Rita and Mary

Schneider Sisters

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 singers.  Their aunts worked in theatre, and both brothers are professional musicians.  The 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 Brisbane.

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 “Magnasound” in Melbourne. 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

1956 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 television to Australia by performing on the pioneering ABC variety show Seeing Stars. 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 Melbourne hall.

1957 – Toured Japan and Korea 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 Thorpe.

1964 – Moved back to Sydney 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 Show”

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 Tamworth.

1997 - South Australian Country Music Festival Awards- Inducted into the Hall of Fame.

2002 – Rita and Mary inducted into the Roll of Renown in Tamworth.

1999 - 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 difference.

She worked for QTQ-9 in Brisbane 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 the Music.

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 Australia today.

1980’s - Records “Magic of Yodelling” and “Can't Stop Yodelling”, they went platinum in Australia 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.