Australian Biography: Smoky Dawson


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1994, 27 Minutes.

Smoky Dawson was Australia’s first cowboy and a pioneer of Australian country music.

Born in Warrnambool, Victoria in 1913 Smoky Dawson was Australia’s first cowboy and a pioneer of Australian country music. Smoky and his horse Flash were legendary. An entire generation of young Australians grew up listening to his radio show and abiding by his “code of the west”.  

During the Second World War, Smoky served in the first Australian Entertainment Unit. After a severe illness he returned from the jungles of Borneo to start The Adventures of Smoky Dawson radio show, which ran for 10 years. At its peak, the show was broadcast nationally on 69 stations. Smoky's recording career spanned more than six decades.

Throughout his long career, Dawson was honored by many awards. In 1982 Dawson received an Order of the British Empire – Member (Civil) with the citation, "In recognition of service to country music". In 1983 he was named on the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown. He also received the Honour Award of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1985 he published his autobiography, Smoky Dawson: A Life.

A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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NB The Australian Biography series (1-11) are only available for sale within the territories of Australia and New Zealand.


Producer/Director/Writer: Frank Heimans

Year: 1994

Running Time: 27 Minutes

Classification: PG. Consumer Advice: Adult themes

Curriculum Links: Beliefs and Values; Composition and Musicology; Contemporary Australian Society; English; Media Studies; Music; Music Performance; Performing Arts; SOSE.


Australian Biography: Jimmy Little

SKU 199300801
Brand Film Australia

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