Tony was born in Zeehan and deemed unmusical
from early age, debuting for the school choir mid puberty and was promptly
rejected with the jerk of a thumb. He mucked around on an acoustic guitar
guarding his obscurity and his wife's sanity in the spare room. In 1986 Tony saw
Billy Connolly at the Princess Theatre in Launceston close his set with a few
songs on an Autoharp. Purchasing one, he did not
even know how to put the finger picks on correctly. He persevered but the instrument fell into disrepair for the
next 25 years.
Tony purchased a new harp in 2010 and began to
record his efforts. It was a great teaching tool. Singing with gusto and feeling
stoked was quickly tempered by the unflattering truth of playback. But, learning from his mistakes, his singing improved (if only that choirmaster had
not been so brutal!). His first public performance was at Bradshaw's sawmill in
2012 at the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival. In 2014 he went to an Autoharp festival in
Pennsylvania, purchased a state of the art Autoharp, and in 2015
with the great assistance of Vince Brophy he recorded a CD which was dedicated to the people and spirit of the West Coast - drawing on his formative
experiences growing up in Rosebery, playing footy and working underground.
Tony describes it as an absolute privilege to be able to sing about the west coast to west
coasters in particular – his only regret is that his mother and my grandmother – west coasters to their gumboots – are not around to share it with him.