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2019 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Ipswich Poetry Feast Encouragement Awards

Picture Ipswich Awards – Open Age

Ipswich City Council Awards Open Age – Local Poets

Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Awards Open Age – Other Poetry

Ipswich Poetry Feast Awards Open Age – Bush Poetry

Kelly's Corner by Heather Knight (1st)

Australis in Extremis by Catherine Lee (2nd)

A Simple Epitaph by Tom McIlveen (3rd)

Mallee Farmer by Max Merckenschlager (Highly Commended)

Another month of gripping drought and harvest hopes are dim
our shrinking dams are drowning stock that haven’t strength to swim
and cloudless skies are mocking-blue from Lameroo to Palmer;
the benchmark for an optimist must be a mallee farmer.

The paddocks wear a tinge of brown in place of waving ‘flags’
and reckoning is dropping fast to seed instead of bags.
Perhaps we should be swapping sheep for camels, goats or Ilamas?
more suited to this country of us battered mallee farmers.

Depression does its sordid rounds till saddened heads are hung
and comfort offers cold relief when country bells are rung
There’s days you wonder, “What’s the point of changing from pyjamas?”
the work’s become a grim charade for many mallee farmers.

Hot slaking winds are whipping soils that swirl in devil horns
to checkmate every move we make and rook our frantic pawns.
We’re sure to pay for bushland chained; the signs are in our karmas
of fences buried we’ll rebuild on dunes of mallee farmers.

Our stock are stripping gums of bark and epicormal shoots
the frontline for survival of their ancient calloused roots.
We’ve done the priests and forecasters, the rain-dancers and sharmas
if you’re another humorist, indulge us mallee farmers!

“The Bank” won’t look us in the eye when passing down the street
he has some bitter news at hand and wants us in to meet.
We’re living on the razor’s edge and hardly need this drama
it seems that God has given up his stoic mallee farmer.

And city folk – now there’s the joke; they cheer when told “It’s fine
for weekend country touring or for tossing out a line!”
The weatherman in good books is a suave and gushing charmer
perhaps he’d like the drier wit of any mallee marmer?

Ahhh, What The Hell – perhaps we’ll sell this lousy lump of dirt
and settle in the city where the welfare cheque’s a cert?
What’s that? I hear a-drumming on my corrugated armour!
YOU BLOODY BEAUT! I’m GLAD to be a dogged mallee farmer!

Memo: (1st line, second stanza):
‘flags’ refers to the early flag-stage of a cereal crop


From Gallipoli with Love by Tom McILveen (Highly Commended)

Song of the Water-Lilies by Max Merckenschlager (Highly Commended)

Walk a Mile in Our Shoes! by David Campbell (Highly Commended)

Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years

Queensland Times Award- 14-15 Years

Broderick Family Awards 11-13 Years

Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years

River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years