For many Australians, Judith Durham of The Seekers represented a voice that was a familiar sound throughout childhood, or the soundtrack to a pivotal stage.
As tens of thousands of tributes to Durham have poured in over the past few weeks in a public display of grief, her older sister Beverley Sheehan said she was “really not surprised”.
She said her “little sister Judy” has a unique way of connecting with others.
“There was something about his voice that comforted a lot of people,” she said.
As Australia prepares to say a final farewell to Durham at a state memorial tonight following his death at the age of 79, we’ve asked you to share your memories of the Seekers and their iconic singer.
About 2,000 people are expected to throng Melbourne’s Hamer Hall from 7 p.m. for the service.
Here are just a few of the dozens of tributes you’ve shared.
A childhood soundtrack, a lullaby
Many people have described the sound of The Seekers’ familiar hits as very evocative, in many cases taking them back to the early years of their lives – to “simpler, kinder” times.
It was the early 1970s and mum and dad had migrated from India to Warrnambool. I was really happy at the time; life was so carefree and innocent.
I remember mom playing I’ll Never Find You Another While Cleaning. I don’t know why, but I felt so safe and satisfied at that moment.
Now, when I listen to this song and hear Judith Durham’s voice, I feel so much emotion: it takes me back to when life seemed so much simpler and sweeter.
I was born in 1963 and Judith’s voice was a big part of my childhood “soundtrack” as my parents were big Seekers fans and played the records at home. Judith for me was Georgy Girl and I wanted to grow up and be her, leading a group of men.
I’m sure her legacy for me was that empowerment that I saw her demonstrate.
Aleta, New South Wales
I remember my mother, who dressed 4 girls, sewing clothes on her Singer sewing machine, dressing us in “camouflaged” dresses, identical to those that Judith wore on stage.
We looked pretty good, thanks to Judith.
Elwyn, New South Wales
For many, songs such as Morningtown Ride describing “all the little travelers” snuggled up on a train go hand in hand with cherished childhood memories.
Morningtown Ride by The Seekers was our mother’s favorite lullaby, and her mother had sung it to her before that. It was the soundtrack of our childhood.
When mom died earlier this year, this was the song we sent her [with].
Two creative and inspiring women who will be deeply missed by their worlds.
Morningtown Ride brings back wonderful memories of my Nan singing this to my sister and I on long car trips to visit family in Wangaratta.
I try to remember the words to sing to my grandchildren when they come to sleep.
Growing up in the 60s and 70s in Ireland, my dad had a hi-tech cassette player in his car.
Morningtown Ride was high rotation – I associate it with summer vacations by the lake, joy and freedom!
A source of “sun” in dark times
For some, the sound of Durham’s voice, either by chance or intentionally, has formed the soundtrack to some of life’s most painful experiences.
This memory is very poignant for me and evokes tears.
My husband was dying in intensive care in Sydney. His respirator had been turned off and there was a radio playing quietly in the background as we thought hearing was the last sense to go.
As he breathed his last, the radio played The Carnival is Over and “I’ll Love You Till I Die”. He passed with the beautiful voice of Judith Durham in his ears.
I would have liked to contact her to tell her because it was one of those happy and beautiful moments that sometimes happen in life.
June, New South Wales
Our family of 10 pounds had only been in Australia for a few weeks, the sun was blazing and my mum and I were on a bus down the hill from Kings Park, Perth, and I had my earphone from my little transistor radio .
Georgy Girl was playing and it filled me with an optimism in my heart that carried the rest of my childhood to me in a home where my father’s alcoholic rages and nighttime fights just eclipsed all of our days, when the laws on domestic violence were so very very different back then.
But the radio and Georgy Girl kept hope in my heart and to this day, in my mid-sixties, the song still gives me the spring and gives me the same optimism that it gave me all those years ago. years.
And always, always, I remember the song coming down the hill from Kings Park and entering St Georges Terrace.
Wholesome, upbeat songs…she was a ray of sunshine.
I was about seven years old and knew The Seekers pretty well. However, I had never heard their latest hit The Carnival is Over.
Until I was still up late at night, walking with my family, around the Dromana seaside fair.
The speaker system played it, as the ping pong ball ate heads and turned clowns, and all the bright lights were turned off.
My father pointed out the sad beauty of the song (and the appropriate lyrics) with the end of the carnival of the night.
I will never forget the emotion of it all. I still hear it now…
In 1965 I left England with my immediate family for a new life in Australia.
Shortly before we left, The Seekers released a new song: The Carnival is Over.
For many of our friends and relatives, this was our last goodbye.
Fans who met Durham bid farewell to an ‘inspiration’
From impromptu karaoke duets to memories of Durham’s performances in Melbourne in the early 1960s, some have retained memories of the singer for many decades.
Many years ago I was at a karaoke bar in Melbourne where Judith’s goddaughter worked.
Judith came one night to visit and was extremely shy and when asked if she would like to sing, she declined saying that “she was incredibly nervous in small crowds, but the general public never got it. disturbed”.
Later that night I cheered up and asked her if she wanted to sing a few songs and she said yes if I sang with her so I was literally standing on stage holding Judith’s hand singing Amazing Grace, followed by Delta Dawn.
It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and she was so incredibly humble and supportive.
I will never forget this moment.
In 1963, when I was a high school student, I went with some girlfriends to a jazz ball in the Anglican Church Hall next to Malvern Town Hall, where the ‘Rockers’ were dancing.
On a few occasions, a young singer would join the group. The dancing stopped as we were all captivated by the voice of Judith Durham.
I remember when the Seekers came to Perth and they were in Garden City signing autographs one day when I had my dad there, who was in a wheelchair.
He loved Judith and The Seekers and was so excited.
The line was a mile long waiting for autographs, but wait until we made it and all his dreams came true that day.
Judith talked to her for ages, ignoring her guardians who encouraged her to move on.
My dad was a factory manager at W&G Records.
W&G was in A’Beckett St (Melbourne) until the mid 1970s and had a recording studio in Dudley St
The Seekers’ early albums were all recorded in Melbourne by W&G. It was only after becoming international stars that they changed labels.
So I grew up listening to The Seekers and for a while they were the only pop band I knew.
Looking back, I realize that at the time, only in Australian music was a woman leading a major band.
Judith was my musical hero. I know all The Seekers songs by heart, even 50 years later.
RIP Judith Durham. You were an inspiration.
Judith your singing fed my soul, the purity of your version of Danny Boy to all the wonderful Seekers songs with the boys.
I was at the music bowl in 1967 with my dear mom, I saw the 25th reunion, the 50th concert, I went to the grand finale of 1994 to see the Seekers, I saw you sing jazz and sing with the Choir of Hard Knocks.
I am saddened that your carnival is over.
Thank you for the joy your singing has brought me and many, many others.
Heaven’s choir now has its lead singer and you have now found the olive tree.
The state memorial honoring the life of Durham is due to start at 7 p.m.
The ABC will be hosting a live blog sharing more of your memories, as well as key moments from the service.
The event will also be broadcast live.