Back To Competition Winners

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)

They met one night at the height of drought in the bar of a western pub.
Two luckless gougers who’d just arrived from mines in the mulga scrub.
Big Griffo looked at the Busted Pug at the long bar’s other end,
“No man should drink on his own”, he said. “I’ll buy you a stubby friend.”
They hit it off in the pub that day and decided to try their luck
once more in the fields and they left the town their gear in a battered truck.

They searched for days for a likely show but the pair never gave up hope.
Then they found a ridge with a weathered band exposed on the western slope.
They set up camp on the timbered ridge and toiling with pick and bar,
they sank a shaft down to thirty feet and called it, The Morning Star.
They found a level without a trace and they tunnelled to left and right
with a candle fastened in fencing wire to give them sufficient light.

They put in drives and they gouged a room where a party could hold a ball,
but potch and colour were all they got with never a gem at all.
They talked it out by the fire one night when their rations were almost gone,
“The mine’s a duffer”, the Pug declared, “and it’s time we were moving on.”
They were up at daylight to shift the camp with the Morning Star on high,
Big Griffo looked at the star and said, “I am giving it one last try.”

He checked each drive with a searching eye, the last one was heading south.
Then he saw the end of a fractured lead they’d left by the tunnel’s mouth.
With a faint hope rising he swung his pick, one blow for the bright star’s sake,
Then gaped at the nobbies the pick revealed like fruit in a Christmas Cake.
He chipped six opals from off the wall and the colour came dancing free,
“We are rich,” he thought, “We’re as rich as kings,” and he almost danced with glee.

Then he thought of the Pug so keen to move, not knowing about the find.
And the big man grinned, “When he sees these stones I reckon he’ll change his mind.
I’ll have some fun with him first,” he thought, then his voice rose loud and clear.
“I hope you are ready to pack,” he yelled, “for there’s nothing but potch down here.”
With the opals clutched in a grimy fist he chuckled and almost laughed,
as he slowly climbed with his one free hand the side of the laddered shaft.

He tripped as he left the narrow shaft and fell to a bended knee.
His hands flew open to break his fall and the opals scattered free.
The Pug looked hard then he cursed his mate, “You’re a treacherous thieving swine,
you have ratted those gem stones for yourself when half of them should be mine.”
He snatched a pick from the windlass-stay left there when he’d finished work,
and he swung a blow at his kneeling mate; then Big Griffo went berserk.

He crushed the Pug with his massive arms with the strength that would bend a bar,
then threw his mate with a bitter oath down the shaft of The Morning Star.
He had killed his partner: The big man reeled in the rays of the rising sun,
and he gagged and gasped as he realised the terrible thing he’d done.
He stood for a moment his mind awhirl still shaking with fear and dread,
then scooping the opals from off the ground he ran to the truck and fled.

There’s a gouger’s camp in the far outback strewn now ‘neath a blazing sky.
There’s a faint track up to a timbered ridge but nobody passes by.
There’s a shaft still open to thirty feet with a windlass set on top.
There’s the bones of a gouger by a drive as rich as a jeweller’s shop.
There’s a drunken drifter who drowns his past in pubs on a northern track.
A fortune waits at The Morning Star but he knows that he can’t go back.

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

On Alison Bridge by Zillah Williams (Highly Commended)

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