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 NEW 2015 Australian Bush Poetry Champions and ABPA Executive members since inception. There are also tributes to members who have recently passed on.

Frank Daniel Encouragement Award

Frank DanielFollowing the passing of great bush poetry mate Frank Daniel on 22nd December 2014, his daughter Catherine has offered to donate a large perpetual trophy that can be engraved each year with the winner’s name (and held for a year) and a smaller trophy that the winner can keep as an encouragement (not a best) award in memory of Frank Daniel.

Complying with Catherine’s wishes, it has been negotiated with her that this award be presented to an up and coming junior poet at a selected ABPA National or State Championship each year.

ABPA President Hal Pritchard expressed the ABPA’s gratitude to Catherine Daniel and the inaugural Frank Daniel Encouragement Award was presented to Caitlan Klippel at the Australian Bush Poetry National Championships in Corryong in April. 

Frank Daniel’s involvement with bush poetry was both long-term and active.  As an inaugural member of the ABPA, over many years he fulfilled the demanding administrative roles of President, Vice President and Magazine Editor.  Frank assisted with the running of various bush poetry festivals and gained much personal success in competitions as a performing bush poet and yarn spinner.

In addition, Frank worked tirelessly for many charities and fund raising organisations and performed at community events around Canowindra where he spent his latter years. He was a much loved member of that region of NSW.

Last year Frank compiled the monthly insert for the ABPA Magazine promoting the achievements of other long-term members of our Association.  We now pay tribute to Frank’s own achievements and to the man we all respected and admired.

See more information on Frank on the previously featured poets page.

Frank's funeral was held in Canowindra on 29th December, 2014.

Meet a Poet – Tom McIlveen

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.

Tom McIlveenTom McIlveen spent the first seven years of his childhood growing up on a dairy farm in Nemingha (north-east of Tamworth) and the latter years at an orphanage following a family breakdown. He developed a deep love of the bush from his father and from time spent with seven siblings on the family farm, roaming the mountains and river flats of the Peel Valley. His interest in traditional (true verse) poetry originated in year nine at school, when he was blessed to have a teacher who was obsessed with Shakespeare and traditional Australian poets. He instilled in Tom a lifelong passion for English prose and poetry, and encouraged him to read, write and recite.

When Tom left school his interest in traditional poetry waned somewhat, and he became obsessed with singer/songwriter/poets like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Paul Simon, whose lyrics he found emotionally and intellectually stimulating. He returned to writing traditional poetry following the death of his brother in 2009, when he awoke one morning with the words of a poem running through his head, clamouring to be heard. He has been writing relentlessly ever since.

Anyone following the written poetry scene will have seen Tom’s name deservedly appearing in the top awards of prestigious competitions for the last four plus years. May his prolific pen continue to flourish. Also in recent years, Tom has served the ABPA and Bush Poetry through his involvement running the events at St Edwards Hall at the Country Music Festival in Tamworth and as past-Secretary and currently NSW State Delegate on the ABPA Committee. We thank Tom for his work in these areas.

See previously featured poets.

Meet Your Committee – John Peel

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

Committee Member and Public Relations Officer John Peel

John PeelJohn has served on the ABPA Committee since mid-2008. He served as the Victorian representative in his first two years and following on from there in his current role as a committee member. He has also recently taken on the new committee role as Promotions/Publicity officer. He is honoured to serve his fellow poets in paving a future for bush poetry.

As a poet, John has been writing poetry since his late primary school years. This life-long love of bush poetry led him to the world of performance bush poetry in 2005, which was also the year that he first became a member of the ABPA. John is an accredited ABPA judge for both written and performance competitions. He is justly proud of his achievements as a poet and believes that there are bigger and better things still to come.

John lives in the Southern NSW town of Tumut. His most recent success was to win the Bush Poetry Performance Competition and the Jim Angel Award for performance of original poetry, at the John O’Brien Festival in Narrandera last month.

We thank John for the many ways in which he serves the Bush Poetry movement.

Member Achievements – Graeme Johnson

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.


Graeme JohnsonGraeme Johnson aka “The Rhymer from Ryde” was fortunate to drift into the Bush Poetry genre during one of its “Golden Ages” in the mid to late Nineties when luminaries such as Bobby Miller, Charlee Marshall, John Phillipson, Johnny Johannsen and others of their ilk ‘held court’ wherever they appeared. He was also fortunate to meet and befriend other modern day icons such as “Blue the Shearer”, Milton Taylor and of course the late great Frank Daniel. (It was actually Frank himself who originally coined the moniker, “The Rhymer from Ryde” which Graeme has used ever since).

All of these wonderfully diverse characters had a direct influence on Graeme’s career and it was only through their help and advice that Graeme became another one of our Bush Poetry devotees and ardent performer & writer. So it was no surprise that when he was in a position to give something back to his fellow poets that he did exactly that.

From the late Nineties onwards Graeme was already organising Poets’ Breakfasts for the likes of the Galston Country Music (1999-2008) & South Coast Country Music Festivals (2002-2011) employing his fellow poets to perform on these bills. From some of Australia’s most recognised poets to the up and comers of the new generation Graeme more than likely used their services at some stage over this period.

In more recent times Graeme has continued this tradition through his popular Rhymer’s Roundup shows at the Tamworth Country Music Festivals 2013-2015.

As an accredited ABPA judge for both written and performance competitions, Graeme officiates at ABPA Championships and other bush poetry competitions. He is also Event Co-ordinator for the ABPA Golden Damper performance competition in Tamworth.

Graeme would like to thank all those he has worked and ‘shared the stage’ with over time for contributing to “…some of the best days of my life”. He also asks that “…special mention be made to my ‘other half’ (yes she does exist), wife Narelle, who has had to listen to way more Bush Poetry than Work Health & Safety regulations would normally allow.”

Visit Graeme's website.

See previously featured achievers.