The Overlanders

It was a manager's worst nightmare: With two EPs and an album under their belt, television appearances pending, and on the cusp of touring with a major international act, manager Bob Rod's carefully groomed band, The Overlanders, had fallen apart at the seams ­– but Bob was determined that the show would go on.

The Overlanders first formed in 1959 around the nucleus of an already existing three-piece, The Wanganui Western Trio, which was made up of brothers and vocalists Harold and Tommy (AKA Graham) Bates and guitarist Neville Cowley. The new additions to the line-up were Tom McDermott (lead guitar, vocals) and Ian Morgan (lead guitar). The new band quickly gained a local following through regular live-to-air broadcasts on Whanganui radio station 2XA and achieved wider prominence with the release of a self-titled 7-inch EP on the HMV label.

The Overlanders - the second lineup, circa 1962
Released in 1960, this EP was The Overlanders' first
The 1965 HMV album Weeping Willow Tree, released on 10-inch vinyl only
The third Overlanders lineup in the mid-1960s
The second EP, from 1962



Tommy Bates - vocals, guitar, ukulele

Harold Bates - vocals, guitar, ukulele, drums

Neville Cowley - guitar

Tom McDermott - vocals, guitar

Ian Morgan - guitar

Bevin Brown - vocals, guitar

Bill Rod - guitar

George Keat - bass

Roger Fairbrother - guitar

Jeff McManaway - bass


One of the rejected hopefuls during Bob Rod's final auditions was a very young Murray Loveridge – who was to some years later become bass player for the final line-up of Quincy Conserve.

Red Herring: A British band also called The Overlanders achieved moderate success in the USA, Australia, and the UK between 1964 and 1966 but was in no way related to the preceding NZ band of the same name.

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