Take in the colourful history of Australian country music while visiting its undisputed capital, Tamworth.
It is fitting for the building housing the Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth to be shaped like a giant guitar, an appropriate tribute to the town that is the genre’s undisputed capital.
And there are plenty more guitars within it. The museum houses and exhibits an impressive display of memorabilia from iconic Australian country music artists, both past and present. Early pioneers of the genre are represented, including Slim Dusty, Smoky Dawson, Tex Morton and Buddy Williams, as well as contemporary artists like Troy Cassar-Daley, Keith Urban and Lee Kernaghan.
Absorb yourself in the history of Australian country music as you wander amongst mannequins bedecked in original stage outfits, most of which are presented alongside photographs of the corresponding artist rocking the outfit on stage. Marvel at Chad Morgan’s pale pink slacks and white shirt adorned in Sturt’s desert pea embroidery, and observe the fine detail in the fabric of Amber Lawrence’s fiery red flapper-style dress that she wore during her performance at the Gympie Muster. The museum’s collection of stage outfits extends beyond the exhibit hall and into its archives, with the displayed pieces rotating so there’s always something new to see.
In addition to costumes, there are gig posters, original LPs, instruments and historical recording equipment on display, too.
The ‘Walk a Country Mile’ display twists and weaves both literally and figuratively through the Australian country music history books, a one-way channel through which you can wander and take in the displays dedicated to prominent figures in the industry. Treasured instruments and keepsakes are laid out alongside their respective stories, like the $160 guitar that Kasey Chambers’ brother bought from a Central Coast op shop, with which she composed The Captain and other songs from her acclaimed first album while travelling in Africa. The motorbike ridden by Geoff Mack, of I’ve Been Everywhere, Man fame, through Europe with his wife is on display, plus items included signed photographs, fan letters, original and rare LPs, well-worn Akubras and, of course, many a beloved guitar.
Entry to the museum is just $7, thanks to the simple fact it is run entirely by volunteers, a small price to pay for a charming meander down memory lane while visiting the home of country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame sweetly encapsulates the themes of outback life, stockmen, bush balladeers and romance upon which Australian country music is built, and is a love letter to this fair nation as much as it is to music.
The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame is located at 561 Peel St, Tamworth, NSW. Click here for more information.