The Festival of a Thousand Stories started in 2013 as a small four-day program of events built around the Poets Trek – a two-day bus and tag-a-long tour to Hungerford and Barringun in the footsteps of renowned poets Henry Lawson, Will Ogilvie and Harry ‘the Breaker’ Morant, who all lived and worked in and around Bourke in the late 19th Century.
The Poets Trek itself has been running for more than two decades, but organisers saw an opportunity for it to become the launching pad for an annual event for the district.
“Bourke has not had its own annual celebration since the Mateship Festival of the 90s or the Yaamma Festival of more recent years,” said Jonathan Roe, one of the festival organisers.
“We started small with the hope the Festival of a Thousand Stories will grow to become a sustainable annual celebration for the whole community.”
The name of the festival was inspired by the poem ‘Bourke’ written by local poet, the late Wilkie Davis:
Bourke, author of a thousand stories,
Told by the stockmen when the campfires gleam.
May you go on to greater, grander glories
And grow and prosper by the Darling stream.
The first line of the stanza also is inscribed on the wall of the Back O’ Bourke Exhibition Centre.
“But we don’t want people to think of this as only a poetry festival,” said Jonathan. “The storytelling theme was chosen because it encompasses writing, poetry, art, music as well as our own history.”
The program for the Festival is now available online and includes writing workshop with our feature guest – author, songwriter, storyteller and performer Bill “Swampy” Marsh, local history tours, bush poetry, a night of local original music and, of course, the Poets Trek itself.
The Muda Aboriginal Corporation will also be launching an exhibition of local Aboriginal Art during the Festival.
“The week of events will finish with the market day at the Wharf and the PCYC’s Outback Colour fun run. We hope that plenty of people turn out for the market day on Saturday as well as Outback Colour, it should be a fun way to finish a great week of events,” said Jonathan.
If anyone has an event they would like to include in the Festival please contact Jonathan Roe on 0437 697 976, or Phil Johnston on 0417 434 784.