Mel was born in Griffith in the Riverina district, of which he says has no memory of as the family moved to Narranderra when he was two. His Dad was a Train Driver with the Government Railways, and was moved around the country. Spending time at Muswellbrook before moving on to Narrabri where spent his young life. Although as he says that he was always interested in music as his Dad played guitar and sang Wilf Carter and Tex Morton songs. It was many years later before started writing and singing his songs. His early years were spent mainly on the sporting field, playing Rugby league and Boxing. His preference he says was boxing, although not raising to great heights held the Northern district Lightweight title for two years, making three successful defenses of his title. In 1962 he was selected for trials for the Commonwealth games, but a perforated eardrum in a sparing session ruled him out of contention.
Apart from being actively involved with Country Music around the Newcastle area for over thirty years. Mel was the foundation President of the Steel City Country Music Club. Which he helped form, now going on in its twenty-eight year. Over this time he has been involved organizing many festivals, which have included Talent Quests and concerts, with many top line performers. Lee Kearnagan, Gina Jeffreys, Beccy Cole, Adam Harvey, Smokey Dawson and Chad Morgan; just to name a few. Over the years he has helped mould the future of many Country performers. One of the latest is Catherine Britt; he says he feels proud to part of starting her off in her career.
With his own career, apart from performing in clubs and hotels. He first recorded a single on vinyl in 1985 one of songs. ‘Same time tomorrow’ received extensive airplay around Australia. Then in 1990, with his singing partner at the time, Peter Simpson they recorded an album on cassette. This was called ‘Picture from the past’, which was the name of one of the tracks. This was voted as song of the month on the local fm radio.
In 2000 he recorded with Rod McCormack at his Cellar studio on the Central Coast. The Album was called ‘Proud to be Australian’ this seven track album received extensive air play around Australia, and after numerous request decided it was time for One more for the Road’. Once again teaming up with Rod McCormack, they settled on a twelve song album with a mixture of contemporary and traditional. This is hoped to satisfy all fans of country music.
As well as his songwriting he has self published a book about his young life titled ‘The time of my life’ and also a book of his poetry.
(extract from book)
One of my favourite amusements was hypnotising our chooks. It was done in this manner. Jan or Jim (my siblings) would hold the bird with its head pointing to a wriggly line I’d draw in front of its beak. After a short time the bird would just sit and stare at the line. On some occasions we would have half a dozen birds staring at a line in the dirt. Poor Mum would go to collect the eggs and there would be chooks sitting around staring at the ground. She would tell Dad that there was something wrong with the chooks, of course by the time he got down to the chook yard we had woken them from there hypnotic trance and everything seemed normal.