, 
back to my easy care retirement hearth, 
grateful for the city with the grand old English name 
that understands what memories are worth.

Perhaps that big old tree will stand another hundred years 
and maybe I’ll come home again one day,
a cast of scattered ashes and a life time’s joys and tears
lifted by the breeze and whisked away.

Up into the purple Jacaranda’s soft embrace, 
where secrets of my youth were cast before, 
a coming home of spirit to an old beloved place 
held safely in its arms for evermore.

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

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