Welcome to the ABPA website


WELCOME, membership of the Australian Bush Poets Association (ABPA) is comprised of writers, performers and individuals who are interested in bush poetry and enjoy written and live stories in rhyme and metre. If you have an interest in this piece of Australian culture called Bush Poetry, you are welcome here.

The objectives of the Australian Bush Poets Association is to foster and encourage the growth of Bush Poetry in Australia. By definition, Australian Bush Poetry is metred and rhymed poetry about Australia, Australians and/or the Australian way of life.

To join the Australian Bush Poets Association and receive our bi-monthly magazine, go to our Membership page.

The ABPA keeps in touch with our members through this website (and forum) and our bi-monthly magazine of Bush Poetry news, events, results of written and spoken competitions as well as samples of contemporary bush poetry. Many members have books, CDs and other products. These can be advertised in the magazine. For rates, click here. The deadline for ads and other content for the magazine is the 22nd of the month preceding publication. Magazines are published at the beginning of February, April, June, August, October and December.

ABPA Facebook page Check out our Facebook page.

DUNEDOO Bush Poetry Festival CANCELLED
Sadly, the Dunedoo Bush Poetry Festival Performance Competition, scheduled for 3rd - 6th March, will not be held.
Eric Beer, the Co-ordinator, advised that it was a majority decision taken recently by the Festival Committee following the current and on-going effects from the very recent bush fires in the Dunedoo region. Many people involved with the festival have been directly or indirectly affected by these severe fires and it was felt that the community was unable to go ahead due to these circumstances.  Blaze Aide volunteers are currently in the district offering support to those who have endured loss and hardship.
The Written Bush Poetry Competition has already been judged and winners will be announced on 3rd March.  Results and reports will be circulated after that date.
The ABPA appreciates the position and how difficult it was to come to this decision, and thanks Eric Beer for his considerable pre-festival background work.  Also the Dunedoo Festival Committee and the Dunedoo and District Development Group are thanked for the support they have given to Bush Poetry over the years.  May the blessings be towards the continuation of Dunedoo festivals in the future.

Changes to Competition Package
The annual review of the ABPA Competition Package resulted in some changes to the ABPA Guidelines, Procedures, Assessment sheets and Entry Forms for both Performance and Written competitions. Following post review feedback some further minor adjustments have been made to the Performance Bush Poetry and Yarn Spinning Assessment sheets.
So that all concerned with the organisation of, judging of or participation in competitions, are in tune with the 2016 upgrades, everyone is urged to re-familiarise themselves with all the relevant documents and helpful information in the current ABPA Competition Package on the Competitions page. Should you have any queries please contact the ABPA Secretary or 
or Brenda Joy, the Review Sub-Committee Secretary. Contacts here.

No Bundy Bush Poetry Muster in 2017
See Bundabereg Poets' Society explanation here.


2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival Highlights

This year's festival saw a great showing of bush poetry with:

  • The Longyard Bush Poets' Breakfast hosted by Neil McArthur
  • The Rhymer's Roundup hosted by The Rhymer From Ryde, Graeme Johnson
  • The Poets Showcase Breakfast hosted by Gary Fogarty
  • Three Blokes Fishing with Marco Gliori, Alan Glover and Peter Willey
  • Muz Hartin 30 years at Tamworth shows
  • Bush Poets and Balladeers Concerts hosted by Tom McIlveen
  • The Blackened Billy Written Verse Competition
  • The Golden Damper performance bush poetry competiton
  • The Inauguaral Frank Daniel Bush Verse walk-up poetry award
  • Poettes show hosted by Marion Fitzgerald

Competition results can be viewed here.

ABPA Golden Damper Awards - both won by Claire Reynolds

Pictured below are Golden Damper Award finalists Bob (Pa) Kettle, Claire Reynolds, Jacqui Warnock, Mal Beveridge, Paddy O'Brien, Bill Gordon, Rhonda Tallnash, Tom McIlveen, Caroline Tuohey. Finalist not pictured, Jenny Campbell.

Golden Damper contestantsOrignal Poetry Winners
First: Claire Reynolds of Gloucester NSW
Second: John Peel of Tumut NSW
Third: Rhonda Tallnash of Violet Town Victoria.

Established Poetry Winners
First: Claire Reynolds of Gloucester NSW
Second: Jacqui Warnock of Narrabri NSW
Third: Rhonda Tallnash of Violet Town Victoria.


The 31st presentation of the ABPA sponsored ‘Golden Damper Awards’ was held during the 45th Tamworth Country Music Festival 2017.

The new venue of the Tamworth Rugby Club was packed to capacity over the 3 Heats & Finals series. The location proved somewhat difficult to find initially but after posting an ABPA Volunteer Sentry at the Rugby Park gates our happy audiences found their way between the Caravans to the Club’s Auditorium.

Whilst the total number of competitors was slightly down on last year’s numbers the attentive punters were still held captivated by the class & quality of this year’s competitors. Contestants came from ‘far & wide’ in an attempt to win one of the elusive “Damper” trophies. The Northern Territory, Far North Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and inland & coastal NSW were all represented.

Over the event’s 31 year history only Marco Gliori (1990) & Lyn Tarring (2015) have ever won the ‘double header’ so to speak and this year the ladies shone through again with Claire Reynolds (from Gloucester NSW) taking out the top honours in both the Original & Established sections.

As a matter of fact 5 out of the 6 overall places were won by the ladies with John Peel (2nd in the Original Section) being the lone male winner. Other placegetters were Rhonda Tallnash & Jacqui Warnock. (see winners list attached).

Event Co-ordinator Graeme Johnson announced that this year’s “Golden Dampers” (his fifth at the helm) would be his last for the present time as he has turned his attentions elsewhere. President Tom McIlveen thanked Graeme for his ‘service & attention to detail’ over that period.

Well folks only 365 days till we can ‘do it all again’ See ya there!

Blackened Billy Winner - Trevor Shaw

Trevor ShawTrevor Shaw from Biloela in Queensland was this year's winner of the coveted Blackened Billy for written bush poetry.

His winning poem Dentures to the Rescue can be viewed on our Poetry page.

The Judge's report and other placings can be viewed here.

Congratulations Trevor!

Inaugural Frank Daniel Bush Verse Award - Paddy O'Brien

Paddy O'Brien

Held at St Edwards Hall and judged by the audience, the inaugural Frank Daniel People's Choice awards final was won by Paddy O'Brien of Murwillumbah NSW, congratulated by new ABPA Vice President Ray Essery.
Second place went to Rhonda Tallnash of Violet Town Victoria and third place to Tom O'Connor of Swan Hill Victoria.

Bush Poets and Balladeers Concert


New Bush Poets and Balladeers Concerts were held at Tamworth Gardens Retirement Estate with a great line-up of songs and poems. Pictured above are Susan Ashton and Tom McIlveen in action.

See previously featured poets.
See previously featured achievers.

Vale Blue the Shearer (Col Wilson)

The late Blue the Shearer (Col Wilson)We regretfully announce that Blue the Shearer, aka Col Wilson, passed away on Friday 3rd February in Springwood NSW, aged 89. Blue probably holds the record for the most poets reciting his work over many years. A one-time public servant, Blue wrote a poem every week for ABC radio for more years than most can remember. Always ready with his quick wit and incisive political commentary, he tackled politicians, current affairs as well as the mundane facets of everyday life.

Since poetry on current affairs can date quickly, he is best remembered for his humorous poems such as The Cross-eyed Bull, The Addict, Esmerelda, Joanna, Supervet, Chainsaw Massacre, The Trailer, My Mower, Down Boy, The Thong, Walls of Jericho, The Blowfly, The  Grandkids, The Wingen Pub and Mental Elf, which he said was the poem he most proud of.

The funeral was held on Thursday 9th February at Leura Memorial Gardens in the Blue Mountains and was a moving and fitting tribute.

Col was a wonderful bloke and his poems contributed enormously to the growth of modern bush poetry. He will be sadly missed.