CREATORS: Brendan Hanley and Darmin Cameron.
CREATORS: Brendan Hanley and Darmin Cameron.

Where the Dolphins come from

ON Monday, December 9, 1991, a capacity crowd jammed into the Byron Bay RSL to witness the birth of the North Coast Music Industry Awards.

Organiser Brendan 'Mookx' Hanley remebers that evening.

"People stood three-deep at the back while a crack team of volunteers ran a fabulous tight show," he said.

"Lighting, sound, compering, presentations, house and stage management and mind-blowing music came together to make history 25 years ago".

"Many months prior to this eventful evening, in an old farm-house on Coopers Shoot, the idea had been seeded by the Musketeers of Bahloo Studio: myself, Darmin Cameron and Julie 'Shanto' Oliver, as we realised the need for some way of highlighting the amazing musical revolution that was taking place at the time."

"There were literally hundreds of great musicians moving to the area, small studios were burgeoning in the hills and the seeds of a whole alternative industry were being sown by this influx of new talent."

"We saw the need for an event, an institution that would counter the post-industrial mindset of the area where busking was disapproved of, pubs were cranking up the TV, pokies and karaoke and paid gigs were becoming few and far between. And so the birth of the Dolphins took place, a way of giving local musicians public prestige and a leg up with their chosen creative careers."

The awards were going to be called the Golden CD's orignally, trying and ignite a CD industry on the North Coast, but later it got changed to the Dolphins.

Darmin Cameron was awarded a Golden CD, Best Marketing and Promotion, for his album Osheannia in 1991.

"I had to pull out of the judging and awards process and I focussed on technical and production side of the Awards night to maintain impartiality."

"Osheannia was the first CD produced by a Byron Bay Musician at the time . It sold over a 1000 copies in the first run and was marketed internationally."

"It was a great example of what could be done right here from the North Coast and an example of what the Industry Association was trying to achieve."

 

Dirtgirl creators Cate McQuillen and Hewey Eustace look over the plans for the soon to be completed sustainability learning facility.
Dirtgirl creators Cate McQuillen and Hewey Eustace look over the plans for the soon to be completed sustainability learning facility. Adam Hourigan

Cate McQuillan (aka Dirt Girl), and with partner Hewey Eustace were also part of the beginnings of the awards.

"On Melbourne Cup day 1991 Hewey and I packed up everything we owned, moved to the Northern Rivers, started the two pot screamers and soon became ABC local radio converts," she said.

"On ABC Local radio we heard a call out for some folk to help the North Coast Entertainment Association run their music awards. We teamed up with Russell Adams and in 1992 and 1993 we produced the Dolphins."

Cate McQuillan said the idea of calling the awards 'The Dolphins' was an important one.

"Getting a great name for the Awards was really important; we wanted something that would stand the test of time, something iconic," she said.

"We called on the region's love of the environment and connected this with a beautiful creature that also lived in the Northern Rivers Region - a symbol that was synonymous with freedom and also reflected the beauty of the planet, a symbol that people could identify with the region and that also looked great on the back of a music note, and so the Dolphin Awards were born replaceing the Golden CDs".



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