Dave 'The Bloke' Overton (right) with fellow Bullamakanka foundation members Rex Radonich (left) and Ray Roddem Young (centre).
Dave 'The Bloke' Overton (right) with fellow Bullamakanka foundation members Rex Radonich (left) and Ray Roddem Young (centre).

Wintermoon performer and Bullamakanka frontman dies

DAVE "The Bloke" Overton, a founding member of Aussie bluegrass band Bullamakanka, died on February 18 in Kempsey District Hospital.

Mackay musician Anette Worthington said Mr Overton had performed in the Mackay region several times.

"So sad to hear about the passing of such a genuinely nice man as well as a talented entertainer," she said.

He was a well-known face and voice at Wintermoon Festival.

"He was a true gentleman. An authentic Australian folk singer," she said.

"He stayed true to the style of music."

She has fond memories of sitting around the campfire having a good yak with him.

"He was a real people person," she said.

"You will never hear anyone say a bad word about him."

Mrs Worthington's brother, Michael Hartvig-Olsen, was a close friend of Mr Overton.

Born in Newcastle, Mr Overton became a drummer in his teenage years before moving to Tweed Heads where he founded the group with Rex Radonich and Ray Roddem Young.

Dave was the voice of the popular song Give Me a Home Among the Gumtrees, the best known of the band's tracks, winning them the first of six Golden Guitar Awards.

Bandmate, fiddle player Stu Watson, shared the news on behalf of the family.

"Our condolences go out to his daughter Asha and son Bard and his four grandchildren," Mr Watson said.

"Dave, originally a drummer in the Sydney rock scene, played an important part in the development of Bullamakanka's unique blend of Australian traditional music, bluegrass and country rock.

 

Founding member of Bullamakanka, Dave Olsen, has died. Story: Laura Nelson
Founding member of Bullamakanka, Dave Olsen, has died. Story: Laura Nelson

 

"He will be greatly missed by his musical collaborators, friends and family."

Ms Watson described Overton as "marvellously cheeky".

"On stage, he had a marvellous cheekiness, he could say things that no one else could, and have people rolling on the ground with laughter.

"One of the most important aspects of the group is the image Dave put out was so down to earth.

"We weren't some sort of high and mighty popsters, Dave showed anyone in the audience deserved the stage and could be up there.

"At the time country music in Australia was full of American songs, it was rare to see Australiana break through."

He attributed the group's signature style of boots, hats and long beards to Overton.

In 2002 the group was inducted into the Australian Country Music Hands of Fame.

Other tributes to the musician poured in online from fans, family and friends.

"One of a kind, great bandleader, good bloke," one fan wrote.

"He and the band were legendary," said another.

"The Bullas certainly made me tap my feet in those great Gold Coast days."

 

Bullamakanka frontman and mandolin player Dave ‘the bloke’ Overton with his son Bard and daughter Asha.
Bullamakanka frontman and mandolin player Dave ‘the bloke’ Overton with his son Bard and daughter Asha.

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