WA Poets Inc, in association with ANTaR WA, are pleased to host a new poetry contest exclusively for First Nation People.

WA Poets Inc acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land, the First Nation people, and extend our respects to Elders past, present and future.

Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation WA (ANTaR WA) is an affiliate of ANTaR: a dynamic organisation representing a grassroots movement of Australians in support of justice, rights and respect for Australia’s First Peoples.

ANTaR WA supports ANTaR’s national campaigns like Close the Gap, Constitutional Recognition and Cultural Heritage, to name a few.

Like other state and territory affiliates, ANTaR WA also focuses on our own local initiatives :

  • Sustainable Urban Nutrition (SUN) – a sustainable food system integrated with waste use and
    designed to help reduce health gas and increase community well being.
  • HELLO – a digital art project based around the ANTaR Sea of Hands that aims to enable
    anyone to learn how to say hello in each of the many Aboriginal languages.
  • Youth Media – a circular educational media concept still being developed.

ANTaR WA also recognises people who have made outstanding contributions to the causes of Australia’s First Nations’ peoples through our ‘Moorditj Award’.

We also sponsor and support relevant events and are very pleased to :

  • Recognise the amazing WA Aboriginal trend setters after whom the prizes are named,
  • Support the Aboriginal poets who have entered this year’s competition and encourage them to
    keep telling their stories through poetry, writing and song, an
  • To showcase the entrants’ creativity to you the audience. Thank you for listening whether in
    person or online.

You can find out more about ANTaR WA and get involved in our activities at our FaceBook page.

Finally, ANTaR WA would like to acknowledge all people from WA Poets Inc and Perth Poetry Club (originally Poets Corner) who have made ths contest possible and we look forward to collaborating again in the future.


There are three award categories commemorating important First Nation people who are no longer with us.

David Starr Memorial Award:

During June 1967 David Bernard Starr (RIP) was born on Yamatji country in Meekatharra.

Taken from his mum as a baby under then government policy, he grew up with his loving adopted family the Sloans in Coolbellup where he had a happy childhood, often ‘acting an actor’ in front of their TV, and later with the streets of Freo as his playground or stage.

His Time Zone.

Destined not to be ‘just a film star and director’, Davy also played didge, harmonica, guitar, read, wrote, sang, painted and partied his way through life, and all with gusto!

Like the many different roles and film titles during his 20 years as an actor, his name also changed over the years. Somewhere along the way one of his Black Fella family, probably a Hubert from Onslow, gave him the name Ngoombujarra.

His final curtain came down in July 2011 in Freo, known as David Ngoombujarra Starr, Ngoom or Ngoomby.

Richard Franklin, who directed him in Harry’s War and No Way to Forget, said : “He was a charismatic, gentle man who never quite managed to reconcile the black and the white sides of his story and his life. Why he was in pain, in my opinion, was because of the cultural abyss in this country—and he was bridging it better than most of us ever will.”

Davy died, not of a broken heart: of a broken country. His longtime sista girl Lois Olney said: “Please tell the happy stories about Davy.” And there were many enthralling happy stories, too many for here.

Lois and Davy would often say the purpose of life is ‘the pursuit of happiness’.

And Davy pursued happiness purposefully with all of his boundless energy. His many friends (again, too many to name) in film, acting, writing and life could only keep track of him and keep up with him in shifts. The only Aussie actor to win three Australian Film Industry Awards, and again, the list of films he acted in are too long to mention. Mick Fuller reckons he had a good laugh and good teeth. Lorraine and their kids agree. A highlight for Davy was directing his brutha boy Frankie Rowe’s film “Frankies Story”. As was meeting his Dad, proudly saying: “My daddy Henry Hubert is a real cowboy”. A highlight for WA Poets, was Davy reading poetry at the State Library during the 2008 Launch of the WA Spring Poetry Festival and National Poetry Week. The only word from his poem he stumbled and even stuttered over was ‘ecomonomy’.

He only cared about money as a toy for creating happiness with and for friends.

Like a shooting star!

Aunty Josie Boyle Memorial Award

Josie WOWALLA Boyle, RIP.

The limits of space, time and words preclude truly summarising the story of this Wongutha female elder: a woman of love, laughter and life.

Her late mother was a traditional desert woman who passed down ancient stories and knowledge to her, which Aunty Josie translated into enthralling media of many sorts.

All designed to build bridges of understanding between peoples.

She called everyone ‘my dear’: the homeless, young folk, friends, the mob, judges, billionaires, creatives, politicians, shop keepers and more.

Probably her favourite ancient story was of the Seven Sisters, as it is also shared by many other cultures in Australia and overseas.

She loved laughing – always somewhere between a giggle and cackle as an expression of joy.

My favourite memories include her sharing her writings by phone at any time of day or night, always with laughter and a few ‘my dears’.

She loved telling stories to young folk adding to the vibrance with beautiful sand drawings. (featured on the big screen in a Festival of Perth opening)

She loved to have a chuckle about the way westerners live in our materialistic ‘time and money world’, while she journeyed through the ancient timeless space world and our one.

Her description of the bush and nature as her mob’s calendar illustrated the First Nations’ understanding of, and integration with, the environment.

Throughout the pain of her illness she remained a performer and entertainer always sharing the magic of culture, country, people and life.

As a songstress WOWALLA was a perpetual performing poet.

Sadly missed, fondly remembered.

Lived, laughed, loved.

Jack Davis Memorial Award

Noongar man, Uncle Jack Davis, MBE, AM, was an outstanding West Australian playwright, poet and Indigenous activist.  

Born in Perth in 1917, Jack sadly passed away in 2000. Jack always had a fascination with words and language so that when he was 10 he preferred reading a dictionary than a story. Also a man of the land he worked on farms in the SW and on stations in the north.

At 14, outraged and indignant at the treatment of Aboriginal people Jack became a writing activist, in the process learning and using his Noongar language which was discouraged by government policy.  Similarly, Aboriginal people were subject to a curfew on the streets of Perth after 6pm and he was imprisoned for defying that policy.

He joined the Aboriginal Advancement Council and agitated for changes in government policies as editor of the Aboriginal periodical ‘Identity’. Uncle Jack has been called the 20th Century’s Aboriginal Poet Laureate, and many of his plays are on school syllabuses.

A humanitarian, Jack will always be remembered for his writing about Aboriginal history and culture, for his relentless fight for justice for his people and for helping many Aboriginal writers.

It is fitting this award is named in his memory. RIP Uncle Jack.



THEME: ‘Healing Country’

OPEN: Sunday 19th September 2021

CLOSES: Friday 22nd October at midnight AEST


AWARDS Presentation: 2–4pm, 4th December at Perth Poetry Club (Moon Cafe, William St., Perth)

Introduction and Description of the Prize

Submissions are open for the Blak Ink Poetry Competition. The competition is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living anywhere in Australia who have not yet published a collection of poetry. This competition is kindly sponsored by Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) WA, in order to encourage First Nations poets and to honour the memory of notable writers David Starr, Aunty Josie Boyle and Jack Davis. There is a total prize pool of $500 to be split among the following categories.

Jack Davis Prize: First Prize: $200, Second Prize: $100. Open nationally to poets who have not yet published their first collection of poetry. Entrants may have published individual poems however all unpublished poets are encouraged to submit. Unpublished poets will automatically be considered for the Aunty Josie Boyle Prize or the David Starr Prize in accordance with eligibility. The theme for this category is ‘Healing Country’.

Aunty Josie Boyle Prize: $100. Open Australia wide to poets who have never published a poem in a magazine or on a website and who have never won a prize in any previous poetry competition. The theme for this category is open but may include ‘Healing Country’.

David Starr Prize: $100. Open to WA poets only, who have never published a poem in a magazine or on a website and who have never won a prize in any previous poetry competition. The theme for this category is open but may include ‘Healing Country’.

Terms and conditions:

1. This competition is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people only.

2. Local, interstate, and regional and remote residents of Australia are encouraged to submit.

3. The poem must be the entrant’s original work, must be unpublished*, and not have won a prize in any other competition.

4. The poem must not exceed 20 lines in length. The line count excludes the title, section titles, and blank lines.

5. Entrants may submit more than one poem.

6. Entrants may submit poems in language (accompanied by an English translation of the poem).

7. Format entries in Times New Roman, 12-point type, and submit as a Word document attachment via email to In the email subject line, please type BLAK INK COMP and your last name.

8. Place your name, Australian State you live in and contact number at the end of the poem. As poems are judged anonymously, your details will be removed from the Judge’s copy of the poem. Please indicate whether you have published a poem in a magazine or on a website previously or not.

9. Submission deadline: midnight 22nd October 2021 (AEST)

10. Cost to enter: FREE

11. Results will be announced at the AWARDS Presentation: 2–4pm, 4th December at Perth Poetry Club (Moon Cafe, 323 William St., Perth). All entrants are encouraged to attend for an opportunity to read their poem if they choose.

12. Interstate and remote regional residents may participate in this event on Zoom via a link from Perth Poetry Club

Contest General Conditions

  • *unpublished refers to poems that have NOT appeared in print or online as part of an electronic journal or poetry blog that specialises in publishing other people’s poetry. Poems that appear on your blog or social media pages are considered to be unpublished.
  • An independent judge will be responsible for judging entries. All entries will be judged anonymously. The name of the judge will not be revealed to entrants until after judging is complete. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Entrants must not infringe on existing copyright.
  • In submitting an entry the contestant agrees that WAPI is not responsible for any infringement on copyright that may occur and indemnifies WAPI against any legal action that may arise because of such breach.
  • Each entrant can win one prize only.
  • Entrants will be notified of the prize winners by email.
  • WAPI accepts no responsibility for entries that are late, lost or misdirected, nor is WAPI responsible in any way for entries that are stolen or misappropriated.
  • All prize winners agree to have their winning entry posted online on the WA Poets Inc website.