The Outrageous Outback

Finalist in the 'Play On Words 2021' competition

“Oi all of you, start fetching wood for the fire before it gets dark,” ordered Captain Philip. Having just landed in what they called ‘Sydney Cove’, we alighted the ship, still with our fetters tethered to our ankles. Exhaustion, fatigue and nausea consumed my body after eight long months working day and night on the First Fleet.
Ignoring the pain in my belly, I trudged into unknown land. Hiss! What was that? Fear ran through my veins as I noticed tiny movements amongst the leaves on the ground. Suddenly, one of the adult convicts tumbled to the ground. I think he was bitten! Instantly, a scaly, slithering snake of chocolate hue under, sped away on the barren ground.
Trekking further into the bush, I stopped and spotted a grey, adorable teddy bear slumbering high on these peculiar looking trees that emitted a minty scent. This unique creature had a nose as black as a raven’s plumage and it was nestled between the thick branches.
Surreptitiously, I crouched behind the bushes when I heard someone talking in a foreign language. Peering through the greenery, I noticed these tribes with white paint on their faces and skin as black as soot were dancing amongst a fire. I’ve never seen anyone with eyes the color of midnight before, their muscular bodies gleamed in the light.
Click! Oh no! I accidentally stepped on a branch. Instantly, all their heads turned towards my direction. The dancing ceased. One of the adults darted my way. I tried, to run but my legs were tree trunks. My fate was sealed. As it turned out, these native people were kind and gentle. They offered me water and I greedily gulped it down like a camel after having trekked across the desert for months. They even showed me where the waterhole was located.
I offered them some of the branches I collected. But they refused it and pointed to some spiky grass that was easily ignited to make a fire. They used hand signals telling me to communicate that I needed to go back to my ship.
With all the new information I acquired from these benevolent nature people, I darted back to Captain Philip. Panting, I rush over to him to share my good news.
In a short period of time, I was pardoned for my services in assisting the first fleet settle into this vast unknown land. To this day, I owe my greatest debt to the native people who befriended a stranger and offered their knowledge of the land so we could thrive in this new colony.


25 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
We receive an overwhelming positive feedback each year from the teachers, parents and students who have involvement in these competitions and publications, and we will continue to strive to attain this level of excellence with each competition we hold.


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