The Big Golden Guitar is an Australian and Tamworth icon, which has been visited and photographed by literally hundreds of thousands of people since it was opened in 1987.
It stands 12 metres high at the southern approach to Tamworth, Australia's Country Music Capital and has featured in many film and TV documentaries about Tamworth and country music also serving as a backdrop for quite a number of TV commercials.
The Country Collection building was constructed to house the Gallery Of Stars Wax Museum, which had originally been set up in the CBD by entrepreneur John Smyth in 1983. The Wax Museum was later purchased by business partners Warwick Bennett, a former Mayor of Tamworth and prominent tourism industry figure and Max Ellis who was largely responsible for turning Tamworth into Country Music Capital and in 1987 the Wax Museum was moved to its' present location. In conjunction a souvenir shop and a unique gem and mineral display was set up.
The Big Golden Guitar was built by the partners as another attraction and a very visible identification on the highway, for the tourist centre. It was constructed of reinforced fibre glass by Len Surtees of Tamworth Fibre Glass Industries.
The Big Guitar was modelled directly on the famous Golden Guitar trophies for the Golden Guitar Awards which explains by it has no strings. The original concept came from 2 TM's John Minson and Max Ellis in 1972 and detailed design was by Tamworth artist Harry Frost. The Golden Guitars were and are today, cast in solid bronze on a base of polished Tasmanian Blackwood. They stand high 325 mm and weigh 1.5 kilos.
The Big Golden Guitar was officially opened by Slim Dusty and Mr Paul Crombie, General Manager of Tourism NSW, on January 25th 1988; since then the expanded Big Golden Guitar Centre has been owned and operated by Wendy and Noel Bennett.
It is located at the Golden Guitar Tourist Centre on the southern outskirts of Tamworth adjacent to the Longyard Hotel with the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre. Address: 2 The Ringers Rd Tamworth NSW 2340
Gallery of Stars Wax Museum
In the style of Madam Tussauds, the Gallery of Stars Wax Museum features life-like figures of Australia's famous country music stars and pioneers.
The figures all are dressed in original clothing and displayed in settings which reflect the time and person, their lives and their music.
Display boards tell the story of the stars, which you can read at your leisure.
Entry fees are:
Family (2 Adult+3 Children) $25