Spud Poets Competition





Home     School Program    Tutor Profiles   Spud Poets Award   Contacts   Places to stay   Photos 2004   Photos 2005   Bushwahzee



Spud Poets Application Form


In 2013 we will be continuing the change of format begun in 2012. This year Micky Bourke's Hitel will be hosting a Spud Poets Dinner - where all poets are welcome to come and read their poems on Thursday night January 3 2013 at 6pm. MC to be announced during the course of the year.

In 2012 there will be a change of format -The Spud Poets Award will be staged as a Spud Poets Night. The night will be chaired by Bill Clohesy, who will also be launching a collection and new publication of his original poems. All poets are welcome to come and read one of their poems. Entry to the event is free. The night was inspired by, Koroit Legend, Mary Fiorini-Lowell who wrote the The Humble Spud. Watch Mary Fiorini-Lowell perform The Humble Spud. Filmed by Australian film maker and Lake School Tutor, Ray Argall, at Lake School January 2009.


The previous winners were Chris Healy with Mas-cav-enger in 2006, Harry Reed with Spud Train in 2007, Francis Duggan with Old Casey in 2008, and Clare Milesi with Soda Scones in 2009 and and Bless Me Father...in 2010, and Seamus Foley with The Hills of Lurg in 2011.

The Lake School wishes to thank Bill Clohesy for providing the trophy which lists the names of the winners and is kept at Micky Bourke's Hotel, Koroit.

The Spud Poets Award is sponsored by Ausmed Publications

2011 Result Seamus wins the 2011 Spud Poets Award with his poem The Hills of Lurg

(Judges for 2011 were Bernadette Walters, Kevin McCarthy and Clare Milesi)

Seamus Foley with Mary Fiorini-Lowell (Bourke) at Crossley Hall

The Hills of Lurg - Seamus Foley
It’s springtime through the hills of Lurg, the country’s green and grand,
There’s people moving from the south, selecting bits of land,
A widow and her family, their horses, dray and cow,
Came straggling through the timbered hills and onto Greta town,
Already touched by tragedy, with nothing much to save,
A husband and a father gone, into an early grave,
They settled on a piece of ground, beside a shady rill,
And they turned their hands upon the land, below the baldy hill.
There’s trouble through the hills of Lurg and all the country round,
There’s people crying out for land, there’s squatters holding ground,
There’s drought that takes what they would sow, there’s nothing left to reap,
There’s poverty and hunger there, enough to make you weep,
There’s restlessness and anger too, redress in short supply,
There’s laws that give no quarter, or ask no reason why,
But when a mother lands in gaol, all reason must allow,
That anger turns to bloody rage, there would be murder now!
They’re gathering down by Stringybark to hunt the rebels down,
There’s rumours flying to and fro’ there’ll be no mercy shown,
Some say they’ll shoot them down like dogs, without a call to stand,
And haul their bloody bodies back tied down with leather-band,
But from the scrub four men stepped up, and tried to hold the sway,
A desperate run a grabbed for gun, a chance that’s gone astray,
There’s a rifle firing, tears and blood, oh Christ it’s all begun,
 And there’s three policemen lying dead before the day is done.
There’s war below at Glenrowan, beneath the Morgan’s hill,
There’s troopers come by special train, they’re rushing to the kill,
The guns are firing, bullets flying, women children caught,
There’s people wounded, people dying families distraught,
Down the hillside through the mist, a monster dressed in steel,
And all who saw stepped back in awe, the devil’s here for real,
Defiant to the very end, ‘ye can’t shoot me ye dogs’,
But he’s shot, he’s done, he’s on his knees, beside a fallen log.
It ended down in Melbourne town, upon the gallows tree,
And the grim events of those dark times are part of history,
And there were those who through it all are worthy of acclaim,
While others through their cowardly deeds could hang their heads in shame,
For when the powerful taunt the weak with laws meant to deny,
They’re bound to stand their ground and fight or else lie down and die,
Though they could take their liberty, they could not rule their minds,
For freedom is a heart’s desire, that will not be confined.
The hills of Lurg are silent now, and out the Oxley plains,
The moon shines down on Greta town, and all the country lanes,
The cool wind blows down Baldy hill, onto the fields below,
It rustles through the gable ends, and whispers at the door,
But it seems like no one’s here tonight, no lamplight shows inside,
And no one’s coming home tonight, they’re scattered far and wide,
Yes it looks like no one’s here tonight, no lamplight shows inside,
And no-one’s coming home tonight, they’re scattered far and wide.
© Seamus Foley December 2009.
Seamus Foley
Mobile: 0400 130 567
Phone: 03 5728 2627
36 Elgin Road, Beechworth Vic 3747


2010 Result - Clare Milesi wins 2010 Spud Poets Award with her poem Bless Me Father...

(Judges for 2010 were Shane Howard, Bernadette Walters and Kevin McCarthy)

                        Clare Milesi                           Spud Poets Trophy kept at Micky Bourke's Pub        Bill Clohesy MC and Judge for 2009 Spud Poets

Bless Me Father... by Clare Milesi

At Sacred Heart on a Sunday like many a country church

The visiting priest arrived early to subject the souls to a search

To seek out any transgressions confess them and have them absolved

Before Mass and breakfast to follow thus a Sunday routine had evolved

Now on the Sunday of this yarn I tell confession was well underway

The altar boys ready to sound the bell under the watchful eye of Miss Bridget O’Dea

As sacristan she had polished the brass and starched the linen for years

Cooked father’s breakfast and checked that the servers had washed behind their ears

She was glad to see as she glanced down the pew that Jim Hogan was the last in line

Everyone knew that Jim’s sins were few and that Mass would be starting on time

Jim was a mild-mannered sort of bloke not given to crotchets or whims

Folk tended to listen when’er he spoke there was no beating round the bush with Jim

The oldest of ten never married too shy to go courting or start a romance

But popular with the ladies at the parish ball for he was light on his feet and could dance

If folk thought about Jim at all they’d say he lived a life of moderation

No hint of scandal could e’er be recalled no tales of vice or dissipation

So with a near clear conscience and no sense of doom Jim entered the box once more

And adjusting his eyes to the darkened gloom he knelt on its hard wooden floor

No word of welcome came from the priest but Jim was quick to begin

The familiar words he singsong released Bless me Father for I have sinned

The crops are in and me time is scarce so I’ve skipped on the rosary and cut short me prayers

Me guts are playing up which leads me to think I might be getting a bit too fond of the drink

Old Harrington wanted too much for that well so I told him he could go to hell

And that horse he sold me did nothing but buck so I told him he could go and get f f fencing from somebody else

This is all I can remember Father and I’m very sorry for all me sinnin’

And the Jim settled back and waited to hear what penance he’d been given

He thought six Hail Marys should do not much more as his sins were few

But no penance came from Father McGraw no blessing floated Jim’s way

Struth thought Jim he must want more now what am I meant to say

He racked his brain for a commandment or creed he may have been tempted to flout

He stammered out a bunch of misdeeds he’d only ever read about

At the last parish mission he’s heard about how damnation surely followed lustful pleasure

So with beads of sweat breaking out on his brow he threw in a few of those for good measure

Meanwhile out in the pews the air was ripe with speculation for the length of time Jim had spent in the box had stirred up the congregation

The men of the parish had started to dwell on mysteries from the past

So he’s the bugger who stole me plough and so that’s who set off that blast

And spare me days I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim had something to do with that shifty publican who was full of lies and disappeared into the blue

Now the women of the parish had no need to dwell to ponder or to guess

Only one type of sin meant so long in the box and that was sins of the flesh

Wasn’t that Bridget wasting her time making eyes at a bachelor born

When all the while he’d been out on the tiles carousin’ from sundown til dawn

Miss Bridget O’Dea was looking stressed and had reached the end of her tether

The altar boys were long past their best and larked with their heads together

Mass was already an hour late Father’s breakfast would keep no more

So in a far from sanctimonious state she rapped on the confessional door

On the sight that caused due shock and surprise we do not need to dwell

Bridget quietly closed the poor priest’s eyes and released Jim from his hell The people left their church that day silent and forlorn

But in the days that followed it would be fair to say that a legend had been born

For word had quickly passed around was talked of day and night

And Jim Hogan once seen as so stolid and sound was now seen in a different light

In the pub the men would shout to excess but stayed wary when they were sober

While the women dressed and baked to impress and queued to invite Jim over

Jim stayed mum never venturing to say what happened that day in the box

And futile would it have been anyway like trying to get water from rocks

No words were needed wasn’t it always said the proof of the pudding’s in the eating

For whatever Jim had ceded the priest now was dead and those sins would take some beating


The Spud Poets Award was inspired by a poem written by local legend and Koroit born, May Fiorini-Lowell who read the poem at the Lake School Launch in July 2004.

See Mary perform The Humble Spud on youtube. Filmed by Australian film maker and lake School Tutor, Ray Argall, at Lake School January 2009

A video of Mary reading her poem and a copy of the text are below.

The Humble Spud

Mary Fiorini-Lowell  © 2002


Shaped like a gold nugget
The men who first dug it
Cried out "Eureka" - its gold we have found
But it was a spud come fresh from the ground
A spud of humility
And abounding utility
So full of surprises - one hardly surmises
To know all the ways that a spud can be praised
So unique in design, so delicious with wine
So heavenly roasted, no wonder its boasted
That a spud is a treasure
of price beyond measure
Be it oblong or round, when dug from the ground
Coming clean, or with mud
Such a shape has the spud, that they say
That's why God hid the spud in the sod
For man designs war tanks, and bridges and banks
And planes and fast cars
(He can fly through the stars)
But with all his power
He can't make the flower
Or the little white bud
That grows from the spud
And the food it provides
For the hungry world-wide
For the rich and the poor
(Kings and Popes to be sure have praised it in prayer)
Great songs have been sung in every known tongue
The spud has saved nations
That's why celebrations, in wartime and peace
For the spud never cease
O the stories in books which tell of the cooks
Throughout all the ages
Writ by poets and sages
 From the Tower of Babel
That when brought to the table
The spud should be carried
Like a bride to be married
Of the greatest renown, most deserving a crown
Is  the much loved magnificent, illustrious splendiferous
For all that it di' fer us
Lets praise with glad voices, the Spud
Spud Poets Application Form