The Gov named inaugural Licensee of the Year

Monday, 27 Mar 2017

The Governor Hindmarsh (affectionately called The Gov) is the worthy winner of the inaugural 2017 Licensee of the Year for its commitment to supporting local artists and the broader music community.

Licensee of the Year is a newly created category at the APRA Music Awards designed to reward Australian businesses for good music citizenship. Nominations for Licensee of the Year were provided by the scores of APRA AMCOS licensing representatives who liaise with over 142,000 businesses.

The criteria was rigorous. The winner had to show:

  • That they were acting as an advocate for the benefits or importance of music to business and culture such as the continuing support of live music
, support of local content over overseas material, innovative use of music
, generation of royalties to content owners

  • That they displayed a solid track record over the last three years of accurate annual reporting of music use and prompt payments to APRA AMCOS
  • That there was no evidence of public support for changes to copyright policy that would act to the detriment of songwriters and publishers.

Owners, the Tonkin family will attend the 2017 APRA Awards to receive their well-earned accolade.

The family has been a powerful force in hotels for four generations. Sisters Melissa and Jo of The Gov are proudly carrying on the legacy with a live music strategy that is renowned around the country and is paying dividends.

"We are thrilled to receive this award and have our hotel recognised as a leading supporter of live music in Australia,” says Jo Tonkin.

“Live music is the soul of our hotel as it brings diverse audiences through our doors six nights a week, all through the year. Whether it’s a local band getting a start, internationally recognised superstars or cult heroes, there’s a place for every sound and every audience at The Gov."

Music has always been as welcome in the front room of the Tonkin family home as it has in the front bars of the countless hotels they have owned in Victoria and South Australia. Three generations of Tonkins now live and work around The Gov, some, such as brother Richard, still take part in community music sessions which are the backbone of this unique venue.

The Tonkin family bought the 150-year-old hotel in the early 1990s and in fact, the music room, which had opened just 15 years earlier, was what caught their eye. 

“Over the last 23 years we have established many great relationships with musicians, agents, promoters and the media, and we are grateful for their ongoing support.

“And the people who come to The Gov – be it once a year or every week – they are at the heart of what we do. This is award is an acknowledgement not just of our hard work, but also of their commitment to a live music culture here in Adelaide.”

Their previous hotels didn't have a big band room, so they set to work renovating, doubling the size of the room and adding a stage that has since seen no less than 200 acts tread the boards, including Sia Furler who ended her second national tour with a hometown gig at The Gov in 2009. 

It has been reported that Brian and Vivien Tonkin, Melissa and Jo’s parents, comfortable with past commercial windfalls from the hotel industry, bought The Gov with a vision to give back to the live music industry they loved.

Melissa Tonkin said, “Although we were raised on folk and blues, we are very open-minded when it comes to music. We don't limit our choice to any one genre, we like to support up-and-coming artists as well as established local and international acts. Coming up over summer we have disco, blues, hip hop, pub rock, art rock, blues rock and even a tribute Doors show. So we don’t favour anything except great music.”

"Six nights of live music requires a lot of bums on seats, but our reputation keeps the great artists like Archie Roach and Ash Grunwald coming, and with them, the music lovers, men and women, young and old. There are a lot more women frequenting pubs now, and we make sure they feel comfortable, safe and entertained,” she said.

“You can never have too much live music, we just need to make sure we have audiences coming out to appreciate it."


The Gov has a Live/Artist Performances licence and a Hotels Background Music System licence from APRA AMCOS.

Play music in your hotel or bar? Speak to APRA AMCOS about your licensing needs or read more. Phone 1300 852 388 or email.

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