Bryan WATKINS (1990)

Bryan Watkins  Location- Block 3; position 162

1933 - Bryan Watkins was born at Swansea, New South Wales, Australia on the 23rd of March and grew up at Wallsend, then a coal mining and dairy farming area.   It was here that his love for country music began.

1948 - At 15 years of age he ran off to sea in the merchant service.  

1950 - After two years he joined the Royal Australian Navy where he stayed for seven years.   It was during his naval service that Bryan taught himself to play the guitar by listening to Wilf Carter records on a portable wind up gramophone and playing along.  

1957 - On leaving the navy he tried to get into the entertainment scene, but unfortunately Rock and Roll had just arrived, making things very difficult for an enthusiastic C/W performer.   He had a little success in talent quests around this time, but eventually abandoned his performing career during the late 1950s when he became disillusioned with the direction that Australian country music was taking. He settled to a quiet family life, a good steady job and the security of his own home.  

1974 - Bryan entered a poetry competition conducted by Geoff Gregory, then a country music DJ with 2HD Newcastle.   Bryan put his entry to music and sang it as a country song.   This gained him first place and tempted Bryan to once again develop a career in country music entertainment.  With Geoff's encouragement, Bryan attempted writing seriously, which resulted in Bryan's first song "Copeland". Many more songs followed, all of which were put to air by 2HD, and Bryan gained a considerable following throughout the Hunter Valley and beyond.  

1976 - Bryan signed with Hadley and his first album was released on 7th February 1977.  

1977 - Bryan entered some of his writings in the 1977 "Barcoo Bush Ballad Competition." He was judged the outright winner, and also won two other "highly commended" plaques.  

This was followed by two more albums in 1978 and 1979.  

1979 - More honourable recognition of his work came when he again won top honours at the Barcoo Bush Ballad Competition with his verse titled "Walk Away." Not only that, he added yet another meritorious award for a second entry.

1979 - On 30th September, a heart attack and subsequent surgery took Bryan away from country music for a year or so.
During his belated musical career,
Bryan quickly established himself as a true authentic writer of Australian Country Music.  
Intensely concerned at maintaining the Australian heritage in song,
Bryan wrote and sung of real people and events, with just the right amount of humour or sorrow to suit. 

1990 - He was inducted into the Hands of Fame on 27th January.

2006 – Passed away on the 8th of December after suffering a heart attack on the 6th.