Last Updates - Dec 2012 1 Poem Added 


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List of Poems (in alphabetical order)  Note poems are on several web pages - Please use the links below to go to the poems rather than scroll down the page. 


Title Poet
A Thousand Miles     Brian Langley
Christmas Lights at Mandurah    Eileen Noakes
Coodardy    Colleen O'Grady
End of the Trail   Keith (Cobber) Lethbridge
Foxes and Ferals     New Dec 12 Mary McGregor-Craigie
Ghost Town of Big Bell    Colleen O'Grady
Ghosts in an Old House   Val Read
Infectious Plebiscitis Wayne Pantall
It Happened  Arthur Leggett
My Best Mate  -  Possum Val Read
Now Look 'Ere  Hadley Provis
On Old Albany Road Wayne Pantall
Pre-Cooked Meals    Brian Langley
Sardines   Keith (Cobber) Lethbridge
Spirit of Australia   Corin Linch
The Beauty of a Saddle for a Throne Irene Conner
The Flying Bishop    Colleen O'Grady
The Forest Brian Langley
The Galah Session  Colleen O'Grady
The Good Life  Corin Linch
The Old Timer   Irene Conner
The Turkey (Stuffed) John Miller
Childrens Poems from WABP / Melville City  Written Comp  
Winning Poems from the 2007 WA State Champs - Written Comp.


A Thousand Miles to Catch a Dream

Was in the southern winter months
the young man came to fish
the rugged shores near Quobba Point.
He'd always had a wish

to cast a line into the sea.
To him, it didn't seem
a long long way to come from home,
To maybe catch a dream.

There's more big fish at Quobba
than anywhere, it's said.
A thousand miles is not too far.
When dreams are in your head.

A thousand miles to catch a dream,
while a thousand miles away
his family, they could picture him
fulfilling dreams that day.

He stood upon the jagged rocks
ten feet above the waves,
and heard them sigh as each one passed
into the limestone caves

that nature, in ten thousand years
had worn beneath his feet.
The young man gazed into the sea,
his dreams not yet complete.

He cast his bait into the waves,
with hope that he might feel
the ecstasy a strike will bring
as line screams from his reel.

A bite. He jerks. The hook is set.
He makes a silent wish.
That dreams becomes reality
and he can catch this fish.

He reels in line to keep it taut,
walks closer to the edge.
No way that he will let this fish
get snagged upon a ledge.

Then from the sea, a mighty wave,
from nowhere so it seems.
A wave that changes destiny.
A wave that shatters dreams.

For when the wave had passed away
and all its fury spent.
The young mans friends could only stare
and wonder where he went.


For all that there was there to see
was a rainbow in the spray.
And the ocean sighing gently
with each wave that crossed the bay

His friends and family later came
to say their last goodbye
and ponder on the mystery
of why he had to die.

For it seems that young men do not heed
the warnings that they see.
They never pause to ponder on
their own mortality.

For as you come to Quobba,
there's a sign that's three feet high.
A sign that tells you "King Waves Kill."
It stares you in the eye.

But signs and warnings go unseen
by many in this place.
They've come for dreams of giant fish.
They've gone without a trace.

For the ocean, here at Quobba
quite often hides its dead.
They're buried in the caves beneath
the rocks on which we tread.


They set a plaque into the rocks,
a plaque that gives his name.
A plaque that tells the story,
the reason that he came.

A thousand miles to catch a dream.
It's there for all to see.
Set in bronze, upon the rocks
A place in history.

A thousand miles to catch a dream.
While a thousand miles away
his family they cannot forget
that fateful winter's day

Brian Langley 18th May 2000


It would be greatly appreciated if anybody visiting the Quobba area (North of Carnarvon, WA) and stumbling across the plaque (which is located in the vicinity of the HMAS Sydney Memorial) could send me details of the young man's name 


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Infectious Plebiscitis

There’s wooden blinds and verticals, and tinted mirror glass
We can’t see up and in; we’re down and out; we’re lower class.
It’s a little disconcerting, in this one way goldfish bowl,
To feel the eyes that watch us pouring concrete in the hole

When we work at places where the folks are upper crust,
We must discipline our sphincters, till we’re near about to bust.
We dare not drink much water, and deprive ourselves of food.
We are lowly little plebiscites, so obviously crude.

We dare not taint the garden, or the tempting lemon tree.
We don’t know if someone’s watching, but we know that they can see.
We cannot work and cross our legs; The only thing to do,
Is jump into the van and drive to find a public loo.

We’re grotty little plebiscites who work out in the sun
One never knows what one might catch, if one should talk to one.
Unworthy of acknowledgment, in any shape or form.
Plebiscitis is infectious and it may become the norm.

We build their walls and renovate; add value to their homes.
In their eyes we have the status, of little working gnomes.
Their gnomes’ll stand and smirk at us, as we work on in pain.
Are we homo erectus? Are we hard to toilet train?

A garage door will open by itself from time to time.
A silhouette drives in or out; no need for bell or chime.
Each tinted family member has the latest four-wheel drive,
They’ve a Rotty dog, who salivates the moment we arrive.

Is it really all that hard to just say “How ya goin’ mate?
If you need to use the toilet, go round this way through the gate.
When a house exudes a glaring disregard for flesh and mind,
One cannot help but wonder, why some sighted folk are blind.

But as mere plebs we slave away; so clearly that’s our lot.
For it’s not what we are, it’s what we do, and what we’ve got.
Then suddenly it hits me; all my questioning abates.
They’re all West Coast Eagles members, and they’ve seen my Dockers plates.

Wayne Pantall  11/12/04

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 It Happened 

In a bush school in a country town
They raised the flag each day,
And sang a patriotic song
To England – far away.

The teacher spoke with feeling
Of the Empire, big and strong
Protecting all those nations
Dividing right from wrong

The children sang “God Save the King”
With gusto and with joy
The brickie’s lad, the baker’s son
And Sam, the blacksmith’s boy

Then in the wondrous years of growth
T’wixt boyhood and the man
They vowed they’d fight like heroes
If ever war began.

Loud came the clarion call “To Arms”
They heard the war drums beat
Felt the spirit of adventure
In the rhythmic tramp of feet

The town turned out to see them off.
Loud cheering filled the air
“We’re proud of you young fellows,
Australia will be there!”

The boys with carefree wave of hand
Leaned from the crowded train
To shout “Don’t worry over us!
We’ll soon be home again!”

The brickie and his blacksmith mate,
The baker by their side,
Stood beaming on the platform
“Our boys!” they said with pride.

The teacher with complacent smile
Told people in the crowd
We taught them of the Empire
They make us feel so proud

Mums wiped tears from moist filled eyes
Watched the train fade down the track
To disappear in shimm’ring heat
“Dear God, please send them back.”





Into the boats and row my lads,
Pull for the hazy shore
Just another mile to go!
You’ll soon be in the war!

The Turkish flares with blinding flash
Turned darkness into day
Machine guns crackled on the slopes
The ocean spluttered spray

The boat, it ground onto the beach
The sand now turning red
The baker’s son lay on the oar
Already he was dead.

The brickies son leapt from the boat
His lusty bushman’s yell
Cut short by shrapnel’s buzzing “Plop”
Three steps he took; then fell.

The blacksmith’s boy stood for a while
Appalled at all the slaughter
And how his mate’s head rolled around
With wavelets in the water.

“Keep moving” yelled Authority
“Pick up his Lewis Gun.
Get up against the cliff’s rock face
That’s it, man!  Now run!”

He didn’t make it off the beach
Machine gun’s chattering laugh
Caught him just below the ribs
And chopped him nigh in half

In a bush school in Australia
They sing “God Save the King”
The brickie sometimes pauses
When he hears the magpies sing

The baker in his daily toil
Imagines scenes of battle
In the heat around the oven fires
And in the bread pan’s rattle

The clanging of the anvil
Down in the smithy’s shack
Sounds like some bell’s slow tolling
For sons who wont come back

The teacher, at the end of day
Looks to the setting sun
With clasping hands she softly asks
“Dear God, what have we done?”

Arthur Leggett

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Left broken by the racing track,
poor Possum was a crippled hack.
The owner sneered and left him there:
“The Knackery,” without a care.

But no one took the horse away;
it struggled to survive each day.
A muddy creek ran through the field;
the arid ground scarce grass did yield.

Dad saw the racehorse left behind,
and seeing no one seemed to mind –
he loaded him onto the truck
which was, for Possum, best of luck.

The horse was in an utter mess,
so cowed and beaten, sheer distress
was etched in every jutting bone;
Dad could not leave him there alone.

But time does heal, and Possum thrived,
and by the time we kids arrived,
the horse was frisky, fat and sleek,
no longer was his future bleak.

We’d all take turns to have a ride,
no saddle on his chestnut hide,
and he would gallop all let out,
while we’d hold on and madly shout.

In time we’d all go back to school
to learn about the Golden rule.
Dad told us Possum moped around;
he fretted with a grief profound.

He seemed to take a shine to me,
so calm and patient he would be.
In time I rode him like a pro,
and all across the land we’d go

When I was due, he knew the date,
was always watching by the gate.
Oh, how he gleamed in midday sun,
his brown eyes twinkling, full of fun.

They say that animals don’t show
emotions, but it’s just not so.
That horse conveyed his thoughts to me;
a loyal friend he’d always be.<

When Mother died, and tears were shed,
his gentle lips caressed my head.
I tell you, all my grief he knew,
and did what any friend would do.

He’d snicker comfort as I wept,
and all my deepest secrets kept.
We shared such deep comraderie;
that horse meant all the world to me.

When came the time – to manhood grown,
I had to make a life alone,
and Possum knew he wouldn’t see
another carefree year with me.

And so it was; he died that year;
the memories still bring a tear.
I feel somehow I let him down
because I had to work in town.

But when I come to visit Dad,
and think of times when just a lad,
I hear – when nights are clear and still
his whinny calling from the hill.

The day will come when he and I
will gallop o’er the moonlit sky.
We’ll both be young and spry again,
a horse and boy on Heaven’s plain.

V.P. Read.   23/6/2006.

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Now Look 'Ere
Now when you cuss or make a fuss
Is often because you just seek an outlet.
'Cos some plan you had in mind, comes unstuck and then you find
Pure frustration only leads to further upset!

And if you find you're in a bind
Keep your head and try to stay above it
'Cos solution will be near, if you keep your vision clear
And not kick the dog or not tell us where to shove it.

So remember it is folly, to ever lose your "lolly"
Be reminded you are made of better stuff
Do not see "bloody red", Just stop and scratch your head
For a clearer head (and a head thet's free of dandruff).

(c) Hadley Provis  Oct 00
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 On Old Albany Road
The warm smell of bread in the mist and the smoke,
matches the cheer of the grocery bloke,
who is busily setting up shop for the day,
as a wagon comes rolling from Albany way.

On Albany Road as a freckly kid
smiles at the milko adjusting the lid,
of the billy can brimming, so creamy and white;
sister Ivy is stroking the mare on the right.

The penny they spend on the Albany Road,
rattles a purse in a humble abode,
and will jingle the till of the quaint butcher shop,
as the change for old Nanna Brown's sausage and chop.

The Smithy accepting the fish from a man,
passes the penny and takes down a pan,
while his teapot is welcome to one and to all,
with a joke and a yarn for whomever should call.

The penny is warm from the palm of the girl,
who gives with a "Thank you" - grins with a swirl,
running happily home, bringing bread for the toast,
with fresh butter and jam, of which Dad eats the most.
On Albany Road as the penny goes round
tables and counters there's joy at the sound,
and a warming of souls at the take and the give,
of reciprocal values of 'live and let live'.

For hundreds of miles from the north to the south,
good local money, is food in the mouth
of the farmer, the postie, the teacher, the nun,
of the kids in the bush and the towns - everyone.

Our concrete and bitumen highway today
serves as a means to whisk dollars away
to a man overseas, with a screen and a mouse,
who is raising the lease, on what once was her house.

The sight of the old copper coin in the sand,
is warm to her heart, and warm to her hand,
as old Ivy Jean Amity nuzzles a mane,
and is skipping down Albany Road once again.

Wayne Pantall 15/8/05

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Pre-Cooked Meals
I'm quite amazed at what I see
When, with a shopping cart
I wander down the freezer aisles
Inside the super-mart

There's packs and packs of frozen meals
For each and every taste
They're boneless and they're skinless
So there's very little waste

There's Chinese, Thai, Italian too
And good old Aussie pies
There's honey mustard chicken breasts
And spicy curried thighs

There's roast lamb with some veg'tables
There's sweet and sour fish
There's something there for everyone
There's everything you'd wish

And they're not all that expensive
For if you buy them when
The're on the super special list
Which happens now and then

They only cost about two thirds
The average going price
And so it's cost effective and
They're also very nice

So now I am the cook at home
This once quite useless geezer
Each day I cook a different meal
I get it from the freezer

No need to spend an hour or two
preparing beef or mutton
I pop it 'em the microwave
And press the re-heat button

(c) Brian Langley 22 Feb 2007

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The Beauty of A Saddle for a Throne

I’ve never driven cattle herds across the great outback
nor sat astride a favoured mare along a bushmans track.
I’ve never picked a guiding star above the fire at night,
enjoyed the wonder of the sounds so far beyond my sight.

I’ve never watched the morning sun rise up to meet the sky
to bake the hardy Spinifex that just refused to die.
and never saw the evening glow drape over dusty plain
to cloud me in a velvet cloak as darkness fell again.

My life was filled with city streets and choking traffic fumes,
with non-descript, square, boxy homes, and tiny little rooms;
I looked upon a plain brick wall outside my windowpane
and hated all the muddy mess  that followed winter rain.

I worked behind a desk all day with walls two feet away;
and answered phones and typed out words to earn my weekly pay.
I sat alone within my car on crowded freeway lanes
then, once at home I’d hide behind the strength of lock and chains.

But often when the days were fine, I’d wander to the park
and there I’d find my solace underneath a paperbark.
A book of verse by Ogilvie called Saddle for a Throne
would take my mind to places that I only wish I’d known.

I drifted with the souls that lie in lonely graves out west
and gently placed a single bloom upon their place of rest.
I felt the strength and power of the racing Rosalind
as we sought to greet the rising sun against the morning wind.

I rode beside the cattlemen and joined their lonely camp
and snuggled under canvas when the night was cold and damp.
I felt the silent magic of a chilly outback dawn
and watched her ride the Rebel as another tale was born.

My mind was filled with wonder as I read that treasured verse
and took a special journey through a country so diverse.
So thank you Will for sharing all the places you have known
as I recall the beauty of ‘A Saddle for A Throne’.

(c)   Irene Conner  11/05/06

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The Old Timer

Across the lonely common room I see you sitting there,
a shrunken ghost of younger days, no family to care.
I see the wrinkled skin that tears with ev’ry careless grip,
the useless hand, the twisted leg; the endless dribbling lip.

 I watch you in your silent world as people come and go
and sorrow for the loss of tales that now we’ll never know.
You cannot speak to ask for help, nor tell us how you feel
but underneath the outward wreck, who knows what you conceal?

I’ve seen the well worn hat that sits upon your greying hair;
the moleskins folded in your room you never get to wear.
I’ve seen your battered riding boots that once adorned your feet;
the calloused hands that tell of work in dust, and dirt and heat.

I’d love to sit and hold your hand and talk to you awhile
and let you know that someone cares enough to make you smile.
I’d love to listen to the yarns you’ve gathered through the years;
to know the stories that have fed your laughter and your tears.

Were you among the drovers who would travel dusty plains,
who slept beneath the canvas in the midst of winter rains;
a cattleman who did it hard, from sunrise through to dusk,
a man who never wasted words – aloof and sometimes brusque?

Perhaps you were a horseman who was known throughout the land
for skill within the saddle, and a gentle, kindly hand.
A man who raced with brumbys over mountainside and plain,
who held his pony steady with the lightest touch of rein.

I wonder if you’d tell of droughts that wither scrub and grass,
of cattle that lay dying on the tracks o’er which you pass,
of waterholes that shrink beneath the harsh relentless sun;
the dying throes of wildlife you must silence with your gun.

Or have you fought the waters of a raging, swirling flood
that left your land beneath a coat of slowly drying mud;
that took away your livelihood – your crops and all your sheep
and forced a change of life so you could try to earn your keep?

Perhaps you travelled outback trails with wagon, kids and wife,
or maybe you could tell us of a lonely swaggies life.
And have you lost a family for whom you’ll always care?
It seems I’ll always wonder as I see you sitting there.

Copyright I Conner 20/01/07
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The following poems are the winning entries in the WABP / Melville City Junior Written Poetry Competition Held in July 2007

1st Place

Joshua  (Age 9)

Van Diemen’s Land


When masters cruel and owners vile,
Cause their slaves to curse and rile,
The servants tend to steal and rob,
And gather in an angry mob.

 But all these rebels as they stand,
Are shipped off to Van Diemen’s Land.
Because they never understood,
That stealing isn’t ever good.

 Some are turned to bandit thieves,
And only gold their mind relieves,
For their hearts are full of strife,
As hard as stone and sharp as knife.

 So they are sent to deathly fate,
To save them, it is far too late,
Now that their lives are dead and done,
They live no more under the sun.

For now their bones are grey and dull
Like the bottom of an old ship’s rotting hull,
While others were put into dank jails,
With iron bars and metal rails.

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2nd Place

Hanna  (Age 11)

In Search of a Mine

 One winter morn on a cold cold day,
Met two old bushmen on their way
With shovels high and thumping feet
They walked along the dusty street.

Noon time came and noon time went,
Now the day was almost spent
And still no sight of that treasured mine
That is, until they saw a sign.

 With whoops of joy, they began to race
Both bushmen to their destined place.
For this finally was their precious mine
Of silver, gold and tourmaline.

Ant thus with excitement they pitched their tents
And quickly to bed they both did went.
Finally the day dawned bright and clear,
And the chance of a find seemed very near.

After having eaten their fill,
They walked joyfully up the hill,
To enter their most precious mine,
Of silver, gold and tourmaline.

With picks and axes and shovels and pans,
The two old bushmen quickly ran.
Into the black mine they did go,
How the wind did howl and blow.

At evening tide both men came back,
They dug all day till both turned black.
But merry they were despite all that,
Because their gold looked big and fat.

This mining affair continued, for four and twenty days
And finally their money bills could soon all be repaid
They came home lugging a heavy load of gem,
And everyone cried “Just take a look at them!”

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3rd Place

Alanna (Age 11)

The Anzac Poem

The smoke billowed down from the cannons
In a strong and mighty roar,
We drank water in large gallons,
And our clothes are all a tore.

 Most of us are scared,
Although some are quite brave,
But no matter the courage you bared,
You would still end in a grave.

 Most of my friends have died,
But I may still make it through,
For many nights I have cried,
And do not know what to do.

 The war was soon done
I had written a letter to my wife
But then I saw the gun,
That would shortly take my life.

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4th place was shared by two poems, both by the same young lady  

Ee Faye   (Age 11)

Australia’s Awesome Arrange of Animals

Australia’s many a native beast
Quokkas and wallabies are not the least
Much like hedgehogs and porcupines
The marsupial echidna has many spines.

Sleepy koalas sit in their trees
Munching on eucalyptus leaves.
All platypi have slick brown fur
A male platypus has a poison spur.

 The emu is a bird with no flight
But to see it running is quite a sight.
The roo’s strong legs let it hop around
The tail keeps it balanced to leap and bound.

 The waddling wombat is slow and big
Its powerful paws help it dig.
 This is a part of our great Aussie array
Now go and meet them to say ‘G’day!’


Bushfire Alert

In Australia’s summer, in the bush
Bushfires smoulder, often and long
Delicate, natural plants it will crush
Firemen help to right that wrong.

Fire, fire, sirens ringing
Bushland aflame with a terrible light
Fire, fire, people screaming
Volunteers rush to begin the fight.

 Through the trees the fire rages
Turning majestic plants to ashes
The sparking flames, so contagious
Among the twigs and leaves it dashes.

 Fire, fire, animals fleeing
From their bright and perilous foe
Fire, fire, animals escaping
From their charred and burnt down homes.

 The Bushfire’s calmed; it will no longer roam
But it turned plants brittle and black
No more are the bushes rooted in loam
The damage is done – they wont come back.

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Last Modified  Sep 8th 2007