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Cassar-Daley's awards for Freedom Ride

Troy Cassar-Daley has used his big Golden Guitar win to shed light on a lesser-known part of Australian history.

The singer-songwriter swept the board at the 44th Country Music Awards of Australia winning five Golden Guitars, including Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for his record Freedom Ride.

It was written as a tribute to the Freedom Ride of 1965, when Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins led a group of students from the University of Sydney through regional NSW, highlighting discrimination and racism.

The ride helped bring about a yes vote in the 1967 referendum, which included Aboriginal people in the census for the first time.

"The Freedom Ride I know many people don't know about it, go read about it," Cassar-Daley said as he accepted his album of the year award.

He also took home the Heritage Song of the Year, the APRA AMCOS Song of the Year, and Single of the Year.

Cassar-Daley, who was also celebrating his 35th year at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, said this album had personal resonance for him going back to his childhood in Grafton, NSW.

"It was a bit of a spiritual journey," he told AAP during the festival.

"I started to think about the Freedom Ride, remembering an old project I'd done on it as a kid and how much it affected me.

"It affected me that my grandparents couldn't vote in 1965, it wasn't until 1967 they could vote and I thought 'they're my grandparents, they're hard working honest lovely people who people really respected in Grafton and they couldn't vote.' That was confronting for me as a kid," he said.

He wrote the title track with Paul Kelly and the two performed it together, closing out the awards ceremony at the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre on Saturday night.

Kelly accepted the two song awards alongside Cassar-Daley, with both songwriters dedicating their wins to Perkins.

"It's a great subject for a song, Charlie Perkins was a great activist a great pioneer and a great leader for his people," Kelly said.

Catherine Britt scooped the Female Artist of the Year Award for her record Boneshaker.

The Newcastle artist has just finished up chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer after being diagnosed last year and emotionally thanked her new husband, James Beverly as she accepted her award.

"Last year was really hard and he was there for me all the way, and thank you it just means a lot to me to win this," Britt said from the stage.

Lee Kernaghan won three Golden Guitar awards for Spirit of the Anzacs, the highest-selling Australian album of last year.

WINNERS OF THE 44th COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS OF AUSTRALIA:

Album of the Year - Freedom Ride: Troy Cassar-Daley

Alternative Country Album of the Year - Hell Breaks Loose: Shane Nicholson

Male Artist of the Year - Troy Cassar-Daley

Female Artist of the Year - Catherine Britt

Group or Duo of the Year - Adam Eckersley Band

Vocal Collaboration of the Year - Spirit Of The Anzacs Lee Kernaghan & Special Guests Performers: Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy, Jon Stevens, Amy & George Sheppard, Shannon Noll, Megan Washington

Bush Ballad of the Year - One Last Muster: Allan Caswell Songwriters: Allan Caswell & Manfred Vijars

Heritage Song of the Year - Take A Walk In My Country: Troy Cassar-Daley

Instrumental of the Year - Cluck Old Hen: Peter Denahy

Bluegrass Recording of the Year - Singin' Shoes: Peter Denahy

New Talent of the Year - Broken Record: Christie Lamb

APRA AMCOS Song of the Year - Freedom Ride: Troy Cassar-Daley (feat. Paul Kelly)

Video Clip of the Year - Spirit Of The Anzacs: Lee Kernaghan & Special Guests

Single of the Year - Take A Walk In My Country: Troy Cassar-Daley

Top Selling Album of the Year - Spirit Of The Anzacs: Lee Kernaghan & Special Guests

AAP

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