2000 and BEYOND
Over the years I have written a number of children’s songs. As well as inspiration and guidance from my own two daughters, working as a teacher gave me opportunities to listen to young people and adjust my songs accordingly. I had my song From The Days Of The Dinosaur on the ABC CDs Singalong 1998 and Sing-a-long Environmental Songs in 2002. My song Old Billabong was used in the ABC’s Sing 2010 and Charcoal Annie was accorded the same honour appearing in Sing 2011. It is a wonderful feeling to think that children in primary schools throughout Australia are possibly learning to sing your songs.
One project that I love working on, and have done so for many years, has been the adaptation of Jim Harper’s poetry to music. Jim Harper lived at Angledool in the far north west of New South Wales, in the later part of the nineteenth century through to the middle of last century. He wrote prose and poetry, much of which was never published. It has been a real thrill bringing Harper’s words to life again in song. In September 2003 I visited Angledool for the first time. The sasme year I made a CD of my musical adaptations of Harper’s poetry, entitling it “Songs from Mulga Land”. An unfulfilled resolution of mine is to return to Angledool and record some of my songs in the derelict School of Arts building.
In late 2003 three of my articles appeared in the book “Verandah Music”, published by the Freemantle Arts Centre Press. I was elated that a recording I made in 1971 of the late Mr Tom McCarthy was also included on one of the two CDs that accompanied the book. In 2004 I released another collection of my songs on CD entitled “Dancing in the Dust”.
In 2005 English singer Derek Gifford released his version of my song Sunny Corner Mine on his CD “Sunny Corners”. In 2007 one of my songs “City Lights” was covered by the band Bushlark on their CD “For Now”. Later that same year my song “No More War” was included on the CD of contemporary songs “Stand Up and Shout”, released by Rouseabout Records prior to the federal election.
In 2006 I began a series of podcasts entitled Open Your Eyes To Australia. The podcasts focus on an Australian theme, highlighting history, people and places. Each programme is illustrated with original songs based on the episode’s theme. At the time of writing, six programmes had been made and were online for download.
Another ongoing project, of which I never seem to tire, is the writing of songs and stories about the people and events that made my childhood in North Sydney so memorable. In 2007 my song “Luna Park” was used at the Park in a photographic exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Another of my songs “The Passing Years” is being used in an exhibition about the Warringah Expressway, currently showing at the North Sydney Heritage Centre, a part of Stanton Library. Entitled ‘A rift through the heart of North Sydney’, the exhibition marks the fortieth anniversary of the opening of the expressway.
In 2009 the Australian School of Performing Arts sought permission to use my song From the Days of the Dinosaur in their Australian Girls Choir repertoire. It was performed in 2010.
In January 2010 I began recording a collection of songs with Chloe and Jason Roweth at Millthorpe NSW. My CD Above the Creek Bed was released in June. We began a second CD in November, the recording of which was completed early in 2011.
It was indeed exciting to have my second CD The Further I Travel released by Undercover Music through their Rouseabout Records label in 2012. I dedicated the CD to the memory of my dear friend and fellow songwriter Alan Chinn.
I was again delighted with the results of my collaboration with Chloe and Jason. More recording projects were undertaken in the following years. One of these was the release in 2013 of a selection of songs from the many I have written about the Blue Mountains. The CD was again released by Rouseabout Records under the title Across The Blue Mountains. 2013 was the two hundredth anniversary of the first successful crossing of the Blue Mountains by Europeans.
In August 2013 I was invited to take part in A Celebration of the Musical Life of Gary Shearston who sadly died in July. Gary had a significant influence on my music and was a friend. At the concert I sang Gary's song Don't Wave To Me Too Long and his musical setting of Mona Brand's poem Twenty Summers. I also included my own song Folksinger, written for Gary a few years ago.
Journey's End was released at the start of 2016. I dedicated the CD to Gary Shearston.
I recorded my song about Tilly Aston, poet, writer and teacher, Her dedication throughout her life to helping people with little or no sight is inspiring. I was deeply honoured to have my song included in the beautiful, public memorial to Tilly Aston. The specially built rotunda is a celebration of her life and achievements and is appropriately situated in her hometown of Carisbrook, Victoria.
I also made a new recording of my song about Gladys Carey. I felt it important to remember the fiftieth anniversary in 2017 of the naming of her little park in North Sydney.
Over recent years a number of my articles have been published in various magazines, newsletters etc. I also co-produce the website Simply Australia which features a number of my articles.
I continue to enjoy perorming and writing songs and articles about Australian places and people.
Living in the Blue Mountains and being so close to the historic areas of the Nepean/Hawkesbury River continue to provide unlimited sources of inspiration.