1934 - Born on June 14th in
Junee, N.S.W. the oldest of 16 children.
1952 - At the age of 17
purchased his first guitar for 12 pounds while working in
and living with his grandparents. After learning a few
basic cords he entered a talent quest at
and came second singing a Wilf Carter song.
1954 - While doing the talent
quest circuit Barry came to the attention of Slim Dusty and was
later invited to tour with the Slim Dusty Show for three months
which turned into 19 years. He joined the show as a singer
originally but took on the character of Mulga Dan and while he
at first showed the signs of a shaky lead guitarist he emerged
into one of our most respected instrumentalists with a distinct
1959 - Meets his future wife,
Pauline, in Tasmania
after she is offered a job as an usherette.
1961 - Barry and Pauline marry.
They have two children Meryl and Brian.
1970 - Barry's first solo
attempt is "Talking Guitar”, one of the first EP's EMI produced
On the other side Shorty Ranger released "Winter Winds" which
history shows as the most popular Australian Country
Instrumental of the time. "Country Guitar" was Barry Thornton’s
1974 – Becoming tired of
touring and being away from his family for 11 months of the year
he takes a job driving heavy equipment for 12 months east of
Missed playing his guitar.
1979 – Recorded an album with
“Capital Country” a Canberra
based group for whom he played lead guitar.
1980 – Inducted into the
Hands of Fame in
1981 - Selection Records
released "The Country Way" Barry's first solo album.
1982 - Golden Guitar for
Instrumental of the Year with "Brian's Tune" off "The Country
Way" album. Barry was to stay with Selection Records for the
next 20 years.
Barry with wife Pauline,
children Meryl and Brian, moved to Queensland's
with Barry becoming heavily involved with The Queensland
Champion of Champion Competition, a body he worked for all the
way from its inception.
1982 - Produced another ten or
more solo albums over the next ten years, and at the same time
being a session musician on many other albums for other artists
while supporting and encouraging new and young artists in their
1990 – Ill health slows his
performing. Has a triple bypass operation.
1991 - Barry Thornton was
elevated onto the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown at the
time of elevation being the only specialist instrumentalist to
have received this honour.
2002 – Passed away on July 28th
at the age of 68.
He was one of the legends who
will be remembered for originating the lead guitar sound of the
Australian Bush Ballad which has helped to give Australian
country music its own unique sound since the 1950's.