1925 – Born August 16,
1930s – Athol achieved the international record for a
guitar for 5 shillings.
Other artists paid 2 pounds 30
shillings. Then again it was not a spruced-backed, maple-necked
of craftsmanship – it was a beat up old box!
1935 – Age 10, Athol was playing piano at local dances.
When he left school he worked on his father’s farm and then as a
farmhand on neighbouring properties. It was the guitar, the Tex
Morton and Wilf Carter music that claimed his attention.
1947 – Age 22, his first break came when he was asked to
sing on a
program on 7AD Devonport. The program was on Tuesday nights and
ran for three and a quarter years.
1950 – Moved to Melbourne to expand
his range of opportunities.
1951 – Won the novelty section on the ‘prestigious’
radio show P & A Parade.
This win brought him fairly constant work in radio and
live performances but not a great deal of progress.
1951-1958 – He worked as a barman in Connell’s Railway
1956 – He topped the poll on Terry Dear’s
Amateur Hour with over 10,000 votes.
On the strength of that success, he went to Sydney
for an audition with Regal Zonophone and was accepted. The first
track he recorded Wilf Carter’s ‘ Swiss Moonlight Lullaby’ and
his own composition ‘Tassie Tears’. The recordings made him the
first Tasmanian to sing from the magic grooves! Sales warranted
1956 & 1958 – Puts down 4 additional tracks each year.
An outcome of the recording contract was an offer of a
promotional tour of eastern states on Noel George’s ‘Australian
Wild West Show’. The show also featured American Indian Wrestler
Big Chief Little Wolf.
Other tours for Athol at this time were also with the
‘Reg Lindsay Show, Chad Morgan and Rick and Thel Shows’.
1961 – By the time he organised his own travelling show
the best days for this type of entertainment had passed on the
mainland. They were hard times for travelling shows. Nearly all
the shows went bust. Athol headed back to Tasmania.
1966 – Athol toured full time again.
He teamed up with his boyhood idol
‘Tex Morton’ with a
show called The Morton’s and McCoy’s
The tour started in Morven QLD, through to the Isa,
across to Alice Springs,
back through the settlements to
they did a three-week season showing nightly, across the
Kimberley’s down to
and across the Nullarbor.
ended, he toured with Terry Gordon, Ray Haselar Lindsay Butler
recorded for RCA with Eileen Wood on fiddle who also toured with
him and then became Mrs Athol McCoy”.
1969 – At the end of the year, he had a break from
touring and gained a job with the Reserve Bank in Melbourne.
1972-1973 – He made his last tour of Australia.
1973 – Hadley Records in
Tamworth acquired the
rights to most of Athol’s recorded output and issued an album of
Athol and Eileen settled in Bega NSW and had their own
They also worked clubs occasionally as
the ‘Real McCoy’s’ duo.
1980 – Inducted into the Hands of Fame in Tamworth.
1996 – June 6 Athol passed away in Bega
2005 – Inducted to the Australian Country Music Roll of