Rob Breese

From humble beginnings and a move to Country Music Capital nearly 20 years ago, with a near, warn out Landcruiser wagon packed with a guitar, small PA system, and a horse float with a Quarter Horse stallion and mare aboard, the almighty journey begins.

A 17 year old boy leaves school to become a chef at one of Sydneys most well known restaurants in the early eighties. During his time as an apprentice, he meets country music star Ray Griffiths, who is employed as an entertainer at the restaurant. The two become best of friends. Ray beckoned Rob to make a trip to Tamworth for the festival in 1983. That’s where Rob fell in love with Country Music. The “Buzz and Hype” was like nothing he had ever seen before, likening it to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, only everyone was there for the same reason.

The next 12 months saw Robs knowledge of Australian Country Music expand. His early childhood upbringing already saw him playing guitar and piano fluently, and a host of other instruments added to his performances over the last decade. The next step in his process was to record an album of a dozen or so songs that he could take to the streets of Tamworth during the following year as a busker on Peel Street, which he did with great ease.  His success that year Busking on Peel Street changed his career path as soon as his apprenticeship finished. Rob became an entertainer on the Sydney club circuit, whilst holding down different chef positions throughout the region.

Over the next twenty years Rob travelled to Tamworth for the annual festival in January. He played on the footpath of the main street of a day and did spots on shows at the many clubs in Tamworth of an evening.  In 1991, Rob got his first opportunity to perform at the Sydney Opera House alongside his Australian Country Music heroes to a packed concert hall. This show became an annual event for the next five years where Rob became Musical Director for the show. The show “Tamworth on Parade” toured the capital cities of our nation for two consecutive years of which Robs involvement was a huge part.

After a marriage breakdown in the late 90’s, he was doing 2 weekly gigs at the Longyard Hotel and another couple of nights travelling to country NSW venues. Rob decided to make Tamworth home in 2002. He had been breeding Quarter Horses for approximately 10 years, so the purchase of a home on a hundred acres was inevitable.

The purchase of Matilda Park about 15 mins from the CBD was the foundation of new beginnings. The property had a comfortable house, shearing shed, and the old Gidley Post Office on site. Wow! Just perfect! Renovations over time included, building a stable complex, cutting arena, round yard and doing the old post office up to turn it into a recording studio “Beaten Track Studio”. The day the deal was done the phone rang from Robs Tamworth booking agent, and he was told “People don’t want to hear Country Music anymore, we have no more work for you”.  Just like that! Kapow! Nothing!

Over the next few months Rob met his now wife Kristy. To make ends meet, he shod horses, did some horse breaking, gave some horse riding lessons, mowed lawns, the odd gig here and there, did slashing and a million other things to just keep the wolf from the door. This lifestyle became just too hard, unreliable and unsustainable to maintain any continuity, so the return of “Rob Breese the Chef” came back into action. At a time where food was becoming a big trend in this wonderful city, was good timing for everyone. Rob upped the anti at a few of Tamworths main street hotels and was head hunted by the owner of the famous Longyard Hotel to resurrect his food outlet and dining room. After approximately 12 months at the Longyard, Rob and his wife Kristy were offered the lease on the  kitchen and function room within the hotel, which they embraced with open arms. Running that as their own successful business became second nature until 3 years later when Rob turned up to work shortly after the Festival in 2011 to be met at the door by representatives from a receiver company in Sydney. The owner of the hotel had gone into forced receivership without any information forwarded to Robs business at all. Their family investment stolen from them.

Months passed and a new venture began. Tamworths favourite restaurant….”The Squareman Inn” was born.  Setting up a fine dining restaurant in an old recently renovated derelict building was a move that dazzled the tastebuds of its customers for years to come. 150 seats offering personally cooked meals, served to the table, inside dining with alfresco during the warmer months and great Country Music entertainment during the two festivals that Tamworth hosts annually.

The Squareman Inn has sadly recently closed its doors after honouring its lease commitments for 10 years, due to a steady decline in trade after an intersection reconstruction out the front of the building, followed by the worst drought in Australian history, bushfires and then COVID 19.

Rob, his wife Kristy and his three boys, Ty, Riley and Darcy plan to operate the recording studio on the farm in Tamworth, where he has recorded over 50 albums for various country music artists. He also stands two Australian Quarter Horse Stallions and a band of broodmares.  Family holidays with my daughter Ashtyn, her husband Jack and my grandson Jett up in sunny QLD are on our high priorities for the future.  A growing number of Country Music festivals around the country have seen Rob as a highlighted fresh act and when restrictions from covid relax and the country is reopened to the nation, you will see this humble, unassuming, seasoned country performer with 13 albums to his name and a story to tell, still proudly flying the Tamworth flag at a festival or venue near you.