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in memory of

Ron Tudor MBE

Ron Tudor MBE

18th May 1924 - 19th August 2020



Pioneering record label executive, producer and activist who contributed passionately to his community and country.

Champion of Australian music and inspirational mentor to a generation of artists and producers.


Ron Tudor’s pioneering involvement in the development of the Australian Recording Industry is well recognized in Australia and overseas. 

His staunch advocacy of Australian Records, his pioneering of, and fight for changes in support of the Australian Recording Industry

culminated in him receiving an M.B.E. in 1979 for ‘Services To The Australian Recording Industry’.


Recognised as the Australian Music Industry’s  “favourite son” and later as a “founding father”,

Ron was there when the first Australian records were being made. 

He saw after-hours warehouses turned into recording studios by night, toilets and stairwells converted to echo-chambers;

he knew more about the history, growth and making of Australian Music than most people today.


Born May 18, 1924 in the Victorian farming community Toora, Ron was one of 10 siblings and spent his childhood

around Gippsland in various farming communities.

He schooled in Welshpool where his father was one of the legendary “Snake Island” horseman written about in history books.

Ron’s ethic of hard work, long hours and dedication were established early in life.

Ron trained as a jockey at Flemington at 15 years old but grew too big to follow that path.

He loved horses and worked as a stable hand and in later life was a part owner in a racehorse.

Ron joined the Army at 18 years of age and saw active duty in New Guinea and Borneo during WW11.

On his return he took jobs as a ditch-digger, switchboard operator and clerical assistant.  

He took advanced education courses and had also became an avid collector of  “78rpm” Jazz records,

boasting one of the largest collections in Australia.

At this time, whilst working nights at the telephone exchange, Ron started phoning the 3AK Sunday night Jazz program, sharing his knowledge.

Through that contact the show’s presenters invited him to script their program, which he did between 1953-1955,

whilst still continuing work at the telephone exchange.


In 1956, following an associate’s introduction to the head of W&G Records, Ron’s life-long dedication to an industry he loved began.

Ron was the first ever-Australian Music Correspondent for an international trade publication, writing for CASHBOX from the late 1950’s - late 1960’s. 

He had a regular music column in the then Melbourne Herald.  He also independently wrote to international magazines  promoting Australian talent and the

Australian Music business; encouraging an international spotlight and support of Australian music and musicians.


Ron went on to establish his own label - Fable Records in April 1970, which went on to become the first independent label to achieve notable success.


Fable opened its doors during the 1970 record ban, in which record companies would not permit their Australian or English records to be played at Radio

without a fee (Pay To Play).  In establishing Fable, Ron became the “rebel” and there were many who believed when the dispute was settled in

November 1970 Fable would shut up shop.  

Whilst Fable’s early success became a battle, indeed a war, the one unshakeable factor was Ron Tudor.

Not content with the successful “middle of the road” Fable, in September 1972 Ron launched the Bootleg label to cater for

rock/contemporary Australian acts.   The acts signed to Bootleg, toured across Australia as a collective and “The Bootleg Family” was born.


At the helm of Fable/Bootleg Records, Ron launched the careers of many now “household names” in Australia.

By the end of his association of Fable in 1984, the company had amassed 22 gold/platinum discs and 35 industry awards including:

The first all-Australian international hit, “The Pushbike Song” by The Mixtures

John Williamson’s his first gold record for Old Man Emu.

Liv Maessen became the first Australian Female Recording artist to receive a gold record for sales of “Knock Knock Who’s There”

(Both John Williamson and Liv Maessen were given their recording opportunities as winners from the famous “New Faces” on which Ron was a judge.)

The Fable/Bootleg Labels won 8 of the 16 awards presented to the Australian Record Industry in 1972 by the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters.

“Up There Cazaly” (1979) which at the time became the biggest-ever selling Australian Single achieved a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

The song itself has now become the most widely recognized theme song in AFL history.


Ron was acknowledged for his personal contribution to the Australian Music Industry many times during his 40+year tenure.  

During that time, he continued to promote Australia and Australian talent, and battled and won many fights to improve the stature of the

Australian Recording Industry.

In the late 70’s, together with other music industry leaders and key musicians Ron spearheaded the

‘The Australian Music Makers Association’  that lobbied Government, lead rallies and media focus all around the country for an

increase in the quota of Australian music on Australian Radio.

The battle was fought over 3 years, much of that time Ron spent in the Australian Record Industry Tribunal hearings on behalf of the

Australian Music Industry. Time and effort paid off for the industry with the quota being increased from 5% to 20% over a  number of years. 

Whenever there was an issue within the Australian Music and Recording Industry which worked against Australians taking equal place,

Ron was there tirelessly crusading, much of it behind the scenes, but he was always in the front-line offensive.

Ron’s world travels and representation at MIDEM  and international music conventions throughout the 70’s and early 80’s saw international releases in

America and Europe for his roster of artists.  He worked the Australian and International “networks” as no one before him had,

and importantly he directed the International focus towards all Australian talent.


Ron sold Fable Records in 1984 with a view to retiring, but like so many ‘workaholics’, the decision premature.  In 1985 he re-joined AAV Australia

(the largest independently owned recording studios and multi-media complex which he co-founded more than a decade earlier with music industry

greats and close lifetime friends and associates Bill Armstrong and Roger Savage).

Ron remained with the company until he retired at 86 years of age.

Ron continued to lobby internationally and nationally for the Australian Music Industry. 

Retirement did not diminish his support for the rights of survival for the

Australian Music Industry as he joined forces for the reduction in the level of Sales Tax on recorded product in Australia.

In his retirement years Ron continued to be a much sought-after interviewee for media, documentaries and archival files on the Australian Music Industry. 

His history and photographs are held with the National Film and Sound Archives, he has a presence in the Australian Music Vault/Arts Centre Melbourne. 

Amongst Ron’s most coveted awards are his 1980 Advance Australia Award -

Outstanding Contribution to the recording Industry and

Contribution to the Advancement and enrichment of Australia, its people and way of life.

1996 APRA - The Ted Albert Memorial Award for Significant Contribution to the Australian Music Industry.

1999 ARIA - Special Achievement Award - contribution to the Australian Recording Industry.

ARIA recently uploaded their tribute to Ron along with fellow recipient and lifetime friend and colleague Bill Armstrong.


Ron’s portrait  (painted by Ross Cockle, legendary Music Recording Engineer who worked with Ron through the 70’s/80’s at the famous AAV studios

in Bank Street South Melbourne where Ross and Ron recorded “Up There Cazaly”) was entered into the 2010 Archibald prize,

although it did not make the short list it was accepted into the

Victorian Hidden Faces of the Archibald ‘Salon Des Refuses’.


In his time Ron may have met Royalty, mixed with media moguls, celebrities and shaken the hands of legendary music greats from all around the world

including the likes of Frank Sinatra and The Beatles, Mick Jagger and Ray Charles but his greatest moments were witnessing the growth and success of the

Australian music industry and many of Australia’s very first recording artists finding recognition at home

and on international stages and equality in that process.

Above all else in his life, Ron Tudor, was first and last, an Australian - and exceptionally proud of it. It was through his vision, drive, enthusiasm,

fight and humour that he gained the love and respect of the leaders at the helm of the Australian Record Industry today.


To the end Ron remained actively interested in music, people, politics and current affairs.




22 responses to “Ron Tudor MBE”

  1. Mal Starkey says:

    Uncle Ron,
    Very proud of what you achieved. Rest in peace.
    Mal & Joan Starkey.

  2. Michael Ruggles says:

    His legacy is well cherished by his son and daughter. Their mother also; a lady of class and humour. If you can bet on the nose up there, go for it, and have an each way on the prawns and Shiraz.

  3. Philip Webster says:

    Proud to have worked with and known you Ron, so many fond memories, your energy and smiling blue eyes, all ways lifted the sprits of those around you. Philip Webster

  4. Natalie Grosby says:

    Darling Ronnie, An incredible life, a wicked wit and those cheeky sparkly eyes, unforgettable! So very much of you in our darling Megan. Thank-you for everything. Never forgotten x

  5. David Webster says:

    Vale you rascal Ron. Many fond memories of the great times at Bank Street. Condolences to Megan and the extended family.

  6. Ross Cockle says:

    A wonderful full long life, meeting and making so many great friends a long the way. I am so happy to be one of them in work and in play; and there has been a very generous amount of both. Love ya Sir Ron. X

  7. Di Rolle says:

    Ron Tudor was a life force. A lover of being on this earth and participating fully in everything it had to offer. That twinkle in his eye, that smile that never left him. His observations on music sand the contribution he made through his brilliant mind will be his legacy. Once met never forgotten. He lit up a room. He loved his family. Megan his mate. He was much loved. Such a shame we cannot all be together to celebrate his life together and play jazz very loudly. My love and respect to you Sir Ron. My arms are around Megan and Dale.

  8. Bobby Bright says:

    Ron launched my career in 1962 with W&G, he was there as A&R man when Laurie Allen and I recorded our first hit for GO records and in the seventies for Fable records he chose Carroll County Accident
    And Through the Eyes of Love for us to record. A giant of our industry. R.I.P. Ron Tudor MBE.

  9. Michael Rasheed says:

    Thank you for all of your tireless efforts in the Australian music industry. Millions of Australians have enjoyed the music that you have had a hand in, there will never be another like you Ron.🙏🙏

  10. Paula Barrie says:

    A great man! Loved by all his family!

  11. Graham Owens says:

    Thank you Ron for the encouragement you gave me as a young recording engineer in 1970, I will always remember your uplifting vibe in the studio.

  12. Joyce Starkey says:

    I will miss my Cobber! Joyce

  13. Laurie Bell says:

    To dear Ron, in memory of a true gentleman and music legend.
    On behalf of the members of “The Thunderbirds”.

  14. Mr. George Knowles and Mrs. Lee Knowles says:

    Thank you Ron for all your love and energy in launching our daughter Karen’s recording career. We remember well the very early morning telephone calls to let us know Karen’s record was being played on different radio stations. You were tireless and relentless in achieving your goals and we were all overjoyed when she became Australia’s first schoolgirl with a gold record. Thank you, you certainly were exceptional.
    R.I.P. George and Lee Knowles

  15. Rob Gibb says:

    It was an absolute privilege to have looked after you Ron for almost 5 years whilst you were in care. Ever since the day I met you Ron I always had this connection and we had become good friends. I always enjoyed hearing so many stories of the things that happened in your life whether it be the music and TV industry, people you met, your family, places you had been and experiences you had. Not to mention your time serving our country in the WW2. Not too many people have the opportunity to have a close association with characters like Ron and being in his life regularly in the period of time was special to me. I just hope you get as good breakfast where you are now mate as I made for you.

  16. Dan Curran says:

    So many wonderful memories of a wonderful man and an honest friend. Many a good time had over a beer and a few games of pool. A good laugh was always guaranteed when we were together. You will be greatly missed by many but the fantastic memories will remain with us all. Thank you also for inviting us into your family. Much love today and always to Megan and Dale. Thank you for being my mate, a loving friend to Wendy and a pseudo Pop to Brett and Madelene. Love ya mate, Dan Curran x

  17. Jan Nimmervoll says:

    Fabulous memories to keep in our hearts. Over 48 years of friendship both professionally and personally. Rest easy my friend. Love as always to Megan and Dale.

  18. trevor and Maria starkey says:

    Uncle Ron you’ll be welcomed into rock and roll heaven for your significant contribution to Australian music thoughts are with Megan and dale

  19. Abigail Jones says:

    Sad to say I never met Ron, however his daughter Megan has always been a sister to me and even more so to Natie Grosby. Ron must have been so proud of his daughter who is a chip of the old block. Megan is funny, kind and like Ron works tirelessly working in the Australian music industry. To my dear friend Megan I am thinking of you and Dale and sending a huge hug from London Town. Love Absailing Xx

  20. John Horwood says:

    Ron was by far the most enthusiastic and optimistic person I have ever met. His words of wisdom and his commitment expressed over a morning cuppa or during an evening cold drink was a highlight of our friendship. Ron Tudor was one of a kind and will be missed by a lot of people.

  21. Louis Jasek says:

    Ron, you have left an incredible legacy. What a legend.

  22. Dean Reynolds says:

    What an incredible man with an amazing list of achievements. As a person, humble and loveable.
    In his circle of friends – fun an positive conversations. Not to be forgotten.

Funeral Details

At the request of the family, a private service was held.