Undercover on a fresh country morning with the smell and comfort of an open fire with sausage, bacon and eggs cooking, is a decent way to start the day. Add to that many brilliant performances by bush poet entertainer Noel Stallard. Noel also performed in costume for the recitation of a 'stolen Japanese folk song', the 'original' version of Waltzing Matilda. Another costumed poem was of a washer woman giving advice on how to 'properly' hang out the washing according to peg colour and other linen-sorting instructions.
Poetry is one of only a handful of ways to keep alive Australian heritage. All performers expressed passion, whether the topics were of past lifestyles of hard labour on the land, mining, panning for gold or simply humour. There were more walk-up poets than any previous year. Poets included John Dooley's first ever reading of 'No Job for the Shearer', a recitation on the 1893 Brisbane flood and 'Clancy of the Overflow' sung by the talented Zelda Richardson of the Toowoomba Celtic singing group Aisling.
Noel Stallard recites a 'stolen Japanese folk' song.
Campfire poet John McGrady recited a poem on the lifestyle of an Aboriginal tribe with 'Namatjira's Homeland' which won John the cash first prize. Second place went to Dan Rutley and a special award to Zelda Richardson.
Noel Stallard brought audience members to the stage to perform parts from 'The Man from Ironbark' with hilarious results. Requests were performed with ease from this man of great memory. After the breakfast, Noel also conducted a workshop on writing bush poetry. From choosing a topic on anything Australian, to rhyme and meter, the workshop was excellent value for money.
The atmosphere was casual with plenty of 'seconds' available for breakfast and 'bottomless' cups of coffee served during poetry recitations.
Volunteers playing their parts at the 'smithie' and serving in the old-time kitchen.
Highfields Pioneer Village hosted the event, with skilled and costumed volunteers playing their parts at various sites which included the blacksmith's, silver smith's, the general store and others. The blacksmith was one of the most important people in a town as he repaired all of the farming equipment. Other attractions included lessons on a spinning wheel, craft markets, a petting zoo, knitting classes and choral performances by Sing Australia and the Salvation Army.
Some of the historic displays at the Highfields Pioneer Village.
Rider and Ericsson hot air pump engine working display.
A Rider and Ericsson hot air pump engine was one of the working displays. Farm equipment was viewable around the village.
Doll's clothing at the craft markets.
The event was supported by the Heritage bank. The entry fee included the poet's writing workshop, the breakfast and all displays within the village. All buildings were viewable making for a full day out.