Tuesday March 14, 2017.

I feel that many of you will join with me in sending condolences to the family of the late John Minson, “Mr. Hoedown” of Radio 2TM’s famous, and long lived, country music programme. John’s friendly voice was a uniting thread to all of us in the outback and in the country everywhere.  Slim and I used to tune in whenever we had a night off on our long outback tours.  Most country artists were touring nearly all year round, in every corner of the nation, but Mr. Hoedown kept all of us updated with everyone’s recordings and news. Folk would ring in and tell how an artist’s concert went, and who was appearing and John would keep sending out news and music non-stop. “Mr. Hoedown” was only one part of John’s life in music…He played harmonica on quite a few of Slim’s recordings as well as on lots of others, and he built the JEM pedal steel guitar. The early days of the Golden Guitar Awards were part of John’s career and life.  But I could go on and on..

John left us on Friday 10th March.  He will be long remembered and many will be the stories and memories shared by friends and colleagues attending his funeral next Tuesday 21st in Tamworth’s Baptist Church.

Thursday March 2, 2017.

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share an aerial photo of the Slim Dusty Centre that Pip Smith took as she and Dick flew in for their visit last month. They said they had a great time, and were most impressed with the size and quality of the building itself, and all the exhibits on display. Pip had her camera working fulltime, and got some good pictures of Dick in the Slim Dusty exhibition…she even took a photo of me standing in front of the case that displays my wedding dress, and Dick with Old Purple and our last touring caravan.

I think I will let the photos tell more of the story about the visit…just let it be said that everyone loved meeting Dick and Pip, two of the greatest Australians I know.

The last 3 photos were taken by our curator, Julia Morrell, and capture Dick engaging with the exhibits.

Till next time, keep on keeping on, remember!

And come to visit us up in Kempsey.



Thursday February 23, 2017.

Hello everyone!

I’m hoping the worst of the recent, long heatwave is receding and everyone can just enjoy a day at the beach or out and about without being literally fried.  I have very distinct memories of the heatwaves up at Doyles Creek in the Hunter region.  As a child, I loved the excitement of being put in a makeshift bed out under the stars some nights when the heat made sleeping indoors impossible.  My sister Heather and I found the howling of dingoes in the hills around the old farmhouse a spine tingling accompaniment to our adventure, and the only drawback to the enjoyment was the citronella oil our mother put on us to deter the mosquitoes.  To this day, I am not keen on the odour of citronella oil.  Luckily for us, neither were the mosquitoes.

To get back to things happening more recently, family members are on the move again.  Small Town Romance, the full band,  featuring Jim Arneman and Flora Smith (Anne’s son and daughter-in-law), is appearing at two NSW clubs this coming weekend (Dates below).  Then the following week on March 3rd, Anne  heads for Western Australia with husband Greg on front of house and with Jim and Flora joining her…(more dates below). So you can catch up with them on both sides of the continent. Talk about travelling still….to quote the title of Anne’s song!


Small Town Romance                   Saturday 25th February               Hardy Bay Club (Central Coast NSW)                     7:30pm

Sunday 26th February                 Marrickville Bowling Club                                      4pm – 7pm


Anne Kirkpatrick  (with Jim and Flora)

Saturday 4th March                       Outback Country Festival, Serpentine W.A.

Sunday 5th March                         South Coast Country Club, Albany.  (on Albany Highway at the 4 mile peg)          2:30 pm


Till next time, keep on keeping on,


Tuesday January 31, 2017.

I am just back from the festival and the Golden Guitar Awards in Tamworth, and drawing breath after all the activities during the past week.  I was honoured to be asked to receive the prestigious Songmaker Award from the Tamworth Songwriters’ Association on behalf of Tony Brooks.  Tony was a wonderful lyric writer, and we first met him in Mount Isa in Western Queensland in the ‘sixties.  Over the years, he wrote many lyrics for Slim to record, and the resulting songs varied from bush to trucks to fishing.  A plaque bearing his name and details of his work will now be mounted with other winners. The framed certificate is now on its way to W.A. to Tony’s son, Kim who is very proud to receive it on behalf of the family.


The Back to the Bush concert organised by Dianne Lindsay and husband Peter Simpson was a huge success with an even bigger crowd attending than last year, if possible.  I drew the winning ticket for the raffle of the beautiful D’Angelo guitar donated by Di and Peter with the support of the makers and the music importer Jack’s Music.

Anne’s Family and Friends concert at the Balladeers’ Homestead was a full house with our visiting Napa Valley USA friends clapping hard …like me, of course.  Rod Coe plus James and Flora (did I tell you Jim and Flora were married last October?) had a great time, with guest appearances of Anne’s cousins Dianne and Sandra Lindsay plus Pete, joining in to present a McKean Sisters spot of harmony singing and yodelling.

Anne, with Ami Williamson and Tania Kernaghan also presented a three girl show that same afternoon in a different venue, and once again, a full house with an audience standing up and calling “more, more” when the girls finished the show.  Don’t think they’d prepared an encore, though!


Jim and Flora, with their band ‘Small Town Romance’ had a great gig at the Longyard front stage on Saturday and finished off their festival with a closing appearance on Sunday.  I was particularly interested to see their bass player was a girl, Alex.   The blokes on lead guitar and drums were terrific too…but I must say, as a long retired bass player of indifferent ability, I loved seeing Alex really pounding it out up there. It’s an interesting line-up actually.  Flora plays terrific Tex-Mex style button accordion, so the ladies are well represented in the band.   By the way, if you didn’t get to see them at the festival, ‘Small Town Romance’ is appearing on February 26th at Marrickville Bowling Club. I will be lining up for that one, for sure.


Congratulations to all the winners of Golden Guitars on Saturday night, too many for me to list here. Such a display of talented writers, musicians and singers and such a great night of performances by so many different and contrasting styles of music and presentation.  The Roll of Renown presentation has now returned to its original position of being awarded during the Golden Guitar Awards night.  I was asked to be a co-presenter with Max Ellis, and it made my night to be able to make the announcement that Troy Cassar-Daly was the recipient for 2017.


I know this is becoming a newsletter, but I haven’t been able to keep contact as much as I would like, and there has been so much happening here and up at the Slim Dusty Centre.   Dick and Pip Smith landed in their helicopter on the front grassy paddock at the Centre on the 16th January, welcomed by a very excited crowd of visitors plus cameras and reporters everywhere.  I should have some photos to share with you.

Our new exhibition is opening on Friday 3rd February in the Nulla Gallery at the Centre.  Angus McNeil was the town photographer in Kempsey for many, many years in the days when negatives were made of glass.  After his death, no one thought for a long time to wonder what had become of all those photos he had taken over a lifetime.  Eventually, they were found in a backyard shed, and luckily they were found by someone who realised their historical value.  The Macleay Valley Historical Museum  helped rescue them and has catalogued and stored about 30,000 of them.  Many early photos of Slim were taken by Angus McNeil, as were photos of Slim’s grandmother, Nurse Kirkpatrick, who opened the very first maternity hospital in the Macleay Valley in Kempsey.


Have a look at the description of the exhibition, and put it on your visiting list when you call at the Centre. See you all soon….either online or at the Slim Dusty Centre!

Until next time,




Photos taken by Marg Wilson

Monday January 23, 2017.

A belated Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope that 2017 will bring health, happiness and prosperity to all, and that we get to live together in peace and harmony.

It has been a busy time over Christmas and then the holiday period.

David and Jane plus their son Danny with Emily and the two children Hugo and Stella spent Christmas and New Year with Hannah who is still living and working in London.  They experienced quite a lot of the freezing weather when they went to Europe for short while.  Our heatwave met them when they returned, but in the meantime they found it difficult to believe that Anne and Greg and family (including myself) were swimming in the creek and in Lake King as we holidayed in our little old house at Metung on the Gippsland Lakes.

This year, though, it’s really great to say that three generations of the Slim Dusty family will be at the Tamworth country music festival.  I will be there to attend a couple of presentations plus the Awards, and also to attend family concerts plus the big Bush concert in the Park where Anne, and Jim and Flora will appear with their cousin Dianne Lindsay, and husband Peter Simpson.

Anne’s concert at the Balladeers’ Homestead is at 9am on Thursday 26th and features Anne of course with her son James and his wife Flora, with Rod Coe on double bass as musical director.  Then that afternoon at the Family Hotel, Anne teams up with Tania Kernaghan and Ami Williamson to present a concert of performances by these three daughters of country music families.  What a special this should be.

I’m turning up at all of these, and I am also very, very  keen to see Jim and Flora with their band, “Small Town Romance” doing their special debut concert at Tamworth. I missed their record launch concert in Melbourne, so I want to see this one.

“Small Town Romance” is performing on the front stage at the Longyard on Saturday 28th at 10am, and then on Sunday 29th at the Southgate Inn at 1:45pm.

So, to see our third generation performers in action, don’t miss those two concerts….I certainly won’t!

I hope they will be around for the SD festival at Kempsey in October as well….

Have a good time everyone, and don’t forget to call into the Slim Dusty Centre at Kempsey whenever you get the chance.  There’s always something happening there, and our team love welcoming visitors and showing them around.

Till next time then,  perhaps I should use Slim’s sign-off and say, ‘Many Happy Campfires to You’.


Monday August 15, 2016.

Have a guess at the following:  Which two towns are the only two where Slim had to sing a certain song twice in the same night’s programme?

I’ll give you the answer:  The first one was Dimbulah on the fringe of the Atherton Tableland, North Queensland.  The Italian tobacco farmers loved Slim singing “New Australian Bushman” so they sent backstage asking for him to please sing it again.

The second was a very different place:  it was Camooweal, west of Mount Isa and not far from the Territory border.  Slim sang “Camooweal” twice that night, as it was the first time the community had heard it.

It was in Camooweal that we noticed a policeman sitting in the audience with a rather rumpled ringer seated either side of him…on their best behaviour.  Two blokes had come into town early for the Slim Dusty Show, but were thrown in the lock-up for “disturbing the peace” during their bender at the pub. When they realised they were going to miss the show after coming all the way to town, they promised the sergeant the world if he’d let them out for the show.  He didn’t let them out, but he took them there in person and then took them back to the lock-up!

It was in Camooweal that Anne wrote the liner notes for her very first solo album when she was on tour with Slim and me.  And now, Anne and her “Family and Friends” acoustic show will be in Camooweal on Saturday 27th August to feature in the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the Drovers’ Camp Festival as part of her Queensland tour.

Anne will be accompanied by her son Jim Arneman and his fiancée Flora Smith, and Rod Coe (Slim’s record producer and bandleader). James plays guitar, mandolin, sings and writes songs, Flora plays button accordion and sings lead and harmonies.  Together, James and Flora intend releasing their first album later this year.

Anyway, below is a list of the shows planned for this year. Catch up with them somewhere along the track and “tell them I sent you!”


Anne Kirkpatrick – Family and Friends Tour

August :

18                    Hervey Bay              Kondari Resort

19                    Bundaberg               CWA Hall

20                    Biloela                     Anzac Club

21                    Bouldercombe          Recreation Centre

24                    Charters Towers       Golf Club

25                    Thuringowa              RSL

27                    Camooweal              Drovers’ Camp Festival

30                    Bowen                     Summergarden Theatre


1                      Mackay                   Senior Citizens’ Hall

2                      Bororen                    Bororen Hall


Anne_GOO0242_002-landscape        Jim & Flora 2015

Monday July 18, 2016.

INDIAN PACIFIC JUNE 2016 (Dianne & Peter Lindsay)

Just wanted to say what a difference the Indian Pacific train has made to travelling across the Nullarbor.  Here’s a photo of my niece Dianne Lindsay and husband Peter Simpson on the Indian Pacific having fun in the club car singing my song for their fellow travellers. Dianne tells me that it was a big hit with passengers and with staff aboard the train who were really excited  because, as they said, it was the first time someone had actually sung the song “live” on board.


Made me remember thumping our way across the dirt roads of the Nullarbor in trucks, cars and caravans all those years ago. It also made me remember very vividly that wonderful trip across the Nullarbor in two big semis with Thompson Transport.  We headed out from the interchange of trucks and trailers at Port Augusta, meeting other trucks and listening to the radio chatter till we reached Norseman where the truckstop staff were dresses up for a country music day!  Quite a coincidence and a great welcome for us and the semis.


Today, the trucks still roll “across the paddock and back”, from the Pacific Coast to the Golden West, and although more of the road is tarred, the miles are still long. Just the same as always, truckies tell me Slim’s voice and his songs keep them company through all those hours.

Maybe he’s their co-driver!

Wednesday March 16, 2016.

There are so many things to remember about the Opening Day for the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey. But one that stands out for me is the sound of the horn blasts from all the trucks that passed by the highway that day. Even now, the blast of the horns from semis and trucks big and small as they pass by the Centre, act as a signal that Slim’s mates of the road are remembering him and saluting him as they pass. Can I say “thank you” to everyone of you who do that?

Wednesday December 16, 2015.

I am so pleased and happy that the long awaited Slim Dusty Centre and Museum is officially open at last. I am also very, very happy and indeed relieved, to hear the constant refrain from visitors: “It is so much bigger, and so far ahead of my expectations! I had no idea what it was like!”

So come and see for yourself, please do.


By the way, some people do not know the origin of the café’s name, “Slim’s Dinner Camp Café”. Ringers and stockmen of all kinds will relate to the name, because when they are out in the mustering camp away from the station homestead, they try to head for their campsite around midday for a billy of tea and a meal before they get back on their horse or into the bullcatcher to get on with the job. Slim would have smiled if he’d been here with us, because in the Dinner Camp Café, a pot of tea arrives at the table in a little red enamel teapot similar to the one he carried on tour for years.


I think of him, and what he might have said about all this…Slim would have been excited too, I believe, but he would have been amazed and grateful, as Anne, David and I are, to see the results of the dedication and hard work and support from people everywhere in Australia.


Thank you to everyone who has helped make Slim’s dream come true.


Slim Dusty Centre credit Slim Dusty Foundation Ltd


Wednesday August 12, 2015.


It’s all systems GO at the moment. With the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey officially opening in late October this year, every team member is stretched to the limit these days. The multi-media people are working on special effects to be included in the exhibition, the Kempsey cabinet makers are delivering show cases, the curator and designers are overseeing the printing of text and photographs while Anne and I have researched early recordings and copyrights and edited text. Multi-media surprises me all the time; imagine being able to look at pages from Slim’s old scrapbooks for instance. Lots to look forward to, plus a special release of some private recordings of Slim. But excuse me just now…got to get back to it! I’ll be in touch again soon. Joy.