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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
State funeral for Australian star
Slim Dusty
Slim Dusty has been described as "a great Australian figure and icon"
Thousands of mourners, including the Australian prime minister, turned out for the state funeral of country singer Slim Dusty in Sydney.

Dusty, 76, who died on 19 August after a battle with cancer, was one of Australia's best-loved homegrown stars.

His funeral on Friday was broadcast live on three TV channels, while flags flew at half-mast as mourners filled St Andrews Cathedral and nearby streets.

They joined together to sing Dusty's hit A Pub With No Beer at one point.

Prime Minister John Howard, who joined in the sing-along, has described Dusty as "a one-off, a great bloke and a great Australian figure and icon".

Hearse carrying Slim Dusty's coffin in Sydney
His coffin was covered in an Australian flag and flowers
Dusty's body was carried in a coffin covered with an Australian flag, a battered bushman's hat and a bunch of native flowers.

He made his name by forging a distinctive Australian country sound, singing about the people of the outback.

He toured widely around remote parts of the country, including Aboriginal settlements.

Darren Moosha, 42, who is part Aboriginal, travelled to the funeral from Broome, in northwest Australia.

"It's that Australian-ness that's neither black nor white," he said of Dusty's appeal.

And a 60-year-old Aboriginal tribal elder, Uncle Ray, from Kakadu in northern Australia, said Dusty was an honorary tribal elder.

Slim Dusty fan watches his hearse drive by
Fans lined the streets to watch Dusty's hearse drive by
"They called him Uncle Slim, or Moogai - the Aboriginal word for elder," he said.

"I love Slim because I love his music and his music touched my heart," he said.

Peter Garrett, singer with Australian rock band Midnight Oil, said Dusty's songs were "a conversation in an Australian accent free of prejudice and vanity".

"Slim didn't come from the wrong side of the tracks. Where Slim came from, there were no tracks at all," he said.

Global hit

The musician released more than 100 albums during his 58-year career.

He signed his first record contract in 1946 but his career really took off 10 years later with the global hit A Pub With No Beer.

He went on to become one of Australia's most prolific recording artists, with album sales of more than five million.

He also performed Waltzing Matilda for a television audience of four billion people at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.




SEE ALSO:
Australian singer Slim Dusty dies
19 Sep 03  |  Entertainment


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