Welcome to the ABPA website


, 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 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. There are also tributes to members who have recently passed on.

New Australian Champions

The ABPA now has new Australian Champions decided at the National Championships held in conjunction with the Man From Snowy River Festival in Corryong Victoria from 9th to 12th April 2015.

ABPA Female Performance Champion - Rhonda Tallnash of Violet Town, Victoria.
ABPA Male Performance Champion - Roderick Williams of Myrtleford, Victoria.
ABPA Written Champion - Tom McIlveen of Port Macquarie, NSW.
ABPA Junior Written and Performance Champion - Caitlan Klippel (age 13) of Corryong, Victoria.
Caitlan was also the worthy recipient of the inaugural Frank Daniel Encouragement Award which was not decided on the basis of her wins but on her overall contribution to performing poetry and to volunteering throughout the Man From Snowy River Festival. ABPA committee member Robyn Sykes presented the award on behalf of Frank's daughter, Catherine Daniel, and it was felt by all three judges (Robyn Sykes, Carol Reffold and Brenda Joy) that Frank would have been delighted to give encouragement to a junior poet who is not only a very talented writer but who is passionate about all aspects of bush poetry; a true champion of the future whose interest and zeal deserves encouragement.

Rhonda Tallnash      Roderick Williams
   Rhonda Tallnash - Female Performance Champion            Roderick Williams - Male Performance Champion

Tom McIlveen     Caitlan Klippel
                  Tom McIlveen - Written Champion                          Caitlan Klippel - Junior Champion & Frank Daniel Award winner

Meet a Poet – Ron Liekefett

Feature Poet - 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. 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 Liekefett
Ron LiekefettI was born and spent my first twenty two years in the Dalby area before moving to the Brisbane area in 1960. Although born to farming parents, I have spent my whole working life as a metal tradesman mostly in the vehicle building trade, constructing buses and coaches for some of Australia's leading transport operators.

My involvement in bush poetry came via my interest in Country music. I have had a fair degree of success over the years. Some include placings in Bard of the Outback, finalist at Winton on a number of occasions and the contemporary/modern section of the ABPA National Championship 2002. In 2005 in Charters Towers I won the ABPA National Championship. In the same year in Winton, I won the senior section of the Australian Yarn Spinning competition.

I retired from competition then and have only this year, 2015, resumed competition.
I recently competed in Tenterfield in the Oracles of the Bush for the title of Looming Legend which I was fortunate enough to win.

I have recently extended my interest to live theatre. Over the past 5 years I have been involved in 9 productions with 2 more planned for later this year. I have been married to my wife Janet for 54 years. We have 5 grown up family and 14 grandchildren. As long as my health remains good I will continue doing all the things that bring me satisfaction.

I have produced 2 Cds about 10 years ago, one of my own work and another on the poetry of Edward Harrington who I greatly admire.

See previously featured poets.

Meet Your Committee – Jan Lewis

Each month we will introduce a member or members of our hard working and dedicated committee.
This month we meet:

Victorian Delegate Jan Lewis

Jan Lewis

Jan’s background in office work and volunteering on parent committees has
prepared her well for life in the Upper Murray where she says, “volunteers rule”.

For 10 years she produced the Walwa World and for 15 years, ‘Chatting with Emmy’, a Corryong Courier weekly column promoting old fashioned values and adult learning. She values the lessons learnt from Walwa community where people know that they must pull together.

Jan’s main community volunteer job is coordinating Poetry Events at Corryong's iconic Man from Snowy River Festival from 1996. At the 2011 festival she received a ‘Local Legend’ award honouring this commitment.

She is also Secretary of the Victorian Bush Poetry & Music Association, organising poetry events and representing Victoria on the ABPA Committee.

Jan started writing poems about rural life at Walwa in the Upper Murray in 1988. She published her first poetry book in 1995 and was a foundation member of The Snowy Mountains Bush Poetry Club when it started in 1996. Jan has a CD of poems 'Beyond the Gate' - and a book A Rural Woman's Reflections.

We are fortunate that Jan has turned her organisational experience towards the promotion of Bush Poetry.

See previously featured committee members.

Member Achievements – Geoffrey W Graham

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


Geoffrey W Graham

Geoffrey, as a youngster at Robertson NSW, grew up with a love for the bush fuelled by the frequent recitations of Banjo et al from his father, Arch. After stints in boarding schools at Tamworth, and Hurlstone in Sydney, Geoffrey did time at UNE at Armidale where he obtained a B. AG EC and Diploma in Education.

While lecturing in Farm Management at the Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture at Yanco, developing the skills of young people to go on the land, Geoffrey also produced his own revues, had his second rock ‘n’ roll band and followed in his father’s footsteps, reciting the works of ‘Banjo’ Paterson et al. So developed two main passions: 1 Life as a performer, and 2 Helping others with their journeys.

In the early 80s, Geoffrey studied the art of acting and entertaining at the Victorian College of the Arts. On the completion of the course he dabbled in television, film and theatre. Geoffrey continued to perform his Dinkum Oz entertainment comprising a mix of comedy, music and of course verse. The performance arenas varied from school shows, to standup comedy, festivals and motivational talks. His acting, whip cracking, characterisations and down-to-earth style, allowed him to entertain a wide range of audiences. His entertaining emerged in locations as diverse as Aboriginal settlements in outback W.A, the Australian Embassy in Laos, the Wallaby restaurant in New York, the Funny Bone, Dallas, plus every state in Australia. Along the way he owned and ran his own entertainment restaurant, ‘Dinkum Oz’, (formerly Smacka’s place) in North Melbourne.

In 1995 Geoffrey performed his self-devised one-man show ‘The Man from Ironbark” in Winton in Queensland. The show, based on the life and works of ‘Banjo’ Paterson, received great acclaim from Australians from all walks of life. He now has a stable of themed one man shows, the most recent being ‘Voices of War: an Anzac story’ which he kicked off in Tamworth in January 2015.

He has constantly toured his self-devised Australiana productions throughout schools, clubs et al. These included Arts Council tours and workshops aimed at self-esteem issues, writing and performance skills.

Geoffrey has been called a ‘folk comic’, ‘theatrical communicator’ and since his entry into the world of Ironman events he’s been given the tag ‘Iron poet’. His sporting obsessions (martial arts) have taken him to Okinawa in 2014 and next October he’ll be competing in the Hawaii Ironman.

Apart from entertaining and acting Geoffrey works as an MC, judges competitions, is the President of the BGBP (Bendigo Goldfields Bush Poets) and is proud of the fact that he was one of the founding members of the ABPA. He has produced several CDs and two books and has more in the pipeline.

See more about Geoffrey on his website

See previously featured achievers.