A leading Australian country band, Bullamakanka was formed in 1978 on the country’s Gold Coast by Ray Young (b. Vale Ray Young, 3 January 1952, d. 7 March 2004), Dave Ovenden and Rex Radonich (d. 1986). Starting out as a part-time trio, the band toured extensively and their distinctive melding of Australian bush music with American bluegrass gained them a large following. By the early 80s the band was touring full time and extending their audience across musical boundaries. When Young opted not to tour so much following Radonich’s death in a car accident, Rod McCormack joined the band. Others who have played with Bullamakanka, sometimes just on record, sometimes as full band members, include Jeff McCormack, Stewart Watson, Mal Clark and Jimmy Duke-Younge. The band’s hit single, ‘Home Amongst The Gum Trees’, brought them a considerable measure of crossover success.
During Bullamakanka’s career it has received five Golden Guitars, the Australasian Country Music Award, as Best Group, the first won in 1983. In that year, Bullamakanka appeared in the USA, playing at Fort Worth, Texas, where the International Country & Western Music Association named them as Australian Group Entertainer Of The Year. The group has remained most popular in Australia, playing countless venues from clubs to festivals, the latter including 2001’s Gympie Music Muster. Co-founder Young had a successful Gold Coast career as a solo act, dying of cancer in 2004 at the age of 53. The band’s name is Australian slang for a mythical place of good fortune located at the farthermost point in the bush, a sort of Oz Oz.