Speakers Profile - Lee Kernaghan

Australian of the Year - 2008

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Born in the bush, Corryong Victoria, on the foothills of the Snowy Mountains high country is where Lee's life began. The son of a truck driver and later multi platinum recording artist Ray Kernaghan, Lee spent his formative years growing up in the Riverina country of Southern NSW. Lee's Grandfather was a third generation drover of sheep and cattle and his experiences on the road with his Pop ran deep, producing a string of hits that began with the release of his first album the ARIA award winning 'Outback Club' in 1992. His first number one hit 'Boys from the Bush' became an anthem, a celebration of a way of life that would change the face of Australian country music forever.

Throughout his career Lee Kernaghan has dominated the charts with successive hit albums including 'Three Chain Road', '1959', 'Hat Town', 'Electric Rodeo', 'The New Bush' and his most recent #1 album 'Spirit Of The Bush'. In early 2000 Lee was awarded the title of Hit Maker of the Decade in recognition of the unprecedented chart success he enjoyed during the 90's. Not only did Lee achieve more number one hits than any other artist during the 90's he also began creating a new musical landscape in country music along the way. He has done to country music in Australia what Garth Brooks did in the USA.....he blurred the line and took country music out of the box that it had existed in for decades....he added a spectacular live show and along the way has sold over one million albums, won 27 Golden Guitars, 3 Aria Awards, 26 number 1 hits and 9 hit albums.

Lee Kernaghan has become a towering figure in Australian country music and a fine ambassador for his craft. Lee has a passion for his music and his country and brings these together in his support for country communities across Australia. To many people he represents the very essence of the spirit and values of contemporary rural Australia. In the past ten years his 'Pass the Hat Around' tours have raised more than a million dollars for communities in need and his participation in the 'Spirit of the Bush' tours raises spirits as well as money for farming families doing it tough in the drought.

Lee was named the 2008 Australian of the Year by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Canberra on 25th January. The following day he travelled to Tamworth for the Australian Country Music Awards where he picked up 3 more Golden Guitars for his smash hit song Spirit Of The Bush.

Lee Kernaghan will be doing selective shows during 2009. He is recording a new album for a late 2009 release. His career is going from strength to strength. His connection to rural Australia grows stronger and stronger and his love and care for this country and its people is one of the reasons he has been recognised as one of Australia's favourite sons.