A website dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of Australian
country music.

Country Music
The Music Of
Our Country

The Story of Australian Country Music

A Tribute to Buddy

A Tribute to Jimmy

A Tribute to Reg

A Tribute to Shirley

A Tribute to Slim

– Slim, Chronicler of the Bush

A Tribute to Smoky

A Tribute to Tex

– Tex Morton White Guitars

A Tribute to The McKean Sisters

Arch Kerr – pioneer record producer

Australia's College of Country Music

Bicentennial Concert 1970

The Big Golden Guitar

Birth of the Golden Guitars

Brief History of the Golden Guitar Awards

Brief History of Star Maker

The Buddy Bishop Storyd

Country Music Capital Meets Music City


Country Music Media

Country Music Roll of Renown

Country Timeline

First The Song

Ghosts of Tamworth

Golden Guitar Memories

Golden Guitar Pioneers

Golden Guitar Winners Tally

The Gympie Muster

The Hadley Records Story

History of the College of Country Music

How the CMAA Was Born

How Tamworth became Country Music Capital

How the College of Country Music Works


The John Minson Story


Minson Memories

Narrative! Narrative! Narrative!

Origins of the Tamworth Country Music Festival

Radio Ranch & Spurs

Sources and Resources

Stairway to Stardom

The Story of Maton Guitars

Tamworth Milestones

Tamworth, We've Done Us Proud

What is Country Music

For more information
Contact: Max Ellis

Email info@historyofcountrymusic.com.au


All matters relating to the conduct of this site remain under the total control of Max Ellis or his nominees who will endeavour to ensure the accuracy and balance of the content and proper conduct of the site but, subject to legal requirements, cannot be held responsible for any digression or non-compliance in respect of these matters.

Australian Country Music Hands of Fame 

By three years after the start of the Australasian Country Music Awards in 1973, 2TM executives could see that the Tamworth Country Music Festival was beginning to attract large numbers of tourists to Country Music Capital.

But basically the concept still existed only in the growing Festival staged each January. They recognised that Tamworth needed some tangible manifestations of country music which would help to maintain the city's developing reputation and provide an attraction for tourists throughout the entire year.

Photo, from left, Buddy Williams, Tex Morton and Smoky Dawson are the first three to be inducted into Country Music Capital's Hands of Fame.

The first such "concrete" attraction was the Roll of Renown, launched in 1976 and it was quickly followed by the Country Music Hands of Fame, designed to honour individuals who had made a significant and on going contribution to Australian country music. In 1976, after negotiations with a sympathetic City Council, 2TM received permission to build the monument in what was then known as CWA Park on the corner of Kable Avenue and Bridge Street in the heart of the city.

The small park was adjacent to the CWA Building in Kable Ave. and was notable for a mounted De Havilland Vampire jet aircraft, which still soars over the park today.  The park had a number of bordered flowerbeds and it was decided to design a low wall with a space on top for notable country music personalities to leave their handprints in cement. Photo: at the official opening of the Hands of Fame, from left, Slim Dusty, Max Ellis, Nick Erby, John Minson and Joy McKean. Click on the photo for a larger image.

One Sunday afternoon in late 1976, Max Ellis, John Minson and visiting New Zealand singer Dusty Spittle (right) arrived at the park with a trailer and pulled up the existing flower bed closest to the corner.  Later a low pebble coated wall was built in a roughly oval shape and by January 1977 it was ready for the first imprinting.

Mr Hoedown John Minson compered most of the early ceremonies and it was not uncommon for a thousand or more people to attend on Saturday morning of the main festival weekends to see the stars. 

The Hands of Fame Cornerstone (as it was called originally) was officially opened by Mayor of Tamworth, Norm Mackellar at 10.00 am on Saturday, 29th of January, 1977.  Standing by were 2TM staffers and concrete contractor Trevor Smith who handled the actual mixing, placing and imprinting in all the early years.  For many years local country music personality Lorraine Pfitzner acted as Keeper of Hands, making sure it was well maintained and cared for, a job now carried out by the ACMF.

The first hands imprinted were Tex Morton, Buddy Williams and Smoky Dawson who pressed their hands simultaneously into the cement (see photo at top) followed by Reg Lindsay, Buddy Bishop, Rick & Thel and others. Slim Dusty and Joy McKean joined them later that day. Nineteen stars were imprinted in 1977 and over the following decades from 5 to 20 people have been imprinted each year. Not only artists are invited to be a part of the monument. Radio presenters, promoters, record producers, writers and other people who had made a significant contribution to Australian country music are invited to join the ranks of the "Hands Of Famers".  As of January 2011 there are more than 250 imprints of individuals, groups and duos clustered in five large formations.

Virtually all the handprints have been made on the spot in January with a couple of notable exceptions being stars unable to attend or who are in Tamworth at some other date. These include Nashville based Diana Trask who was imprinted during a mid year visit and  an aged Norm Scott who was unable to leave Sydney. All handprints are identified by a small brass plaque and a signature or logo in the concrete and inductees are given a handcrafted wooden scriber.

In 1979 the ceremony was affected by heavy rain and it's still possible to see the rain drop pitted surface in imprints that year.

In 1983, 2TM published a Hands of Fame Hand Book with bios and pictures of inductees and there are plans for a new such guide in the future.

For 19 years, the Hands of Fame was administered by Radio 2TM but when they vacated the country field in 1995, responsibility for the Hands of Fame was passed to the Australian Country Music Foundation (ACMF) which selects candidates on behalf of Tamworth Regional Council and makes the announcement at its special concert on the first Saturday of the January Festival.

After more than 30 years, the Country Music Hands of Fame has become more than just a famous Tamworth tourist attraction. It has become a proud record of hundreds of individuals who have made Australian country music what it is today.     

Following is a list of inductees by each year since the Hands of Fame inauguration in January 1977. Hands of Fame inductees are determined each year by the Australian Country Music Foundation, administrators of the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. on behalf of Tamworth Regional Council.

Johnny Ashcroft Heather McKean
Buddy Bishop Joy McKean
Rick & Thel Carey Tex Morton
Stan Coster Slim Newton
Rex Dallas Nev Nicholls
Smoky Dawson Suzanne Prentice
Slim Dusty Shorty Ranger
Alan Hawking Buddy Williams
Ken Kitching George Xanthos
Reg Lindsay

John Ashe Jimmy Little
Arthur Blanch Johnny Mac
Lily Connors Geoff Mack
Trevor Day George Mack
Mike Hayes Tim McNamara
Pete Hayes Rocky Page
Frank Ifield Pete Skoglund
Bill Kettle Les Wilson
Ross Kettle Brian Young
Kevin King George Xanthos

Jewel Blanch Keith Riordan
Geoff Brown The Schneider Sisters
Emma Hannah Dennis Siddall
Col Hardy Jean Stafford
Anne Kirkpatrick Diana Trask
Paul Lester Trevor Warner
Chad Morgan Berard Webb
Gordon Parsons Fabian Webb
Les Partell Marius Webb
Reg Poole John Williamson

Charlie Bellert Ellie Lavelle
Norm Bodkin Lucky Starr
Lindsay Butler Athol McCoy
Pee Wee Clark Dusty Rankin
Rex Franklin Shirley Thoms
Johnny Greenwood Barry Thornton
Johnny Heap  
1901 Terry Gordon
Tex Banes Ray Kernaghan
Johnny Chester Arch Kerr
Chris Duffy John McSweeney
Ted Egan Harry & Wilga Williams
Allan Caswell Bill Kelly
Lee Conway Joan Ridgeway
Garth Gibson Saltbush
Grand Junction Tex Williams

Colin Huddlestone Buster Noble
Desree-Ilona Crawford Kevin Shegog
Eddie Low

Bob Clark Mike McClellan
Joe Daly George Payne
Nola Hirst Patsy Riggir
Colin James Judy Stone

Dick Carr Jan Kelly
Sister Dorrie Noel Parlane
Don Gresham Jonnie Russell

Eric Bogle Norm Scott
Michael Cooke Dusty Spittle
Jacqueline Hall Mark Von Berto
Maurie Lawson

Ian Castles Bill Mullin
Norm Drage Mike O'Malley
LeGarde Twins Harold Williams

Lorna & Dorothy Barry Deniese Morrison
Margaret & Kay Hickey Cowboy Bob Purtell

Donna Fisk Norma O'Hara Murphy
Tommy Mack Ken Robertson
Wayne Horsburgh

Olive Bice Lynette Guest
Norm Bodkin Terry Smith
Owen Blundell Bill Walker
Lawrie Minson Bryan Watkins

Auriel Andrew Phil Emmanuel
Al Black Barry Holmes
Evelyn Bury John "Doc" Riley

Robbie Brown Tex Hamilton
Nell Carter Jack Munting
Ian Castles Michael Roycroft

Charley Boyter Paul "Pixie" Jenkins
Ian Betteridge Bev McShanag
Dave Bridge Buddy Weston

Tracy Coster Pat Ware
Gay Kayler John R Williams
John Minson

Ernie Bridge Flying Emus
Bernie Burnett Barry Forrester
Graeme Connors Glenn Jones
Tommy Emmanuel  

Roger Corbett Lee Kernaghan
Dirtwater Band John Laws
Mick Finn Brian Letton
Christina George Dobe Newton

Garry Adams Ron Peters
Anne Conway Johnnie Rivers
Jim Haynes Michel Rose
Gina Jeffreys Eric Scott
Geoff & Laurie Jones Keith Urban
Ian B MacLeod  

Kenny Arnott Nash Chambers
Berice Blanch Keith Russell
Bill Chambers Craig Giles
Di Chambers Ricky & Tammy
Kasey Chambers Bill Robertson

Colin Buchanan Bluey Francis
Troy Cassar-Daley Tania Kernaghan
Tex & Mary Croft McCormack Bros
Crosby Sisters Claude Woodbridge

Greg Champion Garth Porter
Beccy Cole Carole Sturtzell
Max McCauley Gus Williams
Tommy Miller Wolverines

Adam Brand Felicity
Darren Coggan Michael Fix
Col Elliott

Bullamakanka Peter Horan
Shanley Del Grant Luhrs
Max Ellis

Andrew Clermont Adam Harvey
Pat Drummond Paul McCloud
Joyce & Kevin Durdin

Rickie Jones Brendon Walmsley
Roger Knox Jim Wesley
Melinda Schneider

Rocky Cameron Wally McQuaker
Gene Bradley Fisk Ross Murphy
Colleen Honeyman Lorraine Pfitzner
Keith Jamieson Sara Storer

Carter & Carter Wave Jackson
Ernie Constance Shaza Leigh
Peter Denahy Lenore Miller-Somerset

James Blundell Peter Coad
Freddy Bowen Col Edmonds
Ken Cameron Eric Watson

Mick Antonio Jim Muir
Kevin Knapp Wally Sparrow
Karen Lynne Warren H Williams (imprinting 2009)

Dally Croft The McClymonts
Jim Hermel Ian Quinn

Clelia Adams Tom Maxwell
Nick Erby "Slim" Jim Pike
Susan Jarvis Rodney Walker
Leslie Avril Harry Frost *
The Coad Sisters Bruce McCumstie
Rod Coe  
* Harry's induction was announced but he was not able to make it to Tamworth for the imprinting
Gavan Arden Stuie French
John Grills  
Alan Clement Frankie & Karen Johns
Debbie Parry  
Bob Howe Dianne Lindsay
Graham Rodger  
Alwyn Aurisch Zeta Burns
Dean Perrett  
Jeff Brown Patti Morgan
Drew McAlister Steve Newton
Ginger Cox Gary Ellis
Davidson Brothers Amber Lawrence

Compiled and produced in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital © Copyright GM Ellis.
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