A website dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of Australian
country music.

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The Story of Australian Country Music

A Tribute to Buddy

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– Slim, Chronicler of the Bush

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– Tex Morton White Guitars

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Arch Kerr – pioneer record producer

Australia's College of Country Music

Bicentennial Concert 1970

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History of the College of Country Music

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How the College of Country Music Works


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Narrative! Narrative! Narrative!

Origins of the Tamworth Country Music Festival

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Ross Murphy

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Stairway to Stardom

The Story of Maton Guitars

Tamworth Milestones

Tamworth, We've Done Us Proud

What is Country Music

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Contact: Max Ellis

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The Gympie Music Muster

It's been described as the quintessential Aussie event and with the towering gums and leisurely lagoons of beautiful Amamoor Creek State Forest Park near Gympie in Queensland it's the perfect setting for more than 25,000 people who flock to the Optus Gympie Music Muster each year in the last week of August. The Muster attracts fans from all corners of the nation to see the stars and legends (and would be stars!), of Australian country music on the main Muster stage. And there's 13 other on-site venues too, including folk, alt-country, bush poetry, country dance, Talent Search, workshops, international film festival, art auctions, not to mention a full-on Blues program.

Photo: an aerial shot of Gympie '05.

A Gympie Apex Club project, the Muster operates under the very professional direction of one of the founding group, Brian Sansom who has been involved in the event since it's inception in 1982.

But the Muster is more than just a spectacular celebration of music - over 50 community groups and 2000 volunteers annually help Apex stage this non-profit community-based festival to raise funds for charities Australia-wide. Since it's inception, the Muster has raised over $10M for charities and the Muster's Rural Aid Appeal annually raises up to $100,000 for it's nominated charity.

History of the event

In January 1982, Gympie based country music trio, the Webb Brothers, picked up a Top Selling Golden Guitar for "Who Put The Roo In The Stew?" at the Country Music Awards in Tamworth. With the help of the local Apex Club of Gympie (always ready for a party), a celebratory fund-raiser was held on the Webb's 100-year old property at Thornside. A ball and dinner on the Saturday night was followed by a selection of acts on the Sunday.

The Muster's first Main Stage built out of bush timber and borrowed Queensland Rail tarpaulins. The showers were jam tins with hole punched into them, drop hole toilets sufficed, drinking water was trucked to the site and patrons could buy a season pass for just $20. Announcers from 4KQ compered the show and SEQ Television produced a special program commemorating the event. All up $9,600 was spent on entertainment (which is about two-percent of today's budget), a couple of thousand people attended and the club generated a surplus of around $12,000 for charity. The first Muster was deemed a roaring success.

Photo: a classic Gympie "main stage" crowd...

After three years, the event had grown significantly. The Club decided that another site was essential - permanent facilities could be established to ensure the ongoing growth of the event. The site chosen was an area of land owned by the Queensland Forestry Department. It was agreed that the site have a multiple use as a State Forest Park which would utilise the Muster's facilities The 1985 Muster was held for the first time at Amamoor Creek State Forest Park. As the event grew and more and more patrons attended, Muster organisers developed other activities and facilities, including the infamous CrowBar, Muster Club and the Talent Search.

In 1993, Australia was suffering the worst drought on record. The Club decided to commit all funds raised to support the national drought appeal. As a result, the Rural Aid Appeal was initiated. The Appeal annually raises funds for a major charity each year through the sale of compilation CDs and a range of specially designed merchandise.  

The Gympie Apex Club Inc remains to this day, the organiser of the event, which has never failed to make a profit for the charities it supports. For over a quarter of a century this phenomenal festival has made a significant difference, by giving something back to rural and regional Australia.

In 2009 after a number of years of support by Hyundai and then Toyota, the Gympie Muster is now seeking a new name sponsor. However they have acquired a new major supporting sponsor, camping and outdoor leisure company, BCF Australia.

Contact the Optus Gympie Music Muster Office by phoning 07 5482 2099 or via their website www.muster.com.au.

Compiled and produced in Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital © Copyright 2006 GM Ellis. Material on this site can be downloaded. Where copyrights on pictures or other content are known to exist, approvals for use have been obtained. If you have any query regarding material on the site please contact the site manager