If there’s anyone who can shed light on the history of our hinterland, it’s Slim Dusty’s daughter, Anne Kirkpatrick – a country music star in her own right.
“It really was the cradle of Australian country music,” Anne says. “I’ve heard the stories of the Irish dances they had where the renowned Kyle family played the music. It really was a pretty social and happening place.”
Six months before Slim Dusty passed away his boyhood home and property at Nulla Nulla, which he nicknamed ‘Melody Ranch’, came up for sale. His family wasted no time in buying it back and turning it into a working Angus cattle farm.
“Dad was thrilled,” Anne says. “All he wanted to do when he was young was travel, but later, the farm meant a lot to him.”
“It’s been lovely for us. Mum (Joy McKean) built a house on the property and we all adore spending time there. Mum is very involved in the management of the cattle. I like to go walking to the creek and just use my time there to relax and chill out. I’m still planning to learn how to fish though!”
Anne has a few suggestions on getting the best out of the Macleay Valley Coast hinterland.
“I love that road towards Armidale,” she says. “It’s a bit of a hairy road but it’s worth tackling in a 4-wheel drive! I did a painting course with (local artist) Gordon Rossiter and we explored the scenery up there. It was amazing.”
Anne also loves to visit the historic Bellbrook Hotel and has enjoyed playing to a packed audience.
“I love to go there and have a shandy looking over the river – it’s the most gorgeous setting,” she says. “It was always my ambition to do a gig there and now I’ve done three!”
Anne was instrumental in conceptualising Kempsey’s Slim Dusty Centre. She also performs at the annual Slim Dusty Country Music Festival every year, keeping her father’s legacy alive.
Want to immerse yourself in our region’s country music history? Book your ticket to the Slim Dusty Country Music Festival!