Special feature: International Women's Day
Alongside names like Slim Dusty, Kasey Chambers and Lee Kernaghan, Bundaberg country music singer Evelyn Bury has received some of the highest honours awarded to the Australian country music fraternity.
A Golden Guitar, numerous songwriting accolades and being inducted into the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame and Hands of Fame are among some of her greatest musical achievements.
Evelyn said living a life in which her idols became her close friends has “been a lot of fun”.
“It’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve worked with Slim Dusty, Smoky Dawson and Chad Morgan,” Evelyn said.
“When I was young, Smoky Dawson was on TV and radio.
“It was quite surreal; down the track in my 40s I was working with these people and calling them friends.
“It’s been a blast.”
The 72-year-old still performs at festivals.
“Music is a living but it’s a heck of a way to make a living. You would never travel and meet so many people like you do with music.”
Love for music turns to successful career
Evelyn has always loved music, finding inspiration from a very young age.
“I can remember in 1952 when I was six-years-old, listening to the radio when Chad Morgan came second in amateur hour. He was 19.”
After 56 years of entertaining, Evelyn has received almost every honour available in Australian country music.
She was recognised relatively early in her career, receiving the Tamworth Songwriters’ Association “New Songwriter Award”.
Her success continued to build with various awards for her original work before she received a Golden Guitar for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1988.
Receiving her award Evelyn shared the stage with Slim Dusty and Smoky Dawson who also received Golden Guitars that year.
She said it was a special moment.
“A Golden Guitar is the top Australasian award for female vocal.”
However Evelyn says her proudest achievement is still the recognition she received for her own songs.
“I’ve recorded over 40 of my own songs and received a lot of awards. It’s a real buzz.”
Home is where the heart is
Having lived in Bundaberg for 40 years Evelyn said she’s “almost a local”.
Despite her career success and extensive travelling she said there is no place like home.
“I just love Bundaberg,” she said.
Two songs written by Evelyn in tribute to the Bundaberg Region — Where the Burnett River Flows and Latitude 25 — received Tamworth Songwriter Association awards.
Throughout her time in Bundaberg, Evelyn has also given back to the local community by coordinating the Bundaberg Easter Roundup and volunteering at the visitor information centre.
Evelyn has also dedicated 15 years to the Make a Wish foundation and 25 years to Meals on Wheels.
Read more inspirational stories as part of Bundaberg Now's special International Women's Day series: