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 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 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

Ross Murphy


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.

Sources & Resources

If you are looking for some of the books mentioned here, try international internet second hand book dealer www.abebooks.com. ABE co-ordinates lists of stock from hundreds of booksellers all over the world.

Tex Morton Discography

Max Ellis writes...

Earlier this year in response to an email from Robert Platt who lives in Quebec in Canada, I helped gather information about Tex Morton's recording history from a number of aficionados including Pat Ware, Peter Burgess, Eric Scott, Hedley Charles and David Crisp. Robert is a contributor to Praguefrank’s Country Music Discographies, a website based in Prague in Czechoslovakia which carries a huge number of Country Music discographies, mostly of American artists.

Robert tells me "I first came across the name Tex Morton as a teenager in the late 1960s in Bill Malone's history of country music in the U.S. It was several years later that I heard my first Morton recording in a compilation of notable yodellers and became a fan. I have met other fans in North America and Europe, but none had very much information about Morton's recordings, so I decided to undertake the compilation of a Tex Morton discography. When it is completed, it will be posted on Praguefrank’s Country Music Discographies, freely available for anyone’s use." Robert's discography is based originally on Eric Watson's Morton discography from his book Country Music in Australia but with information from these Australian correspondents, it has been revised and expanded considerably.

The web site is www.countrydiscography.blogspot.com

Click here for a rundown of Australian country music periodicals.

Click here for a review of "The ABC Book of Australian Country Music" – new release – by Jim Haynes.


Books about Australian Country Music

• A Band In A Waistcoat Pocket - The story of the harmonica in Australia

By Ray Grieve

Published in 1995 by Currency Press

Not really a country music book as such, this well researched volume includes references to John Minson, Tex Morton and Harry Thompson and the Bushwackers among others. Of course harmonica has long been a mainline country instrument … just ask John or Lawrie Minson or Charlie McCoy!!

Contact:  PO Box 145, Glenbrook, NSW 2773

• A Country Voice - 55+ Years On Air

By Neville Pellitt

Self published 2002

Neville is well known as the originator of the famous Harmony Trail syndicated radio program which he started at 3SR Shepparton in 1956. While he relates many stories and memories about country music on radio and TV, Neville's book is also a fascinating look at commercial radio in the country as it developed from the 40s through to the 80s. It was dominated by autocratic managers and it produced many of the talented people who later became leaders in the Australian media industry.

Contact: Moonlight Publishing. PO Box 5 Golden Square, 3555

• The ABC Book of Australian Country Music

By Jim Haynes, publishe by ABC Books in 2009

Sub titled "the ultimate guide to country music in Australia", this beautifully produced book certainly provides the most comprehensive coverage of the genre on the market today.

Written and compiled by industry stalwart Jim Haynes, the big volume contains a huge list of contemporary country music artists, each with an extensive up-to-date bio and most with a current picture.

There is also information and history about the Golden Guitar Awards, the College of Country Music, major festivals and Australian country music generally.

Jim has dedicated his book to "two wonderful blokes, Slim and Smoky".

I'm sure they would be proud to see the industry they nurtured for so long showcased in such an entertaining and professional manner.

Click here to buy.

• Ambassadors of Country Music

By Ian Hands, self published in 1984

Available from I Hands, PO Box 18, Archerfield, 4108

In this book, Ian Hands who has had a life long association with country music, retells factual stories of rough riding, boxing drama and humour from the lives of the touring rodeos of Tex Morton and Larry Dalhunty.

• Another Day, Another Town

By Slim Dusty & Joy McKean

Published in 1996 by Pan Macmillan Australia.

A fascinating account of Slim and Joy's life together. An honest, down to earth story, detailing Slim's incredible career over more than 50 years. The book gives a real insight into a way of life that exists no longer and it is told in their own words by two humble and uniquely talented people who have contributed so much to our country's heritage and culture. Includes a discography.

• Australian Country Music 

By David Latta

Published in 1991 by Random House Australia

A comprehensive look at the Australian country music scene and the current artists written by a professional journalist/ writer with many original coloured pictures by Pete Brennan.

• The Australian Legend

By Russell Ward

Published in 1958 by Oxford University Press

Dr Ward was Professor of History at the University of New England. This book is the definitive volume on the influences, which have formed the Australian character. He draws heavily on the folk songs and balladry of the country. It argues that this national mystique grew up first and most clearly among bush workers who have had a  huge effect on the attitudes of the whole Australian community.

• Beneath The Brim of Tamworth’s Country Music Festival

By Jake Lindsay (Shot By Jake)

Published 1997 it’s a fine collection of photos of stars and fans in their favourite hats at the Tamworth Festival.

Contact: 312 Peel Street, Tamworth, NSW 2340

• The Book of Australian Country Music

Compiled and edited by James "Jazzer" Smith assisted by Keith Blinman.

Published in 1984 by The Berghouse Floyd Tuckey Publishing Group

A large, glossy volume with stories, bios, coloured and B&W pictures. Jazzer Smith was the legendary editor of Across Country Magazine in Melbourne in the 1970s before taking over as editor of Capital News in 1981. This book contains material about the pioneers, artists, Tamworth, recording studios, media events and country music generally, presented in a very readable and interesting format.  It's a country music classic covering virtually all the scene up to the mid 1980s.

• Buried Country - The Story of Aboriginal Country Music

By Clinton Walker  

Published in 2000 by Pluto Press

Tells the story of Aboriginal involvement in Australian Country Music. Refers to well known artists like Roger Knox, Auriel Andrews, Lionel Rose and Harry and Wilga Williams and many others who aren’t so well know, documenting their struggles and successes over 6 decades.

Published in conjunction with a video produced by Film Australia in association with SBS Independent


• Country Music in Australia Volume 1

By Eric Watson

Published in 1975 by Rodeo Publication and Eric Watson. Second edition 1982 by Angus and Robertson

Eric Watson’s fundamental book about Australian country music. It contains a comprehensive and mostly first hand, chronological account of the lives of artists who started it all. From Tex Morton in the '30s to Tim McNamara at the end of the '40s. It contains biographies, pictures and discographies. The binding is not very robust on the first edition with a green cover, The second edition has a black glossy cover

• Country Music in Australia Volume 2

Published in 1983 by Angus and Robertson

Continues Eric Watson’s detailed record of Australian country music artists from the 40s to the late '70s providing a truly unique record of country music singers and songs from that era. Like Volume one it contains bios, pictures, discography and other valuable historical material.

Eric Watson's Country Music In Australia are seminal works of paramount importance to our musical heritage.

• Country Music in Australia Volumes 1 & 2 combined

Author Eric Warson has recently republished both the earlier editions as one volume, which is great news for anyone interested in Australian music.

The combined one and two volumes of "Country Music In Australia" is available for $27 packed and posted from:

     Selection Records,
     P.O.Box 456,
     NSW 2470

• The Directory of Australian Country Music

Published annually since 1996

Contact: Rural Press Events PO Box W528 Tamworth 2340
Tel 02 6762 2399 Email countrymusicdirectory@ruralpress.com.

This publication is the “Bible” of the Australian country music industry. It contains bios of all current artists and past stars as well as a huge range of other country music information. This includes lists of clubs, venues, recording studios, songwriters, managers, industry people and so on, as well as a full annual record of The Golden Guitar Awards results (with winners back to 1973) plus results of every other major talent quest and Awards scheme in Australia. It also carries ever two or three years, a detailed chronological "Country Music Through the Years" segment. This is a very comprehensive publication covering every aspect of the contemporary Australian country music scene.

• The Hillbilly Addict

By Norm Burke

Published by N. Burke, 2000

The personal, amusing and often controversial memoires of a committed country music all rounder composer, compere, musician, writer, radio presenter and of course fan, all delivered with a  strong Melbourne slant!  Norm gives readers a fascinating, first hand, insiders look at the country music scene in Australia from his early days in the 50s.

Contact: PO Box 46 South Oakleigh, Melbourne, Vic. 3167

• The Last Showman

Larry Dulhunty's larrikin life

By Jim Oram, published 1992

Jim Oram was a well-known columnist for the Sydney Daily Telegraph as well as a prolific author of books about Australia. In this book he tells the story of the legendary country recording artist and outback showman Larry Dulhunty who died on February 16, 2006,in Charters Towers, aged 83.

From cattle property near Charters Towers he served in World War II as a commando, returning to become a stockman until he formed a wild west show. For decades Larry entertained, cracking whips, trick shooting, tent boxing, rough riding and as a singer and bush storyteller. His annual circuit included Cooktown, the Kimberleys and Kalgoorlie.

• On the Road with Slim Dusty

By John Elliott

Published by ABC books in 2002

John is a professional photographer whose pictures of Slim have appeared all over the land including the National Gallery. This book captures the past 10 years of Slim and Joy's incredible life from Nashville to Edna Everidge Concert to the original family farm in Kempsey.  A superb presentation of a fascinating Australian story.

• Our Blood Stained Past

By Larry Dalhunty self published in 1984
Available from Ian Hands, PO Box 18, Archerfield, 4108

Short factual stories and poems about the bush

• The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore

Published in 1993 by Oxford University Press

Country Music In Australia section by Monika Allan

Monika Allan is a professional writer/ researcher/teacher and in this compendium of Australian Folk material, provides an unmatched and comprehensive overview of the development and history of country music with references to influences, artists and events. A socio-political analysis of Australian country vs. folk music – their right- and left-wing origins and overlap in Australia.
Contact: Monika Allan ma_solitaire@yahoo.com.au Tel: 02 9665 7996

• Red Desert Sky

The amazing adventures of the Chambers family

By John Lomax III published in 2001 by Allen & Unwin

John Lomax III is the grandson of pioneering American folklorist John Avery Lomax, so music has always been in his blood. It was in 1996 in Nashville he first heard a recording of The Dead Ringer Band and was instantly captivated, ultimately representing the band in the US and playing an important role with Kasey Chamber's incredible climb to fame. Red Desert Sky tells the family's own story, often in their own words. It's a fascinating chronicle from their humble beginnings in South Australia to fox hunting on the Nullarbor Plains and on to industry and public acclaim with "The Captain". This book is full of names, achievements and anecdotes about the Chambers' professional and private lives filling in the interesting details behind the public legend. Unfortunately it finishes in 2001 so we are about ready for the next instalment!

• Singing Australia

A History of Folk & Country Music

By Graeme Smith, published in 2005 by Pluto Press.

A comprehensive volume written very much from an academic point of view, covering the genres from their background and development through to multi-cultural influences and how the author interprets the music's political significance.

Slim Dusty was almost a publishing industry in his own right.

• Slim Dusty Around Australia

By Peter Phillips

Self published in 1983

Peter is a serious fan of Slim.  For many years he collected pictures of him from many sources and compiled them in this simple but effective publication.

• Slim Dusty A Golden Anniversary

Published by EMI in 1988

Produced to celebrate the passing of 50 years since  Gordon Kirkpatrick adopted the name Slim Dusty (in 1938 aged 11). Lots of early pictures. Introduction by Ron Wills.

• Slim Dusty - The Kid From Nulla Nulla

By Peter Bowers in 2001

Produced by Australia Post in conjunction with Slim becoming one of their Australian Legends stamp series.  This glossy book is a tribute to Slim and Joy in words and photos in the year he released his 100th album.

• Smoky Dawson - A Life

By Smoky Dawson, Illustrated by Pro Hart, Introduction by RM Williams.

Published in 1989 by George Allen & Unwin Australia Pty Ltd.

A wonderful book written by Smoky with all the joi de vivre he has brought to his long and colourful life with Dot. Lots of stories as only Smoky can tell then along with photos and some great coloured pictures by his old mate Pro Hart. A vivid reflection of a very special and treasured Australian couple.

• The Tamworth Country Music Festival

By Monika Allan

Published 1988 Horwitz Grahame Pty Ltd Sydney

A cavalcade of Australia's leading country music artists. Chapters are broken into their genres, e.g. the Bush Balladeers, Songwriters, Yodellers, Trucking Music, Nashville Sound, Gospel, Women in Australian Country Music, etc. Also a compact history of the Tamworth Festival. Text is mostly about the artists and their lives accompanied by scores of Festival photographs and artists from the early 1970s to late 1980s. Lots of excellent pictures from Country Music Capital, well researched and well written information.

Contact: Monika Allan ma_solitaire@yahoo.com.au Tel: 02 9665 7996

• The TEX MORTON Songbook

A new release by Gordon Spittle. Click here for a review.

• Travelling My Own Track - Stan Coster - Autobiography

Self published 2001

" For a long time now, I have intended to write a book m on my life…"  So starts Stan's story as told by himself. It ends after his death in 1997, with tributes from many of his mates. The book tells of Stan's experiences as the bushman poet… As John Minson says of Stan "He lived the life he wrote and sang about" becoming "a personification of the mythical bushman".

Contact: DSAMC Education Pty Ltd. P.O.Box 81, South Tamworth 2340

• Walk A Country Mile

By Slim Dusty & John Lapsley

Published in 1979 by Rigby

Published in conjunction with the feature film of the same name, in both hard and soft cover versions, this book circulated in great numbers through the early eighties. It tells Slim’s story from his early days at Nulla Nulla Creek, his struggles to record and life on the road through to the stardom he has achieved.

• Where Country Is

A pictorial history of the past 20 years of Australian country music

By John Elliott

Published in September 2005 by Rural Press Events, Tamworth

Available from www.ruralbookshop.com.au

John has been recording Australian country music on film, in digital form and in print for decades. An industry identity, he is recognised for his fine work with Slim Dusty and his superb photo story telling about our country and its people.

This book has a staggering selection of John's work from the past 20 years. Everyone's there in his fine portraits of artists and musicians as well as quirky shots of the same people performing, showing off their Golden Guitars or just plain having fun.

In the book, John tells his own fascinating story, of growing up in Blackall in the '50s, his days as a publisher (Australian Country Music magazine) and as the most notable photographer in our industry.

The book also contains John Minson and Max Ellis's brief history of Australian Country Music and a Country Music Timeline from 1985 to 2005. It's a flamboyantly colourful publication with 200 pages of original pictures and a real flavour of today's Australian country music scene.

• Wollun One

By Arthur & Berice Blanch

Self published in 2005  

This is the fascinating story of the Blanch family's beginnings, their growth as professionals and their all conquering period in America. Its very well illustrated and gives a real insight into the talented family's determination and drive.

Contact: Tamworth Music, Box 735, Palm Beach, Queensland 4221

• Prelude

Published monthly by SACCM (the South Australian Council for Country Music), Prelude is an A4 sized magazine with colour pics, gig guide and other regular features.

Contact via www.saccm.com.au or PO Box 31, Plympton South Australia 5038.


There are a number of videos relating to country music history which are available commercially.

• Walk a Country Mile

• Buried Country

A video of the book of the same name. Tells the story of aboriginal country music artists.


• The Last Ride Of Tex Morton

Produced by Graham Archer, the video tells the story of Australia’s father of country music, Tex Morton.

Contact:  ACMF


• The Australian Country Music Foundation in Tamworth holds an extensive collection of historic videos.

Contact: ACMF PO Box 1842 Tamworth 2340
Tel 02 6766 9696 Email info@acmf.org.au

Web www.acmf.org.au

• The Australian Sound and Film Archive, Screensound has a large collection of audio and video material some of which is commercially  available commercially

Contact: www.screensound.gov.au

Historic Audio

• Kookaburra Records

A specialty label which concentrates on releasing commercial recordings of out of copyright material including early Tex Morton radio broadcasts.

Contact: Peter Burgis

• The Tex Morton Sound Archives

Tamworth based archive specialising in historic recordings including country music 78s, tapes and transcriptions of programs, interviews, etc.

Chief archivist: Pat Ware

Compiled and produced in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital © Copyright 2010 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