Farewell to Redgum legend Hugh McDonald

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Vale Hugh McDonald (Image via

Iconic Australian musician Hugh McDonald has died, age 62, after losing his battle with cancer.

McDonald was born in 1954 in the town of Cowell on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.

During a career spanning four decades, he performed and recorded with The Bushwhackers, The Sundowners, Banshee, Des "Animal" McKenna, Moving Cloud, and The Colonials.

However, McDonald is best known for his time as a violinist and co-vocalist with the politically charged Aussie folk-rock group Redgum. McDonald joined the band in 1981 after meeting John Schumann, Michael Atkinson, Verity Truman, and Michael Timms when they were all students of Flinders University in Adelaide.

McDonald wrote many of the band's songs, including 'The Diamantina Drover'.

After lead singer Schumann left the band in 1986, McDonald took over until the band disbanded in 1990. During this time, he provided vocals for the band's iconic songs such as 'I Was Only 19', which was an account of the horrors veterans experienced in Vietnam and their difficulties in adapting to civilian life.

The military and the treatment of diggers by the Australian Government was a consistent theme of McDonald's work. Along with Schumann, he released an excellent a capella cover of the Cold Chisel song 'Khe Sahn'.

McDonald performed for Australian forces overseas several times. In December 2009, he visited East Timor to play for Australian and New Zealand troops stationed there. He performed in Afghanistan in 2011 and the Solomon Islands in 2013. In 2014, McDonald played for the Royal Australian Navy troops in Tanzania, Africa.

Post Redgum, McDonald became a music teacher with the Geelong Music College Orchestra and ran his own recording studios in Melbourne.

He also continued to record and play music and in 2005, hooked up with Schumann again to form the Vagabond Crew. They toured and released two albums: Lawson and Behind The Lines. The latter was recorded at McDonald's studios.

McDonald released a number of solo albums after leaving Redgum. One of the standout singles of this time was 'This Land Is A Part of Me'.

His most popular solo album was Lawson, released in 2003. Another popular solo album was The Land. This album featured a heartfelt single called 'If It All Goes South', which McDonald wrote for his wife, Rebecca Harris Mason. McDonald acted as a stepfather to her two children and, by all accounts, the marriage was a happy one. McDonald also had seven children from two previous marriages and six grandchildren at the time of his death.

McDonald's death saddened Schumann, who posted a lengthy tribute on Facebook:

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