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2020 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

2020 Ipswich Poetry Feast Encouragement Awards

2020 Picture Ipswich Awards – Open Age

2020 Ipswich City Council Awards Open Age – Local Poets

2020 Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Awards Open Age – Other Poetry

2020 Ipswich Poetry Feast Awards Open Age – Bush Poetry

Remembering Bill the Bastard by Irene Dalgety Timpone (1st)

Where Angels Tread by Tom McIlveen (2nd)

Bringing the Cattle Home by Irene Dalgety Timpone (3rd)

Forgotten Heroes by Kay Gorring (Highly Commended)

Fishing for a Gucci by Tom McIlveen (Highly Commended)

The Mask by John Roberts (Highly Commended)

He stepped down off the Royal Mail a gaunt and haunted looking bloke,

His hair was long his skin was pale and from his lips there hung a smoke.

I thought, “This guy won’t last a week he doesn’t even own a comb!

Employing this long hairy streak will soon be seeing him back home!”

 

And as the mail truck pulled away beneath a searing summer sky,

He must have heard my thoughts that day or my exasperated sigh.

You see I got him just on spec a single bloke no ties or wife,

A bloke prepared to make the trek and share our country way of life.

 

I showed him to the ringers hut but spoken words were scarcely said,

He gently pushed the screen door shut then promptly fell down on the bed.

“Well that’s the last we’ll see of you.” I thought, “For you’ll be gone by morn.”

But give him credit where it’s due our man was up at crack of dawn.

 

Somehow he made it through a week and then a month and than a year,

But of his past he wouldn’t speak nor did he write to kindred dear.

We’d try to quiz him now and then but just as he had done before,

He’d clamp up like a vice again and stare out through the homestead door.

 

And though he was a city man he learnt the bushman’s trade with ease,

He’d cut his hair and got a tan as country life became a breeze.

There were odd times he’d drop his guard and let us see a happy face,

And then he’d set his jawbone hard and put the mask of old in place.

 

We knew he had a cross to bear he’d come out west to leave behind

A haunting past he loathed to share until he was that way inclined.

We never probed or delved again we thought it better not to push,

He’d come around and tell us when his mind got sorted in the bush.

 

And then the strangest thing occurred while listening to the radio,

We watched him hang on every word while turning white as winter snow.

It said a car had crashed last night the driver drunk the news flash said,

The driver walked away all right a female occupant was dead!

 

He got up from our dinner camp and walked down by the billabong,

His face was drained his eyes were damp as haunting memories came on strong.

I followed in his sombre wake not knowing what to do or say,

I knew a tragic past mistake had come to haunt him on that day.

 

He sat down on a leaning tree and stared across the water clear,

Then turned to me and said, “That man was me this time last year.

We’d been out drinking on the town my girl and all my mates from work,

We all were drunk and like a clown I gave the steering wheel a jerk.”

 

“I lost control and hit a pole that dark and tragic summer’s night.

I killed my girl God rest her soul and yet I walked away all right.

I walked away without a scratch and from that bent and twisted wreck

I stroked the blonde and bloodied hair that fell across her cheek and neck.”

 

“While moonlight shone through shattered glass I cried and begged her not to go,

I dragged her to the verges grass and told her how I loved her so.

I begged her not to leave me there beside that Godforsaken track,

And though I knew she heard my prayer her lifeless eyes just stared straight back.”

 

 

“I’ve done some time inside a jail and paid a pittance for my crime

And then I caught the Royal Mail to give myself some space and time.

So now you know what haunts me so my past has caught me up at last,

And as you’re surely bound to know you can’t outrun a shameful past.”

 

He seemed to change in person then a burden lifted from his back

And as I put this down in pen I see him riding down the track.

He’s sitting straight and easy now behind a lazy Brahman mob

And he’s in charge of every cow as I’m too old to do the job.

 

Yes he’s in charge and I’m in here in charge of nothing much at all,

He runs the place from year to year and makes the stations every call.

His children play outside the house those children are his very life,

And then of course there is his spouse my only daughter is his wife.

 

I’ve handed down the place to him and kept his secret all these years,

But when he hears a tale that’s grim I see him struggle with his fears.

He sort of stares across the plain a muscle tics upon his face,

And for a moment in his pain the mask of old is back in place.

Dining with the Devil by John Roberts (Highly Commended)

Freddy 'K' by Tom McIlveen (Highly Commended)

2020 Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years

2020 Queensland Times Award- 14-15 Years

2020 Broderick Family Awards 11-13 Years

2020 Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years

2020 River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years