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Braidwood rounds with Jill McLeod

Keith Potger

The Seekers Keith Potger falls for Braidwood’s charms

Those of us with an artistic or literary bent understand why Braidwood draws us to its doorstep. When recently meeting Keith Potger, well known member of the iconic group, The Seekers, I fell victim to the obvious question “Why did you choose Braidwood?” Keith’s response was “Braidwood chose me”.

Keith had been seeking a country retreat since 1990 and had come across a 15 acre pine-planted holding a little distance out of town. On viewing, he felt the sellers had an optimistic view of the venture’s success but he stayed in town a little longer, bought a few desirable antiques and, finally, decided to put the Braidwood idea on hold.

Meanwhile, Keith’s partner also had a yen for country town life and set her mind to purchase a house in Braidwood. Keith describes the final choice as being in the vicinity of “the best two bakeries in Australia”.

The stage was set for Keith to carry out his wish to entertain the residents of Braidwood and district. His first venture is to present a nostalgic evening performance on Saturday, December 5, at Braidwood’s National Theatre. He will draw on Seekers’ songs, his own published tracks and produced CDs and stories from his life and career.

Being a member of The Seekers does not define the man. The fact that he resides in Braidwood, let alone Australia, must be considered serendipitous.

 

Sri Lankan connections

Keith was born in Ceylon – now Sri Lanka – in the early 1940s. His forbearers there can be traced back to the 1730s and were known as ‘burghers’, a multicultural population growing out of the resident Portuguese, Dutch and British nationals.

The British Government handed Ceylon back to the Sinhalese in 1948 and the increasing threat of political unrest prompted Keith’s parents to move to Australia. Keith was 7 years old and his family found Australia had ‘good vibes’ and the population was extremely friendly.

Keith is a self-taught musician. He plays banjo, 6 and 12 string guitar (he prefers the Maton brand), keyboards and offered to bring his ukulele to the radio studio for our interview on November 21. He writes songs and is preparing the production of his fourth CD.

Having been away from Australia in the UK between 1968 and 1978 following the first disbanding of The Seekers, Keith returned and wrote songs and performed solo throughout the 1980s. In 1988 he wrote and produced stage musicals for Australia’s Bicentenary celebrations.

Keith performs for and has official connections with many organisations such as being Patron of Variety WA (2001-2009) and was Chairman of Support Act Ltd Victoria. He continues as a board member. He is a Patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA and a Celebrity Ambassador for Variety Victoria and Variety International.

In September, 2014, the four members of The Seekers, were appointed as Officers of the Order of Australia (AO).

There is more to know about this interesting life. Enjoy An Evening with Keith Potger at the National Theatre, Braidwood, December 5, and watch for news on further entertainment in 2016.

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