Jack Drake - biographical notes
Jack Drake was first introduced to the bush poetry of Banjo Patterson at age ten in 1960. Words and verse became a part of his life. But he did not only read about the bush, he lived it.
School had few attractions for a lad who could think of little but horses, cattle, dogs and the outdoor life, and neither Jack nor the Education System were unduly concerned when they parted ways at the earliest legal age.
Jack broke in his first horse and competed in his first Rodeo at 14 years of age and from that time, his career path was assured. Breaking in, Shoeing, and Saddling became his main occupation supplemented by mustering, fencing, yard building, shearing and any other form of rural endeavour that didn’t involve time clocks and regular working hours.
He was always blessed or cursed, with the ‘gift of the gab’, and from an early age announced shows, rodeos and M.C.’d country dances. He wrote poetry from his teenage years but would rather forget some of his early efforts. He is quite happy to admit it was only later in life that his work had any substance.
In 1986 he entered the Tourism business on Queensland’s Gold Coast and put on a daily performance called “The Aussie Outback Show” at a theme park. The show contained a Stockhorse routine, working sheep dogs, whip cracking and bush poetry. He also ran a shearing and ram parade show and operated a mini Cobb and Co. coach.
Five years on the Gold Coast was enough for any bushie and in 1991 Jack and his wife Stella set up “Red Gum Ridge Trail Rides” in the border ranges near Stanthorpe. Taking tourists on escorted rides from 1 hour to 2 days duration filled in the next 11 years and it was during this time Jack began seriously writing bush poetry.
National recognition came in 2001 when he won the Australian Bush Poet of the Year Quest run by Asthma NSW and the Women’s Weekly magazine. By 2001 there was enough performance work, book and C.D. sales to allow Jack and Stella to give the horse business up and concentrate on bush poetry.
He is a regular performer at festivals around Queensland and New South Wales including the Tamworth Country Music Week, plus many appearances at other festivals and events. He performs, judges and compares at various venues and has toured in New Zealand.
Jack has written poems, books of ballads and yarns, and a frontier history, as well as a Bush Poetry educational package for schools. His website www.jackdrake.com.au provides further information (and sales details for those interested).