Waterfall Way

The scenic drive from New England to Coffs Harbour

 

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TAYLORS ARM

 

The late Slim Dusty and the late Gordon Parsons could not possibly have known what they were starting when they created the legend of the Pub With No Beer.

Gordon, country music singer, writer and recording artist, was working in the bush with Joe Cooper at the time, on the Upper Nambucca up past the Sheet-Bark Creek. Someone handed him a few penciled verses on a scrap of paper and suggested it might make a good song.

He began to add verses about the characters who frequented the old Cosmopolitan Hotel, the local pub at nearby Taylors Arm. Adding a tune he tried it at sing-songs and parties around the area. Some more words and refinements were added during a subsequent tour by Slim Dusty and Chad Morgan. Gordon used the song on the show and planned to use and record it.

 

Slim was looking for a "B" side for a planned recording of Saddle Boy, a song he was confident would do well. He asked Gordon weather he would mind if he used the Pub With No Beer.

Needless to say it sold more copies than any other Australian recording to that time. Slim Dusty received the first gold record ever awarded in Australia and the first and only gold 78 rpm record awarded.

It was well after the song had become a hit that a squabble broke out about its origins. The Sheahan family of Ingham in Queensland called on Slim Dusty to tell him their father, a cane farmer, had written the "Pub".

In fact, old Dan Sheahan had written a poem which had appeared in the Queensland Register in 1944, and there seems little doubt that it was the origin of the verses passed on to Gordon Parsons so many years later. But Gordon transformed the words, added the characters and provided the tune.

The controversy was a disappointment for Gordon Parsons, a pioneer of Australian country music and writer of enough classic bush ballads to fill a small volume. He'd assumed the material he was given was one of the anonymous bush ballads that drift around the country, had recognised its potential and had gone ahead and used it.

The atmosphere of the old pub and its characters have been preserved. There are picnic areas and barbecue facilities in the immaculately kept grounds.

Turn left off the highway at Macksville South. The pub is some 30 kilometres away on a sealed road. (Follow the signs to Taylors Arm). And regardless of the famous ballad, you will get a beer if you want one. A very good drop too! 

 
     
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