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Rosewood Green Award – Open Age Local Poets

2017 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Chairperson’s School Award

Picture Ipswich Theme Awards

Chair’s Encouragement Awards

Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Award – Open Age Other Poetry

Metro Hotel Ipswich International Award – Open Age Bush Poetry

The Cynic Route by Kate O’Neil (First Prize)

Up in the Devils Lair by Terry Piggott (Second Prize)

The Lady of the Lakes by Terry Piggott (Third Prize)

The Night The Kids Cooked Dinner by Caroline Tuohey (Highly Commended)

A Racing Tale by Jim Kent (Highly Commended)

The Flags That Fly at Castlebrook by Noel Stallard (Highly Commended)

Bandy Bill by Jim Kent (Highly Commended)

Real Time Dream Time by Kevin Pye (Highly Commended)

Plywood Crosses by Graeme Johnson (Highly Commended)

Prologue: In August 2014 the Australian War Memorial turned on the “Roll of Honour” Soundscape project. Primary School students from across Australia had recorded the name & age (at death) of the 62,000 Australians who died during WW1. These voice recordings form a moving backdrop for museum visitors as they walk through the ‘Cloisters’ Commemorative area of the museum.
As part of the 4 year long Anzac Centenary celebrations the “Commemorative Crosses” project will also see 100,000 plywood crosses (inscribed with messages written by Australian schoolchildren) sent to be placed on the graves of all Australian servicemen & women who have given their lives for their country (from the Boer & Sudan wars up until present day conflicts). These crosses will be sent to countries such as Turkey , Belgium, Malaysia, Singapore, Greece, South Africa & the Middle East.

My footfall in that hallowed hall reverberated meek and small,
as step by step the marbled floor I trod.
As icy wind chilled polished stone I knew that I was not alone. 
I walked with men who’d gone to meet their God.
A speckled spray of poppies red. 
Soft petals for the men who bled.
These cloisters in memorial where soldiers formed their final squad.
Some 60,000 names to pass embossed upon the burnished brass. 
A ‘Roll of Honour’ pressed against the wall.
An alphabet of surnames stretched , this catalogue of manhood etched, in countless rows repeating to appal.
Their battle won they rest in peace.
In glory sought they found release,
on battlefields of WW1 in serving man they gave their all.
These pondered thoughts they filled my head. From ‘a’ to ‘g’ to ‘z’ I read, 
as voices whispered falling to my ear.
What were these names that I now heard? This softly spoken uttered word? 
Articulate and vocalised so clear.
They seemed with me to resonate. 
A soldiers name and day and date.
Was this a veiled epiphany of omnipresent tomes I hear?
These names a century unheard from loam of foreign soils interred,
are eulogised. Read to a steady beat.
As children from our primary schools record upon a tape deck’s spools ,
a liturgy of age and rank replete. 
Some 40 different names per day , 
are uttered proudly in array.
For 4 long years their monikers in homage honoured will repeat.
In tribute too a message sent on plywood crosses to augment, 
their full respect and open gratitude.
A message to a ‘digger’ brave to rest upon a wartime grave.
These youngsters pledged a nation’s platitude. 
With shaky hand and texta pen.
With pencils sharp they wrote to men.
They spoke in their naivety and asked about their fortitude .
“Did you go home from war each night if you were nervous or in fright, 
to sleep all snug and warm in your own bed?”
Mused Wendy Watts from Winmalee on Randolph Cleaver’s destiny.
Enlisting with the volunteers he sped.
“To our last shilling and last man.
Support the monarchy our plan”. *                                                                                             1
In servitude to British Lords the news that Hughes and Fisher spread. *                                  2
“When bullets hit you did they hurt? Did blood seep through your tattered shirt? 
And did you wash it out at end of day?”
Thought Cooper Briggs from Croppa Creek. 
Was Herbert Affleck’s future bleak? 
How would his manhood hold in the affray?
“Australians stand beside our own”.
“Some 50,000 more we’ll loan”.*                                                                                                 3
To send as re-enforcements, politicians’ conscience to defray.
“So when they killed you were you dead? Did scary thoughts race through your head? 
Did it take long or was it really quick?”
Said Sally Jones from lnverell to Gordon Cooper he who fell,
where blood like treacle flowed there rich and thick. 
Conscription and its justice failed,
and nationhood it fair prevailed.
Where jaunty slogans advertised and peer group pressure did the trick.
“Dad said you fought war in a ditch as back and forth the fight did pitch. 
Did you play hiding games inside the trench?”
Asked Ivan Smith from lronbark of Sydney Burvett for a lark.
“Did hankies block your nose from all the stench?”
Where flanked retreating infantry,
were fodder for futility.
As high upon the plateau flat of Sari Bair the guns did quench.
“How did you see above the trench? Did you stand up upon a bench?
If you were short how did you clamber out?”
Young Wilbur Wight from Wattle Flat asked Herbert Curnow for a chat.
Did he survive the Ottoman’s next rout? 
Did he (dismounted) charge ‘The Nek’? *                                                                                    4
An action that was circumspect.
As ‘Mehmets’ slew the ‘Johnnies’ in a fervor that was quite devout. *                                        5 
Spoke Neville Barnes from Nowendoo to Leslie Biddle as he slew,
exacting out his ‘pound of flesh’ for fee. 
Enduring ‘Sausages & Mash’. *                                                                                                    6
The Somme of France where he did clash.
As Anzac 1 & 2 sent forth 5,000 men to deaths decree.
“If you did stick him with a knife, did he yell out to lose his life? 
Is he in heaven now or down in hell?”
Scrawled Simon Stark from Wangee Park for Colden Pockley in remark, 
as he succumbed to shrapnel and to shell.
Fromelle gave up the Western Front, 
as 5th Division took the brunt.
Where columns march ground to a halt advancements ardour there to quell.
“Was conflict just from 9 to 5? And did you walk or did you drive,
to join the ‘Call to Arms ‘ hostility?”
Wrote Tommy Thule from Timbuctoo on Norman Elsworth’s ‘Waterloo’, 
as he lay stacked like cordwood to foresee ,
the white flag raised to call a truce.
Was its intent humane or ruse?The burial contingents rose and shook hands though they disagree.
“So was it like a holiday? A bit of work? A bit of play?
Did you send postcards on your weekend rest?”
Sent Vincent Vane from Vardy’s Road to Robert Flockart as he strode,
at Moquet- Farm a thousand yards abreast. *                                                                                7
But casualties they multiplied,
as they were shelled from every side.
The First Division ‘Aussie’ troops were sacrificed at their behest.
“Was it just like a running race when those young ‘turkeys’ you did chase,
through ‘No-Man’s Land’ to send them on their way?”
Penned Freddy Flint from Faulconbridge to Thomas Rushworth on the ridge, 
at Bullecourt was thrust into the fray. *                                                                                           8
At Hindenberg they pressed the line, *                                                                                            9
defences there to re-define.
But thousands taken prisoner were captured in this wild melee.
“Was it a good adventure then to join your fellow countrymen, 
a foreign country’s culture to enjoy?”
Scratched Ahmed Khazi as he stood to Bernard Harford in the ‘Wood’,
at Polygon as part of the convoy. *                                                                                                  10
A win wrought from protracted pain. 
The 4th Divisions hefty gain.
A series of successful raids against the strongholds they deploy.
“Did living in this slaughter send your addled mind around the bend? Did you have headache pills to ease the pain?”
Quizzed Ruby Rose from Rukenvale to Cyril Fussell who did wail,
at Broonseinde where breathing was in vain. *                                                                               11
Some 4.5 per minute died,
by one whole day there multiplied.
A total of 6,000 souls in carnage fell to this campaign.
“Did you have I-Pods or T.V? Enjoyment you could guarantee? 
Something to do that was a bit of fun?”
Hoped Danny Dale of Darrigo. Is Albert Bracher’s progress slow,
at Hamel where objectives had been won? *                                                                                   12
A battle integrated plan,
saw tanks and aircraft assist man.
The ‘Doughboys ‘ and the ‘Diggers’ fought in unison to beat the ‘Hun’. *                                         13
“Without a map did you get lost? Your fingers bitten by the frost? Were there directions posted on the track?”
Scribed Kenny Clarke from Kurrajong to Clarence Wallach so headstrong, 
as trudging, grabbed a smoke from out his pack.
They confiscated guns and tanks.
Advanced 6k’s in scattered ranks.
Fought 6 long months without a break and rested now in bivouac.
“If you were injured did they send your broken body home to mend? 
Did they throw you a ‘ticker-tape’ parade?”
Told Micheal Moore of Morningside of Percy Statton’s humble pride, 
whose tunic wore a VC’s accolade.
The armistice was signed complete.
A man danced on a Melbourne street.
Capitulation would ensure a feeling that hope would pervade.
“I know that you do not know me. I live because you set me free”. 
Was what I wrote upon my plywood cross.
An opportunity arose to grace a cross with my own prose.
A benefactor of good karma’s ‘joss’. 
“With sacrifice more deeply sewn, 
than any other earth we own”.
The words of journalist Charles Bean in his summation of our loss.

Glossary

  1. “To our last shilling” etc.  A quote attributed to Andrew Fisher shortly before he was elected Prime Minister. A. Fisher 17/9/14-27/10/15.
  2. Hughes:  William Morris Hughes. Prime Minister 27/10/15-19/2/23.
  3. “Australians stand beside our own”: A quote attributed to Andrew Fisher
    “Some 50,000 more we’ll loan”: A quote attributed to William Hughes
  4. ‘The Nek’: On the 7/8/15 Dismounted Light Horsemen charged Turkish trenches in a futile attempt to gain ground. They were repelled by heav·y machine gun & rifle fire.
  5. ‘Mehmets’ ‘Johnnies’: Taken from the 1934 poem by Kemal Ataturk. ‘Mehmets’ are the Turkish soldiers. ‘Johnnies’ are the Allies (specifically the Anglo soldiers).
  6. ‘Sausages & Mash’: ‘Sausage Valley’ was a shallow valley in the Somme region of France co called because of the proliferation of German observation balloons known as ‘sausages’. A nearby valley was coined ‘Mash Valley’.
  7. Moquet Farm: A tactical position in the Battle of Pozieres (July 23-Sept 3 1916).
  8. Bullecourt: The 151 & 2nd Battles of Bullecourt were held in April & May 1917.
  9. Hindenburg: From 1/3/17-31/3/17 German troops retreated to the heavily fortified Hindenburg Line.
  10. Polygon Wood: Battle of Polygon Wood Sept 26th 1917.
  11. Broonseinde: Battle of Broonseinde 4th October 1917.
  12. Hamel: On July 4th 1918 General Monash oversaw a joint attack by aircraft , artillery, tanks & infantry. It was over in 93 mins. The Australian Corp advanced the line by 2 klm over a 6.5 klm front.
  13. ‘Doughboys’  ‘Diggers’: Doughboys was a nickname for the American troops . Diggers was a nickname for the Australian troops. The battle at Hamel was the first time that Australian & American forces had fought side by side.

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