Peter Allen - The Boy from Oz
Born Peter Woolnough on 10 February 1944 at the Prince Albert Memorial Hospital in Tenterfield, Peter Allen became one of Australia's most internationally recognised entertainer and composer. His gift to the town became one of Australia's most recognised songs "Tenterfield Saddler", featuring his grandfather and local identity, George Woolnough, and taking our town to the Interntional stage.
After a childhood career of singing, dancing and playing piano, Peter joined entertainer Chris Bell as "The Allen Brothers". They were discovered by Judy Garland when she saw them in Hong Kong in 1964. The duo went on to feature on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show in 1967.
Peter married Judy's daughter, Liza Minelli, and was married for 3 years, remaining close friends after. Like Bette Midler, Peter garnered popularity among the gay audience of Manhattan's cabaret circuit and rolled into the mainstream, filling the huge Radio City Music Hall with brash, camp music and over-flowing with feathers and sequins. While best remembered for "I Still Call Australia Home", "Tenterfield Saddler" and "I Go to Rio", his 11 albums included standards that will be sung for decades.
For 50 years this quaint blue-granite Saddlery on High Street was the meeting place for those who enjoyed discussions on a wide variety of topics. Saddler George Woolnough continued to ply his trade, listening but undisturbed by the chatter and opinions of his many friends who wandered in. It was the compassion of George Woolnough that attracted so many to the High St Saddlery from 1908 until his retirement in 1960. One famous customer was A. B. “Banjo” Paterson, well-loved Australian poet and author.
The land was originally bought by Sir Stuart Alexander Donaldson for 32 pounds 10 shillings in 1858. Sir Stuart was the owner of Tenterfield Station and went on to become the first Premier of New South Wales. It was sold in 1870 to Charles Pavel the first Saddler for 34 pounds. He then sold it to the Australian Joint Stock Bank in 1874. The old building was perfect for use as a bank as the granite walls were over 20 inches thick.
For a time the saddlery was the private home of Miss Catherine Bourke, 1895 to 1897, who then sold it to Dan Egan the next saddler. It is interesting to note that the solicitor who arranged these last three sales was Major J.F. Thomas of “Breaker” Morant fame.
After the first two saddlers, C. H. Pavel and Dan Egan, came George Woolnough, Ted Daly and Trevor Gibson.
The Tennerfield Saddlery was classified by the National Trust of Australia in 1972. The doors and woodwork are of red cedar and apart from the maintenance, the Saddlery is in its original condition.
George Woolnough’s Grandson, Peter Allen, internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter, has perpetuated the memory of George Woolnough in one of his best known songs “The Tenterfield Saddler”.
The Saddlery also draws fans of Peter Allen who want to see the home of the famous “Tenterfield Saddler”. Even if you are not a fan, the Saddlery is still certainly worth a visit.
Open Thursday to Sunday, 10.00 am to 2.00 pm
Tenterfield Saddler, Photo by Paul Foley; Destination NSW
Peter Allen - The Boy from Oz