From Stanthorpe to Vegas
A LITTLE slice of Johnny Cash memorabilia that was first auctioned in Stanthorpe, travelled west to Winton, then off to London has made it's way to a museum in the US.
The iconic musician performed at the Stanthorpe Civic Centre in 1991, with wife June Carter Cash and son John Carter Cash.
The now legendary gig was put together as a fundraiser for the local Blue Nurses, Cash's 'favourite' charity he was once quoted as saying.
On that afternoon, a Valencia acoustic guitar was sold off for approximately $1200, with proceeds going to the charity.
A fresh faced 25 year old David Flint was the man who scored the guitar that evening. "My mother, of all things, was living in Aratula and she's a Johnny Cash mad fan. She was down at the Aratula post office one day and she saw a guy come out of there and it was Cash,” David said.
"Well we couldn't believe it. She come home jumping up and down. We had relatives in Stanthorpe so they confirmed that, yes there was going to be a concert for the Blue Nurses, so we went along,” he said.
David is now the manager of the Matilda Motel in Winton, but he still has relatives living in town.
"We were just the lucky ones who got it. We met Johnny and his wife.
"I was 25 then... just a spring chicken.”
The purchase didn't go down so well with his fiance, with the pair set to marry the following week.
"It was a fair bit of coin for me in those days. I don't know whether my wife was happy I brought it home or not,” he said.
The guitar, which Johnny had purchased in Melbourne, was signed by himself, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson - The Highwaymen.
It eventually made it's way out to Winton with David, where an additional signature was added to it.
"We've had a lot of people through the motel but we actually had Slim Dusty stay with us so he signed it.
"I had it for probably a good 10-15 years.” Concerned it'd be thieved, burnt or damaged, Mr Flint decided to part ways with the guitar.
"I sold it through Christie's in London. I think it was about 12,000 pounds I got for it in the end.
"I've still got all the photos here of it. I've got the memories of the concert. I just couldn't believe how genuine he was,” he said.
It's through those photos that a certain Greg Thouard of Stanthorpe caught wind of the guitar's travels a few weeks ago.
"I was out there and when I walked into the motel (Matilda) I saw the photos... and I saw Johnny Cash and thought who's this dude with him? I looked at the bricks on the back wall in the photo and immediately thought 'that's the Civic Centre'. "They then confirmed it was in fact the Civic Centre.”
As for the guitar's whereabouts these day's, all David knows is that it wound up in Las Vegas.
"That's what I've been told. Whether it's in a guitar museum or a Johnny Cash Museum or something like that... but they definitely said Vegas.
"It's interesting to think that I got it there in Stanthorpe and it's made its way around the world.”
JOHNNY CASH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
When: November 2-3
Where: Main concert at Stanthorpe Exhibition Centre
Visit www.johnnycashcountry. com.au for tickets and more information