Well here at last are my writings from the tour in Australia from September to December of last year.
Over the last few months my wonderful wife, Danni, has not been well and is only now slowly emerging from this problem. She is the one who is computer clever while I am the one who is computer daft. The memory of the tour is still strong and I have photographs that I took, in fact many many many photographs during the tour which I may well put up in the future. Of course one of the main things that has happened since then, and a great loss to us all, is the passing of Danny Spooner, it has not been a good year so far.
Farewell and adieu to you Danny Spooner
Farewell and adieu to you Captain Spoon
Your sails are all set and the winds well behind you
You’ll always be with us we’re part of your crew.
I always called Danny, Captain Spoon, and this is set to the tune for Brisbane ladies which I always so enjoyed singing with him.
So upwards and onwards;;;;;;;;;;;;;
Australian Tour 2016.
So finally September 10th arrived and it had taken just 254 days to arrive, which was not too bad considering that each day has twenty four hours in it. This was departure day for my final, or was it the final dress rehearsal, or final final before the final tour of Australia. It was to be just under three months and traveling around this beautiful country and meeting with many good friends. The family had volunteered to drive me to Heathrow, whether this was to make sure that I did actually leave so that they could have some peace and quiet was to be questioned. But fond farewells from all and to all as well and so the journey was on the move
I arrived in Melbourne after a good and thankfully uninterrupted flight, with a short stop at sunny Dubai, and thanks to Qantas for the safe flight. Their expertise and friendliness was matched by Andrew and Heather Pattison who met me, then drove me up to their winery, Burke and Wills, for a couple of days recuperation, and where better to recuperate. Through the wonders of modern technology, which passed me by many years ago, I managed to Facetime Danni to let her know that I had arrived in the land of Oz.
My first concert was at the house of Jon and Cecelia Sharpley and a great way to start a tour. The next day I was very honoured to have been asked to play at Peter Koutsoukis’s birthday party in Melbourne. Peter is the son of Con and Shirley Koutsoukis who used to run the Jolly Roger where I always had the great pleasure of singing during the week back in the early 1960’s. I was to be the surprise guest and none of the family was aware that I was there, apart from when I was there. It was a great
celebratory night and so good to be there and meet up with Shirley and the family. The day after this I was at the Victorian Bush Music Club and such an important institution this is, preserving Australian songs and music. Dom and Bette were the hosts for this and the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I had driven back up to Burke and Wills and on the Monday I had been included as a guest for a birthday party for Peter Russell-Clark with his wife Jane. This was to be in a restaurant at midday in sunny Bendigo. It was great to meet up with Peter and his lovely wife Jane, and Peter even did a quick sketch for me, which I have carried around Australia. Interesting people and fantastic company.
Tuesday was my departure day from Burke and Wills and I was heading off up to sunny Kiama to be in the warmth and friendship of Yvonne O’Grady, her daughter Kath and the ever musical Monty. No doubt Track Three will be on hand at the drop of a hat. I decided to stop off on the way in sunny Tarcutta and take my time to enjoy the countryside, and I had the benefit of being able to listen to and so enjoy the music of The Trio Threfalls, Francy Devine and of course the top class No Such Thing Band playing their exquisite Australian tunes. These were all available for me and the rest of Australia to hear.
I was at a festival in sunny Kiama that weekend, Folk By The Sea, once again the music was matched only by the setting. So good to meet up with and hear friends giving of their best, and in particular to meet up with and hear Jez Lowe who was on a short tour at the same time, a great and interesting performer.
I then had a few days off before heading over to sunny Goulburn for the Folk Gathering weekend. Our very good “adopted daughter” Shannon was to be on a few days holiday with husband Nick and their lovely daughters Elise and Scarlet, down in Mollymook just a bit south of Kiama, so I headed off down there to spend a great afternoon with them.
Most evenings I managed to Facetime Danni and could catch up with her and what was going on with the family, such a great method of keeping in touch. I was away to sunny Goulburn for the next weekend and the Folk Gathering which I can report as being a great success musically, and friendly as well. I was extremely fortunate to be staying at he historic house Carrorigang, which is as I am sure that you all know is Aboriginal for Black Swans. This historic house is owned by the Hume family, Hume of the Hume Highway. It was my very good friends Ian and Jenny MacDougall who arranged this for me as it is her brother Stuart and sister-in-law Anna who now occupy this house and indeed give tours around the house and grounds as well. Staying there as well were more extra good friends Bill and Jan Gammage who were up for a couple of days from sunny Canberra and so good to see them. Bill is the source of all information on Australia and all things Australian as I am sure that I have mentioned before. His defining book on the ANZACS The Broken Years and The Biggest Estate in The World, are well worth reading again and then again and……. I also did a concert at the house with Ian MacDougall which was so atmospheric knowing that the Bushranger Ben Hall had actually been to Garrorigang when it was a hotel and I believe that he held it up, he was not there that night.
My next port of call was to be up at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains but before then there was time to enjoy the environs of the Goulburn surroundings and to rummage around some of the historical sites there in the company of experts Bill and Jan Gammage and also to enjoy the pleasure of being at Garrorigang with such top people.
The drive on up to Blackheath was wonderful with so much to see. I would be staying with Christine Wheeler and her husband Mick. As we had the unusual luxury of having time on our side, we went for a quick walk to Govetts Leap, a favourite place of Henry Lawson the great Australian poet who liked to walk and observe this special place by moonlight when he was living in the area. Next day was spent in the company of Christine Davis and Dom who took me on a scenic drive around this area of the Blue Mountains, another great scenic day.
On then down to sunny Sydney with a great deal of torpid action as I would be relying on my sat-nav to take me to the home of Jim and Dallas Baxter where I would be staying for the next couple of days. Thankfully all went well and that night I was to have the honour of playing at Tritton Hall for the Sydney Bush Music Club. Tritton Hall is named after the shearer, poet and singer of old songs Duke Tritton. He was a top character and I had the pleasure of touring with him back in the mid 1960’s, someone I shall never forget. Jez Lowe was doing an afternoon concert at Humph Hall and this was a good opportunity to go and hear Jez who I very much admire – good songs and a good performer.
Monday saw my fond farewells and thanks to mine hosts Jim and Dallas and setting of down to sunny Kiama as it being a Monday there is the weekly session of Australian music with Yvonne, Kath and Monty along with other important members of the No Such Thing Band and the joy of hearing them play Track Three. It was while I was with them that I received an e-mail from Mike O ‘Connor in Cornwall. Mike has written some truly magical songs, some of which I sing over and over again, and he has sent me a song that he has written about my first experience of coming to Australia and heading out to the sheep and cattle station Emu Springs, near to Tintinara, South Australia. On listening to it I was completely bowled over by it and what an honour to have songs written for you, thank you Mike your blood’s worth bottling.
Kangaroo Valley Festival that weekend and with No Such Thing there as well it was a joy to perform some songs and music together and play The Shearers Lament and Good Old Concertina and to finish with Stan Graham’s top song Old Whitby Harbour with the audience joining in so well, a memorable time.
Departure day was Tuesday October 18th as I was heading over to sunny Mildura, to perform at the Art Back Gallery in sunny Wentworth just a few miles west of Mildura . There was another opportunity to be in the company of some other musicians and to play with them. The group is The Cauldron and this comprises of Mike and Glenda Oates along with Kathy and such a joy to play with them as well. Mike and I did a radio interview in Mildura and he played the harmonica to great effect as I sang ‘Where Silence Reigns’ and I might just add that we had had no time to practise this but Mike’s musicianship shone through.
It was time to leave such wonderful company yet again and face, unbeknown to me at this time, a very black day. I was heading off down to South Australia and the Fleurieu Folk Festival. It started to rain somewhat meaningfully as I approached the country town of Loxton and I needed some fuel and I pulled into a garage to fill up. There was not enough overhang above the pump and I would have become very wet from the heavy rain so I decided to head on to the next fuel station as it was not that urgent. As I pulled out from the proximity of the pump I did not see the “Stobey pole” standing in front of me and so I collided with it. Stobey poles are poles that are made out of old railway lines filled up wit concrete and I can tell you that they are totally unforgiving. The left hand side of the car was crunched up and undriveable. Now if you had decided to have an accident somewhere this was exactly the right place to have chosen. The lady who ran the garage, Michelle, was an angel obviously sent in situation like this to be of as much help as she possibly could be, and she was. If you want to go and drive into one of these “………Stobey poles” the On The Run garage at Loxton is the place to do it. It is just a pity that the Car Rental company East Coast car rental did not have the same compassion and understanding as Michelle The Angel did, I shall write more about east coast as we progress.
I shall not mention the accident any more as it did cause a bit of distress but I do want to mention the kindness, thoughtfulness, concern and genuine friendship showed by Andrew and Heather Pattison, Pete Twitchett, Eric and Carmel Bogle. Without their friendship it would have been a very dark day. Eric came and picked me up from the east coast car rental place, I have deliberately not put their name in capital letters as they do not deserve this distinction. Please avoid at all costs.
The next morning Eric and I headed off down to Fleurieu Festival and the injection of so many friendly smiling people and faces was the correct antidote to the complete disdain of east coast ……. The festival was excellent, and it was most enjoyable to see and hear so many good songs both old and new. I had luxurious accommodation in the home of Judith and Kevin Lamb and my grateful thanks go to them. After the festival I went back to some more luxurious accommodation at Eric and Carmel’s house in the suburbs of Adelaide. We had been invited to lunch at Derek and Gael Moule’s. Derek is a good songwriter and a long standing singer and I do one of his songs, ‘Across The Miles’, which is all about the heavy horses and emigrating to Australia, not the horses just the singer! Great as always to be in their company.
Fond farewells to Eric and Carmel as the next trip was down to the Maldon Festival in Victoria. Some good friends Andrew and Elaine Dyson, who are themselves great supporters of this wonderful folk music, were heading down by car to the Maldon Festival and had offered me a lift which I had gratefully accepted. An early start on that day and I would be staying with Keith and Jenny McKenry. On the way down we had to pull up at Tintinara which is a small country on the way down towards Melbourne. Tintinara is where I came to back in the early 1960’s when I arrived in Australia to work on the sheep and cattle station Emu Springs and this place still holds fond memories for me and I am very touched by the fact that Mike O’Connor has written a song about my experiences there called simply ‘Tintinara’. I am happy to sing it to anyone at the drop of a hat as with the other song written about my early days in Australia ‘Jackeroo’ which was written by our good friend Mike Silver, who I always say is worth his weight in gold. Andrew and Elaine kindly dropped me off at Keith and Jenny McKenry’s Alpaca farm near to Harcourt where it was so good to spend sometime in their company. Keith has written that fantastic book on the all important folk song and tune collector John Meredith, so well worth reading over and over again. Keith and I are doing a presentation on the Australian poet of great merit, Henry Lawson at Maldon so we had a chance to run through that. We all drove over there on the Thursday and there met up with Andrew and Heather. They were putting on a pre festival concert at their venue The Troubadour and they were also supplying me with a car, this is so very very much appreciated. On the Friday I had a house concert down in Eaglemont in the house of Peter and Jane Crone and such a pleasure to be there and with them as well. Back up to Maldon the next day and once again I was staying with some wonderful people Joy and Lyn who live in Maldon. Maldon is a small country town that I always visit each time I am in Australia as it is there that the book ‘The Diary Of A Welsh Swagman’ is set. Another book that is worth reading over and over again. In fact it was the Welsh Swagman, the author of this book who laid the drains in Maldon during the 1870’s, and to pay my deepest respect for him I always stroke the drains in remembrance and even sometimes I have been known to actually lie in the drains, but I always make sure that it has not been raining for at least a week before I do this. During the festival, Lyn, one of the ladies that I was staying with, had a very bad car accident and had to be air-lifted to Melbourne as her condition was serious, but thankfully she recovered and is now back in sunny Maldon, the best way and place to recuperate. During the festival my daughter Charlotte, husband Michael, granddaughter Tess and grandson Jack all came up for the weekend and it was good to spend some time with them.
Departure day from the festival was tinged with sadness as it had been so good to have seen, heard and been with so many good musicians, friends and singers, Ken Prato being one of them, with whom I had the pleasure of singing the great Duke Tritton song “Shearing in a Bar”. But upwards and onwards, hoping that mine hostess Lyn would make a speedy recovery.
The next leg of the tour would take me up into sunny Queensland and once again a memorable drive up through the New South Wales countryside. I was up up and away on the Tuesday which had now become November 1st. I was away from the wonderful Burke and Wills winery and heading off up to Tarcutta where I would stay the night in a motel there.
Wonderful views heading north to sunny Dubbo where I did a concert with Di Clifford and she kindly took me on a tour of the outside of the famous Dubbo Zoo. My next place was to the magical Gulargambone and the home of Jenny and Ian MacDougal. I have 276422786554567, favourite places in Australia and Gulargambone is on the top of the list, using the Trojan Method. The nights are just magical with stars here there and everywhere the Warrambungle Ranges shimmer in the distance. Ian McDougall was responsible for writing that perfect tune for Henry Lawson’s poem ‘The Never Never Land’. I often think that Henry Lawson wrote that poem while in the surrounding district of Gulargambone as with Ian’s tune this place conjures up such inspiration. Ian and Jenny had their good friends Louise and Don staying with them and in the evening it was a joy to share the concert with them all at the 2828 club.The next couple of days were spent in R&R. It had now reached Sunday and we had all been invited by friends of Ian and Jenny to a neighbouring property several miles away for Tea and Scones at 10. 30 precisely. Paul and Veronica live in yet another great place and Paul is one who collects machinery including buses. So after the Tea and Scones we were all invited to go for a ride in his bus. We were all provided with face masks, as it would be somewhat dusty and us males were given neckties. I still have mine and proudly wear it whenever it is needed, it is the NSWBA emblem which is of course the New South Wales Bowling Association. We were driven to another friend’s place who also had a collection of car machinery and anything else you can think of, including a can opener. Such a wonderful day with the company to match the scenery.
Don and Louise were heading off back down to sunny Canberra and they were away in the morning after having kindly given me a “stick” for the computer with many photographs that Don had taken while in Gulargambone. The rest of the day was spent driving around their property checking livestock and fences such a good way to spend the day. As it had been Sunday two days ago Tuesday was sadly to be my day of leaving for new pastures and Armidale was where I headed for. Fond farewells to Ian and Jenny. It was a good venue in Armidale and had been converted into a cafe from an old grocery store. Missy Jones and Janine along with her husband Warren were the instigators of this with a lot of help from the local community and if anyone happens to be in sunny Armidale the location of this venue is 1 Hughes Place where you will hear some wonderful music and songs with Missy and her singing companion Elly, an interesting place. Grafton next but I had an important first on the way. Many years ago in my early days here in Australia, I formed a lasting friendship with Colin Ricketts. he himself was from England and had gone to Australia in the early 1960’s and we had met in the renowned hotel in Sussex Street, Sydney The Royal George, where artists musicians poets and general people would meet, sing, and imbibe. Sadly I lost contact with Colin when I moved on down to Melbourne, but by pure chance we met up again after several years back here in England and Swindon to be precise. How this happened still makes me smile. It was late 1960’s when I had been booked by Ted and Ivy Poole to play at the Swindon Folk Club, one of the longest running clubs in the land and still going, this was at the Greyhound and had been advertised in the local paper. Unbeknown to me Colin had got married to the lovely and artistic Australian, Issy and they were now both over here with Colin working near to Swindon. Issy happened to be looking through the paper on this particular Friday night and happened to see my name as being at the Folk Club. Issy was unaware of Colin and my association going back a few years and loudly proclaimed, “Geez Colin look at this name of someone playing at the Folk Club Martyn Wyndham-Read, he must be some Pommie Toff, let’s go and see him. That was it, our friendship was renewed and has been, I am happy to say, a lasting one with Colin Issy, Danni and I spending many happy times together. So I had the chance of calling in to see Colin and Issy on my way through to sunny Grafton and all I can say is that it is such a joy to meet up with friends and to be able to spend time together. Time was short though as I was to be in Grafton next but I would be spending some time with them on my way back down south in a few days time as they live near to Coffs Harbour. Another memorable musical night with some great local musicians, and something that I always have great pleasure in is listening to local people playing and performing, as this is what this wonderful Folk Music is all about. Mazza was the organiser of this and I would just like to mention the barman, whose name eludes me, when I arrived at the hotel where the folk club meets I asked the barman if by any chance I could have a shower after having spent a few long dusty hours on the road to which he replied yes certainly, whether it was because I had been on the hot and dusty road for so long that day he felt that I should have a shower, is uncertain, but I was extremely grateful, as I am sure that everyone else was as well. Wherever else I seem to go in Australia it is such a joy to meet up with old acquaintances, friends and fellow musicians, and in Grafton I met up with Brendan Hanley whom I have not seen for well over forty plus years. Brendan used to sing around the coffee houses around Melbourne in the burgeoning days of the folk revival and I still have fond memories of times together so it was an added bonus that he turned up in Grafton and that we could spend time talking and reminiscing. I had stayed that night at Geoff and Annie’s place along with Mazza, and in the morning before I set off Brendan appeared and we all enjoyed a few more moments before I was away off up to Brisbane. The journey up to Brisbane was as scenic as every piece of road or track that I head down has been. The plan for today was to go straight to Jan Neary’s house and there have a quick meal with Jan and Gary and we were also joined by Mervyn Langford who was putting on tomorrow’s concert and a good chance to meet up with him. Jan does a two hour radio show at a community radio station and we all headed off there to be part of the programme. The next day being November 11th and in England there was the two minutes silence to be observed which I did. The evening concert at Magda’s was such a joy to be at and to meet up with friends David and Jill Yates along with Geneif and Peter Koutsoukis. The next day I was leaving hot humid sticky Brisbane for hot sticky humid Malaney which is about a two hour drive and after a fond farewell to Jan and Gary I was away.
Another good evening with great support performers
Tommy Leonard and Jenny Fitzgibbon who had been
instrumental in arranging this concert in an ideal
setting just near Malaney and in an old and very
atmospherically school hall. I stayed that night with Elli
Schlunke who is one of the most innovative and clever
as well as highly talented artist and have a look at her
website with such clever sculptures and paintings.
On my way down to be with Colin and Issy at Coffs
Harbour, I had a narrow escape and I do thank
whoever it was who is looking after me, they must
have been having a day off when I hit that …….Stobie
pole in Loxton, but this day they were well on hand. I
pulled into a service station to have a coffee and the
car that Andrew so kindly has lent me is an automatic
Mercedes Benz and when you park you have to put
the automatic gear into park and so the brake then
comes on. However when I stopped I was sorting
things out in my journal and I was unaware that the
car was rolling down a slight incline towards another
car. Luckily there were no cars coming from either
side and I managed to stop in time, so thank you, and
a big thank you at that, for making me aware of the
situation. Just another perfect evening with Colin and
Issy highlighted by the arrival of their daughter Gabby
and grandson Miller. The next day I went for a quick
drive with Colin so that he could show me some of the
spectacular views and sights in the area along with of
course all the areas wherever.
My next booking was down south in Newcastle and I have memories of Newcastle from my time in Australia back in the early 1960’s. One memory in particular was that there was a particular pub, or as they are called in Australia hotel, and I cannot remember the name of it, but like minded people would gather to sing songs and generally get together. Newcastle was a busy port and I can so well remember talking to a sailor who happened to be passing through and we were discussing songs when he started to sing a song that he had just learnt from the man who had written it, the name of the song was ‘Sammy’s Bar’ and written by none other than the late but very great Cyril Tawney. At that time I was unaware of Cyril Tawney but later on his songs became such an important part of my repertoire and in particular I so well remember his singing of ‘The Seeds Of Love’ which will stay with me forever. I had to be in Newcastle for a radio interview so I had made sure that I was there in plenty of time when my mobile phone rang and it was Ron Brown, who was organising everything, to say that the radio interview had been cancelled due to some other news item being more important. No problem, these things happen. So I phoned my good friend Danny Watson and with the help of my trusty satnav I found his luxurious house on the waterfront and spent some time before heading off for that nights concert which once again I enjoyed. I always so enjoy listening to the local performers, there is always so much to learn from other singers. The next day was to be a small house concert not far from Danny’s place run by yet more good friends Ros and Mike. Then it was to be in Woy Woy the next day, it had been great to stay with Danny, Jan and his daughter Amanda who was off to New Guinea after Christmas. Woy Woy is an Aboriginal word meaning deep water and it was there that Spike Milligan’s mother lived. When Spike Milligan asked what the words Woy Woy meant and had been told, “deep water” he replied ‘which word is deep and which word is water’, this did amuse me and many other people that I have told this to. Once again great local singers and I stayed there at the house of Michael and Ina Fine.
The next few days were to be a long haul behind the wheel as I was doing an afternoon concert in Cobargo on Sunday and we were already on Saturday morning when I bade my grateful thanks and fond farewells to Michael and Ina. I had made contact with Yvonne O’Grady to humbly ask if I could have shelter and accommodation for the Saturday night in the house of the Track Three Players and I am so pleased to be able to say that this was granted, once again just a joy to be with them. The next morning I was up early and on the road at 8.00 and heading towards sunny Cobargo about a four hour drive away and the concert was to start at 2.00 in the afternoon or as they say in Gibralter 14.00 hrs. Always a hard wrench to say farewell to Yvonne, Kath and Monty such inspirational people and their No Such Thing CD, Going To The Barndance is always being played and especially Track Three. Coral Vorbach was mine hostess for the afternoon and she is one of the organisers for the Cobargo Festival which is held every late February and a good reason to be in that area at that time of year. Good local musicians yet again and many more fond farewells to them all as I headed off to Cann River to stay the night there on the way to Melbourne. I had to be in Melboune for a radio programme on the Tuesday morning, so there would be no time to hang around. It had been arranged that I spend the Monday night at my good and old fried Peter Carroll’s mighty apartment and that Andrew and Heather Pattison would collect me to take me to the ABC for the John Faine show at 11.00 or as they say in Gibraltar 11.00 hrs. So from Cann River that Monday I would be passing through Frankston where my daughter Charlotte and husband Michael live so a good opportunity to call in and spend a short but important time with them along with grandchildren Tess and Jack, such a pleasure. I arrived at Peter Carroll’s apartment and we went out for a very good dinner. The next morning appeared on time and Peter very kindly drove me to the ABC and I would collect my car later as there is nowhere to park at the ABC. The John Faine programme is a conversation hour and there were two other very interesting guests on it, one was just called Casey and was an extremely good guitarist and he did play the most wonderful interpretation of the old song On the Road to Gundagai, the other was Lewes Carlton who was organising a festival/weekend on vintage cars and machinery along with heavy horses. Both fascinating people, and I enjoyed being part of this. After all was done and farewells farewelled, Andrew and Heather were on hand to pick me up and take me back to Peter Carroll’s place where I collected the car and away we went. I would be seeing Peter again on Friday evening. Andrew Heather and I have been invited to have lunch with John and Sally Beavis. John is one of Australia’s foremost song writers and I have known and admired him for his song writing ability as well as his friendship for many a year and it was good to be in their company even though for only a short time. John and Sally live only a short distance from where I used to sing in the Reata many years ago back in the early ’60s so I did have to go on a nostalgic walk to revisit it. It has now of course changed and become a Japanese restaurant but there are still bits of the fabric there to behold. Later on I drove back out to the sublime Burke and Wills residence of Andrew and Heather where they are preparing for this weekends concert and gathering this is to be my last concert of this tour and maybe even my last concert in Australia as this is supposed to be my farewell tour, but may I say watch this space as the thought of not returning to this Shining Land is not worth thinking about. Roger Montgomery and John Angliss who are a great and extremely talented and entertains duo called Dingo’s Breakfast were coming to help Andrew and Heather set the stage and everything for the coming weekend. It was once again a great pleasure to be in all of their company and we had a great evening chatting.
Friday involved a trip down to Melbourne for me as I was doing a concert at the Albert Park Royal Yatch Club for Cliff Ellery and then staying again with Peter Carroll. Andrew had asked me if I could pick up a couple of people who were flying in from Tasmania for this weekend on my way back on Saturday. No problem with this as it turned out to be my very very good and inspirational friend Brian Mooney and his lovely wife Phyllis, but more on that later. The evening went well and as always Cliff did such a good job in organising everything to make the evening go well and so good to see so many familiar faces, which were attached to their bodies needless to say. Back to Peter’s and bed at the midnight hour. Brian and Phyllis would be arriving at 14.15 and with the usual short delay we met up. So good to be with them both and to catch up on all their news. Brian is the most fantastic artist and once again I urge you to view his paintings on his website, www.brianmooneyart.au his paintings of the Great Outback are truly exhilarating. Enough to say that the next couple of days were just so good. Eric Bogle and John Munro did a memorable concert on the Saturday with rapturous applause and reception from the full house at Burke and Wills and on the Sunday so many singers and old friends turned up to perform including the Bushwackers and many many more and this will stay with me and I thank everyone so very much for being part of this and especially to Andrew and Heather who always work so hard and who have done so very very much to keep this wonderful Folk Music in such atmospheric and presentable venues, I thank them so much. My good friend Ken Prato was there and I shall see him again at Whitby in Yorkshire for the Folk Week in August.
On Monday I drove Brian and Phyllis back down to Melbourne as they were going to be visiting some art galleries before heading back to sunny Tasmania so we went on a circuitous route via Keith and Jenny McKenry’s and a quick chat to the Alpacas and then through some magnificent scenery of which I took plenty of photographs which I will be sending to Brian and hopefully these will be transformed into wonderful paintings.
My departure date was now only a couple of days away and there was still plenty to do and people to see one of these was another old good and special friend who goes by the name of Bruce Woodley, he of that famous and great group The Seekers. We had a good chat and catch up with lunch at Burke and Wills. We had a good few hours chatting away and one more fond farewell to Bruce as he left to head off back down to Melbourne.
It was now my penultimate day before the flight back to England and to be with my beloved family again. I had people to meet up with in Melbourne with whom I had not had a chance to make contact with so far. Mary Traynor had arranged for us all to meet up for lunch in a nearby pub in Carlton. I went first of all to Mary’s house where waiting patiently were Margaret Roadknight, Fiona White. Ken was not able to make it as he had had to go to a funeral. We all walked round to the pub/hotel and there met up with David Lumsden followed by Peter Neilson and then young Bronwyn, another exceptional artist. David Lumsden is the son of Kath and Arthur Lumsden who were at the forefront of folk song and music collecting in the 50’s and they played such an important part in keeping this music alive. Without their collecting skills and dedication most of these songs would be lost forever, we owe them and all the song and music collectors a great debt. Peter Nielsen I have also known for many and many a year and even recorded some songs on an LP back in the 60’s. He has become another one of Australia’s top artists and he is also well worth looking up to view such imaginative and clever paintings www.australiangallieries.com.au
The lunch was as good as the company many laughs and memories. From their I had arranged to meet up with Christine and Veronica, they are mother and daughter and it was Veronica who was married to Tom Lazar who owned and ran the Reata where I first started to sing. Sadly Tom is no longer with us, but a few years ago, when I was on another tour here and Danni my wife was with me, we were up in Queensland and realised that Tom was living a mere 150 kilometres away from where we were staying, so we drove out just to have a cup of tea with him and more importantly to make contact and I am so glad that we did, as not long after Tom departed this world. Both he and Veronica along with Gary Kaye their partner were so important to me and I thank them eternally for giving me the start in singing these songs. It was so good to meet up with Christine, Veronica and her husband Christopher and who else was there? None other than Gary Kaye and this was such a bonus, another memorable day all round. It was then back up to Burke and Wills for my last night before departure day.
What can I say about this day, it had been such a good tour apart from that one upheaval with the ………Stobie pole, but the friendship, scenery and general meeting and gathering with so many people musicians and friends has been fantastic and I thank you all, each and everyone of you, for the memories you have given me. So many thanks to not only Andrew and Heather for organising so many things but also to Danny Watson for his organising concerts in N.S.W. and I do include everyone in this a very big THANK YOU. Who knows I may be back so watch this space ………….
at some point in time there will be photos from the journey for you to view