TAMWORTH is also known as the “City of Lights” because it was the first in Australia to be fitted with electric street lighting, in 1888. To most Australians, however, Tamworth means country music – it’s a sort of antipodean Nashville – although outside of festival time it’s a lot less atmospheric.
The 12m-high golden guitar in front of the Golden Guitar Complex, on the southern edge of town, sums up the town’s role as the country music capital of Australasia. Inside you’ll find waxwork figures of the great Australian country stars such as Chad Morgan, Buddy Williams, Smoky Dawson and his horse Flash, Slim Dusty, Reg Lindsay and Tex Morton. There’s yet more country music memorabilia at the corner of Brisbane Street and Kable Avenue, where the Hands of Fame cornerstone bears the palm-prints of various country greats. In the second half of January each year, fans from all over Australia and beyond descend on the town for the ten-day Tamworth Country Music Festival. Every pub, club and hall in town hosts gigs, record launches and bush poetry, culminating in the presentation of “Golden Guitars” at the Country Music Awards of Australia.