Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

ORGANIZER: Hamish Danks Brown


Poets of the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane will be involved in this global poetry for change event on 24 September. Anyone interested in being involved can email Hamish Danks Brown via so that we can send some sunshine from our corner of the world! Sunshine on you poetic gems!

100 Thousand Poets for Change have Unlimited Poetic License

On the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, artists and performers are bullied and proscribed by bureaucrats from local and state government agencies. They are also limited in their opportunities to express themselves because of inflexible, incompetent and ignortant laws and regulations that discourage anything other than officially funded and sanctioned events, especially when it comes to busking, live music, grassroots community events and other less conventional kinds of performance.

The Sunshine Coast is a region of outstanding environmental significance, part of which is designated a UNESCO biosphere, which has a quality of life and community amentiy which attracted many creative people to move here in the first place. Many of those same creative people are frustrated with the status quo imposed by government, local authority and by wealthy retirees who confuse lifestyle with profit growth and property values, and who complain whenever anything different happens, insisting that such events should be controlled, closed down, and kept away, let alone out of sight and mind.

This region’s participation in the global event 100 Thousand Poets For Change is a creative challenge to the status quo, intended to encourage the people of the Sunshine Coast to empower ourselves through poetry, stand up for our rights and to express the issues we feel are important and inspirational in our lives.

We don’t need a permit to be poets because we issued ourselves unlimited poetic licence from the beginning!

The Sunshine Coast has a number of pressing issues including:

* high vulnerability to climate change as a subtropical coastal region of Australia.

* rapid population growth and overdevelopment causing degradation of the environment;

* political conflict on issues such as climate change between those who advocate action and those who deny that climate change is anything but conspiracy theory &/or propaganda.

* disenfranchisement of connection with local councils through enforced amalgamations into a regional entity in 2008;

* economic vulnerability and hardship through lack of affordability in housing and over-reliance on the seasonal cycles of tourism, property & retail sectors;

* an exodus of young people to the big cities like Brisbane & Sydney through lack of local employment, education & creative opportunities and a mass media fed perception that young people are to be feared;

* a greater need for health and social support for the increasingly high proportion of retirees and elderly resident in the area;

* opening up awareness issues of equity, social justice, peace and sustainablity, not just in our community, but for the great world as a whole, to interact with in positive & purposeful ways.

The poets and creative people of the Sunshine Coast QLD Australia welcome the chance to participate in 100 Thousand Poets for Change. This is an event for peace and sustainability that brings together people at the local level on a global basis.

On Saturday 24 September 2011 the Sunshine Coast will be changed by the powers of poets without permits and with unlimited poetic licence!

Hamish Danks Brown a.k.a. Danksta Downunder

Link to “I am, therefore ipad” performance piece

Link to Mill Point a poem by Hamish Danks Brown

Judith Wright McKinney (1915-2000) was one of the most eminent 20th century Australian poets, and she was for most of her life committed to the causes of the environment, indigenous peoples, peace & social justice. She first visited the Sunshine Coast in the late 1940’s and, together with her philosopher partner Eric McKinney, rented a modest cottage ‘Melaluka’ at the lakeside village of Boreen Point, for some 20 years. She was active and supportive in long running campaigns to prevent sand mining proposed for much Sunshine Coast and Fraser Island that continued into the 1970’s, and expressed her empathy with the area in her poetry.


The blue crane fishing in Cooloola’s twilight
has fished there longer than our centuries.
He is the certain heir of lake and evening,
and he will wear their colour till he dies,

but I’m a stranger, come of a conquering people.
I cannot share his calm, who watch his lake,
being unloved by all my eyes delight in,
and made uneasy, for an old murder’s sake.

Those dark-skinned people who once named Cooloola
knew that no land is lost or won by wars,
for earth is spirit: the invader’s feet will tangle
in nets there and his blood be thinned by fears.

Riding at noon and ninety years ago,
my grandfather was beckoned by a ghost-
a black accoutred warrior armed for fighting,
who sank into bare plain, as now into time past.

White shores of sand, plumed reed and paperbark,
clear heavenly levels frequented by crane and swan-
I know that we are justified only by love,
but oppressed by arrogant guilt, have room for none.

And walking on clean sand among the prints
of bird and animal, I am challenged by a driftwood spear
thrust from the water; and, like my grandfather,
must quiet a heart accused by its own fear.

from The Two Fires, 1955

More detail of Aboriginal history of the Sunshine Coast

The Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast took their name from the pale honey gathered from the eucalypts of the hinterland. The group was made up of a number of smaller tribes inhabiting the region from Elimbah Creek in the south, to Cooloola National Park in the north.
Aboriginal groups built a number of permanent huts from wattle and tea trees, positioning them about 5 to 6 kilometres apart. The tribes moved from one hut to the next to allow the regeneration of local foodstuffs to occur, or if a death occurred in the tribe.

The coastal strip and estuaries provided plentiful food sources including kangaroos, possums, echidnas, lizards, snakes and birds. The ocean provided a bounty of dugong, fish and shellfish. The women of the tribe would gather fern roots, eggs and honey, as well as gathering various leaves and grasses with which to fashion baskets. The first European settlers noticed that the Aborigines in the area tended to display stronger features and physique than those further south, where food was scarcer.

Tribes usually respected one another’s territory but occasionally fights broke out and it was not unusual for the victors to dine on the flesh of their enemies.

In late summer, the tribes would gather on the western side of the ridge near Obi Obi Creek to participate in the Bunya Feast. A celebration of feasting, dance and song would ensue with tribes coming together to talk through their problems and arrange marriages between tribes, to prevent inbreeding. The Bunya Trees were marked by members of the tribes, with ownership being passed down by the father to the eldest son. The bunya nuts, tasting similar to sweet potato, were usually eaten raw or roasted.

Feasting and celebrations would last about a month, with tribes trading for items that were not available in their district. Coastal Aborigines would swap rugs made from possum fur, shields, shells and dilly bags for prized spear heads, sharpened stones for tools, and colourful ochre.

The Glass House Mountains were seen by the Aborigines as a mysterious place of spiritual significance. A Bora Ring just one kilometre south of the mountains served as a place of initiation for young men. The mountains of Tibrogargan, Coonowrin and Beerwah also have much cultural significance.

Many of the names that we use today to describes areas of the Sunshine Coast have roots in Aboriginal culture, for example:

Caloundra – from kalowen-dha or kalowen-ba, meaning ‘a place of beech trees’
Coochimudlo – from coochi or kutchi (meaning red), meaning ‘red rock of the island’
Dunethin – from dhu- yungathim, meaning ‘trees swimming’
Maroochy – from marutji (red beak), the name given to the black swan
Nambour – from namba, meaning ‘the white paper bark of the tea trees’
Noosa – from noothera or nuthuru, meaning ‘shady’The Kabi Kabi people of the Sunshine Coast took their name from the pale honey gathered from the eucalypts of the hinterland.

Permalink Indigenous educator Beverly Hand’s indigenous connection to the land on the Sunshine Coast gives this Kabi Kabi woman a unique role in documenting and sharing the traditional Aboriginal history and culture of the region.


STAN TUTT (1914-2011) was an accomplished writer, historian and environmentalist who loved the (Sunshine Coast) community.

“RESPECTED historian”.

“Outstanding environmental advocate”.

“A true gentleman”.

The tributes flowed freely yesterday for Stan Tutt, who passed away last week, aged 97.

The “greenie of the ’60s” touched the hearts of thousands of people with his passion to preserve the region’s past and protect its future.

Mr Tutt died late last week after a long illness, but friends say his famous “gentlemanly love for words” was with him until the very end.

Mr Tutt once described developers without a social conscious as “children playing with mudpies in a cathedral”.
He likened development for development sake to “cancer taking over its host.”

Former colleague Anne Wensley said Mr Tutt was her mentor when it came to environmental activism.

“I remember he was very careful with the way he spoke to people,” she said.

“He never jumped at them and was regarded with high credentials by local council.

“No matter what, he was always a gentleman.”

Ms Wensley said she learnt from Mr Tutt that when dealing with the community, always give lots of positives.

“For every negative constructive criticism, always give eight positives,” she said.

Mr Tutt received an Order of Australia Medal for services to the community and was named an Honorary Senior Fellow of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

He was also a founding member of the Sunshine Coast Environmental Council, which wildlife activist Jill Chamberlain counts as one his proudest moments.

“His memory was sharp as a tack,” Mrs Chamberlain said.

“He had a spot-on forecast about the Coast living in a feed trough due to over development.”

Mr Tutt was a member of the foundation committee of the Landsborough Museum, wrote several history books on the Coast, had a regular column in the Nambour Chronicle newspaper and published an autobiography.

Former editor Peter Richardson said he recalled Mr Tutt had started out as a noxious weed weeds inspector for council before quickly becoming a warrior for the Coast.

“He was certainly, in my view, the best known and respected local historian,” he said.

“He was a very good writer, I believe he studied creative writing after his time in the Army.”

Avid Buderim gardener Jillian Rossiter said Mr Tutt had the knack of being able to relate to the average person. “I think that came from his humble beginnings as a timber cutter,” she said.

Mr Tutt’s wife Jean passed away several years ago.


BRUCE DAWE (born 1930) is considered one of Australia’s most influential poets and is often referred to as “The Poet of Suburbia”. He has a long association with Queensland and is retired on the Sunshine Coast.


a Sunshine Coast perspective

Beyond us, spindly-limbed, the paper-barks
are crowding together like refugees
behind the cyclone wire in detention-centres …
Creeks vanish. Dingy sculpted waterways
plead astronomical prices.
Land-sales offices appear … on bulldozed land
magpies scrounge and plovers in their stillness
listen intently to the cryptic sounds of progress.

Portaloos and Dunny Doos lugubriously announce
the advent of carpenters and brickies.
Skips, chocka with off-cuts, replace Skippy,
and even the cane-toads, once crucifix on roadways,
have long since headed our for Kakadu.
Soon the fits “homes” appear: rendered-concrete
behemoths proclaiming the new gracelessness,
spotlit at night like government buildings;
estate agents’ hoardings everywhere competing
with multiple listing which invite
weekend inspection between 1 and 2,
automatic sprinklers husbanding green lawns
while the lyricism of the pastoral world is plundered
for terms to match the Dreaming up ahead.

Like some slo-mo tsunami, the “big drift”
is swallowing the northeastern seaboard;
and while, keenly tortured as Tantalus, the thirst
of property developers for more land’s unquenched,
the present lamentation of local dignitaries
over the destruction of “the natural charm”
of their respective localities as poignant
as Hereward’s last stand on the island of Ely,
or that of Crazy Horse on the Little Bighorn …


Share this!

About Sunshine Coast

Poet, performer, blogger & carer for my elderly parents on the Sunshine Coast. Lifelong poetry, literature, storytelling, the arts & sciences, music & lyrics. Online networker with creative people via social media. Dedicated to social justice, equity, environmental issues & a peaceful, positive & sustainable life for all.
This entry was posted in Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

20 + 20 =