Stylish performer Tom Maxwell and bush poet Gary Fogarty.
Stylish performer Tom Maxwell and bush poet Gary Fogarty. Laura Blackmore

How an Australian literary champion made his debut

HUNDREDS of loyal fans rolled out of bed at 7am to listen to a champion of Australian bush poetry.

Bush poet Gary Fogarty shared some of his comedic tales from his decades of experience living across Southeast Queensland at the Heritage Nanango Muster 2019.

Mr Fogarty said the crowd of more than 600 was a stellar turnout for the early morning time slot.

The full-time bush poet revealed he started using his poetry to make a living after personal struggles.


Cindy and Gary Fogarty from Millmerran at the Nanango Music Muster 2019.
Bush poetry sensation Gary Fogarty with his wife Cindy at the Heritage Nanango Music Muster 2019. Laura Blackmore

"I had a car accident in 1985 and fractured my spine in five places," Mr Fogarty said.

"I started writing bush poetry when I was recovering from my first spine operation.

"Up until 2006 I was a community development co-ordinator in Millmerran. My back injury forced me out of mainstream work.

"The poetry side of things picked up because I was available for shows and could travel more."

The regular performer at the Muster said he always looked forward to taking the stage at Nanango.


The Nanango Showgrounds were filled with keen festival goers for the Nanango Music Muster 2019.
The Nanango Showgrounds filled with keen festival-goers. Laura Blackmore

"We have been coming to the festival for over 10 years," he said.

"They have always been very loyal to me.

"The festival here is very good as far as bush poetry goes and getting high-quality poets.

"This year they got Neil McCarthy from Ballarat and Murray Hartin who is based in Moree.

"They're both rated in the top five poets in the country."

Born in Miles and now based at Millmerran, Mr Fogarty said the term bush poetry could be a bit deceiving.


Festival goers enjoying live music at the Nanango Music Muster 2019.
Festival-goers enjoying the country atmosphere at the Nanango festival. Laura Blackmore

"It's not all about the bush these days," he said.

"As long as it's about an Australia topic, there's lot of stuff out there.

"However, in saying that I'm a bush boy at heart, so a lot of my content is about the outback.

"There is also a lot of comedy in modern day bush poetry.

"People enjoy a good laugh these days because there is too much drought, bushfires and many other serious things."