1930 – Born Leslie John
Partell on the 2nd
of July in Sydney. The family
moved to Mendooran in central west NSW and then to Clifton Hills
Les received early guitar lessons from Clive Beeton
before joining the Victorian Banjo Club.
Les worked a lot on the ABC, 3XY and 3UZ and other
stations around the state.
1947 – Entered Australia’s
Amateur Hour and ran third. After this Les commenced writing his
Made dozens of custom recordings on “Elrae Records”
which were distributed to radio stations.
With Allan Hawking, Bill
Earle and Jack Johnson formed the “Trailblazers” which could
have been the first fully professional country music show in
1954 – Travelled to
Sydney to try
for a recording contract. Recorded his first single on Regal
Zonophone- “Hitting the Hobo” and “Homeward Bound”. Became
involved in the Sydney
country music scene, which included taking over the 2SM radio
Moved his family to
1956 – Put down 4 sides for the Rodeo label. Returned to
Melbourne where he
organised his own shows.
Recorded on the “Round-Up” Label (a subsidiary of the
Performed with Rocky Page as the “Whitman Brothers”.
1959 – Travelled to
joined up with the Chad Morgan show which featured Chad,
Trevor Day, Peter Mollerson, Kit Evans and Wally McQuaker.
1960 – Worked with 3SR Harmony Trail doing radio, live
shows and television work.
1961 – Joined the Rick and Thel Carey Show which
included Paul Lester, Joe Gilmour, Ray Kernaghan and Johnny
During his career he recorded on many labels and scored
a gold record with "Song and Dance Man" for the Bullet label. He
toured the country with many shows including Chad Morgan and
Rick & Thel etc. He appeared on many live radio shows including
the well known “Bonnington Bunkhouse Show”, Ted Quigg and
1979 - Received the prestigious "Living Legends" Award
and inducted into the "Hands of Fame".
Akubra honoured Les by naming a hat "The Mate" after his
Akubra Hat song.
1994 - South Australian Country
Music Festival Awards- Inducted into the Hall of Fame.
2014 – Elevated to the Roll
Of Renown in
Les’s career has spanned nearly
70 years of involvement in the writing, performing, recording
and broadcasting of country music from his early days in the
Victorian banjo club, his contribution to the early acetate
He co-founded the Australian
Country Music guild and instigated the ‘Living Legends’ Awards
and has been a guest broadcaster of country music for the ABC
for more than 30 years.