John Williamson Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
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Childhood And Early Life
Australian country singer John Robert Williamson was born on the 1 November 1945 in Quambatook in the state of Victoria, Australia. He was raised in the Mallee District in the north-west of Victoria and was one of five brothers. Both his parents were performers, and he was exposed to country music at a young age. Williamson was playing ukulele at seven and taught himself to play the guitar by the age of twelve.
Williamson was educated at Scotch College, in Melbourne, Australia.
Rise To Stardom
His family moved to Croppa Creek, New South Wales in 1965 and it was around this time that Williamson started playing in public. The first song he released Old Man Emu (1970) which was hit in Australia, reached number one and went gold. He followed up the single with an album, John Williamson.
Williamson went on to spending the next decade recording and touring. He hosted a television show Travlin’ Out West, and it was broadcast nationally.
In 1981 Williamson joined Festival Records. Around this time he was concentrating on singing authentic Australian songs, and his True Blue became one of the most iconic Australian songs. In 1985 he won his first Golden Guitar award for Queen in the Sport of Kings. Williamson won another Golden Guitar award for his album Road Thru The Heart a well as the Male Vocalist of the Year.
In 1986, True Blue was chosen for the Australian Made Campaign. His album Mallee Boy won him another Golden Guitar award in 1987, and the record went triple platinum. In another 1980s highlight, Williamson was asked to perform at the opening of the new Parliament House in the capital Canberra in 1988, and the same year Mallee Boy won the Best Selling Album award at the Country Music Awards.
In the 1990s Williamson’s success continued with three more Golden Guitar Awards. He won one award for Warragul and a Heritage Award for Drover’s Boy. The same year he released an album of children’s songs. Waratah St which in 1991 went gold and Williamson won a platinum award for Welcome to My Campfire. In 1992, he was signed by EMI Music Australia and his first album with EMI was Australia Calling: All the Best. Vol.2. His career has continued unabated throughout the 2000s, and he continues to tour and release music.
Williamson has released over twenty studio albums including Fair Dinkum (1982), Mallee Boy (1986), Mulga to Mangoes (1994), The Way It Is (1999), Wildlife Warriors It’s Time (2006). Big Red (2012), Honest People (2014) and Looking for a Story (2016). There are also many compilations and live albums.
Awards And Achievements
Williamson has won many awards. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia on Australia Day 1992. He has won three APRA Music Awards (Australasian Performing Rights Association): in 1988 for True Blue he won the Most Performed Country Work, in 1990 Rip Rip Woodchip won the Most Performed Australasian Country Work and in 1995 Tropical Fever won the Most Performed Work. Williamson has also won three ARIA Music Awards and has been inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame (2010). He has won numerous awards from the Australian Country Music Association.
Williamson married Mary-Kay Price in 1973, and the couple had two daughters, Georgie and Ami. In 2007 they divorced, and in 2013, Williamson married Meg Doyle.
Philanthropic Works / Humanitarian Work
Over an extended period, John Williamson has supported various charities and conservation organizations. These include Variety, The Children’s Charity, Bush Heritage Australia, Life Education, Wildlife Warriors Worldwide and Protect Our Coral Sea.