Lee Kernaghan, one of Australia's best known and loved country singers
was named Australian of the Year.
Lee's singing style is similar to American country greats, George Strait
and Alan Jackson.
Country music star Lee Kernaghan says he'll never be the new Slim Dusty.
The late Slim Dusty was named Senior Australian of the Year in 1999 and
had a record 37 Golden Guitars under his belt.
Kernaghan has already won 24 country music awards over his 15-year career,
coming second only to the late Slim Dusty.
'Nobody will ever overtake the King', Kernaghan said.
'There is only one king of Australian music, and that's Slim. I think of him
in the same way I think of Henry Lawson or Banjo Patterson, he's an Australian hero'.
The boy from the bush is back in town, with country music star Lee Kernaghan named Australian of the Year for 2008.
A proud Kernaghan, 43, admitted he was surprised at the honour but said he would use his new role to help farmers battling the drought.
The Victorian-born singer and songwriter was anointed successor to climate change crusader Tim Flannery at a ceremony outside Parliament House in Canberra on Friday night.
Naming him Australian of the Year, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said: "Lee Kernaghan's music resonates with every Australian by connecting us all to the spirit of the bush, but more importantly he gives hope and pride to those on the land when they need inspiration most.
"He has rolled up his sleeves to make a real difference for those in need in rural Australia."
Kernaghan, the son of country artist Ray Kernaghan, scored his first number one hit with 1995's Boys from the Bush and has gone on to sell over a million albums and pick up numerous Golden Guitar awards at Tamworth.
But it is his personal commitment to rural Australia that put him in front of other candidates for this year's award.
Over the past 10 years, the country star has led "Pass the Hat Around" and "Spirit of the Bush" tours, raising more than a million dollars for communities in need, particularly drought-ravaged families.
Kernaghan said being named Australian of the Year was the proudest moment of his life.
Spirit Of The Bush - Featuring Lee Kernaghan,
Adam Brand, Steve Forde and The McClymonts
Aussie Poem for
The sun was hot already - it was only
The cocky took off in his Ute, to go and check his stock.
He drove around the paddocks checking wethers, ewes and lambs,
The float valves in the water troughs, the windmills on the dams.
He stopped and turned a windmill on to fill a water tank
And saw a ewe down in the dam, a few yards from the bank.
"Typical bloody sheep," he thought, "they've got no common sense,
"They won't go through a gateway but they'll jump a bloody fence."
The ewe was stuck down in the mud, he knew without a doubt
She'd stay there 'til she carked it if he didn't get her out.
But when he reached the water's edge, the startled ewe broke free
And in her haste to get away, began a swimming spree.
He reckoned once her fleece was wet, the weight would drag her down
If he didn't rescue her, the stupid sod would drown.
Her style was unimpressive, her survival chances slim
He saw no other option, he would have to take a swim.
He peeled his shirt and singlet off, his trousers, boots and socks
And as he couldn't stand wet clothes, he also shed his jocks.
He jumped into the water and away that cocky swam
He caught up with her, somewhere near the middle of the dam
The ewe was quite evasive, she kept giving him the slip
He tried to grab her sodden fleece but couldn't get a grip.
At last he got her to the bank and stopped to catch his breath
She showed him little gratitude for saving her from death.
She took off like a Bondi tram around the other side
He swore next time he caught that ewe he'd hang her bloody hide.
Then round and round the dam they ran, although he felt quite puffed
He still thought he could run her down, she must be nearly stuffed.
The local stock rep came along, to pay a call that day.
He knew this bloke was on his own, his wife had gone away
He didn't really think he'd get fresh scones for morning tea
But nor was he prepared for what he was about to see.
He rubbed his eyes in disbelief at what came into view
For running down the catchment came this frantic-looking ewe.
And on her heels in hot pursuit and wearing not a stitch
The farmer yelling wildly "Come back here, you lousy bitch!"
The stock rep didn't hang around, he took off in his car
The cocky's reputation has been damaged near and far
So bear in mind the Work Safe rule when next you check your flocks
Spot the hazard, assess the risk, and always wear your jocks!