Back To Competition Winners

Queensland Times Award- 14-15 Years

Broderick Family Award – 11-13 Years

2016 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

Legacy of a Fool by Catherine Lee (First Prize)

Weapon of Words by Shelley Hansen (Second Prize)

Bobby by Tom McIlveen (Third Prize)

How Bluey and Me Joined the Cooee March by Val Wallace (Highly Commended)

The Harder Road by Kay Gorring (Highly Commended)

Far From Home by David Campbell (Highly Commended)

Demons and Lambs by Tom McIlveen (Highly Commended)

Harbour of Lost Dreams by Catherine Lee (Highly Commended)

There are ghosts who walk these hallways from the pallid light of dusk
(though l know some people choose to disbelieve) –
through the dark of night till dawn return to wallow and lament
for the goals expectant hearts did not achieve.
Many people found release of course, and settled down to life
with excitement in their colony of dreams,
but the anguish of those others who did not survive their fate
haunts the corridors today-or so it seems.

ln the north of Sydney Harbour back in eighteen-thirty-two
this location was established, like a wall
to prevent the spread of epidemics coming in on ships
from infecting and annihilating all.
Every vessel on these waters from the corners of the globe
brought a risk of deadly illness on the tide;
whether Spanish influenza, smallpox, cholera or plague,
there were dozens who succumbed and later died.

During busy times accommodation often would be scarce
so the residents would camp around the site,
and the healthy ones would clear the bush to build what they required
while the sick received the treatment for their blight.
Those were dismal mean conditions, sanitation not the least,
and their suffering would put them to the test;
they’d already borne long journeys on disease infested craft,
so the atmosphere was sombre at its best.

With the scarlet fever, enteritis, typhoid and the like
many scared yet hopeful pioneers fell ill;
it was said that from the ocean you would know the station’s spot
by the whitened tombstones standing on the hill.
So the men and women, children – convicts, passengers and crew,
in appalling, overcrowded misery
fought the battle how they could, but in the end their numbers fell –
battered pawns of some malicious destiny.

Once it bustled with new immigrants and sailors by the score
in divided groups depending on their class –
they were sometimes held against their will as long as it would take
to dissolve the threat and let the danger pass;
while disposal of the bodies of those hapless ones who died
was a job for which men earned some extra rum –
this was payable by body, so whenever scourge was rife
they were regularly drunk and overcome.

You perceive the shattered hopes that smashed like boats on rocks below
as you stroll amidst these buildings filled with pain,
through the residences, hospital and isolation wards
to the morgue, the streets and graveyards that remain.
As the years went by the base would serve to isolate, protect
many others who were better off than these,
from pandemic victims, immigrants, to military men –
even natural disaster refugees.

They improved upon surroundings here, upgraded steadily
till its final use in nineteen-eighty-four,
then they closed it as a station and it’s now a tourist stop
where you have the chance to take a guided tour.
With disease no longer rampant, blown away in mists of time,
there is nothing left of sadness from the past
but a presence that may tug your arm, or breathe and turn you cold
as you feel a depth of sorrow unsurpassed.

Though it’s now a modern centre in a park of some renown,
all the buildings in this place won’t always stand,
for unruly gusty weather, salty spray, eroding dunes
will conspire with native bush to claim the land.
So enjoy the splendid views across this harbour from the cliffs,
the sensation of tranquillity and space –
during daytime it’s a haven for reflection and repose,
an astonishing, delightful scenic place.

But at night the spirits wander as lost souls are wont to do,
for they colonise a world that lies between
yet are searching for the lives they feel were stolen from their grasp
when they died while undergoing quarantine.
They refuse to be forgotten and indeed they never should,
for they are part of our great nation’s history –
though they started out with passion, fervour, courage and desire,
they were struck by ruthless fate and tragedy.

So they mourn their long lost colony, the happy chances missed –
there are lights and apparitions on display,
and they’ll often try to touch you to divert you to a place
where you’ll empathise with insight and dismay.
They’re attempting to communicate and help you sense their grief,
so at times a ghost may take you by the hand
to entreat your hearts to understanding, pity for them all,
that they perished while they sought their Promised Land.

Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years

Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years

River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years