When I was 21 I experienced my very first overseas adventure. To New Zealand. Yeah, I know, just across “the ditch”. But all those years ago, air travel was still expensive, and ENZED seemed so very far away. It was a great trip, and I loved experiencing the best that she had to offer, though you know my fondest memory of that beautiful country with it’s glorious palettes of blues and greens?
Flying home over the iconic Opera House and the Coat Hanger (Harbour Bridge) in all their glory, surrounded by the beautiful Sydney Harbour, with Peter Allen’s anthem, “ I Still Call Australia Home” playing over the PA system. It was a true Kleenex moment as I sobbed into my tissues……
“I’ve been to cities that never close down
From New York to Rio and Old London Town
But no matter how far or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home
I’m always travelling
I love being free
And so I keep leaving the sun and the sea
But my heart lies waiting over the foam
I still call Australia home”
Lyrics by Peter Allen
Peter Allen was an Australian born singer, song writer and all round entertainer, best known for his wild Hawaiian shirts and flamboyance. Many of his songs were made international hits by other popular recording artists of the day. To be honest, he was a bit before my time (1949 -1984) though interest in his music continues to grow thanks to the award winning musical based on his life, The Boy From Oz. ( Personal aside : I’m a Todd McKenney girl, not Hugh Jackman).
Born Peter Richard Woolnough, he is being honoured in the town of his birth, Tenterfield, NSW, in the Inaugural Peter Allen Festival this September.
Of course, I’m going. Accomodation booked. Tick. Tickets to concert booked. Tick.
Tenterfield is a small country town in northern New South Wales where Allen’s grandfather, George Woolnough, worked as a saddler. For 50 years the quaint blue-granite Saddlery on High Street was the meeting place for those who enjoyed a chat. It was the compassion of George Woolnough that attracted so many to the High St Saddlery from 1908 until his retirement in 1960.
On 26 November 2005 an extension of the Tenterfield Library was opened and named the “George Woolnough Wing”.
Allen’s father, Dick, became a violent alcoholic after returning from World War Il and committed suicide by gunshot when Peter was still young, an event from which George nor Peter never recovered.
Young Peter travelled the world and married Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland’s daughter, with the “interesting face”, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Tenterfield is home to galleries, wineries, a lavender farm and some hospitable country pubs. This weekend will include market stalls, fresh farm produce, and no doubt, an array of colourful Hawaiian shirts. I’ll let you know how it goes…..
Intention to have good fun? Tick.
Hawaiian Shirt? NOOOOOO!