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River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years

Metro Hotel Ipswich International Award – Open Age Bush Poetry

Bluey by Tom Mcilveen (First Prize)

Billy Backytin by Glenny Palmer (Second Prize)

The Morning Star by Bruce Simpson (Third Prize)

She - Ode to the Wind by Mal Beveridge (Highly Commended)

On Alison Bridge by Zillah Williams (Highly Commended)

It happened near McKinlay
At a pub, so I’ve heard tell,
When the rains in northwest Queensland
Made all the rivers swell.

The farmer came in, hat in hand,
He looked the worse for wear,
His clothes had seen much better days—
He didn’t seem to care.

The barman looked at him and said,
In a casual kind of way—
“I thought I’d seen the last of you;
You back here to stay?”

“The answer’s yes,” the man replied;
“The word’s around the town
The Queensland drought is over
The McKinlay’s coming down.

The Diamantina’s flowing,
The Thompson and Barcoo,
The Western and Georgina,
And many others too.”

The barman polished glasses
With a concentrated frown;
“And will you see my daughter Kate
Now you’re back in town?

You didn’t even say goodbye—
She had a right to know
The reason why you left her;
That woman loved you so.

She’d have stood beside you, son,
And only done you good;
She’d have gone to hell and back with you
You know my Katie would.”

The farmer’s voice was level,
He said, “I had to cut and run—
I either had to get out fast
Or end it with a gun.”

He jammed his hat down on his head
“It’s time for me to go.
Tell Katie, if she asks, I’ve gone
To watch the McKinlay flow.”

He stood with others on the bridge,
The river bed still dry;
If water came, he’d stick around,
Give farming one more try.

Others, too, had left the land
And some, in black despair,
Had made an end to all their pain;
For him, the help was there—

Help from family, from mates
And from bush padres too,
And yet, he’d left without a word,
Not knowing what to do.

He hadn’t meant to break Kate’s heart
And cause her grief and pain,
He doubted she’d forgive him
And care for him again.

His eyes grew tired with staring;
Had they got it wrong?
Would the river ever flow?
O God, please bring it on.

And then he heard the cry go up
“She’s comin.” What a sight!
He hardly could believe his eyes,
Looks like folks were right.

The river moved toward the bridge,
Nothing held it back;
It flowed round every obstacle
Keeping right on track.

It curled and foamed and bubbled,
It pooled, and swirled and spread
Its healing, living water
On that dusty river bed.

And in his mind he made a plan
To stock his place again;
To rebuild fences, fix his house,
Thank God for blessed rain!

He felt a hand slip into his—
Now, strong men never cried
But he came pretty close just then
With Katie by his side.

And with his arm around her
He at last could see
That after all the pain and loss
The best was yet to be.

Hearts of the Wattle by Mal Beveridge (Highly Commended)

Nothing Much to Tell by Tom Mcilveen (Highly Commended)

Picture Ipswich Theme Awards

Ipswich Poetry Feast Encouragement Awards

2018 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Rosewood Green Award – Open Age Local Poets

Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Award – Open Age Other 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