Peter Mace with his Golden Damper award at Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Peter Mace with his Golden Damper award at Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Bush poet a master of the spoken word

BUSH poet Peter Mace still has to pinch himself to be convinced his success is not just a dream.

As a founding member of Gosford Bush Poets more than 10 years ago, Peter has entertained audiences at most of Australia's major folk and country music festivals, including the Gympie Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Port Fairy Festival and the National Folk Festival in Canberra.

He is a three-time winner of the Golden Damper Competition in Tamworth, Reciter of the Year at the National Folk Festival, and 2012 Australian Bush Poetry champion.

Peter has released two CDs, C'mon for a Laugh and Cry and Australian Made, which was a finalist in the 2011 Australian Bush Laureate Awards.

But it wasn't always this way. Peter got into the bush poetry scene later in life.

He had learned a few of Banjo Paterson's poems to recite around the campfire on many a trout fishing trip and when he was transferred to Vales Point Power Station on the Central Coast, he struck up a friendship with his new boss who was a bush poet from Tamworth.

 

Peter Mace and Vic Jeffries co ordinators of the Gosford Bush Poets with Noel Stallard of Narrandera.
Peter Mace and Vic Jeffries co ordinators of the Gosford Bush Poets with Noel Stallard of Narrandera.

About the same time, Peter discovered the folk festival scene and befriended a man who would become a great influence on his poetry, John Dengate.

Not only was John a great songwriter, singer and poet but shared with Peter a deep love of Ireland and with Peter's wife Anita hailing from Northern Ireland, the craic when they all got together was "fun and lively".

Peter had been attending a poetry group in Gosford while still working and when the convenor fell ill and it was in danger of folding he got together with Vic Jeffries to keep it afloat.

There were only eight people at their first night of running Gosford Bush Poets so they decided to try and attract a feature poet every second month.

Their first feature guest was John Dengate.

 

Peter Mace with Ted Graham, the director of the Finding Sydney Foundation.
Peter Mace with Ted Graham, the director of the Finding Sydney Foundation.

Membership gradually grew and now as many as 60 regularly attend their gatherings.

Peter first entered a poetry competition at Tamworth in 2005, and his original poem, The Poor Poet, was a finalist.

Two years later he won the competition and was again a winner in 2010 and 2012.

"They were great thrills and certainly inspired me to keep going," he said.

At the National Folk Festival in 2008, he was named Reciter of the Year for performing the moving Monty Grover poem of the Boer War.

Peter can be contacted on 43693561 or email peterthepoet@gmail.com


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