Peter Allen's cousin gives rare insight into entertainer
WITH nine days until the Peter Allen Festival arrives in Tenterfield, you may be wondering why the town celebrates the infamous entertainer.
While Peter Allen may not have lived in Tenterfield, his connection to the town was strong and deep rooted.
Peter's family lived in Armidale at the time of his birth, but Peter was born in Tenterfield by default - his mother was there visiting family when she went into labour.
As well as being his birthplace, Peter spent plenty of time in the town as his grandfather, George Woolnough the Tenterfield Saddler, was a community stalwart and inspired the song that immortalised Tenterfield and the family name worldwide.
Peter's cousin Terry Kneipp still lives in Tenterfield and has fond memories of Peter's visits during his early childhood.
"Peter and his family would travel by train to Tenterfield to visit his grandparents George and Maude, and the rest of the family,” Terry said.
"My mother and Peter's father were siblings, and we had that bond that cousins do when growing up.”
Mr Kneipp said Peter had always been destined for a life on stage and always had an aptitude for music.
"He had his vivacious personality from an early age - he couldn't sit still,” he said.
"He loved music and dancing, and would spend hours playing the piano in our grandmother's lounge room. I would try and drag him outside to play cowboys and Indians, but he was all about the music.”
Mr Kneipp said his uncle had a large collection of jazz records and "Peter would put one on the gramophone, walk to the piano and play it note perfect”.
"He would also sometimes visit a lady who lived down the street from our grandparents house and do tap lessons,” he said.
"He just loved it.”
Mr Kneipp said it was "wonderful” to see the town celebrating Peter and acknowledging his connection to the region.
"Peter's connection with Tenterfield and our grandfather, George Woolnough, the Tenterfield Saddler, was something that was revived following George's death in 1963,” Mr Kniepp said.
Tickets are now on sale for the Peter Allen Festival, where visitors will enjoy a weekend of food and wine fair, markets, outdoor cinema screenings, live music and entertainment and children's activities.
For more information visit www.thepeterallenfestival.com.au.