Smithton Writers’ Group

Smithton Writers’ Group meets every fortnight (the first and third Thursday of every month) at Rural Health, Emmett Street.

Member Dorothy Popiel, who has been with the group since it first formed in 2012, said: “It’s not about setting work. It’s about enjoying writing.”

She welcomes new and old faces in the new year. “It’s for everybody – beginners as well.”

The next meeting will be on January 23, 7 to 9pm.

For more information about the group contact Rural Health on 6452 1266.


Would Christmas ever come

Would Christmas ever come?

So many days and nights

Marking them off on the calendar

Slow, slow slowly time seemed to go

Mum says the circus is in town

How exciting!

In the car, mum and dad and six kids

How did we all fit in?

Sure it wouldn’t be legal now

Chatting and singing all the way

Into town to see the circus parade

What a noise

A brass band, clowns laughing and

prancing about and circus animals

in cages and chains

Lions, tigers and elephants

Just how big they were and ferocious

And scary to this five-year-old

I hung back and clung to mum’s skirt

But peaked a look at the enormous

elephants as they passed, just in time

to see a clown atop the elephant

throw down a lemonade icy-pole that landed

on my foot,

Oh! My beautiful sandals were broken

So much for Christmas, I am sure

there was no time for Mum to buy me

another pair,

But what a parade, what a Christmas in 1960,

One I will never forget

By Di Murphy



Two thousand and fourteen years ago there had never been a Christmas celebration. No Christmas holiday, no festivities, no greetings, no reason for a Christmas Season. Then one birth out of all the millions of births, ever, in mankind had a momentous impact on much of the world’s history.

Religious beliefs, or none, this was history. People of goodwill have often risked their lives to improve the lives of others and to spread the Good News. Unfortunately, there have been tragedies, and wars fought in the name of Christianity. Nevertheless, whenever Christmas time comes around, and in spite of the frenzy of spending and preparations for the occasion, people of every creed, or no creed at all, take time to wish each other a Happy Christmas. All because of that humble birth so long ago.

By Vida Smedley


Christmas 1945

World War II had ended and people in England wanted an old-fashioned Christmas for their children. Where I was born that meant a Christmas Parade.

Old lorries and trailers, from pre-war days, carried characters from fairy tales and legend, but the floats that stick in my memory are the brewery drays drawn by pairs of huge cart-horses with magnificent thick hairy ankles and long heavy tails, their heads nodding proudly as they displayed their gaily plaited manes.

Walking alongside the procession came Father Christmas helpers rattling collection tins and reciting a rhyme familiar to everyone watching:


“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat,

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,

If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you.”


Pennies and ha’pennies (as we knew them) are long gone, but Christmas parades in Smithton bring back all the memories.

By Dorothy Popiel


Australia (first published in 1999)

I watched you and curled in you

Warmth of your womb I touched

I fell in love with you,

With your delicate scent and dusk


For years

I walked on your grass

I listened to your heart

I spread my body on your warm lap like a child,

And then I hugged you in replay


Each time I had to depart

When life took me to a foreign land

I carried your soil in my hand and my heart

I kept on missing you

Your golden red face


I admire you and love you

More now than ever

You belong to me

I hold you in my soul

You mothered my children

You are my joy and pride

My beloved homeland – Australia

By Debbie Killer



C is for the Cradle where the baby lay

H is for the Hay from which his bed was made

R is for the Riches wise men carried through the night

I is for the Incense: it brought much delight

S is for the Shepherds caring for their sheep

T is for thanksgiving: the angels sang so sweet

M is for Christ’s mother. Mary was her name

A is for the Angels: good news they did proclaim

S if for the Saviour. Jesus is good news. Accept now his offer. Don’t reject him and refuse.

By Pauline Cunningham


Searle Christmas

One of our family traditions at Christmas time was for our children to line-up on the couch on Christmas Eve and listen to their mother recite from a small dog-eared children’s book – a poem called Santa Mouse.

They’re all grown up now, however, our youngest daughter, now in her thirties and often away at Christmas time as she works overseas on various ships, still has Santa Mouse read to her wherever she is.

From a port in New Zealand to a gas tanker on its way to Japan, she has never missed her Christmas family connection.

Last year on Christmas Eve, she was at sea on a support ship to the oil and gas industry off Western Australia. The captain had seen that she was sad and asked why.

“I have no phone reception,” she had said and explained the significance. He promptly took her to the bridge where she was able to use the ship’s satellite phone to call home.

The recital of Santa Mouse was put on loudspeaker for the crew to hear.

A children’s poem read from Stanley brightened up the lives of some homesick sailors and our daughter.

By Chris Searle

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