DIARY - 12 AUGUST 2008 - FEYNE WEAVER OBITUARY
WEAVER RIP AT 65
BY DAVID DAWSON with a little help from his peers.
LOXTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA - May 2, 1943
DIED GOLD COAST QUEENSLAND - AUGUST 4, 2008
COUNTRY MUSIC WRITER LOSES FINAL BATTLE
music columnists and feature writers are a dying breed here in the
unlucky radio country.
Veteran journalist Feyne Weaver died at 4 am on August 4 at the John
Flynn Hospital on the Gold Coast after a long battle with cancer.
Feyne's wife Joan, children and grandchildren held a bedside vigil
in the final chapter in a life that began on the Weaver Riverland
family farm at Loxton in South Australia.
Weaver was well known throughout Australia - especially Victoria -
for being one of the few professional journalists to enjoy the luxury
of writing a regular country music column in a mainstream newspaper.
music column appeared in the mass circulation Melbourne Sun for a decade
from the seventies.
He covered the first tour by Shotgun Willie Nelson, now 75, and Leon Russell
& The Newgrass Revival in 1981 and many other tours including Emmylou
Harris, Flying Burrito Brothers, Bellamy Brothers, Johnny Cash, Jerry
Jeff Walker, Charley Pride and many more.
Equally importantly Weaver also wrote about the diverse local artists
who enjoyed exposure on 3UZ - in one of its two country music eras - and
many local festivals and venues when Melbourne was the HQ of Australian
This was not an easy task as country music, despite its popularity, was
perceived as uncool by some of Weaver's peers and rock promoters anxious
to douse the genre.
But Weaver and second wife Joan fanned the flames as country music found
a home on ABC and embryonic community radio.
He wrote about mainstream artists such as Johnny Chester, Hawking Brothers,
the Fisks - Gene and Donna - Stoney Creek, Chad Morgan and progressive
acts diverse as Saltbush, Dead Livers, Hit & Run, P.C. Caulton &
The Pick-Ups, Suzie Dickinson and Leslie Avril.
Weaver's reign coincided with the birth of Across Country Magazine - published
by Christine Whyte and late Homestead drummer and altruistic historian
This was an era when country was a staple diet of pubs, clubs and venues
throughout the city, suburbs and bush.
It was also when country music columnists and feature writers were professional
journalists - replete with cadetships in the bush and beyond - and not
Fellow newspaper columnist Dave Pincombe, who did his cadetship on a Broken
Hill newspaper later filled the Weaver void on Sunday Press in Melbourne
while singing and song writing as a creative pursuit, also died this decade.
contributed by Graham Gould
grew up on the family fruit farm at Loxton in South Australia.
At 17, he gained a cadetship as a journalist at the Murray Pioneer
He graduated to Mildura in 1967 not long after his first marriage
failed and worked at the Sunraysia Daily as a reporter.
He boarded with a Mrs Erskine and son, Alan, - a cadet at the newspaper.
Weaver's embryonic career, transient as it was to succeed in that
era, took him to the Adelaide Daily News and Sunday Mail.
Feyne was on the road again when he moved to Melbourne and worked
for the Herald and Sun News Pictorial.
It was during Weaver's Melbourne era his passion for listening to
and writing about country music blossomed.
was also where Feyne met and married wife Joan who joined him in his country
This included several years as judges for the Australian Golden Guitar
Awards in Peel River city Tamworth.
In 1981, Weaver was appointed editor of the now defunct Australasian Post
- another magazine with a penchant for country music.
He remained until 1984 when he and Joan moved to the U.S. to indulge their
passion for country music and American history.
That year the couple published a book called Everyman's Guide to Australian
English that was later repackaged for the international market as
Everyman's Guide to Down Under.
The book was illustrated by then Melbourne cartoonist Jeff Hook and copies
of it can still be found for sale on Ebay.
American sojourn ended in 1985 when they were offered positions at The
Gold Coast Bulletin.
In 1996, Feyne became editor of Sun Community Newspapers that included
the Gold Coast Sun, Hinterland Sun and Robina Sun.
In his decade long tenure as editor, he saw the combined Suns flourish
and prosper. The crowning moment came in 2005 when the paper won the prestigious
Pacific Area Publishers Association (PANPA) award for the best free weekly
"That was wonderful. They don't come any higher than that,"
Weaver said at the time.
Feyne retired because of illhealth in early 2006.
that was only the start of his courageous battle against the ravages
of the disease that would claim his life," Col McCleland wrote
in the Gold Coast Sun after Weaver's death.
"His death leaves a huge gap in the lives of all who knew him.
Our sympathy goes to Joan, their two children Scott and Shaunagh
and 17-year-old triplet grandchildren Ellie, Kassie and Paul who
went to live with Feyne and Joan in 2001."
Son Scott Weaver, like old Hank Jr, followed in the family tradition
and works at the Townsville Bulletin.
Instead of a funeral, a celebration of life for Feyne was held in
Nerang on Tuesday.
That is a true country tradition.
Donna Fisk with Feyne Weaver
Photo courtesy of Donna Fisk
enjoyed a friendly rivalry with Weaver as a fellow country music columnist,
news, crime and feature writer since enjoying his cadetship on Launceston
Examiner in 1965.
Dawson's country music columns and feature stories have appeared in The
Examiner, Albury Border Mail, Herald Sun, The Age, Sydney Daily Mirror
and Sun, Brisbane Courier Mail, Listener In, Australasian Post, People,
Juke, Truth, Mixdown, Across Country, Beat, InPress, MAG and other magazines.
Dawson, community radio broadcaster for 20 years is now producer of Nu
Country TV and occasional songwriter, and refugee to his family dairy
farm on the banks of the Hopkins River near Warrnambool on the Shipwreck
Coast of Victoria.
/ back to diary