RAS AB Paterson Bush Poetry Award Royal Agricultural Society of NSW ADFEA8E89F1C278F2558834977B546B4 Skip to main content

RAS AB Paterson Bush Poetry Award

Calling budding poets

The ‘RAS AB Paterson Bush Poetry Award’ is an open poetry Award that challenges school-aged poets to capture the beauty, mystique and characteristics of the Australian Bush in a new work of 50 lines or less. 

The two categories are for Primary aged (K - 6) and Secondary aged (7-12). Poems are assessed on the age level of each student.

All poems entered must have a recognisable Australian Bush theme and demonstrate high degrees of artistic and conceptual proficiency.

Awards are presented at the Sydney Royal Easter Show!

Closing Date of Entries:

 Friday 8 March 2024

Email entries: 


Post entries: 

Head of Education, Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, Locked Bag 4317, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127

Award information:

Download PDF


The winner of this competition will receive: 

-A copy of the beautiful book Banjo Paterson, A Life in Pictures & Words from the Family Archive, by Alistair Campbell (Pan Macmillan Publishers), 

-A copyrighted copy of Banjo Paterson’s original handwritten notes of the famous ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and 

-A Family Pass to the Sydney Royal Easter Show to attend the presentation at the Easter Show. 

The award is presented by a direct descendant of AB Paterson, during the lunchtime Entertainment Program in the Main Arena, when the winner will also recite their winning poetry work. (Date for presentation TBC.)

This competition provides students with the opportunity to become published authors and showcase their incredible creativity. The competition can be used as a whole class teaching activity or an individual project. To maximise the purpose of the competition, teachers are encouraged to refer to the NSW English Syllabus.

Poetry, keeping the culture in Agriculture!

By Bree Wong 

Trees dance to the rhythm of the wind as the clouds drift away, 
Leaves fall slowly, down, down, down, then on the ground they lay. 
I inhale a breath of the fresh, damp, earthy air and grin, 
The strong scent of eucalyptus wafts to my nose, around, then in. 
I close my eyes for a second or two and observe all of the sounds, 
Birds chirping, cicadas singing, these noises are all around. 
The female tree, her bark smooth as silk, 
Stands high above the clouds white as milk. 
The male tree, his bark coarse and rough, 
Looks like a strong bodybuilder, big and tough. 
The bitter taste of lilly pillies makes me turn up my nose, 
But, make it into a cordial and the appeal grows. 
The bush is so peaceful as the trees swing and sway, 
It’s a place you can be yourself and I like it this way.

By Brooke Chapman

The bush lays before me, she rests in silent majesty. 
She wears a gown of leaves that spiral and dance towards the ground. 
Atop her head, a crown of endless blue sky is perched. 
The line of mountains surrounds; an outline of her physique. 
Her shining eyes are the sun rays that dance across the shimmering waters. 
Birds singing their sweet melody are the mere echoes of her voice. 
The cracks and crevices that line her body are artworks of the places she’s been. 
Winding trees stretch into her delicate hands that reach towards the endless sky. 
Kangaroos stand proud, arching their backs and flexing their paws. 
Snakes slither and hiss, coiling their bodies and baring their fangs. 
Spiders tip toe silently, preparing to wrap any threats in delicate silk. 
These predators fortify, stopping at nothing to protect the bush, their queen. 
The bush, my queen, my safety, my muse, my love. 
Hold me always in your sovereign grace and breathe life into me. 
If you promise to remain in your perpetual beauty I will protect you forever. 
Though my words may try, they will never capture what sights and feelings my eyes 

By Julia Han 

I touch the eucalyptus trees
Leaves crunch under my feet.
Pieces of bark drop free
The forest floor complete.
I see butterflies fluttering in the wind
Sunlight grazing their wings.
Undefined and unconfined
Looking for what life can bring.
I hear the song of kookaburras
A melancholy mixture of melody.
An orchestra of highest class
The beautiful Australian familiarities.
I smell the scent of the billabong
Hidden behind the bushes.
Sand and stones pushed along
In the trickle of the fresh water pushes.
I taste cool drops of mist on the tips of my tongue
Fresh beads of dew that fall from the treetops
Lush and detoxing and beautifully young
Mint-raw but delicate in a way that never stops.
I touch
And see
And hear
And smell
And I taste
Yet my heart still wonders
About the things I may not know
My mind left to ponder
About the things that do not show.
But now the sun is high in the sky
And my thoughts are held to a rest
Questions flowing in full supply
For next time when I am once again a forest guest.
I guess now it is
Time to go back home.

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