A small piece of Peter Allen’s musical inspiration still stands in the northern NSW town of Tenterfield. By Joyce O’Regan
“The late George Woolnough worked on high street and lived on manners. Fifty-two years he sat on his veranda and made his saddles. And if you had questions ’bout sheep or flowers or dogs, you’d just ask the saddler, he lived without sin. They’re building a library for him.” – Peter Allen’s Tenterfield Saddler
We’ve all sung along with Peter Allen’s international hit “Tenterfield Saddler,” in which the great entertainer immortalised the story of the loving relationship he had with his Grandfather.
His granddad George Woolnough owned the Tenterfield Saddlery with the veranda where, for 52 years, he sat and stitched saddles with his bare hands. It still stands in a side street in the historic township of Tenterfield in northern NSW. George bought the business in 1908, making fine leather saddles and goods until his retirement in 1960.
Peter Allen was born in Tenterfield, spending his childhood singing, dancing and playing the piano. He was also part of a junior shiffle group, playing all types of instruments including washboards and tin cans. Later he became a popular entertainer in the local hotels and clubs, gaining international recognition in the 1960s and going on to become one ofAustralia’s most successful exports.
The Tenterfield Saddlery was built in 1860 of local blue granite with red cedar doors and woodwork. Classified by the National Trust, it’s been maintained beautifully and handmade saddles and leather goods are still available. If you visit the saddlery, you’ll note with interest the “No Standing” sign out front – with “horse-drawn vehicles excepted.”
Tenterfield has a rich history and was settled way back in 1851. Many fine buildings have been preserved from the era. Sir Henry Parkes, then Premier of NSW, made his famous Federation speech in Tenterfield in 1889, where the catchcry “One people, One Destiny” first rang out.
Today Tenterfield is primarily sheep and cattle country – with the development of a few fine wines as well. Tasting and cellar door sales are available. Excellent restaurants and fine accommodation make Tenterfield a destination to enjoy.
More info via the Tenterfield and District Visitor Association on (02) 6736 1082.