[FONT="]John Robert Williamson is a country singer and songwriter with a string of awards to prove it. But he also is or has been a farmer, television personality, band leader, activist, jingle maker, movie songwriter, conservationist, producer of a musical and a general ‘all rounder’. In 1992, Williamson became a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003, he was elected President of the Country Music Association of Australia. Leading up to that and beyond, he has accumulated forty years of service in and contribution to country music.

Williamson, born on November 1, 1945 in the Mallee district in the north western part of Victoria, was playing the ukelele at age 7 and the guitar by the time he was 12. When the family relocated to Moree in New South Wales in 1965, Williamson wrote his first song “Old Man Emu” which he sang in a local restaurant as part of his repertoire. In the program New Faces the song won first prize and a recording contract with Fable Records. As soon as it was released, the record shot to the top of the Australian music charts. Several other singles followed in the course of the next ten years.

In 1973, Williamson became the host of the television show “Travlin' Out West” which was on the air for two years. He formed his band “Crow” which, when it changed its style to rock, was renamed “Sydney Radio”. When the group disbanded, Williamson started to do the rounds of pubs playing solo. His songs, style and personality caught on and he built up a strong following. In 1985 he set up his own record label Gum Leaf Recordings. Then came his landmark album “Mallee Boy” which became a triple Platinum with many of the songs now considered as classics. Since the album was released, Williamson developed the preference to sing around a campfire. The Next year, Williamson was named by Variety Club “Entertainer of the Year” and in 1990, his [/FONT][FONT="]album “Warra[/FONT][FONT="]gul” won the ARIA Award as Best Australian Country Record.

[FONT="]The 90's was a stellar [/FONT][FONT="]year in Willi[/FONT][FONT="]amson's career. His first family album won the Award for Best Selling Album and another, “Waratah St.” was a gold even before it could be delivered to stores. He was inducted into the Roll of Renown and his song “Sir Don” for our leg[/FONT][FONT="]endary batsman Sir Donald George Bradman was adjudged the Biggest Selling Album at the Tamworth Country Music Awards. The Next year, he and an Indigenous Australian friend won the Collaboration of the Year award at Tamworth. At the end of the decade, his album “The Way It Is” won three Golden Guitar awa[/FONT][FONT="]rds, becoming Gold after only eight weeks.[/FONT]


[/FONT][FONT="]In 2003 Williamson sang “Sir Don” at the memorial service for Bradman in Adelaide. In October of the same year, at the request of the Prime Minister, he sang Waltzing Matilda at the memorial service for the 2002 Bali bombings. After Steve Irwin was killed in 2006, Williamson sang his songs “Home Among the Gum Trees” and “True Blue” at the memorial service for Irwin in the Australia Zoo Crocoseum.

In 2010, John Williamson was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, a fitting tribute to an artist who has devoted his life to making music a meaningful experience for people everywhere.