THE Australian Country Music Hall of Fame has begun the festival by unveiling one of the most special and rare pieces in its collection.
The sides of Buddy Williams’ touring canopy from his truck were unveiled on Wednesday and now have a special place in the museum.
The canopy was rescued from a backyard in Canowindra where it had been used as a children’s cubbyhouse and a shed.
It is at least 50 years old, needed to be handled with care due to termite damage and is now housed in a purpose-built case.
Buddy’s daughter, Karen Williams, helped unveil the display with her niece, Corinne Wickham, and Corinne’s eldest son, Caydan Wickham.
Ms Williams said it was a proud moment for her to be there for the special occasion.
“It was very lovely to be invited to participate in the event and meet all the people who went to so much effort to bring the old side of the truck and to restore it,” she said.
“It’s 75 years since dad first recorded, so that’s a milestone in itself.”
She said she was disappointed she couldn’t stay for the other concerts and events that are being held across Tamworth during the festival to honour her dad.
“It was the first time an Australian-born country singer had recorded a song, so I’m very proud of him,” Ms Williams said.
As a child, she travelled with her dad and the show, along with her sister and brother, and they all sang. “It was a great way to grow up. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she said.
“I always say that I had a very charmed childhood. I got to see lots of things. I learned a lot; mum and dad were both very good teachers. They made sure we knew what was going on, but we had to eventually leave and go to school. We used to fly in to wherever they were and spend as much time as we could with them. It was great and we loved it all very much.”
Ms Williams said she was most appreciative of the work the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame did to preserve the history of country music.
“To have a country music museum is very important and it’s the volunteers who keep things like that running,” she said.
At the unveiling, letters of various artists’ memories of Buddy were read out, and others spoke about their times touring with the country legend.
Ted and Tom LeGarde wrote a letter describing Buddy as a precious gift from God.
“He was a shining example for all to follow,” they said.
Wayne Horburgh sent an apology and said it was an honour to have toured with Buddy and that he taught him a lot about showbiz.
Tamworth’s Lawrie Minson toured with Buddy in 1979, which was his first professional tour.
“Buddy taught me the ropes and the rules of the show are still the same,” he said.
“That was my apprenticeship.”
The display is now on exhibition at the Hall of Fame in Brisbane St.