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

The Big Golden Guitar

Birth of the Golden Guitars

Brief History of the Golden Guitar Awards

Brief History of Star

The Buddy Bishop Story

Country Music Capital Meets Music City

Country Music Hands of Fame

Country Music Media

Country Music Roll of Renown

Country Timeline

First The Song

Ghosts of Tamworth

Golden Guitar Memories


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

Ross Murphy

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.

Golden Guitar Pioneers

Among the 5,000 guests at the 30th Anniversary Golden Guitar Awards in the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre (TREC) on January 26th, 2003, were four people who each played an important role in starting the event in 1973. The country music Golden Guitar Awards were the original core event around which Radio 2TM built the festival in later years.

The four...

John Minson who, as Mr Hoedown on Radio 2TM, was the voice of Country Music Capital until he retired in 1988. In 1973 he played a key role in planning and promoting those first Awards. John lives in Coffs Harbour but made a nostalgic trip back to Tamworth for the 30th Anniversary event.

Kevin Knapp, a broadcaster and promotions man, ended up as the compere of the event and he stayed in that role, hosting the presentations, until 1988. Now retired, Kevin still lives in Tamworth retaining an involvement in the Australian Country Music Foundation.

Warwick Higginbotham who, as Group General Manager of the New England Network in the 1970s, gave the go ahead for the station’s ambitious country music projects and maintained a hands-on involvement with the Awards.

Max Ellis who, as Station Manager of 2TM and Chief Executive of the Awards in 1973, was the organising and marketing mind and driving force behind the event. Max left 2TM in 1984 to run set up his own marketing consultancy but took over the organising of the Awards again in 1992 as Secretary of the newly formed Country Music Association of Australia and remained heavily involved as CEO, Awards Chief Executive and Vice President of that organisation until 2003.

Working with a team of other enthusiastic 2TM staff, including then 2TM announcers George Arklay, Bill Gleeson (later of local ABC fame), Bob Lipman, Del Foote and Eric Scott (formerly a 2TM announcer, owner-operator of Hadley Records and one of the group that initiated Country Music Capital), they spearheaded the foundation of an event which is now firmly ingrained in the Australian consciousness. A recent national survey showed that 72 percent of all adult Australians recognise the Golden Guitar Awards.

One other young helper was 2TM junior announcer Mark Collier, until 2006, Head of the ABC’s Radio National Network.

The Golden Guitar Awards grew out of a push by Radio 2TM to establish Tamworth as Australia’s Country Music Capital in the late 1960s. This followed the success of “Hoedown” on 2TM and a number of live shows promoted by the station in the now famous Tamworth Town Hall.

Today’s country music festival was originally developed over many years by 2TM (through its subsidiary BAL Marketing) around the highly successful Australasian Country Music Awards.

Compiled and produced in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital © Copyright 2007 GM Ellis. Material on this site can be down loaded. Where copyrights on pictures or other content are known to exist, approvals for use have been obtained. If you have any query regarding material on the site please contact the site manager