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Kev Carmody - the singing doctor

By Stephen Hagan - posted Thursday, 12 June 2008

Once in a lifetime you might be fortunate enough to come across someone who is really out of the ordinary. On first contact you might not be able to specifically articulate what it is about this extraordinary individual that appeals to you, suffice to say that he or she is quite unique.

They may not even take your breath away or increase your heart rate in an infatuation instant - but the one constant which is never in dispute for such characters, is the fact that their unyielding presence will wield genuine charisma.

My initial meeting with an iconic Australian who I hold in this regard, many years ago, was an experience that was uneventful - no bush balladeering or intense campfire oratory. In the locale of rural Queensland with its colloquial country ruggedness, I found before me a stoic figure whose bushie appeal was rousing.


My “How ya going Kev?” inquiry inside the Cunnamulla Shire Hall function room was met by a “Good mate,” and “How’s ya Dad going? I haven’t seen him for a while,” sincere response.

It was that country generosity of giving of himself, even in an avalanche of competing interests (at the time he was running a music workshop with teenagers) that remains to this day the best feature of one Kevin (Kev) Carmody.

Whether Kev was talking to the Prime Minister or swapping notes back stage with Bono (from U2 rock band), of which he has done both, he would still give equally of his time to you if the occasion presented itself in that moment.

His lack-of-pretence is a feature typical of Kev Carmody and is an attribute that sets him apart from hundreds of other popular Australian identities and their inflated egos, who grace the international music stage and get swept up by the euphoria of fame.

Kev, the self confessed knock-around-bloke, is without a doubt, Australia’s pre-eminent singer/songwriter. To me he stands at the apex of successful and influential musicians, but I suspect his real contribution to the music industry will not be fully appreciated by all Australians until after he has retired to the comfort of his rural retreat on the Darling Downs.

Kev is a humble, retiring person who is noticeably uncomfortable under the glare of the media spotlight.


Sure, we’ve all seen him enough on television and stage to think otherwise, but those who are close to him, especially his immediate family and music associates, know that Kev would rather stay out of public view and let his music do the talking.

So it was with that knowledge that I was surprised to read in an internal email at work that Kev was going to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

Although I wouldn’t ordinarily attend, in an academic capacity, a Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Engineering and Surveying graduation ceremony, I immediately made arrangements to be part of this special occasion.

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About the Author

Stephen Hagan is Editor of the National Indigenous Times, award winning author, film maker and 2006 NAIDOC Person of the Year.

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