Macleay Valley Coast

Legendary People

Slim Dusty – Musician

Legendary Slim Dusty was born in Kempsey in 1927

David Gordon Kirkpatrick, known professionally as ‘Slim Dusty’ AO, MBE was an Australian country music legend.  He was a singer-songwriter and producer, with a career spanning nearly seven decades.  His music captured the spirit of the land and its people in his remarkable life and music as he recorded songs in the legacy of Australian poets Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson that represented the Australian Bush lifestyle.

Slim was the first Australian to have a No. 1 Hit song with Gordon Parsons (“A Pub with No Beer”).  The “Pub with No Beer” is a real place, in Taylors Arm, not far from Kempsey where Slim was born.  If you travel to Bellbrook, just west of Kempsey – you can see the house where Slim lived.

In 1951, Slim married singer-songwriter Joy McKean and, with her help, achieved great success around Australia. In 1954, the two launched a full-time business career, including the Slim Dusty Travelling Show. McKean was Slim’s wife and manager for over 50 years and together the couple had two children, Anne and David Kirkpatrick, who are also accomplished singer-songwriters.

During his career, Slim received an unequalled 37 Golden Guitar and two ARIA awards and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and the Country Music Roll of Renown. At the time of his death at the age of 76, Slim had been working on his 106th album for EMI Records!

He released more than a hundred albums, selling more than seven million records and earning countless gold and platinum album certifications. Slim recorded and released his one hundredth album, Looking Forward Looking Back, in 2000 and became the first artist in commercial recording history to do so; second was Cliff Richard. All 100 albums had been recorded with the same record label, EMI, making Slim the very first music artist in the world to record 100 albums with the same label.

In 2000, he was then given the honour of singing Waltzing Maltida in the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with the whole stadium (officially 114,714 in attendance, the largest in Olympic history) singing along with him..

Slim passed away in 2003 but remains as popular as ever and as a tribute to this legend, at the southern entrance to Kempsey is the newly built Slim Dusty Centre.  It is hoped to be internally completed soon and will open as a function centre and museum with Slim Dusty memorabilia.