It was with great sadness that I heard that Smoky Dawson had died. I am one of the many Australians whose lives were touched by this remarkable man.
Smoky first rode into my life on the radio airwaves, astride his palomino, the wonder horse Flash. As a child in the 1950s, there was no better way to spend a Thursday evening than glued to the radio listening to another adventure of “Hup, Flash, hup, hup, hup… Smoky Dawson”.
I met Smoky later in life and found him to be a humble, gentle man with a passion for life and a readiness for a chat. He leaves behind a valuable legacy in the songs he wrote, many about Australia, its people and history. I believe that we are all richer for the lives led by people such as Smoky.
Back in 1988 I wrote a song about Smoky, The Man with the Smile and Song.
Graffiti is defined as words or drawings scribbled or sprayed on walls and the like. The verbs in the definition suggest that speed is an obvious characteristic of this anti-social practice. Let’s face it, you don’t want to get caught performing an act that deliberately defaces property that is not your own to do with as you wish.
The other day I drove down to Emu Plains via Mitchell’s Pass. A picturesque, bushland descent that can momentarily transport you back many years, it necessitates the crossing of Lennox Bridge. This bridge is the oldest, surviving bridge on the Australian mainland. As I drove across this sandstone, horse-shoe shaped bridge, I saw blue painted graffiti scrawled along both walls of the deck. I returned the same day and photographed this vandalism. I did consider for a couple of days whether to post pictures and further popularise this senseless act. Unfortunately, vandalism has been a part of the bridge’s history. It’s isolated position makes it an easy target.
I have spent many happy times at Lennox Bridge. It’s a special place. Over the years I have also enjoyed taking school students on many excusions there. I have photographed the bridge, drawn it, written a short history and also a song about it.Graffiti is often considered to be a clandestine, anonymous act. However, the “tags” left on the bridge do suggest elements of vanity. This year will see Lennox Bridge turn 175 years old. Surely it deserves better treatment than this.