Australian Rock of Ages: Number 4 – Phil Manning

australian rock of ages - phil manning

The Life and Time Stories of Australian Musicians, Performance Artists. Particularly those who commenced their their contributed to the Australian Music industry from the 1950’s through to the 1970’s. 

Australian Rock of Ages is a series of interviews conducted with artists, entrepreneurs, managers. These are people who promoted and contributed to the Australian Music Industry.  All were born in Australia or settled in Australia during the halcyon years of the 1950’s through to the 1970’s. 

There will be a different story presented each month.

In this program we feature the story of Phil Manning.

There are three parts to the program.

Phil Manning was Born in 1948. Phil is another Baby Boomer who has not just grasped the opportunities life threw up at him but reveled in them. In fact, as we learn, he really followed his dream.

He is well educated, well spoken and has strong political beliefs as shown by his concern for the environment, which he discusses in a later program.

cream of the crate review #214: [phil] manning – manning
A young Phil
His love of music that seems to drive him and his amazing skill with a guitar is the thing he is most known for. He is hailed as one of the best guitarists Australia has ever produced.


Phil is without doubt an all round musician. He is also known as the driving force behind Australia’s most successful and most loved blues-based group, Chain.

Yet during our investigation of his music and his story we will also learn much about Phil Manning, the citizen of Earth.

During part 2 we learn about both the circumstances and the chutzpah that led him to joining Chain.

This resulted in him forming of a life-long friendship with legendary singer, Matt Taylor. Through Phil’s recollections we learn of the various line-ups of Chain.

cream of the crate: album review # 170 – chain: two of a kind
Phil with Matt Taylor

As we listen we share in some excellent and previously untold history & stories of both Chain and the Australian music industry.

australian rock of ages - phil manning
Phil with the late and great Wendy Saddington in Chain

Finally, we learn of the circumstances that finally led to Phil and Chain parting ways and why Phil moved back to relative obscurity to Tasmania, where he was born.

In this final part of his story, Phil continues the stories of his solo career.

australian rock of ages - phil manning
Phil – His 2000 CD: Take Note

australian rock of ages - phil manning
Phil – His 2000 CD: Take Note

However there is more to Phil than his love for music, and his talent for playing guitar. Phil talks about the state of the Australian music scene and the decline of quality venues, particularly in regional areas.

Yet it is in this part of his story that we learn much about Phil Manning, citizen of planet Earth.

Phil is completely comfortable sharing his thoughts and feelings on a range of social issues. By the end of his story, while we are left wanting more.  We also realize that this is a complex man who is quite at ease with his stage of life.

He is a man who is part of a loving family, and who still finds time to play his guitar.

australian rock of ages - phil manning
Phil – a recent photo

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Previous stories in Australian Rock Of Ages can be found via these links:

Program #1 – Bob Bright: Click here

Program #2 – Normie Rowe: Click here

Program #3 – Mike Rudd: Click here


Rob Greaves

I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I worked as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times until 2023, when I retired. I now work as a special features contributor for both the Toorak Times and Tagg. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were actually printed on paper) as well as working in the film industry, as the Film Unit manager on Homicide for several years. I also have extensive experience in audio production and editing.

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