Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ipswich Poetry Feast Set to Launch

It's that time of year again. The Ipswich Poetry Feast will launch on 17 April at Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park, Walloon. Enjoy a hearty breakfast as we ring in year number 14. Yes, the 14th and still going strong!

This will be followed by yet another feast - a feast of poetry performance. This is your chance to take to the podium and show us your talent as a poet. Not game? That's Ok. Just sit back, enjoy nature, and listen to the inspirational words of others.

Phone now to secure your place. Numbers are limited and bookings are essential.
Don't forget to let us know if you wish to perform. Performance time is three minutes and the language and theme of your piece should be tailored to suit a family event.

Sunday, 17 April 2016
8.00 am - 10.45 am
Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park
Karrabin - Rosewood Road, Walloon

Phone Ipswich Central Library on: (07) 3810 6755
or email:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Official Launch and Poets' Breakfast

Ipswich City Council media release 29 March 2015:

2015 Ipswich Poetry Feast opens today
THE 13th annual Ipswich Poetry Feast, an international poetry writing competition, was formally launched today at breakfast at Henry Lawson Park in Walloon.

 Ipswich City Council Tourism and Libraries Committee Chairperson and Ipswich Poetry Feast Committee Chairperson Councillor David Pahlke said that the competition was a major component of the Ipswich Poetry Feast and a great way for people all around Australia to get involved in poetry.

"Since its establishment the Ipswich Poetry Feast has gone from strength to strength and inspired some fantastic poets from all across Australia and overseas to take part," Cr Pahlke said.

“This year will bring even more great poetry to Ipswich.”

Cr Pahlke said the Poets’ Breakfast was held each year to launch the International Poetry Writing Competition and for local poets to come together to share their work.

“This competition gets bigger each year and it’s always thrilling to see the high calibre of the talent and interest it attracts.

“The 13th annual international poetry competition offers a total prize value of more than $7800 and is open to anyone from the age of five years.

“We are expecting more than 1000 entries from people of all ages and backgrounds.”

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the competition had unearthed a wealth of talented poets from around Australia and overseas but particularly from within Ipswich.

“It has always been wonderful to witness the number of people simply having a go and lodging an entry for the Ipswich Poetry Feast,” Cr Pisasale said.

“We have a strong group of entrants who try their hand each year at the competition.

“Our judging panel always find it extremely challenging to come up with the annual list of winners and I’m sure this year’s competition will once again deliver a flood of quality entries.”

Cr Pisasale said the Ipswich Poetry Feast was open to everyone from young people to adults.

“I encourage all poetry enthusiasts to put pen to paper and take part in this year’s competition.

“If you have an interest in poetry writing then this is the competition for you.”

Entries for the 2015 Ipswich Poetry Feast will close on July 24.

Further information about the Ipswich Poetry Feast events is available from Ipswich Libraries on 3810 6755 or by visiting the Ipswich Poetry Feast website at

The event was created after Ipswich author Judith Baker revealed the town's local connection to literary legend Henry Lawson in 1999.

In 1891, Lawson was so captivated by the sad but true tale of young sisters Bridget Kate and Mary Jane Broderick who drowned in a waterhole at Walloon, that he immortalised them in his poem The Babies of Walloon.

Once all the official proceedings were over, Breakfast attendees took to the podium in this annual celebration of poetry.

Graveside Blessing for the Babies of Walloon

Bridget Kate and Mary Jane Broderick, our Babies of Walloon, had their final resting place, now adorned with a black marble monument, officially blessed on 21 March 2015.

Members of Briget and Mary's extended family gathered at the graveside as Father Neville Yun of St Mary's Church blessed the site. Misty rain fell from the sky, falling on the girls' effigies like tears rolling down cheeks at this heartfelt ceremony in Ipswich Cemetery.

Ipswich City Council, represented by Mayor Paul Pisasale, Cr David Pahlke and Cr Paul Tully, pay their respects.

Members of the Ipswich Poetry Feast Committee pose with The Babies of Walloon author, Judith Baker, and Broderick family representative, Joan Busby.

Family members and other attendees lay their floral tributes on the gravestone.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Henry Lawson visits Ipswich – in 2014!!

What’s this, Henry Lawson, alive and well in 2014? Yes, I kid you not. Henry himself took to the stage at the Ipswich Poetry Feast Awards Presentation on Friday 24 October.

IPF’s Chair, Cr David Pahlke, took this amazing opportunity to ask the famous Australian poet a few questions. Henry spoke about his impetus to write The Babies of Walloon, his time living and working in Brisbane and – quite a strong underlying theme – his love of a nice little tipple.

Later in the night’s program, Henry regaled guests with a telling of his well-known short story, The Loaded Dog. Many a snicker was heard around the room as Henry gave animation to the antics of the story’s four-legged star, Tommy.

On Saturday morning, Henry visited the drowning site of Bridget Kate and Mary Jane Broderick, the Babies of Walloon. He stood at the edge of the waterhole, now devoid of the beautiful water lilies that drew Bridget and Mary to their tragic, watery end, and shuddered with the eerie, ghostly feeling that surrounds this site.

Next stop was an ego-boosting trip to the Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park in Walloon. Here Henry basked in the shadow of the six foot bronze monument in his own image - I swear his chest puffed out to Herculean proportions. His happy snaps of the occasion included shots of himself with the Babies of Walloon statue. A lovely little keepsake for him to take (home?) (heaven?) (hmmm?).

And, no sight-seeing trip by Henry Lawson would be complete without – you guessed it – propping up the bar at a local Rosewood Hotel with a coldie close at hand.

Competition Winners honoured at Awards Presentation

They came to celebrate poetry
Written so flowing and free
Each took to the stage
Like words to a page
And accepted their prizes with glee

It was fabulous to see so much talent up on stage. All those little cuties with grins from ear to ear as their names were called out to accept their awards. All the grown-ups had mighty big grins too (and, yes, they’re all cuties also).

Many of our winners this year travelled long distances to make it to the Awards evening. We thank you whole-heartedly for making such an effort. This event aims to instil pride in our winners and inspire them to keep writing. What better way to achieve this than have them stand on stage, red-faced, in front of an audience of 200.

To all our winners that couldn’t make it to the Awards Night – we missed you! Please enter again next year and we’ll try and entice you, once again, to grace our stage.

View all our prize winning poems at: