Col Hardy is an Indigenousl man from the Kamilaroi tribe, who was born and raised in Brewarrina NSW.
As a young man he became interested in music listening to the wireless of an evening. He taught himself to play guitar, and he was a winner at a talent quest in Walgett, run by the late Willie Fennell. Col toured with ‘The Willie Fennell Travelling Show’. He moved to Sydney in 1962 to further his music career.
Col has sung in hotels and clubs in NSW, QLD, VIC and TAS. He performed on TVs Bandstand, The Midday Show etc. and more recently on Living Black. He also performed with ‘The All Coloured Show’ with other talented entertainers, such as the late Jimmy Little, Freddy Little, Betty Fisher, Candy Williams and many other great indigenous artists. Col also toured with ‘The Brian Young Show” to remote Aboriginal missions in QLD, NT, WA and Islands off the top of Australia.
In 1972 while performing in Tamworth he was approached by Opal Records to record an EP, named ‘Protest Protest’ which won him a Golden Guitar in 1973 at the Australasian Country Music Awards in Tamworth. He was the first Aboriginal to receive a Golden Guitar and it helped pave the way for many other indigenous artists. Four albums later he was inducted into the ‘Country Music Hands of Fame’ in Tamworth.
Col was proud and honoured to be recognized by his own people during NAIDOC Week 1990, when he was voted ‘Aboriginal Artist of the Year for NSW’. He now performs with his own band, and also at numerous Country Music Festivals.
For the past 20 years Col has worked with Taronga Park Zoo Education Unit, which takes the Zoomobile with a workshop called ‘Animals of the Dreaming’ out to schools all over NSW, teaching children about protecting native animals and the environment. The children get to see and touch the native animals. Col sings and tells dreamtime stories and shows them Aboriginal artifacts.
Col received an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2007, for his services to the country music industry as a singer and recording artist, and to the community through the delivery of outreach zoological education programs in regional areas.
In 2011, Col was presented with a ‘Deadly Award’ at the national Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islands Awards. He received the Jimmy Little Award for lifetime achievement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait music.
2013 – Col was awarded ‘Australian Country Music Living Legend Award’ at Kempsey.
2014 – After over 25 years Col recorded an album entitled ‘I Am Me’.
2016 – Received a ‘MO Award’ for Country Male Performer of the Year.
2018 – Received a Cook Award, Recorded Gospel album ‘It Is No Secret’.