Roger cracks the title of our best bush poet

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Email Adam Poulsen
Roger Cracknell was crowned winner of the WA Bush Poets and Yarnspinners State Championships in Toodyay earlier this month.
Camera IconRoger Cracknell was crowned winner of the WA Bush Poets and Yarnspinners State Championships in Toodyay earlier this month. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian, Adam Poulsen

A Geraldton retiree has been crowned WA’s top bush poet.

Roger Cracknell, 76, was judged overall winner at the WA Bush Poets and Yarnspinners State Championships in Toodyay earlier this month.

“I had four winning poems,” Mr Cracknell said.

“The first one was a serious poem by Henry Lawson; the second one was a contemporary poem by a guy called Terry Piggott, who’s a mate of mine; and then I had to do two of my own: one humorous and one serious.

“You just work your way through the four categories, score as much as you can, and hope to buggery that you get somewhere.

“I was very pleased because the best I had ever done was in 2016, when I came second.”

Mr Cracknell — who was born in Norfolk, England and moved to Australia in 1965 — began writing poetry about 16 years ago, when he and wife Janice moved to Geraldton.

While his greatest influences are Slim Dusty, Banjo Patterson and “the immortal” Lawson, much of his inspiration is drawn from his own travels across Australia.

“You get stranded up in places like back ’o Burke, Alice Springs, or somewhere like that, and you get a whole different idea on life,” he said.

“I did a few things — poultry farmer, lunch bar, roadhouse — and then we travelled around Australia for 10 years, which gives you a pretty good insight into the country and is a good basis for bush poetry.”

Mr Cracknell said he looked forward to entering the State Championships each year for the chance to catch up with other bush poets.

But mateship aside, he said the competition could be fierce.

“We’re out to do each other, don’t worry about that,” he said. “It’s a serious competition, but it never gets over the top of mateship and friends and all this.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails