For many years, Australian Unity in association with the Australian Natives' Association (ANA) and Henry Lawson Memorial and Literary Society invited submissions of original bush poetry to be considered for the annual Australian Unity Bryan Kelleher Literary Award. 

Bryan Kelleher was a long standing member of the ANA who was passionate about acknowledging and honouring Australian achievements.  In 1983, his long association with the Henry Lawson Memorial & Literary Society lead to the annual commemoration of the birth of Henry Lawson on the 17th June—a celebration which Australian Unity continues to support.

Bryan was involved in all aspects of ANA life. He was regular contributor to Anapress and was the author of many booklets, writing on a range of topics such as Australian constitutional reform, ANA literature, art and science awards and Australian poetry.

The competition

While Australian Unity no longer runs the Bryan Kelleher Literary Award, we encourage that you read the winning poems of years past and bask in the creativity of aspiring and seasoned bush poets.

What is bush poetry?

An Australian Bush poem is any poem with good rhyme and metre, written about Australia, Australians or the Australian way of life.  Some famous bush poets include Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson and Dorothea Mackellar.

The Henry Lawson Memorial and Literary Society lnc. 

The Society was formed in 1923 by a group of people who wanted to celebrate the memory of one of Australia's greatest story writers and poets, Henry Lawson.

The group meets once a month and members read and recite their own works, as well as stories and poems by Henry Lawson and other traditional Australian writers.

If you would like to join the Henry Lawson Memorial and Literary Society or attend one of their regular meetings, please visit their website for more details.