Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


ImageSlim Dusty – Voice of Australia
Slim Dusty always knew he'd have to 'walk that country mile'. While we mourn his passing, there is cause to celebrate his life and lasting contribution to Australia.

Story and photos John Elliott

The young David Kirkpatrick grew up on a dairy farm at Nulla Nulla Creek, just inland from Kempsey, NSW. Milking cows on the family farm, David had started to dream of wider horizons. He dreamed of making music, a bit like the early American hillbilly music he was hearing on the radio. By the time he was eleven, the boy, realized 'David Kirkpatrick' would never achieve his dreams, so he gave himself a new name – Slim Dusty was born.

Slim was just the person to make the dream a reality. Taking on the new name was a bit like Superman putting on his cape. Slim instantly had a clear vision of his future; he had superpowers that would allow him to go where no Australian had ever gone before.

ImageThis quite achiever from the back blocks was not intimidated by several knock backs from Australia's leading record company, or from the indifference of radio stations. He just decided to get on with his career, to do whatever it took to make a life for himself and his wife Joy McKean through writing and singing about the land he loved.

" Joy and I hit the road in 1954 and headed north in an old '39 Ford," Slim told me at the end of 1999. "Our daughter Anne was with us and she was only about two. Barry Thornton and Malcolm Mason made up the rest of our troupe and they had a tent to sleep in behind the halls.Story end

Full story Issue 32, Dec 2003/Jan 2004

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