SCHNEIDER SISTERS (1979)
Rita and Mary
1928 - Rita born on January 24th.
1932 - Mary born in October.
Rita and Mary come from a very musical background.
Both Grandfathers were skilled professional musicians and
aunts worked in theatre, and both brothers are professional
Schneider sisters had a lot of stage and theatre experience
before they turned professional.
End of WWII
– They performed four years voluntarily at camp concerts with
Margaret Marsh’s Concert Party.
1947 – Mary (12) and Rita (17) won ‘Dick Fairs’ Australian
Amateur Hour at Albert Hall in
1950 - Became country orientated in their music.
Approached by EMI and signed a contract.
They wrote and recorded four 78’s and did a “Rock” EP for
They recorded their own brand of comedy on Regal Zonophone.
1950’s - During the Korean war The Schneider Sisters travelled
to entertain the troops as part of concert parties organised by
Melbourne radio station 3DB
They toured Australia doing mainly theatre. They
settled in Melbourne
where they did Radio and theatre work.
They were invited to join a show called “Korean Capers”
organised and compered by John Stew 3DB.
During the Melbourne Olympic Games, they helped introduce
by performing on the pioneering ABC variety show
Stayed with the show for 3 years.
A year before Johnny O'Keefe's debut release, they were among
the first artists to introduce rock'n'roll to Australia, through
an extended play disc that began with “The Washboard Rock And
Roll”, a song they penned the night before the session in a
1957 – Toured
for the British Armed Forces.
1959 – Moved back to
Brisbane, signed a 5 year contract with
Channel 9. Formed
their own group “The Chordettes” and performed two shows per
week for 5 years. Until moving south
five years later to join the thriving club scene, the sisters
were mainstays of Brisbane variety television, imparting harmony
basics to emerging young rockers, such as the Bee Gees and Billy
1964 – Moved back to
and concentrated on the Club circuit and T.V shows. Appeared on-
“In Melbourne Tonight”; “The Best of I.M.T”; “Rose and
Crown”; “The Barry Crocker Show”; “The Club Show”; “Red
Garters”; “Travellin’ Out West”; “Adelaide Country and Western
1970 – Six month tour around the American armed forces bases in
the East. The main
four and a half month period they did 170 shows-20 in a 12 day
marathon covering a distance of 3,5000 km.
1971 – With both sisters recently
married they decide to split their act and both go solo.
1979 – Rita and Mary inducted into the Hands of Fame in
1997 - South Australian Country Music Festival Awards- Inducted
into the Hall of Fame.
2002 – Rita and Mary inducted into the Roll of Renown in
Inducted into the Wall of Fame "A
Tribute to the Women of Country Music" for outstanding
achievement and contribution to the country music industry.
Originally present by the South Tamworth
Bowling Club, the "Wall" is now house at the Hall of Fame.
2002 - Mary and her sister Rita (Schneider Sisters) were
inducted to the Roll Of Renown Tamworth
for their many years of recording and success in the Industry.
2005 - October, The Schneider Sisters
were presented with the “Lifetime Achievement Award”
an ACE Variety Award from the Club
Entertainment Industry for 60 years in showbiz.
Rita is a comedy/country/vocal/instrumentalist act with a
She worked for QTQ-9 in
for five years doing singles, doubles, comedy sketches and vocal
group work. In all
Rita did 300 TV appearances on this channel.
Rita concentrated mainly on television work and writing songs
for recording companies.
Song writing was her first love with comedy character
following a close second.
The music and lyrics of “She’s got the Neatest”, “Stuttering Flo
From Bendigo” and “The Grand
Ol’ Opry House on Opening Night” were written by Rita.
”The Cootamundra, Tumbarumba, Stockinbingal Dance” was a joint
effort with Rita writing the lyrics and her sister Mary writing
Rita’s albums include- “Dingbats!”,
“Rita Raves On”, “Keep on Larfin”’, ”Birdbrain Ballads”.
Rita passed away on
Tuesday, 31 March 2009.
Mary is a vocal/instrumental performer.
She also worked for QTQ-9 for four years and appeared in
over 250 television shows.
Mary has worked with many famous personalities including: “Duke
Ellington”; “The Young Americans”; “Dickie Valentine”; “Eartha
Kitt”, “Bobby Rydell”; “Johnny Raye”; plus more.
Her versatility and warmth are a trade mark of her performances.
She plays Banjo, guitar, electric piano, piano accordion
and electric washboard.
Mary’s vocal talents feature medium ballads, country and comedy
numbers. She would
be the most polished exponent of Swiss Yodelling in
1980’s - Records “Magic of Yodelling” and “Can't Stop
Yodelling”, they went platinum in
on the K-Tel label. Then came the “Yodelling
The Classics” volumes 1 and 2, recorded with the Sydney International Orchestra and conductor
Tommy Tycho, which elevated Schneider to cult status.
1992 - With daughter, Melinda, did a
song together - a gimmicky dance-pop single (with yodelling)
called Tighten Up Your Pants. It went top 10 in Australia.
2012 - Awarded the Order of Australia
Medal (OAM) for service to the performing arts as a country
music singer, songwriter and entertainer.