Now sings different tune

TAFE NSW is empowering musician and Abba tribute band bass player, Revesby’s Simon Tonks, to change his tune and look to the next chapter as a farmer.

Simon, 64, has enjoyed a long and illustrious music career, including stints as house engineer/producer at recording giant Sony Music, making records, mixing live shows and writing television music.
He has also run his own studio and has performed in a host of popular bands over the decades – most recently the award-winning Australian Abba tribute show, Abbalanche.
But it was a desire to “go bush” and run his own self-sustaining property that saw Simon enrol in a Certificate II in Agriculture at TAFE NSW Moss Vale and edge closer to an unlikely career change.
He is part of a growing wave of city dwellers making the decision to move to regional areas, with the latest ABS data revealing population growth in regional Australia was matching the growth of capital cities.
“During covid, I decided I wanted a lifestyle change to a regional area but wasn’t sure what I would do when I got there,” he said.
“I’m hoping the TAFE NSW agriculture course will allow me to supplement my income as a farmhand and also help set me up to run my own self-sustaining property.”
NSW Farmers workplace relations chair Chris Stillard said new data showing more students from non-farming backgrounds were studying agriculture at TAFE NSW, was a positive for the industry.
“Modern agriculture is a really diverse industry and we don’t just have tractor drivers and stockhands any more, we’ve got mechanics and drone pilots and network engineers as well,” Mr Stillard said.
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