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The Seekers’ Judith Durham: Calls for singer to be given a state funeral

Judith Durham, the lead singer of The Seekers, will be honoured with a state funeral following her death on Friday at the age of 79.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state funeral with a Tweet on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Andrews said he offered the state service and her family accepted ‘to honour the life and contribution of a true icon of Australian music’. 

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy on Sunday called for the family of legendary Victorian-born folk singer Judith Durham (pictured) to be offered a state funeral following her death on Friday aged 79 

Victorian Liberal Party leader had also called for a state funeral to mark her ‘immense legacy, not just for women, for music, but for Australia’.

‘And I think it is exceptionally sad, her passing, and the one thing I think her close family and friends will always know is that she has been an absolute trailblazer,’ he added. 

A state funeral is bestowed upon noted Australian’s seen to have made a significant contribution to the nation, and was offered to the families of actor Bud Tingwell and cricketer Shane Warne upon their passing.

Mr. Guy (pictured) said Durham's 'immense legacy' was 'certainly deserving' of such an honour

Mr. Guy (pictured) said Durham’s ‘immense legacy’ was ‘certainly deserving’ of such an honour  

Durham passed away following a long battle with chronic lung disease.

She had been in palliative care at the Alfred Hospital before her death from complications with the disease.

Durham, born in 1943 in Melbourne, gained international fame with upbeat hits like Georgy Girl and a series of covers and collaborations with the likes of Paul Simon. 

Folk-pop legends The Seekers are pictured in 1964. The group are best known for their hits like I'll Never Find Another You and Georgy Girl

Folk-pop legends The Seekers are pictured in 1964. The group are best known for their hits like I’ll Never Find Another You and Georgy Girl

Her Seekers bandmates Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley, and Athol Guy called her a ‘lifelong friend’ in a shared statement.

‘Our lives are changed forever losing our treasured lifelong friend and shining star,’ they said.

‘Her struggle was intense and heroic – never complaining of her destiny and fully accepting its conclusion. Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and [Athol] are so blessed to share.’

A smiling Judith celebrates her 75th birthday with a cake themed around her compilation album, So Much More

A smiling Judith celebrates her 75th birthday with a cake themed around her compilation album, So Much More 

The Seekers were best known for their hits I’ll Never Find Another You and Georgy Girl.

The quartet made their debut in 1963 and quickly made history as the first Australian pop act to have major crossover success in the UK and America. 

They famously performed on The Ed Sullivan Show multiple times and in 1966 they performed in front of the Queen Mother Elizabeth at the London Palladium.

A young Judith is pictured juicing carrots in a promotional photo from 1971

A young Judith is pictured juicing carrots in a promotional photo from 1971

The Seekers have sold over 50million records throughout their career.

They were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1996 and received the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014.

At home, The Seekers are still a household name and are well known to younger Australians for the song I am an Australian, which is still the theme song of the country’s public broadcaster ABC. 

Her Seekers bandmates Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley, and Athol Guy called her a 'lifelong friend' in a shared statement. All pictured together in 2016

Her Seekers bandmates Keith Potger, Bruce Woodley, and Athol Guy called her a ‘lifelong friend’ in a shared statement. All pictured together in 2016

Outside of The Seekers, Judith pursued a solo career with albums including Climb Ev’ry Mountain and Let Me Find Love. 

Judith married musical director, British pianist Ron Edgeworth, in 1969. 

Edgeworth died in 1994 following a battle with motor neurone disease, and Judith spent many years afterwards raising awareness around the disease. 

The Seekers are pictured performing in front of the Queen Mother Elizabeth at the London Palladium in 1966

The Seekers are pictured performing in front of the Queen Mother Elizabeth at the London Palladium in 1966

‘Ron was a tremendous optimist and thought his body would heal itself. He’d always believed that he would live to 120 and that I, with my lung condition, would fall off the perch about 60,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2010.

Tributes flowed for the beloved singer, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describing Durham as ‘a national treasure and an Australian icon.’

‘Judith Durham gave voice to a new strand of our identity and helped blaze a trail for a new generation of Aussie artists,’ Albanese wrote on Twitter.

The Seekers on Thank Your Lucky Stars TV programme circa 1961 - 1966

The Seekers on Thank Your Lucky Stars TV programme circa 1961 – 1966

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