Desree-Ilona CRAWFORD OAM (1983)

Desree-Ilona Crawford

1943 – Born on January 4th at Bundaberg in Queensland.

1947 – Desree joined other family members as a member of “The Melody Kids” on Radio 4BU, Bundaberg.

Singing a yodelling at a young age, she taught herself to play guitar at the age of 11.  Her mother who also was musical minded would further show her more chords.  Desree Ilona Crawford also learnt classical music on piano from the age of 6. 

The Bee Gees had worked on one of Desree’s Town Hall Shows, when they recorded ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’ which was doing well on TV.    Desree Ilona Crawford would also train youngsters ‘Amberley Twisters’ to dance on TV, when a new dance craze came out on the Charts.  Doing solo, she was also part of ‘We Three’ where she teamed up with her Mother and Brother Donny.   She would also work Gerry Gibson Tonight Warana Festival TV Show.   Soon as Desree left high school, she worked in Clubs and Hotels across Brisbane and Ipswich and then further afield eventually ending up in Melbourne.

Already a professional singing since age 4, Desree did enter one talent quest ‘Walton’s Five Star Radio talent quest and came second singing Lover’s Hill on guitar.  She was beaten by a tenor from Bundaberg ‘Donald Shanks’ who went on becoming an international Opera singer.

1966 Desree married, however her entertaining continued. She would be working 6 nights a week in cabaret, Police Balls, RAAF Balls and sang with old time dance bands.

1970  - Recorded her first single for the Dayman’s Sunshine Label (Festival) titles ‘Mama Sang A Song / Washed My Face In The Morning Dew’.  It was backed by an 8 piece Country Music Show Group ‘Desree Crawford & The High Chapparalls Country Music Group.  It immediately hit the Top 30 in Brisbane.

Desree’s Show Group started in Melbourne and scored a 6 month contract playing floor shows each Saturday night.   They also supported Roy Orbison and were either supporting or backing Johnny O’Keefe, Lonnie Lee, Digger Revell, Reg Lindsay, Frankie Johns, Mick Finn, Syliva Delaney, John Williamson, Slim Whitman (on his Australian tour)

Another single came about in 1971 ‘Letter To Santa / Mistletoe Kiss’ this also made it in the Top 30 of Brisbane Charts.   However her first solo and independent single was in 1976.

Desree’s first LP album came in 1978 ‘Rodeo Queen’.  It was recorded in Dubbo by Ken Cameron ‘CM. Records’ and produced by Ken Cameron and Lindsay Butler.  The album sold exceptionally well especially on the rodeo circuit.  It included Desree’s first song she ever wrote ‘Pathway of Sun’.

Her last recording was Gospel CD ‘He Will Never Let You Down’ containing 15 tracks – with the title song written by Olive Bice, and was released on Anne Conway’s Birubi label.  Desree is currently working on a new album to commemorate 43 years of entertaining.

1981 - Released 'Cowboy and the Spaceship'.

1983 – Inducted into the Hands of Fame.

1984 - Released  'I Run Alone' and 'Why Country Songs are Sad'.

1985 - Released a television special 'Girls Nite Out'.

1989-1993 - Ambassador Of Country Music, Tourism Tamworth.

1990 - Released 'Precious Love'.  

1992 - Inducteed into the South Australian Country Music Hall Of Fame And Avenue Of Honour.

1994 - Released 'He Will Never Let You Down'.

1995 - Recipient of the Yandina Queensland, Australasian Country Music Association Inc Award.

1996 - Released 'Yodelling Cowgirls'.

1998 - Released 'Part of Love'.

1999 - Recipient of the Tamworth Peel Valley Lions Club Country Community Service Award.

 2002 Released 'Many Dreams', and 'Celebrating 30 Years'. Recipient of the Tex Morton 'Songwriter's Salute' Award, Tamworth Songwriters Association.

2003 Released 'Homespun Country',

1992 - South Australian Country Music Festival Awards- Inducted into the Hall of Fame.

2017 - Awarded Medal (OAM) Of The Order Of Australia in the General Division  for service to country music as an entertainer.