Despite some welcome-to-the locals rain in the lead up to this year's festival, around 300 people stayed on through the unseasonal pre-festival downpours to greet the sun and the stars of the Outback for the annual reverie of the Drovers' Camp Festival and all the side events that make it an especially great week to be on the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory.
There was the usual music and poetry entertainment around the town at the Post Office Hotel and van park, in various street locations as well as down -by -the-riverside where the Georgina was resplendent with water and bird life. There was the Friday Drovers' Luncheon, the Friday night parade, mail run and auction and after, invited musicians rotated for a great street concert.
Saturday was music and more music at the Drovers' Camp with some wonderful walk-up artists also contributing. There was the annual Race meeting at Cronin Park, the art, photography and memorabilia exhibitions and of course, all the bronco branding competition events. Visiting from the Riverina, South Australia was Mick Batchelor and his horse Wallace representing the 6th Light Brigade (see photo) cantering to Brenda Joy's background recitation of Banjo Paterson's The Last Parade.
As always, there was the very special line up of those men and women who lived through the droving era of our history . This year many of them related yarns of their experiences.
For Saturday night the Southern Cross Media Country Music Spectacular featured the touring 'Anne Kirkpatrick Family and Friends' show.
Sunday, following the pattern of recent years, began with the Bush Poets' Breakfast with invited bush poets Brenda Joy and John Lloyd ably supported by poets and yarn spinners warming-up for the Drovers' Camp Talent Award. The Bronze Spur Award was announced at the breakfast and Brenda 'launched' her new DVD In the Spirit.
The Lake Nash band then played gospel for a moving Sunday Service.
The DCTA, judged by Brenda and Hal took to stage with 20 different bush poetry, yarn or ballad/song acts. After the Awards ceremonies, music continued on into the afternoon.
All in all another successful event for the border town and the wonderful team of organisers who make it all run smoothly. We would recommend everyone to come to Camooweal in the fourth weekend of August 2017, for that authentic Outback experience which celebrates all that is traditionally Australian.
I have been one of those fortunate people who have had the opportunity to indulge in a wide variety of interesting experiences. I grew up in a musical family and even as a child artistic pursuits were my passion. This transferred in adulthood to being a University student, a primary and special education teacher working with learning disabled children, an author, an artist, a night club singer, a minstrel, a troubadour, a storyteller, and last, but of course not least, a wife and a mother.
As a balladeer/songwriter I first came into contact with modern day Australian bush poets in Charters Towers in 2007. Although I spent a lot of my early adulthood and initial marriage years travelling extensively overseas with my English born husband, I've always been a 'bushy'. I was born in Tasmania where my Dad was one of the original 'piners' who selectively axed, hauled and milled the Huon and King Billy pines in the rugged west coast forests of our island State. My penchant has always been towards the solitude, freedom and beauty that Australia can offer. So finding a living genre that dedicated itself to promoting the uniqueness of 'Australia, Australians and the Australian way of life', together with an art form that preserved the exactitude of musical rhyme and metre - I felt as if I had come home.
Since then all of my endeavours have been towards helping to keep alive and vibrant our unique Australian culture and language through the diversity of avenues that Bush Poetry offers. With my involvement as both writer and performer, I have dragged my poor husband Hal around to festivals and events throughout the cities, townships and outback of this wonderful land we are all blessed to live in. Hal has gradually been drawn in to the enthusiasm and excitement that the wandering band of exponents share and this year he has even taken on the Presidency of the Australian Bush Poets Association whilst I have become the Secretary.
So life is not going to be either less demanding or less stimulating into the future.
BRIEN, Chloe, (Ed.), 2016 Award Winning Australian Writing, Melbourne Books, Melbourne, 2016.
"Award Winning Australian Writing provides readers with an opportunity for discovery - not just of great writing, but of tomorrow's literary stars. And what a journey of discovery it is!"
-- Lisa Dempster, Director of the Melbourne Writers Festival.
"AWAW had been participated in by a myriad of Australian writers and competitions, each representing - and enriching - the country's diverse literary landscape. AWAW is committed to showcasing the work of writers who have stamped their names on Australia's writing community, as well as those who are enjoying the first flushes of success."
-- Scott Wilson, The Fringe Magazine
From 'Competitors' listings --
Brenda Joy's career was as a primary and special education teacher but she is also a published author, an exhibiting artist, and a balladeer/folk storyteller.
Brenda lives in Charters Towers North Queensland but with her husband Hal, she travels widely as 'The Darling of the Outback', to festivals and community events to judge, perform and present workshops for adults and children. She is the Promotions Officer for the Australian Bush Poets Association and the host editor for the Young Xpressions pages of the literary magazine Free XpresSion.
I have been one of those fortunate people who have had the opportunity to indulge in a wide variety of interesting experiences. I grew up in a musical family and even as a child artistic pursuits were my passion. This transferred in adulthood to being a primary and special education teacher, a published author, an exhibiting artist, a night club singer, a minstrel/troubadour, a storyteller, and last, but of course not least, a wife and a mother.
Throughout it all, I've always been a 'bushy'. I was born in Tasmania where my Dad was one of the original 'Piners' who selectively axed, hauled and milled the Huon and King Billy pines in the rugged west coast forests of our island State. My penchant has always been towards the solitude, freedom and beauty that Australia can offer. In 2008, when I 'found' a living tradition that dedicated itself to promoting the uniqueness of Australia, together with an art form that preserved the exactitude of musical rhyme and metre, all within a community of creative and supportive enthusiasts - I felt as if I had come home. Since then all of my endeavours have been towards helping to keep our genre alive through the diversity of avenues that Bush Poetry offers.
Having attained a reasonable swag of performance awards between 2008 and 2011, I left competition, but that training ground provided a kick-start into the arena of ABPA, corporate and community events as performer, MC and/or judge. When the 'Muse' insists and time allows, I still enter written competitions to hone my skills and I have been blessed to receive 48 Firsts, 42 Seconds, 35 Thirds and over 90 Highly Commendeds/Commendeds since 2010 - which simply amazes me.
I contribute frequently to the ABPA Magazine and Website and this year I have become the Host Editor for Young Xpressions in the lovely, printed, literary magazine Free XpresSion. This, together with working in schools, affords the opportunity to do something towards generating a love of bush poetry in our talented youth.
Having a wife who was both performer and writer, Hal was inevitably drawn into the enthusiasm and excitement that our wandering band of exponents share and as a travelling partnership, we are now in our second year as President and Secretary of the ABPA.
With all of this, life promises to be no less demanding nor any less stimulating into the future.
Meet a Poet - Brenda Joy
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.