Sunday 19 February 2023
Hosted by: Chinchilla Cancer Fund Event
Location: Chinchilla Museum, Villiers Street
Time: 7am - 9am
Enjoy a hearty breakfast while having a laugh with three of Australia's top performing bush poets Bill Keams, Gary Fogarty, Neil McArthur & Mick Martin.
Introducing Our Poets
Bill Kearns was raised on a dairy farm in northern NSW and has lived all his life in the Grafton area. Bill is now retired from his last job at a local Public Hospital.
A lifetime lover of traditional poetry, Bill set out about thirty years ago to be a serious writer of verse but alas he fell into the clutches of a band of Australian Bush Poets and was totally corrupted. He discovered a talent for writing comic verse and an ability to see
the weird and warped in seemingly normal everyday situations.
Bill’s greatest pleasure is to give a laugh or five whenever he performs, he reckons he saw very few people admitted to hospital suffering from laughing.
He is probably best known for “Entrapment”, his poem about the unfortunate incident with the plastic chair, and for his Senior Citz poems. He has however, retained a serious side and is sometimes known to slip a serious poem into a performance when you least
Bill has released several books and CD’s and has performed at all kinds of venues from small country halls and retirement homes to the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Gympie Muster.
Gary Fogarty has succeeded in doing what most of us aspire to, turning his ‘passion’ into a full time pursuit. After years of hard work and dedication to performing Bush Poetry, Gary can now legitimately lay claim to be one of Australia’s most popular and busy Bush Poets.
In a very short stint in Bush Poetry Competitions, Gary won the Inaugural Australian Bush Poetry Championship and several other major competitions before moving into the professional sector of entertainment.
A regular performer at some of this country’s major Festivals for many years now, Gary has taken the next step and as a member of the Australian Performing Arts Team has taken his craft to an international audience, claiming a Silver and Two Bronze medals at the prestigious World Championships of Performing arts in the USA.
The life for a bush poet is never dull and Gary balances his time between guest performances at well known Festivals such as Gympie, Tamworth, Mud Bulls and Music, and Booyup Brook , conducting writing and performing workshops for both school children and adults, corporate entertainment, voice-over work, roving announcing at Festival such as Chinchilla Melon Festival, Tara Festival of Culture, Australian Camp Oven Festival, and Gayndah Orange Festival, compeering a wide variety of events, as well as dabbling in song writing and composing Customised Poems for a growing client base.
While the entertainment industry is notorious for being fickle and no performer can take their future in the industry for granted, it would appear that with a long list of achievement and awards behind him, a burning desire to continue searching for ways to improve and that lifelong passion for his craft, that Gay Fogarty will be a part of the entertainment scene in this country for a long time yet.
Neil McArthur - The Ratbag Of Rhyme
The illegitimate son of a depressed Circus Clown and a wayward one-legged Nun, Neil has been on the road for over thirty years, with his sole mission being to use his collected Aussie yarns to put a grin on the dial of every Aussie he meets, through both Bush Poetry and Yarnspinning.
A regular performer and MC at Australia's most popular Festivals, this Ratbag Of Rhyme tries his hardest to cause mayhem and halt the PC crusade infiltrating the country at present. From Gay Farmhands to Shooting Swaggies, from Euthenising his Grandpa to crashing into the one tree in a thousand miles, nothing is sacred, but all within a language-friendly, non-offensive and Covid-safe style. Mostly!
Mick Martin is an accomplished poet and is the 2021/22 President of the North Pine Bush Poets Inc. He writes and has been published many times in National magazines including R M Williams “Outback” magazine. He frequently recites his poetry on ABC radio.
This year Mick has been performing as a featured artist in Monagaribli Care flight charity show, Boondooma Spirit of the bush, The Queensland outback Golf spectacular in Winton, NQ’s Rockin Queensland in Mackay, a series of shows with “The Vixens of Fall” , several gigs at the “Giddy up” Festival in Sandgate, The RNA (Brisbane Ekka) as a judge and as a feature performer. He has judged poetry competitions at many festivals and shares his poetic knowledge in schools like Padua and Sacred Heart. He was one of the comperes at the Millmerran camp oven festival in 2022. Mick is also a harmonica player in a small musical group called Three legged onion. He is a busy, busy chap and says “If you’re not living life on the edge you are probably taking up too much room”.
Mick works with various charities including “drought angels” and the farmer suicide prevention charity “Are you bogged mate”. He has also initiated and runs several farmer relief events including the F4F initiative on Fraser Island. A recent farmer support activity is arranging near new kitchens for farmers. Those fabulous kitchens are removed from near new luxury units and houses. Instead of sending them to the scrap he arranges tradies to travel out West and install them where they will do the most good for farmers.
He has been sending new clothing to the various farmer support groups and individual farmers for many years. He is now a trusted mate of many farmers who usually don’t accept help so it is a rare privilege. He is never bored and stays busy from dawn till after dark most days. His experiences in the bush and his farming background help to frame some of his better known poems like “Mates at the gate” and “Santa’s drought solution”
Mick says “I have written and memorised many poems based on my time in the bush, on our farm as well as in fire service. He loves the dry humour and gutsy determination of people who work the land. His poetry often comes from real life experience. His shows are often described as comedy shows but they are much more than that.