Maiden Gully country music star recognised for performing arts

Maiden Gully’s country music star Olive Bice has received an OAM for service to the performing arts.

“The first thing I did was cry. I don’t know if I really deserve it but some people must think I do,” she said.

“I’m just so honoured to be chosen to receive such an honour.”

Ms Bice has been performing as a country musician for more than 60 years and played alongside the likes of national hero Slim Dusty and international star Roy Orbison.

Along the way she raised money for a number of causes, hosted the Mildura Country Music Festival for 25 years and stage managed the Tamworth Songwriters Association for 12 years.

“I’ve raised money for every but particularly the Royal Children’s Hospital. We fundraise every Good Friday,” she said.

“As well as the Royal Children’s we fundraise for Motor Neurone Disease and the Bendigo Children’s Ward. Anyone we can think of.”

But before her illustrious career, she was a girl from Eaglehawk.

“I grew up in Lightning Hill and lived in Maiden Gully when I got married,” she said.

“When I was a little girl, I liked to sing and I learned the mandolin. As I got to adult age I started doing concerts and progressed to working in a band, on my solo act and at festivals.

“I’m also a guitarist, bass player and drummer when I feel like it.”

It was playing at festivals that led to her opening for Roy Orbison.

“That was in the late 1970s in Shepparton. We were the support band for his show and he was an absolute gentleman,” she said.

“My husband would often come with me as a roadie. We have five children – so my husband I would work together as a team.”

One of Ms Bice’s other favourite accolades is being the Bendigo Citizen of the Year for 1995 – the first one the City of Greater Bendigo awarded after the amalgamation of councils.

Ms Bice will spending the Queen’s Birthday performing.

“I’ll be surrounded by a couple of hundred friends,” she said. “I’m a little bit up in age now, so I choose what performances suit me.”