Thursday November 23, 2017.

Once again, the Slim Dusty Country Music Festival was a great success, with visitors from all over.  It hosted some fine bush ballad talent, including Jeff Brown…Anne and Jeff sang a couple of duets including “Orchid Street”.

The Family Reunion Anniversary concert included Anne, David, James Arneman and wife Flora Smith, plus Dianne and Sandra Lindsay and Peter Simpson and the great Travelling Country Band.

Some of our visitors to the festival included Wave and Elaine Jackson from Injune, Errol and Margaret Smart from the South Coast, and Don and Marg Wilson from the Napa Valley in California USA.  Two other special people in the audience were Ced and Mary Dunbar from Kempsey itself.  They were the couple who followed the Family Reunion Tour to Queensland and back and turned up every night to cheer the family on.

Anne is heading off to Tasmania on tour very soon, with Jim and Flora (Small Town Romance) and Rod Coe (on bass) onstage with her, and with Greg on front of house.  I’ve asked her to send the list of her concerts to be included, so Tassie fans, make them welcome!

Till next time,  Slim’s sign off….Many Happy Campfires!


Monday May 22, 2017.

This past week I have spent time at the Centre, where we are beginning arrangements for some celebrations of Slim’s birthday on June 13th.  More news about that a bit later, as I took up a load of interesting items given to Slim and me over the years, and some of the things Slim collected too.  Maybe you know that he was a great Star Trek fan, for instance.

I have also taken up the autographed photo signed to Slim and me, by the crew of the Columbia space shuttle.  When it passed over Australia in 1981, the crew played Slim’s recording of “Waltzing Matilda” for Australia.  The story of how the song was recorded from space to earth, will be displayed together with the photo during the birthday celebrations as one of the displays.

We are looking forward to a fun time on the big day.

See you there!

Tuesday May 16, 2017.

          Photo: Travelling Country Band with Anne, (Robbie in the middle)


I am very sad to tell you that Robbie Souter, the great drummer of the Travelling Country Band, died in hospital last Thursday morning.  He suffered ill health for quite a long time, but we depended on him to bounce back every time. Sadly, this time it was just beyond him and we won’t be seeing Rob up behind the drums any more.

Robbie joined the TCB in 1989 or 90, and was the solid backbone of Slim’s rhythm section sound with Rod Coe on bass. He was a popular member of the group, getting along with everyone and taking all the jibes about “running on Coke” with a grin.  He was right in to all the band get togethers, and the last one we had was up at the farm in Nulla Creek after the Slim Dusty festival last October, and after playing at Anne’s gig at the old Bellbrook Pub.

Rob’s career was a long one, and a varied one.  He was a valued member of the Dynamic Hepnotics, and later of Mental as Anything.  He toured and also recorded regularly with Slim and with Anne Kirkpatrick… he certainly played country and country rock with style.  He will be missed very much.

Many happy campfires, Robbie.

Wednesday May 3, 2017.

Hello everyone,

April seems to have come and gone so quickly that I have not caught up with it, or myself either.  There was firstly, the 60th anniversary of Slim’s recording the Pub on 1st April, and then on the 14th was the story of Slim’s voice being beamed to earth from space by the crew of the Columbia space shuttle, back in 1981.  Next came Anzac Day, and I spent time remembering Slim’s Uncle, Sergeant George Kirkpatrick, MM.  George fought in Gallipoli, and then in France in the First World War.  He was wounded in action in France but mentioned in dispatches and promoted to Sergeant and awarded the Military Medal before being killed by a sniper’s bullet upon his return to active duty. He was only 26 years old.

I hope to tell you more about these stories over the coming weeks.  In the meantime, I will be going up to the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey for part of Volunteers’ Week which begins on Monday May 8th.  What would we, and so very many other organisations and people, do without our volunteers? I always say they are the salt of the earth….truly giving folk.

See you soon,


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