The Bushwackers (band)

The Bushwackers Band, often simply the Bushwackers, is an Australian folk and country music band or Bush band founded at La Trobe University in Melbourne in 1971.

The Bushwackers
The Bushwackers at the 2010 National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, Victoria, Australia
Background information
OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresBush band, Australian country
Years active1971present
LabelsAstor Records, EMI
WebsiteThe Bushwackers
MembersDobe Newton
Roger Corbett
Mark Oats
Clare O'Meara
Michael Vidale
Ben Corbett
Andy Gatus
Past membersDave Isom
Jan Wositzky
Bert Kahanoff
Mick Slocum
Tony Hunt
Dave Kidd
Dobe Newton
Roger Corbett
Tommy Emmanuel
Fred Kuhnl
Gregory Martin
Steve Groves
Pete Farndon
Dave Mattacks
Michael Harris
Louis McManus
Eddy van Roosendael
Freddie Strauks
Pete Drummond
David Hicks

Band history

Originally calling themselves the Original Bushwackers and Bullockies Bush Band, the three founding members were guitarist Dave Isom, tea-chest bass player Jan 'Yarn' Wositzky and lagerphonist Bert Kahanoff. The band was conceived at Latrobe University in Melbourne when the founding members, in order to qualify for a grant to travel to the Aquarius Arts Festival 1972 at the ANU in Canberra, had to register as a formal act, consequently taking their name from the title of an album by the English folk singer Martyn Wyndham-Read. They were later joined by various players, including accordion and concertina player Mick Slocum, and fiddlers Tony Hunt and Dave Kidd, and in 1974 the band went full-time with their first tour to the British Isles, and Kahanoff was replaced by lagerphone player Dobe Newton. With an ever-changing line-up, and adding tin whistle, harmonica, concertina, 5-string banjo, bodhrán, bones, spoons, electric bass and guitar and drums the band worked throughout Australia and Europe.

By 1984, and no longer with Isom, Wositzky and Slocum in the line-up, the band moved its home from Melbourne to Sydney. Roger Corbett joined the band in 1980 and remains the principal songwriter, producer and manager of the band. Other members have included Fred Kuhnl, David Brannigan (The Colinails), drummer Gregory Martin, Steve Groves, Pete Farndon, Dave Mattacks, Pat Drummond, Michael Harris, Louis McManus, Eddy van Roosendael, Freddie Strauks (ex Skyhooks), drummer Pete Drummond (currently with Dragon) and world-renowned Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.

Notable recordings include Faces in the Street, Beneath the Southern Cross, Bushfire, Murrumbidgee and The Shearers Dream – two of which were released through Australian record label Astor Records.[1] The album And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda was released through EMI records in 1976 and is regarded as one of their finest recordings.

'Bushfire', recorded in 1979 and produced by British producer John Wood and the band, featured arguably their most creative work as the band sought a far more contemporary musical direction by recording songs such as Fannie Bay and Annie, and utilising drums and synthesiser. The album remains as fresh today as it was when recorded in 1979.

Many of the band's songs are adaptations of poetry written by Australian bush poets including Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson.

The current lineup is Dobe Newton, Roger Corbett, Mark Oats, Clare O'Meara, Michael Vidale, Ben Corbett, and the drummer Andy Gatus.[2]

In 2011 Roger Corbett and Dobe Newton re-recorded the popular 1980 Dance Album as The Official Dance Album, in which they included the Dobe Newton co-written (with Bruce Woodley) classic song I Am Australian and won a third Golden Guitar award.


  • The Shearer's Dream (1974)
  • And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda (1975)
  • Murrumbidgee (1976)
  • Bushfire (1978)
  • Dance Album (1980)
  • Faces in the Street (1981)
  • Beneath the Southern Cross (1981)
  • Down There for Dancing (1982)
  • The Bushwackers Collection (1982)
  • Warrigal Morning - music for the film Bush Christmas (1983)
  • Lively (1984)
  • Celebration (1988)
  • Billy of Tea (1994)
  • So Far (1994)
  • Bushwacked (1995)
  • Jubilee (1996)
  • Oz Rock Salute (1997)
  • No Nuts 'Til Monday (1998)
  • Australian Songbook (2001)
  • Indian Pacific & the Orange Blossom Special (2002)
  • Ned (2005)
  • April 25 EP (2006)
  • The Lawson Project 'While The Billy Boils' (2007)
  • Australian Songbook 2" (2010)
  • The Australian Songbook Collection Volumes 1, 2, 3" (2013)
  • The Official Dance Album - recorded EP (2011)
  • The Hungry Mile (2017)


  • Induction into The Galaxy Of Stars Tamworth Country Music Festival (2011)
  • Country Music Awards of Australia - Heritage Song Of The Year (2012 )
  • Country Music Awards of Australia -Bush Ballad Of The Year (2010 )
  • Country Music Awards of Australia -Instrumental Of The Year (1981)
  • Gold record for The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (1981 )
  • Gold Record for The Bushwackers Dance Album (1981)
  • Golden Gumleaf Spoken Word Album of the Year (2000)
  • Mo Award for Best Country Group (1984)
  • Mo Award for Best Country Group (1986)


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