Hot Air Balloon – Art Adventure Begins

Yvonne Koolmatrie’s Hot Air Balloon, Queensland Art Gallery

Climb on board, dreamers and travellers
Whoever you may be, take a journey with me.

Feel the woven textures beneath your feet.
Smell the Murray River in the weave.

Take yourself to the balloon’s edge
Feel the breezes through the sedge.

Touch textures of the air as we fly.
Sense the depth of sky below.

Search the windows that we pass
for the dreamers beyond.

Ask yourself, Am I afraid?
Or am I brave?

Sense the strength of angels
Ignite reconciliation’s flame.


(c) June Perkins

This poem is currently on display at Words and Pictures, Queensland Art Gallery and viewable as a pdf


Quiet: Contemplating the Collection

Embrace the Australian Collection as a place of quiet contemplation through poetry, drop-in drawing and calm living meditation.

Words and Pictures – Drop in Daily

Ongoing | Galleries 10 – 13 | Free
Discover a fresh perspective on the Australian Collection with Words & Pictures, an ongoing project that invites local artists and writers to respond to artworks in the Australian Collection. Take inspiration, and use the pencils and paper provided to create your own response through drawing or writing.

SPRING 2018 | This season’s Words & Pictures inspiration comes from poet and children’s author, June Perkins. June has developed an interactive journey through the Australian Collection through poems and micro-stories for visitors of all ages, with particular appeal for children and families.

For more information VISIT THIS LINK





Writing /living Country

A poem from years ago, written whilst living in the country. Perhaps it could be rewritten as a short story.

Ripple Poetry

8901350744_9c714ffca7_o Finding the Fields of Memory – June Perkins

Standing on the edge of a circle of parents
talking about how many lessons they take their children to
on the treadmill of taxi parent hood
and the dreams they have for their children

Driving past the circling hawks that
even hang out
over the local supermarket
or the carrion on the road

Midday day terrors as a cane truck drives
up behind me too fast and honks on his horn
to push me off the road
and I am driving the speed limit
on a back road home

Listening to poetry on a verandah
about places, and domestic violence,
aids and post colonialism
and treaties that hide in
big words and non meaning words
that are tinged with superiority

Staying at a friend’s house and
wandering out to take sunrise pictures
but waking the dogs

My best friend says she can’t…

View original post 145 more words

Power of the People

There’s still a few hours to donate book and toys if you live in Brisbane.  I was delighted to drop off some Magic Fish Dreaming books, and cuddly koala soft toys today.

  Later on I will encourage some of the children and youth I know to think about sending letters.

It might be a small drop in the ocean of change, but all the more important to take that step.

Really hope and dream that one day all the children and their families are no longer in detention and can find welcome, healing and hope.

The Common Ground

The common ground…


(c) June Perkins

Think of the last time you were afraid, the shortness of breath, the no-please- I-don’t-want-to- feel-that-way-stomach-knots that made it impossible to move and all you did to find courage. Universal courage.

Think of the last time love surrounded you and gave you a sense of safety, so much shelter and growth that you just wanted to pass that to another who was vulnerable but full of potential and on the verge of courage,  but they were so full of fear they were about to drown and love was a lifeline that you extended. 

Think of the last time love swelled in your heart and you had to give it, for it flowed from you unbidden to the one you loved, and the beloved was all you could see, and it made you forget yourself and you could sacrifice anything, but that sacrifice would never hurt, or limit…

View original post 193 more words

Rainbow Writers of Gumburu


I found this piece in my archives. It is about a writer’s retreat.  It conjured some curious memories.


We are the rainbow writers arriving on Mount Spec

Merry, animated and adventurous will be our days.

We’re rational and petulant in our devotion to our craft.

We do not want to linger under procrastination’s spell.


A few of us will gather in the belfry

Our morning’s meditations will sing

Mountain’s muse with us come and dwell.


Hark to the days and nights where we yarn

Pumpkin competitions gone oh so very wrong,

Ugly sheep wearing sunglasses,

Woman losing bikini in the flowing tide,

Chivalrous friends protecting the dignity of those

With bladder problems

Upturned tin canoes –

Fun and perilous depending on your perspective

Police escorts to writer’s meetings

When lost in a maze called Brisbane

A legend of a man and a wheelbarrow

And a husband reads to his dear one sitting in the room.


I am sorry I have no embarrassing moments to share

Only poignant ones that might dampen

The laughter of evening’s cheer.


Zealous in unpacking prejudice from many angles

We see the bulldozer sweep away racism’s walls

And in the clearing is a lady with multi-coloured family

Not just a part of her landscape for

She is Australia’s growing tide.


Creative souls gathering on the mountain

Have chosen many pathways to the Great Spirit,

Christian, Buddhist, Baha’i, Spiritualist,

Lovers of the environment and perhaps even

The words of Don Mclean’s American Pie.


Who is scared of the Spirit man

Watching at the window?

Quick I say, ‘breathe out any negative thoughts on this spirit

For methinks our words have beckoned him.

He is a muse listening to word weavings

A character waiting for us to breathe life into him.’

I wonder if he’s my Bubu

Behold there’s his daughter, my mother

swallowing the dreaming lights.


I came here as a stranger, a poet and a mother

I left  with a new song about the cane fields

And the thick web of writer’s and actors words of wisdom

To delicately remember

In all the hues of the rainbows on the mountain.


(c) June Perkins aka gumbootspearlz




Writing Sisters of the North Visiting Words and Pictures

Carol Libke and June Perkins at the Queensland Art Gallery, September 2018.

It was a delight to catch up with my writing sister (by the bonds of writing and living in the Far North Queensland related), Carol Libke, from Far North Queensland, and to take her on a tour of my writing in  ‘Words and Pictures.’

The writers of the Far North are special to me, because they accepted some of my work for an anthology many years ago. The poem, ‘Grumpy Fisherman’ inspired by the theme ripples, was later to become the inspiration for the Magic Fish Dreaming poetry book. Furthermore, they invited me to attend and read at a Cairns Writer’s Festival lead up event, and to be on panels on digital storytelling and blogging. Carol attended a workshop in Mission Beach, and we stayed in touch when I moved to Brisbane.

Mission Beach Workshop after Cyclone Yasi

We had a great yarn up about writing, health, family, the state of Australia and how nobody should be defined by the place they are born or live in in a way that doesn’t enable them to live their dreams.  Both of us had spent time in our early life living in areas with a dodgy reputation. Carol told me that she interviewed Ray Crooke many years ago, so she took a photograph of me in front of one of his paintings on display. The photograph of both us features Bannon Falls, and also possibly one of my favourite paintings, by Sydney Long, Spirit of the Plains.

Extract from Woman With Blossoms

For those who can’t see, even in places
where touch is forbidden, there are ways
to journey into art

(Perceval’s Angel)

As she stands in the doorway
Feel her face – unwrinkled
Smell the flower in her hair – frangipani
Carry the basket in her hands- useful.
Go through the open door behind her . . .

By June Perkins

(read the rest of this work in exhibition or at this pdf until November)

June Perkins, with her writing inspired by Ray Crooke’s, Woman with Blossoms, Queensland Art Gallery, September 2017


Losing Parents


Sometimes when I can’t find the words for someones loss
I send leaves, flowers and hearts
a poetry of stickers
for them to interpret how they wish

If I know them well I might
share a special memory of the person
lost and how that will always be
like gold.

But when stickers, and flowers, and
everything just don’t seem to fit
I scroll past silently and think of them
and write this to send.


For anyone of my friends and readers who has lost a parent


To all my friends losing parents this week
I don’t know your parents except
through anything you do that is inspired by them,
and anything you build in their legacy,

Or anything you do opposite to them (because you need to),
but you still loved them because
they made you see yourself clearly.

To all the friends losing parents
in the last few years,
who still feel that loss, maybe you
hear their wisdoms, jokes, and
see again funny things at
the oddest moments.

Perhaps you look forward to
seeing them again one day and
catching up.

Or maybe they are reincarnated
in someone else you know
in some way
in the shape of face
or character
or some other way

Celebrating all the positives in our parents,
living and present, gone but still present, and
future parents too,
about to join this fold.

All who have this blessing,
could well ask,
what will our children write of us?

(c) June Perkins


(I will keep reflecting on this theme and go searching for a poem or story that might express
it more eloquently)

Event at the Queensland Art Gallery

June cover page-4
John Perceval Sculpture: The Herald Angel 1958 Ray Crooke, Woman with Blossoms


10.30AM SUN 28 OCT 2018

On Grandparents Day, visitors of all ages are invited to join Words & Pictures writer, Dr June Perkins, on an interactive journey through the Australian Collection. Follow June’s series of poems and micro-stories throughout the Collection – with paper and pencil in hand! Write and draw your own responses, accompanied by special insights from the writer.

Discover a fresh perspective on the Australian Collection with Words & Pictures, an ongoing project that invites local artists and writers to respond to artworks in the Australian Collection. The Words & Pictures inspiration for Spring 2018 comes from Dr June Perkins. June is a Brisbane-based poet and children’s author, of Indigenous Papua New Guinean and Australian background, raised in Tasmania by Baha’i parents. Her first children’s book was the award-winning poetry collection, Magic Fish Dreaming (2016) illustrated by Helene Magisson.


Koolmatrie's Hot Air Balloon
Koolmatrie’s Hot Air Balloon


Middle Grade Fiction with Gabrielle Wang


At the recent packed annual SCWIBI Queensland  Professional Development Workshop, I  appreciated Gabrielle Wang sharing her creative process with us. She gave us some inventive and wonderful ideas to improve our work in second drafts and shared her personal story of the importance of perseverance and the value of a mentor and challenge.  Do visit Gabrielle’s site to find out more about her books, and buy or borrow them!  They are fantastic and I can’t wait to read more.

Sheryl Gwyther, SCWIBI coordinator for Queensland,  and Gabrielle are pictured above sharing a concertina book with us. In this book Gabrielle told the story of a treasured object visually.  The true story of the object from real life was created first, but then she invented a story inspired by it, on the flip side. This process produced an idea for a story I am going to begin writing today! Gabrielle said…

View original post 246 more words


Image: William Delafield Cook A haystack 1982, Courtesy of the Queensland Art Gallery


Look! Rats and the children run out from
their hiding places in the haystack to
dance in front of us in a merry line?
Who else do you think hides here?

Do you have a memory of haystacks or
artist’s haystacks?

(Perceval’s Angel)


Tumble down the Haystack
dreaming columns of Greece.

Tumble down the Haystack
​             with childhood farming friends.

​Tumble down the Haystack
​             to horses and the cows.

climb up that artist’s Haystack
and tumble down again.


June Perkins (Brisbane-based poet and children’s author)​


This appeared on Australian Children’s Poetry blog today, and is currently up at the Queensland Art Gallery.


June cover page-4
John Perceval Sculpture: The Herald Angel 1958 Ray Crooke, Woman with Blossoms

Dr June Perkins, a Brisbane based poet and children’s author, has developed an interactive journey, through the Australian Collection, through poems and micro-stories for visitors of all ages, with particular appeal for children and families: Art Adventures in the Australian Collection.  

She invites you to follow the angel, follow the feathers, follow the art.

This adventure is part of Words & Pictures, an ongoing project that invites local artists and writers to respond to artworks in the Australian Collection of the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

Visitors to the gallery are invited to take inspiration, and use the pencils and paper provided at the stations to create their own response through drawing or writing.

There are 12 pieces in all. Haystack, was inspired by William Delafield Cook, A Haystack.

Perceval’s Angel is a character who takes the children on an adventure into the art gallery and so is often quoted.

From September – to November, this link will lead you to the poems and the art if you can’t make it there in person to visit the adventure.  Words on display from September to November.

A slide show preview can be found here