Country music pioneer farewelled

By Geoff Vivian | posted on August 18, 2017

THE man who mentored generations of young country singers such as Troy Cassar-Daley was laid to rest in Denmark last week.

Members of Denmark Country Music Club farewelled Rick Carey and interred his ashes with those of his wife Thel following his death late last month.

Originally from Sydney, Rick and Thel had settled on a property in Denmark in 1988 after 30 years touring remote Aboriginal communities, country rodeos and agricultural halls throughout rural Australia.

After Thel’s death in 1998, Rick said he would hang up his guitar, but soon afterwards Sid Hewitt and Doreen Ostigh asked him to help start a regular musical gathering in Mr Hewitt’s shed.

This became the Denmark Country Music Club.

Club publicity officer Cathy Clark said they then formally asked Rick to become patron of the club in 2001, and he attended Slim Dusty’s funeral as its representative in 2004.

Rick moved to Brisbane in 2005 to live with his daughter Lynne, but remained the club’s patron and returned several times.

“I think Dad would have enjoyed everything we did for his memorial,” Lynne said.

“All of us were able to meet up with family and friends who managed to come to the service, even with such short notice.”

Lynne said the Aboriginal singer-songwriters Kevin Gunn and Francis Cox, who both toured with her parents, made the long journey from the Kimberley for the funeral.

Mal Russel, who also toured with the show, acted as MC.

“Unfortunately the journey was somewhat rushed and we all would have liked to have spent more time there, especially since one of my sons, his partner and their three sons live in Albany,” she said.

“Nonetheless it was wonderful to spend the time we did and it was nice to be able to lay Dad to rest with Mum according to his wishes.”

The Denmark Country Music Club’s recent dance with band Campfire Country was a tribute to Mr Carey and life member Jean Brenton, who passed away a few days earlier in Perth.