Bill KETTLE (1978)
Bill, Ross and Max Kettle
1940 - Bill was born on the 15th
December at Retreat via Lillydale,
1943 - Ross was born the 24th
of April at Retreat
1950 – Max was born on the 14th
of January at Lillydale,
Age 15 his uncle gave Bill his first guitar and Bill
taught himself to play Wilf Carter’s A
Cowboys Best Friend is His Pony, using two
chords learned from a chord book
Ross copied Bill and later Max copied Ross. They
progressed until they were able to form a trio.
1952 – Bill and Ross won a talent quest on Radio 7LA (at
time Max was too young to join) at
Windmill from 7LA made a tape of
The Singing Kettles and
played it on his western show every afternoon.
1955 – The boys became well known and made acetate
recordings for Radio 7LA, Launceston.
1957 – Eric Scott began recording the Kettles as well as
other Northern Tasmanian singers on the new tape facility.
1961 – Hadley Records (Tasmania) recorded
and released Kettles’ first record Judy I
Miss Holding You. The record was a success.
It was followed by another single.
1963 – Young brother Max was added to the team. They
released their first EP which included White
1965 – 1969 – Recorded the Country
Harmony LP. Further singles released
included the highly successful Toy Telephone
and a version of Johnny Ashcroft’s Little
The Kettles based themselves in
Tamworth but only stayed 12
months. In that time they gained so much recognition it became
apparent they would have to move to a bigger centre. All the
travelling was wearing them out, so they moved to
1969 – The trio went to Vietnam.
They were part of an all-Tasmanian group who performed 25 shows
in 18 days.
After moving to
Sydney, they signed
with EMI and recorded their most successful album,
Kettle Country. Two more EMI albums followed.
1970 – They were voted “1”of the top 10 Australian acts.
1971 – On January 22, Max died from an asthma attack. He
had turned 21 a week earlier.
Bill and Ross continued as a duo. Eric Scott had
recordings of Max on tape and they managed to release more LP’s.
Eric’s dedication to the project was rewarded as the tracks
became the Kettle trio’s biggest hits.
The Kettles formed their own label, Van Dieman 2
Records. The first album released on the label featured several
of their own compositions.
1978 – They are inducted into The
Hands of Fame in
1984 – Celebrated 20 years in the industry.
1986 – Their act changed. Ross became a solo artist and
Bill performed with his fiancé, Kathy Thompson.
2005 – Elevated to the Australian Country Music’s Role
of Renown. They performed on the Roll of Renown Concert (the
first time in 19 years) and had Max’s son Grady joining them on
1986 – Bill became very ill.
1988 – With the success of the duo, Bill and Kathy
record an album at Albert’s Studios. They performed on the Bet
Newton Show, John Mangos show and many television shows in
1989 – Bill and Kathy marry on October 10 in Launceston.
1994 – Due to Bill’s ill health
they announced their retirement at a
Vietnam veterans reunion with a big show that included many of
their mates - Patti Newton, Denise Drysdale, Normie Rowe, Bobby
Limb, Lucky Starr and Col Elliot.
1999 – The birth of their son William.