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Tex BANES OAM (1981)

Tex Banes

1915 – Born Herbert Joseph Banes   February 17th in Carlton, Victoria. Tex had no known relatives anywhere, but during his long and mostly happy life, he made more friends than could be numbered. He spent his earlier years in the St Vincent de Paul Orphanage in South Melbourne with fellow country music veteran Smoky Dawson..  Here he learned the rudiments of music, sang in the choir and played cornet in the band.

1928 – Age 13 he was given a chance to work on a farm near Shepparton.  He was expected to work 12 hour days for five shillings a week plus keep.

1929 – Moved back to the orphanage after a bout of asthma.

1936 – Bought a portable gramophone along with a Jimmy Rodgers record.

1939 Tex bought his first guitar.  He joined the Vic, Banjo Club to learn to play.  The same year war broke out and at the age of 18 enlisted immediately. Formed a concert party to entertain the troops.

In Sydney he applied for leave to go on to Dick Fair’s Australia Amateur Hour, then in its infancy.  He sang “Happy and Free Yodel”.  He got third place with over 3,000 votes.

1942 - Won first prize for best - dressed cowboy at the Melbourne Town Hall.  He made the outfit himself.  He won again in 1943.

1943 – Due to another asthma attack he was discharged from the army and went back to the country for a while.  He worked at a leather factory in Melbourne for 7 years then moved on to a brewery where he stayed until 1971.

1945 – Formed “The Hayseeds” (consisting of himself, Tich and Mary Woodhouse, Jack Johnson, Joy Carrol, Joan Lewis and Tom Heany) and played together for 13 years. Others have played with the Hayseeds over thoseyear with no consistent lineup. They were never short of work and when not doing paid jobs they played for charities or just practiced. Tex often used his “hootenanny” – a one man band combination of washboard, horns, cowbells and all sorts of noise making contraptions.

          Their repertoire consisted mainly of Carson Robison and Sons of the Pioneers American western type music with some Buddy William’s and Tex Morton’s and after a while, comedy.

1948 to 1949- Tex and the Hayseeds were on the 3UZ label.  These have been remastered in Germany by Cattle Records and released on LP.

1958 – “The Hayseeds” call it a day only to reform for special occasions.

          Another notable “Hayseed” was a dog named Snifter.  He was fitted out in check shirt and pants and was trained to feature as a fully-fledged member of the group.  Snifter lived to 18 years of age.

1981 – Inducted into the “Hands of Fame” in Tamworth.

1990 – Golden Guitar Country Music Capital Award.

2001 – Received the “OAM” (Order of Australia Medal).

2005 – Died on 19th March.  Melbourne.

Tex Banes was noted for his comedy and Hootenanny antics.  He was an honourary director of the Jimmy Rodgers Foundation. His home was filled with CM memorabilia of jackets, hats, a wagon wheel, cowboy boots, photographs, newspaper clippings, records and other countless souvenirs he obtained while in the US.  He was known and respected equally in both Australia and the USA.