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Lee Kernaghan near Broken Hill
, 2005

by Ian Jennings

type C photograph (sheet: 41.8 cm x 61.8 cm, image: 40.0 cm x 60.0 cm)

Lee Kernaghan OAM (b. 1964) is a country music singer and songwriter. Son of travelling country music artist and jet truck impresario Ray Kernaghan, Lee Kernaghan grew up in the Riverina. Although he first sang on the radio in 1969, and won the Starmaker Quest in Tamworth in 1982, he performed for ten dispiriting years in country pubs before releasing The Outback Club (1992), which won him the ARIA for Album of the Year. Scoring his first number one hit with the drought-relief single release 'Boys from the Bush' in 1995, he has since sold more than a million albums and has won 27 Golden Guitars - a tally second only to Slim Dusty's. Kernaghan works closely with co-writer and producer Garth Porter, formerly of Sherbet; their joint efforts include songs for the live production The Man from Snowy River: Arena Spectacular (2002). Over many years Kernaghan has worked to raise funds for country communities. When naming him Australian of the Year in 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that his music 'resonates with every Australian . . . [giving] hope and pride to those on the land when they need inspiration most.'

Australian of the Year 2008

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2008
Accession number: 2008.67