To get to know Lyn Bowtell a little better, we’ve asked what she loves about Greta, NSW.
Regional towns are in our blood here at CountryTown! From Ballarat to Toowomba, Bendigo to Tamworth, 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 Lyn Bowtell.
Originally from Queensland, Lyn moved to Greta in the Hunter Valley in 2012. The former Toyota Star Maker winner is a multi-nominee and recipient of a total of nine Golden Guitar awards, including for collaborations with Catherine Britt, Beccy Cole, Luke O’Shea and Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart (with Kevin Bennett and Felicity Urquhart). More recently, Lyn was inducted into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame.
She’s released four albums to date – including her most recent, Wiser, which includes the singles I Won't Do That Again (which peaked at #24 on the Countrytown Hot 50 Country Airplay Chart), Woman To Woman and the newly released Maryanne The Optimist. The latter is about that person who is a mentor, a friend, a sister, a mother, and she happens to run a cafe serving her customers wisdom and kindness with every hot beverage.
To get to know Lyn a little better, we’ve asked what she loves about Greta, NSW.
My little Countrytown is Greta, NSW. People always pronounce it incorrectly; despite the spelling it’s pronounced. Greeta, NOT Gretta. Greta is 23 km north-west of Maitland and only about 15 mins drive to Singleton. The Wanaruah people lived here first. Greta has a European history dating back to 1842, the coal seam was discovered in 1886. An army camp was set up in 1939, and in 1949 that army camp became a staging camp for migrants with over 100,000 passing through on their way to a new life in Australia.
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You’ll find the best tea and coffee in Greta at a cafe called The Holy Cuppa operating in an historic old church building adjacent to the main road. Lynneve makes a smashing macadamia latte and Candice manages the gift store called ‘Prop That’. The building contains so many of my favourite things - including fantastic hats and antiques. I was lucky enough to film [the Maryanne The Optimist] video clip there.
The people are the best feature, I’ve never felt so welcomed by neighbours than when I moved to Greta. We look out for each other here. During the lockdowns over the pandemic, we’d cook for one another, check in on one another and have conversations from the footpath. I know that when I go away on tour my bins will be put out and my plants will get watered and my home will be looked out for, it’s a lovely feeling of connection and community.
When I first started travelling from Queensland to Newcastle and Sydney in the late 90’s for shows with my band Southern Steel, we’d pass through Greta, long before the bypass, and I’d often think what a quaint little place, blink and you’d miss it, never dreaming that 15 years later I’d be living here!
We’ve got a pub, a general store we call the Top Shop, a GP, a chemist, a school, a servo AND a Maccas! Not to mention TWO cafes, Bailey’s clothing store and Prop That gift store, what more could you need? I love walking my dogs and seeing friendly faces, it’s the perfect mix of country and town for me and is only 40 mins from Newcastle, and a couple of hours drive to Sydney via the expressway. I’m so glad my friend (who happened to be one of the migrants who came here as a baby!) convinced me to look at Greta when I was looking to buy a house all those years ago. I love my little Countrytown.
Follow Lyn Bowtell on her Facebook page here.
For more of our My CountryTown series, check out here.