Welcome to the ABPA website


, membership of the Australian Bush Poets Association (ABPA) comprises 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 web-site (and forum) also a bi-monthly magazine of Bush Poetry news, events, results of written and spoken competitions as well as publishing contemporary bush poetry. Many members have books, CDs and other products. These can be advertised in the magazine. For rates, click here

Facebook Check out our Facebook page.


Competition Package is now available with guidelines, judging and competition sheets, accredited judges list and application form and approved competitions list. If found necessary, these documents are open to amendment or changes as required following membership input and committee approval.

Roll of Honour lists Australian Bush Poetry Champions and ABPA Executive members since inception.

Meet a Poet - Ron Stevens

Feature Poet - each month we are introducing our wonderful poets (both performers and writers) to newcomers and to the general public by featuring a different ABPA poet on the Website each month. At the end of that month the poet's details will be transferred to the Poets Register. Poets featured will come from the entire membership and may be professionals, semi-professionals or amateurs, but each will be a worthy role model to represent the ABPA membership.

Ron Stevens
Ron Stevens was born in Richmond, NSW, in 1926. He and his wife, Clo have lived in Dubbo, NSW since 1994. After spending from 1944 to 1974 in the RAAF and RAN, Ron took a BA at Macquarie University, majoring in English and History, after which he indulged his interest in writing, particularly poetry.

He is a Writing Fellow and honorary life member of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, a long-term member of the ABPA, the Henry Lawson Society of NSW and the Outback Writers Centre, Dubbo.

He has travelled widely through the Eastern States, to poetry festivals to give workshops and also to compete in written and performance competitions. Among his many written first prizes have been ‘The Bronze Swagman’, Winton, ‘The Blackened Billy’, Tamworth (two), ‘The Banjo Paterson Literary Award’, Orange (four), ‘The Henry Lawson Society of NSW Literary Award’, Gulgong (five) and the NSW and Victorian, ‘ABPA State Championships’.

His first-prizes in performance competitions include ‘The John O’Brien Festival’, Narrandera and “The Leonard Teale Memorial Award’, Gulgong.

Ron has judged many competitions over the years and as schools liaison officer with Dubbo RSL Sub-branch he judges local schools’ competitions. For the last seven years he has written and recited an appropriate poem for the Anzac Day Dawn Service.
His four self-published books of winning verse are now out of print but more recent poems are regularly printed in the literary magazine Free XpresSion and in the ABPA Magazine. His recent first-prize winning poems are included in the Poetry Section on this Website.

Ron is highly respected throughout the Bush Poetry community and in particular for his poetic tributes to our serving men and women which make a significant contribution to the national history of Australians at war.


Thank You Festival Co-ordinators - John & Sandy Lees

We are very fortunate this year that bush poetry events will have included four State Bush Poetry Performance and Written Championships, held under the auspices of the ABPA. These championships are not run by the ABPA as an organization but by individual members who are willing to dedicate their time and energy to helping to present bush poetry as stand-alone events or through integrating it into other festival activities.  In doing so, they hold Bush Poetry competitions basically in accordance with formats and guidelines that are still proving successful.  These competitions foster camaraderie between poets at all levels of development and provide for those members who enjoy either performing or watching both the more traditional aspects of bush poetry and the modern, more humorous approach that has helped to expand the popularity of our genre.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all festival and competition co-ordinators and their committees for the work they are doing towards preserving, maintaining and expanding our unique cultural heritage through oral and written, bush poetry, yarns and storytelling. 

This month we say  Thank You to ...

John & Sandy Lees, co-ordinators of the Bundaberg Bush Poets Muster and 2014 Queensland State Championships held in Bundaberg 4th-6th July 2014.

John & Sandy LeesThe Bundaberg Poets' Society Inc. are very fortunate to have as their major sponsor, Across the Waves Sports Club Inc., who have for a number of years provided a venue free of charge for the entire week-end as well as a substantial cash donation. Of course there are many other smaller sponsors, who without these, it would make the running and organizing of our annual Musters much more difficult. This year 46 poets competed in the various categories - Open, Intermediates, Novices and two children's categories as well as duo performances, yarn spinning and a One Minute Cup. Both the Friday night Walk-Up Concert and the main Concert on the Saturday evening were well attended with the 'full house'

sign put out on the Saturday evening - 250 seated.

To organize our Musters we first elect a committee, then a co-ordinator and from there it is a committee run Muster. A priority at the first meeting is to select judges. Three ABPA approved poets who must be able to judge the Open & Intermediate categories and take part in the Saturday evening concert are contacted. Another three judges (who are also poets - not singers, politicians, etc.) are contacted to judge the children and novice categories as well as share comparing duties during the week-end. The co-ordinator does all the contacting of judges, sponsors and all paperwork associated with the Muster - entry forms, programmes, score sheets, etc. It is on the week-end that extra hands are needed to carry out specific tasks. These tasks have been allocated prior to the week-end so that everyone is aware of who is doing what to eliminate confusion and to make for a smooth running of the Muster.

We feel that by running our Muster this way there is very little room for error and it makes for a successful and friendly Muster.

No negatives received - just positive feed-back. It's a lot of work, takes up a lot of time, but the end result of course is what the Club's aim is but most important is for all to enjoy each other's friendship over the three days.

As part of Bundy's Muster a written competition is also conducted, the Bush Lantern Award for Bush Verse. For this we also use three ABPA approved judges who are asked not to divulge that they have been contacted to judge. This means that not only those who are entering don't know who the judges are but they also don't know who the other two judges are which we feel is for unbiased judging.

Member Achievements - Philip Rush

The ABPA also wishes to acknowledge the achievements of members who specialize in specific areas which help to promote the cause of the ABPA and of Bush Poetry in general.


Philip Rush“The thirty-first of December this year will see me complete twenty-one years of being Tasmania’s ABC ‘Country Hour’ poet. As of today I have presented a poem, usually with a rural flavour, throughout Tasmania’s ABC network as the last item on Friday’s ‘Country Hour’ nine hundred and thirty-one times. On the second Sunday in February next year, I will have completed twenty-one years as a guest speaker and poet on Tasmania’s ABC ‘Sunday’ programme. Nearly seven hundred five to seven minute talks about almost anything, from school swimming lessons I gave in the local creek in some rural schools I taught in, to cancer, dementia, the wilderness, the history of soccer,

On arriving in Tasmania in December 1993, I went to the ABC in Hobart and suggested to the Head of the Rural Department that I could be the “Country Hour” poet.  His reply was for me to record on tape that afternoon four poems, and he would see how they were received. They must have ‘hit the spot’ and I now go to Hobart every Friday, where I read the new poem live on air. My poems have been the last item on the ’Country Hour’ each week, and, as mentioned earlier, I am heading towards a thousand ‘Country Hour’ poems since that day I put the first four on tape!

Many listeners asked for copies of the poems, so I started self-publishing them – my first book being ‘Australian Poems that would Stun a Sheep’.  Before getting it printed, I rang the ‘Australian Society of Authors’ and asked how many copies I should print.  Their answer was ”Print three hundred, and you’ll have 276 left after you’ve given two dozen away to your friends and neighbours!” They weren’t quite right, for that book has fifteen reprints, and over twenty thousand copies sold. Twenty other books have followed, seven or eight of them in the Bush Laureate Award finals, and one being the ’Original Verse Book of the Year, 2006.’

There are now over one hundred and fifty thousand of my poetry books in print, and they are still selling quite well – thank you for any reader who has one or more of my books!

A final comment – all of my self-published poetry books have been printed in Hobart – I refused to have them printed overseas.  Much easier to keep track, and each book has been excellently presented, thanks to the expertise of those at Monotone printers.

Will I do any more?  I’m not sure. Maybe, maybe not! Perhaps enough is enough!”

The ABPA says thanks to Philip for his innovative approach to promoting Bush Poetry.