Established in 2016, Queensland Poetry Festival’s Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize is Australia’s only open-age Indigenous poetry prize for an unpublished poem. Named in honour of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse, after receiving permission from Oodgeroo’s family and in close consultation with Quandamooka Festival.
I remember days at La Pa
going out with the Aunties
to look for quandongs
My grandfather was the bush, the coast, salmon gums, hakeas, blue-grey banskias
Wind-whipped water, tea-black estuaries, sun on grey stone
My grandfather was born on Country, was buried on Country
we are thieves of sunlight
mother and i,
soaking in the seasonal crusts
By waragal nightfall, Koori ngurra, Black’s camp. Firelight – tree flickering. Sounds of singing, gumleaf playing, trilling.
Arriving in her true country, calling her, singing her.
My voice echoes the cries of my forefathers
My feet trek truths of my ancestors
I rise in the essence of my predecessors