COMMENT by editor HARRY CLARKE
CAN chart-topping singer songwriter Pete Murray really call himself a former Chinchilla local?
The first thing Chinchilla folk brag about whenever one of the music star’s many hit song comes on the radio, at the local pub or around a backyard barbecue is the fact that “he’s from my home town!”.
Indeed, the legendary rock, folk and blues musician was born in the Western Downs town in 1969. According to his Wikipedia page it wasn’t until the age of 16 that Murray moved away to attend boarding school in Brisbane.
He was initially a promising young sportsman before he and his acoustic guitar shot to the heights of Australia’s music industry, signing to Sony BMG and topping the ARIA album charts on three occasions.
For years Pete Murray has lived alongside Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky as one of the highest profile residents of dreamy NSW beach town Byron Bay, but he’ll still forever remain one of Chinchilla’s proudest exports.
That aside, the 51-year-old has just made the shocking confession that he has never attended the Chinchilla Melon Festival.
That’s right, the smashing cultural and agricultural celebration which puts Chinchilla on the map every two years has never had the honour of hosting one of the town’s favourite sons.
Murray made the jaw-dropping admission in a video published to his YouTube page, in which he interviews and performs a song with his mate and rugby league legend Sam Thaiday.
SEE THE FULL VIDEO BELOW.
Only one minute into the 22-minute video, Murray proudly tells Thaiday that he grew up in Chinchilla.
Thaiday then gives a heartwarming shoutout to the Chinchilla Bulldogs rugby league club and reflects on his time as a roommate with successful Chinchilla footballer, Chris Davies.
But the pair also lament the fact that they’ve never attended Chinchilla’s famous Melon Fest.
That’s perhaps more forgivable for Thaiday, despite the fact he reveals that Davies has for years been urging him to come out and smash some watermelons at the biennial celebration.
But it’s a great shame to hear that coming from Pete Murray, whose name – to locals, at least – is synonymous with Chinchilla.
The Melon Festival stage has been graced by other renowned Australian musicians such as Lee Kernaghan, The McClymonts and The Delta Riggs.
Surely it’s time that Pete Murray – who claims to be a former local – joins that honourable list of performers who’ve played at Melon Fest.
In fairness, the Melon Fest was only established in the 90s, well after Murray left Chinchilla. But one would think he would have at least returned at some point, especially for an occasion as popular as our our iconic watermelon celebration.
Seeing Pete Murray singing on the demountable stage at Chinchilla State School would surely cement his status as a lifetime, honorary Chinchilla local.
The bragging from residents about our famous former neighbour would become even more relentless, and our pride in Pete would grow even fonder.
So, the Country Caller formally calls on Pete Murray to rectify the issue he’s just shared with Thaiday. We’d love to see him return to the town he grew up in and perform for residents at the next Chinchilla Melon Festival.
The pandemic has hindered the Melon Fest schedule – it remains unconfirmed whether the event will return in 2022 or 2023.
But when it does, a Pete Murray performance would be sweeter than the heart of a seedless melon picked from a healthy vine on Wondai Rd.