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.


Vale Barry Lake
With deep regret we report the passing of Barry Lake on Tues- day 2 September after a short illness.  Barry was a staunch supporter of the ABPA and an avid collector and presenter of bush poetry. He was well known in the bush poetry and folk music festival scenes as a poet, noted compere and volunteer worker.

Vale Bob Sanders
It is such sad news to know that Bush Poet Bob Sanders did not come through his long struggle.  On behalf of the ABPA Committee and Membership we extend our heartfelt condolences to Lois and to all those who loved this great Aussie character. The Bush Poetry community has lost a true performer and a good mate.

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 – Donald Crane

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.

Don Crane Donald Crane was born and educated in Moree, NSW.

His entire working life was spent in the cattle industry – twenty years on large commercial properties in northern NSW and south west Queensland. In 1968 he joined the CSIRO as Livestock Overseer/Manager at Narayen Research Station, Mundubbera.

It is only since retiring in 1988 that Don has started writing bush verse and, as a non-performer, following the bush poetry circuit around Queensland and NSW attending six to eight events annually. He is a familiar figure to those who compete at these festivals and has had the honour of other poets using his poetry in competition.

His bush verse has now won twelve ABPA affiliated or approved written competitions including the keenly contested and much sought-after Bronze Swagman Award in Winton. He has also accumulated a swag full of places and highly commended awards. Several of his poems have been published in the Melbourne Books’ Anthology, Award Winning Bush Verse and Stories 2012 and 2013.

True to his background and his beliefs, all of Don’s writing complies with the ABPA definition “Australian Bush Poetry is poetry with accurate rhyme and metre about Australia, Australian History, Australians and/or the Australian way of life” and echoes with that authenticity that comes from living and loving the Australian bush and the spirit of mateship it fosters.

You can enjoy some of Don’s prize-winning poems in the Poetry Section of this website.

See previously featured poets.

Thank You Festival Co-ordinators – Zondrae King

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 ...

Zondrae King
Zondrae KingIn providing information to support the ABPA Thank You to Co-ordinators, Zondrae has given a comprehensive indication of the work involved in performing this valuable task. We thank Zondrae for her commitment and for these insights.

“As a founding member of the Illawarra Breakfast Poets, for the past three years I have been the co-ordinator of the Kembla Flame and last year I was asked to take on the Kangaroo Valley Written comp. It is a lot of work but if we wish to keep Australian Bush Poetry alive someone has to do it.

Until this time I had given little thought to how a competition was run.
When you are given the task of organising a poetry competition the work begins many months before the event.

1. You have to establish the ideals of the sponsor or organisation that is holding the comp. Then set the rules and conditions.
2. You have to seek sponsorship, settle on trophies and prizes.
3. Performance comps need a suitable venue.
4. Find judges – for performance comps you may need as many as six judges where as written comps can get away with a panel of three.
5. Then there is advertising and publicity in various media – distributing entry forms and rules.
6. A Competition Secretary to receive and number the entries and fees – even if I am not judging I like to have another person act as the comp secretary.
7. A good convenor or coordinator should be able to delegate some duties but still be aware of progress. Entries start arriving up to four weeks ahead of judging. Mostly there will need to be extra copies made of the poems to distribute to judges.
8. There must be time for the judges to make their individual assessment then at least one, if not more, ‘pow wows’ at group meetings to decide on the final winner(s).
9. Names must then be matched to poems.
10. Trophies engraved and certificates produced.
11. Arrange a suitable time, place and person to announce the results.
12. Distribute the list of winners to appropriate people, eg. ABPA magazine and website, sponsors of the comp etc.
13. Send out any prizes and certificates not presented at the event and if anyone has requested results with ssae.
14. Then finances have to be reconciled and reported to club or organisation.
15. Some comps offer a critiquing service – this has to be followed up.

Maybe then the coordinator can sleep.”

Zondrae King.

Member Achievements – Carol Heuchan

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.


Carol HeuchanCarol Heuchan hadn’t even seen a Bush Poetry Competition before friends took her to Tamworth ten years ago. Horses were her world – she taught riding, broke in and trained horses, mustered stock in the Snowy River country. She had competed all her life at the highest level with show horses and judged internationally.

But she made the transformation from stable to the stage and took the Bush Poetry world by storm and after a couple of years of competing and amassing prestigious awards by the score, she made the brave move to make poetry her career and has been a full time, professional poet ever since.

But she says she has had a lot of luck along the way. Winning a Case JX55, thirty four thousand dollar tractor (just for writing a little poem), was a great kick start. As was being one of twelve poets/lyricists chosen to be part of the ABC Television series Bush Slam (host H G Nelson) which has been shown nationally, prime time, about six times. Then, on top of Australian and State Championships for performance and umpteen written awards, she has nine Australian Bush Laureate Awards to her credit. But the greatest good fortune, she said, was having Milton Taylor as her mentor and friend.

Carol’s first books were, naturally enough, about horses but she soon broadened her repertoire to suit all occasions, all ages and people from all walks of life, kids to corporate, little charity gigs to the the biggest overseas gatherings. She travels extensively – entertaining, compering, workshops, guest speaking, commission writing and getting out of heaps of housework.

2015 will see her off for two months, on her sixth performance tour of the US and Canada (still pinching herself that she is paid to do what she loves).

Six years ago she was performing Bush Poetry when ‘scouted’ by the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales and since then has been the Main Arena Commentator for the duration of the Easter Show.

Unbelievable incidents? Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum commissioned her to write a poem (which she performed on Sports Channel around the world). And Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, said ‘Good Morning’ to her in Windsor Great Park in London last month when she was doing some ‘horse research’!

CDs, Books available from:

See previously featured achievers.