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My Countrytown: Abbie Ferris – Mallala

18 May 2021 | 1:35 pm | Mallory Arbour

To get to know Australian singer-songwriter, Abbie Ferris a little better, we’ve asked what she loves about her hometown, Mallala in South Australia.

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Regional towns are in our blood here at CountryTown! From Tamworth to Toowoomba to Noojee. 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 Abbie Ferris.

Abbie is a true blue country girl. She grew up on a 90-acre farm in the South Australia town of Mallala. Her father worked the sale yards and Abbie was on horseback by the time she could walk. Soon after, she fell in love with music, picked up a guitar and started honing her craft as a singer-songwriter. She has now released four singles to radio, including For A Moment in 2018, Beat You at Your Own Game in 2019, plus Love Up On Me and Bad Boy Crush in 2020, which have clocked up nearly 600,000 streams on Spotify.

To get to know Abbie a little better, we’ve asked what she loves about her hometown, Mallala.

There’s no neon lighting up my hometown

I grew up in Mallala, a tiny country town north of Adelaide in South Australia. Last time I checked, we had a population of about 700 people. It is about as removed from the glow of the big city as I can think of. As much as I love that neon buzz of the city, lying out under the stars, looking up, is pretty much my perfect night ... Oh yeah, and a sing-along around a campfire never hurt either.

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A cowgirl in Mallala

The town is very much a farming community. Looking back, my fondest memories are on horseback ⁠–⁠ from trail riding to rounding up sheep, I seemed to be on a horse from the time I could walk. On a Sunday, my Dad and I would make the trip on horseback into town to grab the mail, and sometimes even an ice-cream. It wasn’t unusual to see a horse in the main street when I was growing up, which is not something you see every day in 2021. Surrounded by horses, I was a cowgirl from the get-go.

The old Sierra

If it wasn’t a horse, it had to be a car. Like most farming families, you learn to operate machinery early in life. There were jobs to be done and we needed to travel to do them. My brother and I learnt to drive in a 1985 Suzuki Sierra, which was more like a “paddock basher” than anything. I remember perfecting my driving skills on the farm. When I eventually got my licence, I drove that old farm car to school. You had to unlock the front doors by climbing through the back, and it had the ugliest sounding horn, but you had to love the character and I loved that freedom.

Girls on the home front

Being a woman in music, I am proud of the strides that we have made in recent times. But there were many who went before us in other industries. Interestingly, the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) was formed in March 1941 in little old Mallala. More than 700 women took up roles in medical, transport, catering, equipment, signals and radar positions and worked as telegraphists and meteorological assistants during the war. Disbanded in 1947, these women were integral to Australia’s war efforts.

The need for speed in the middle of nowhere

My little home town of Mallala once hosted the Australian Grand Prix ⁠– Crazy right!?! I know it seems surreal now when you look at the Melbourne race and watch races around the world in places like Spain, Italy, and Great Britain, but Mallala Motorsport Park is the historical home of motorsport in South Australia. Even now, I can hear cars on the track on a still night all the way from my house. People still come from all over to drive on the track.

Follow Abbie on her Facebook page here.

For more of our My CountryTown series, check out here.

Image: Supplied