In OBA 32 we featured the exploits of GEOFF MACK, who has died in Queensland aged 94. Geoff wrote the iconic song, “I’ve been everywhere” in 1959, which was recorded by many artists worldwide, including the American country music legend Hank Snow, and the Australian version by Lucky Starr, both in 1962. Over 130 cover versions, using different towns and places from New Guinea to Africa, have been recorded by famous artists, including Johnny Cash. The success of the song resulted in Geoff being inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee in 1963. Geoff (born Albert Geoffrey McElhinney in Melbourne in 1922), was an accomplished performer by an early age, playing for Australian troops in Borneo and later in Europe. It was while in Germany that Geoff met the love of his life, English dancer and comedienne Tabbi Francis, and they went on to perform together in Paris and throughout the Middle East. When it was time to bring his new bride home to Australia, Geoff bought a Panther Sloper, fitted it with a sidecar which was loaded with parts and possessions, and with Tabbi on the pillion, they set off from London in September 1954. Thirteen weeks and 13,000 miles later they reached Sydney – the sidecar now devoid of anything other than a chassis. The Panther is now permanently displayed in the Tamworth Visitors Centre, the town where he has received numerous country music awards.
Geoff Mack and Tabbi Francis photographed by the Daily Telegraph the day after their arrival in Sydney, sans sidecar.
Geoff and Tabbi at Tamworth with the Panther which is now in the Visitors' centre.