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John Williamson, Springbrook, Qld
, 2004

by John Elliott

type C photograph (sheet: 60.7 cm x 50.6 cm, image: 47.8 cm x 36.0 cm)

John Williamson AM (b. 1945), singer songwriter, scored a national number one and a gold record in 1970 with the first song he ever wrote - 'Old Man Emu'. In the years since he has released 32 albums, won 20 Golden Guitars at Tamworth, and received 2 Arias for Best Australian Country Record. Among his greatest hits are 'True Blue', first recorded in 1982 and used as part of the Federal Government's Australian Made campaign in 1986, and the protest songs 'Rip, Rip Woodchip' and 'A Flag of Our Own' - the latter a song that saw Williamson banned from several country RSL clubs. ('What's the point in making a stand,' he has said, 'if everyone agrees with you?'). In 2000 he performed 'Waltzing Matilda' before a worldwide TV audience to begin the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. Williamson was inducted into Australian Country Music's Roll of Renown in 1997.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2005
Accession number: 2005.35