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Living in the Outback

John Hawkes is a singer / songwriter living in Longreach, western Queensland. Born in Adelaide in 1963, he grew up on a cattle property “Currawong” at Saltcreek on the Cooroong in South Australia. Finishing boarding school after year 11 he spent the next 12 months on “Gundooee” in the Mallee riding track work for his aunt, race horse trainer Sue Hodge. At 17 his grandfather decided he would attend the Longreach Pastoral College, he made his way to Queensland and after completing the 2 year course he spent the next 25 years as a contract musterer, ultra light pilot and property owner of “Merrigal” Yaraka, his work was predominately around Yaraka and on occasion as far north as the Gulf of Carpentaria in bull catching camps.  With this background, he has written songs for artists including Lee Kernaghan and Sara Storer.

In 2015, John known to all as “Hawkes” stepped onto a stage on the banks of the Thompson river to entertain audiences from Australia wide for “Outback Aussie Tours”.  Without the support from Alan Smith, Hawkes doubts he would ever have had the confidence to sing on stage in front of an audience. Due to a quiet but insistent demand from his audience to purchase his CD, which he didn’t have, he found Doug Martin from Mountain Views Recording Studio in Toowoomba Qld and  recorded his debut album “Sheer Audacity” it is a catalogue of bush life as a mustering pilot, drover, stockman and bull catcher,  produced in 2015 and contains songs written over 30 years earlier. 

 His second album “Longreach Town” which included covering 2 Banjo Paterson poems was released in 2017, a year when he produced 300 shows as the Outback Stockman for the Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame. By this time his bullock “Ollie” and “Henry” the Border collie were gaining their own following. They are now minor celebrities themselves having been on TV a few times and they attend numerous local events.  

Hawkes third album “Old Enough to know Better” consists of 5 orginal songs including his first duet, “Where’s My Baby Now” and 5 covers. A common response from listeners is that they don’t sound like covers because they are so unlike the originals.

Like most entertainers in Australia Hawkes is taking time away from the stage due to the closure of all venues. Ollie the bullock and Henry and Arthur the collies are still cruising around regardless, with no respect for social distancing. These animals have their own instagram following.


Longreach, Queensland, Australia

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