Regional towns are in our blood here at CountryTown! From Ballarat to Toowomba, we love the pubs, the people and the places that make Australia tick. But most of all, we love the amazing country musicians our regional centres produce, like Kirsty Lee Akers.
Proud of her Indigenous heritage as a woman of the Wonnarua people (Hunter Valley), Kirsty was born in the small town of Kurri Kurri. She first performed in public at three-years-old and recorded her first EP at 16. Since graduating from the CMAA Academy of Country Music, she has won multiple Golden Guitar awards, including her collaboration rendition of John Williamson’s True Blue with Amber Lawrence, Aleyce Simmonds and Dianna Corcoran, that took home Vocal Collaboration of the Year earlier this year.
To get to know Kirsty a little better, we’ve asked her to write up a love letter to her hometown, Kurri Kurri.
1. Mining History
Kurri Kurri is a small town in the Hunter Valley area, about 30 minutes from Newcastle. If you’re a true local, you know it as just Kurri. Our little town has a strong mining history, most of the guys I went to school with went on to work in the mines.
2. Close To Family
I was lucky enough to spend the first 25 years of my life living in Kurri. I no longer live there now but all of my family still do, so I’m never too far away. It doesn’t matter how long I am away for, it always feels like home driving into town.
3. Rugby League
Our little town loves its rugby league! Both of my brothers played for the Kurri Bulldogs for most of their lives. We have had quite a few professional players come from the Bulldogs – the most famous being the Johns brothers [Andrew and Matthew] and Mark Hughes.
4. Mullet Fest
Kurri has recently become famous for its mullet fest. It is basically a weekend where people show off their proud mullets that they have been growing all year. I can’t honestly say it is an event I count down the days to, but it raises money for charity and everyone has a good laugh, so what more could you want?!
5. Small-Town Vibe
The thing I love about Kurri so much is its small-town vibe. I love that if I am ever feeling lonely, I can pop into the local Coles and I’ll be sure to run into someone I know and have a great chat. There is a certain pride that is born into someone from Kurri. We can give our town crap, but if anyone else does there is going to be trouble. Kurri people stick together – you may have an enemy in town but if that person is ever in trouble with an outsider, we have eachother’s backs!
For more of our My CountryTown series, check out here.