|Interviewer: Robin Hughes
Recorded: February 8, 1994
This is a transcript of the complete original interview conducted for the Australian Biography project. Each transcript page covers one videotape (approximately 35 minutes). There is also QuickTime video of the full interview available. To play the video, click on the icon in the right hand column. In addition, each question in the transcript is linked to the video. Clicking on a question will play the video from that point. (Help with this feature.) Optionally, you can download the video file for offline viewing (approx. 10MB).
The interview has been left it in its original state so that you can get a sense of how the conversation developed. The repetition of some questions, or a question followed by another question, is often due to the end of a particular tape or some other interruption, and has been indicated at the appropriate place in the text. There has been minimal tidying up of the text so that the flavour of the encounter has been kept.
When you went to America and you knew that you were going to be having to entertain people about Australia you took this cartload of your knives and so on. Was that all you took in the way of props?
Oh no. I had a kangaroo. One kangaroo I thought I had, but actually there were three and they were given to me by the citizens of South Australia as a goodwill token and the RSPCA passed them, and Pan American were to take them over. And Mr. Moorhouse who was in charge of fisheries and game, passed them. Okay, right? And they were to follow me on my trip to America so by the time I got there I would have this lovely kangaroo - a little joey I could lead around. It was only about this size. And when I got there, of course, no kangaroos. Eight months down the track still no kangaroos. And then I read in the paper that Clive Evatt, here, had overstepped his authority and confiscated my kangaroos when they were in transit here into New South Wales, where they were protected. And he gave them to Sir Edward Halstrom down at Taronga Park. So he had my kangaroos. And I was so angry about this I wrote to Frank Hardy. I knew he'd fix it up. And I said, 'If something's not done, I'm going to sue him because he has ruined my whole concert over here and for what I've come to do'. So in a very short time the kangaroo was released and they were on their way to America. Good old Frank. So when I got to Nashville, they told me that I had a telegram from J. Walter Thompson to say that ... that they'd like me to be in touch with them. They had some very interesting news about the show I'd done in Australia for Scrimmager (?). In the meantime I thought: Well I better see New York, so I'll look them up when I get there. So I said goodbye to old Nashville and Fred Rose and took the Greyhound bus to New York. When I got there I looked up an old friend of mine who was living up near the Palace Theatre on Broadway and he said to me, 'Just in the nick of time', he said. 'Do you know', he said 'The Roxy Theatre up here ...', which was the biggest large ... or largest movie houses in the world. They played half vaudeville, variety, and half films. And he said, 'They are having a premiere of the film made in Australia called 'Kangaroo', which is played by Peter Lawford and Richard Boone. Now it so happened that I had a bit to do with that before I left here, in whip cracking. And so I thought to myself, Ah-ha, I'll hook onto this one. So with my knife still on my hip as a knife thrower, three days stubble of beard and this stockwhip over my arm and in thought back on the pet farm of these kangaroos that had arrived in Hollywood, I armed people with all this information on Australia I went down to see Sterling Silliphant - I think he was man who created Naked City. He was the big chief of 20th Century Fox. And I'll never forget when we walked in, I just stood there in front of him looking very much six feet tall and rugged looking, but all Australian, with this snakeskin tie that Peter Dawson had given me. 'Well, well, well. What have we got here?' And so they said ... they introduced me and said, 'They call him the Man from Down Under. Wild Man from Down Under'. And he said, 'As a matter of fact he has been the technical adviser on the film Kangaroo'. And I said, 'Not that', and Charlie said, 'Oh yes you are'. He whispered to me, he said, 'You don't say anything like that in New York. Just say you did it. You did it. That's it. Get the job'. He said to me, 'What do you do with that whip?' I said, 'I crack it. I do a few tricks'. So he put a cigarette in his mouth and I went bang, bang knocked it out of his mouth. Wow. And he said, 'What else have you got?' I said, 'I've got a kangaroo'. He said, 'Hey, get the PR boys. Get down and get to work on him'. He said, 'I'm going to sign you up.
The kangaroos that you'd taken over with you to America, what use did you find for them?
Well I certainly had use for them. What was to happen to me ... when I arrived in New York I found that there was a big film made in Australia called Kangaroo by Peter Lawford and Richard Boone, and it was to be shown at the Roxy Theatre, which is the second largest movie house in the world. And I went up to see Sterling Silliphant there, who was the chief of Twentieth Century Fox, and armed with my knife and my whip, looking like a real man from Down Under, introduced myself as from Australia and I had with me a kangaroo. And of course he had me put on the payroll and he said, 'I'm going to change your name from Smoky Dawson to Smoky ... Mister Craig Dawson, affectionately known Down Under as Smoky, and technical adviser on the film Kangaroo', which at that time I hadn't even seen. [Laughs] So he got the PR boys to do a job on me and I must say it was one of the highlights of my life because I was riding around in a big black Cadillac. I had a chauffeur there waiting for me at any time. I was staying at the Astor ... the old Astor in Times Square and I was on call anytime that they wanted me. And then, I got a call one morning and he said, 'Now what we're going to do, we've got to try and sell this film, because it's a lousy film'. It was done on the cheap. As you know the film itself was all about two villains who were out to get an old man, rob him of his money and they used the kangaroo as the backdrop and they had a posse of kangaroos, or stampede of kangaroos, and they'd done this here, expecting them to do work like cattle and of course the scene in the bushfire was psht like that. That's all they saw of the kangaroos. So they had to run them back this way and that way to make a stampede. So in all, there was very little to do about the kangaroo in it. Now the kangaroo I had was given to me, like I said, from Australia as a token of goodwill. But when it was sent over to me, after a lot of pressure, I found that I didn't get the same kangaroo as what I had. They sent me a buck instead of a doe. Instead of getting a joey I got a very robust male kangaroo, who was a bit terrified too. Having been coming on Slip Airways across from New York in a storm, it was unsettled. [It] arrived on Long Island and was put in the garage at Sterling Silliphant's father-in-law's home and he rang me up on the Saturday morning saying I was to arrive at the Roxy Theatre, where I was to be met by a team of journalists and there was to be an exhibit of a white albino kangaroo sent over by Sir Ed Hallstrom. And I was to tell them all about the habits and the great nature of Australia and this wild kangaroo, but it all back fired. Then of course I was to come with my kangaroo on the lead. Well he said to me, 'Come over here. We've got a monster. Come quickly'. So away I went to ... we were supposed to be ten o'clock Saturday morning arriving, coming down with a police escort down Broadway. Here I was on Long Island. Got out there and there was Sterling to meet me, very upset. And he said, 'I didn't bargain for this'. And of course I think: Oh there goes my meal ticket. And a contract. He said, 'I can't manage the darn thing'. I said, 'Where is it?' He said, 'It's in the garage and get it out quick fast'. So when I go down there's this poor frightened thing standing up in a corner. And the smell is absolutely terrible. What he was concerned about, [was] his father-in-law's big beautiful Cadillac. The kangaroo's bounding over one side to another, manuring all the time. Zipparoma. So he said, 'Doesn't know', I said, 'Might know you'. Well I walked in and talk about getting out of fixes and things. I always manage some way. So here was I with a stockwhip and the media behind me to see that everything went well. That's the worst part. They're there to check on you. And Mrs. Sterling - you know, she was so naive. And she looked in and said, 'Oh that poor little Joey', she said and she referred to its undercarriage as its pouch. She said, 'Oh that's where the kangaroos come from'. And I said ... He's looking at me and he said, 'It's a funny looking female'. Anyhow I said, 'Yeah I know. They've sent me the wrong one. It's a buck'. So he said, 'Right. Do something. Get it'. So I said, 'I'll do it. I'll make one dive on it'. So I dive down and grab it by the tail and throw it off its balance. Swung it over and, oh, it fought all the way - slipped and slid all over the garage with me hanging onto it. I was able to wrap a little bit of my whip around it to hold it and gradually carry it. And here's Mrs Silliphant there with a bowl of bread and milk trying to feed it. I said, 'Take it away. The kangaroo won't be eating that'. Now how are we going to get down to Broadway with this? I tell you what. They're very strong - kangaroos, and they look very small but when they stand up straight ... And my God, we put it in the back seat of this Cadillac and we put some covering there so it wouldn't manure all over the seat. And the chauffeur, he was from the South and he was like ... it was like a shot from Mack Sennet. His eyeballs were rolling around and he said, 'Get me out of this', in the front seat trying to drive this Cadillac. I said, 'We'll keep the hood down'. 'No, no, no', he said. 'Keep the hood up. Open it when you get to New York'. So we put the hood up. Convertible Cadillac see. And down we went down Horace Hardy Boulevard. Now, as you know in America, they don't call police stations police stations, they call them ... they call them precincts. So we went from the Fifth Precinct to the Fourth to the Third, all the way down Horace Hardy Boulevard with this kangaroo in the back and me with my arm around it. His name was to be Zip, Z-I-P, Zip. Smoky and affectionately with his little kangaroo Zip, which was a buck. And of course the kangaroo just frustrated, just stood there, just sat there and gave up the struggle for a while. Well we were about passing the Fifth Precinct and on either side were the wild woods of Long Island. You'll find the big places like great shipping line, the Vanderbilts and all that and multi-millionaires and palatial columns and homes and gardens. This is where Zip had his eye on. Because as we were passing one of these places he made one final leap after I was nearly passing out with Ziparoma. And we pressed the button to let the thing down. The kangaroo made one dive. I grabbed it by the tail and there we both ended up on the tarmac - on the ... on the freeway. So, he made one dive across the road, over the fence and into the wild woods of Long Island. Well I just stood there and thought: Well there goes my meal ticket. I'm back to Australia, no money, no what. Because I'd failed. I couldn't turn up. But the PR had come behind me. The Public Relations car had followed me. They raced up to me and said, 'What the heck do you think you're doing? What did you let him go for?' I said, 'I didn't let him go'. He said, 'You just did'. I said, 'No he did it all on his own'. I said, 'Oh God, what am I going to do now?' He said, 'There's only one thing you can do. But for God's sake don't mention Twentieth Century Fox. We don't want this ... This is not a stunt, but it's going to look like one. Now', he said, 'We've got to think, quick. I'm not going to go in with you. You go straight into that Fifth Precinct. Go in there and tell them that you are the technical adviser on this film and you've lost a kangaroo and you need help'. So in I went and of course I probably over reacted. I went in with my best Australian southern accent and said, 'I've lost my kangaroo. What can you do to help me?' And they did. Both fellers got up from their, buckled up their guns and looked at me and it was like I was ready for the green card. And they said, 'Wait a minute. You all quieten down there. Where you all from?' I said, 'I'm from Australia. My name is Craig Dawson'. They said, 'You sound like you're one of those hillbillies from Daisy's Mountain'. And I said, 'Well I was talking the best'. He said, 'Well your accent ...'. To New Yorkers I did sound like that. And when I got stirred up and, of course, in Rome you do as Rome does. So I played it all. I was there standing six feet tall with my whip around my shoulder, this three days growth of beard and looking very much like a wild man from Down Under. And they had never seen a kangaroo before. See you're looking back into 1952. America didn't have a kangaroo. Didn't have one in New York at all. This was to be New York's first kangaroo. And here we were. And this escapade. How am I ever going to get through this? Well and I went into the police station, and as I say, they jumped up and reacted that way. He said, 'Make him a cup of coffee. Sit down'. Making a few phone calls. And in come Twentieth Century Fox PR. He said, 'Just a moment, I'm his manager and this ... we're Twentieth Century Fox', he said, 'We've hired Mr. Dawson for this kangaroo and by golly we're going to get it'. And he said, 'We thought you'd gone around the bend'. 'No. No, no', he said, 'This is Mr. Dawson. He is the greatest entertainer in the world'. 'Oh an icon. Well'. Well, I got all the treatment in the world. He said, 'Mr. Dawson, I've got twenty-seven men here I can give to you right now to help you out. We are going to get that kangaroo for you. In fact my men haven't had a shot at anyone for ...' 'I don't want anyone shot', I said. 'This is my friend. This is Zip'. 'Oh. Oh I see. Oh you want it back in one piece?' I said 'Yeah'. 'My God, How big is it?' 'Oh about this big - prehistoric'. And of course, the posters at the Roxy Theatre, outside the theatre, billed this enormous looking kangaroo from a prehistoric age, with blood coming off its fangs, leaping. This is the only way they could sell the darn thing. And here I was painting this great picture of this prehistoric animal. And it wasn't long before the Nasser County press picked it up and said, 'Kangaroo escaped in the wild woods of Long Island'. He got through to ... to ... to Sterling Silliphant and said, 'The kangaroo's lost'. 'What happened?' 'It got out of the car. We can't find it'. 'Keep him lost', he said. 'Keep him lost?'. He said ... he said, 'Better than what we had. We were going to get that kangaroo down here and Smoky was to be arrested because he was going to block up the footpath with his Zip kangaroo and we were going to put him in the wagon and take him up town and try him before a kangaroo court'. [Laughs] Which never occurred, I didn't have to do that you see. And it all backfired. So there was the kangaroo, lost for five days in the wildwoods of Long Island. And it took me about three days to find out [that] it broke the news on the front page, wiping the Korean War off the front page of the New York World Telegram, which at that time was a big paper like the New York Times. And there it was. In black letters, big, like war had been declared, 'Zip Zigs as the Police Zag'. And me, great Dawson, I was made overnight. I was asked to join the Adventurer's Club and show my movies. [Laughs] Isn't that fantastic?
Where did they find Zip?
They found him out at Lake Success, where the United Nations were meeting. I think he was there to put his little bit in, and represent Australia. [Laughs] And who was to get him but the very ... the sergeant in charge of the police station. He was the one that found him out at the golf course and threw a net over him. The poor thing had run himself out. He'd scared everybody in Long Island and the front pages showed that all the school stopped having children come to school. They were frightened of the prehistoric monster jumping buildings. You know people's imaginations go really a long way, don't they?
What happened to him?
Well, he eventually ended up ... I handed him over with great ceremony to New York Central Park Zoo, which is for children. In other words to go to a zoo, the Central Park Zoo, you have to be escorted by a child. And that's where Zip went to spend his days, with a big ceremony and the ggodwill from the ambassador ... the Australian ambassador, who was much concerned about it. Because back home all the news was coming back that 'Kangaroo scares Americans in New York jumping around here' and 'Cheap showman riding on the back of a kangaroo to get a meal', 'Our native fauna', it still went on, even then, you know, the environment. So I had a bit of a branding back here for the environment issues. And I didn't ... We didn't have greenhouse or green effect then, but we had that protectionist group that reading in the papers thought that I was just getting a cheap thing out of the kangaroo. Now I could have made a lot of money out of that kangaroo. I was offered a lot of money. And the idea was they were going to take him to ... down to Atlanta and he was to dine with me with the Mayor of Atlanta, and I was to decide which zoo he was to go to. Can you imagine a kangaroo sitting there in a restaurant there while they dined, while we discuss which home it's going to, and eventually the Atlanta Zoo would get it? And so, I finished up by giving it to Central Park Zoo and Twentieth Century Fox were going to sue me. Because I gave away the kangaroo, they said, 'We had other things to do with it'. I said, 'No way. I got all this pressure on me and I don't want it'. I felt sorry for that little kangaroo, which had become a monster in the people's minds. And thereby is the tale of the kangaroo. Do you know what? That was to turn my whole life around, and the decision whether I was going to come back to Australia or stay there as an icon, because I had a lot of success there. I was offered a part in Kiss Me Kate in the Theatre of the Round. And it was the first experience I ever had of going in that and playing Petruccio and cracking a whip round Kate and watch her drop, almost to her underwear. And drinking a bottle of wine and decorking it - doing things I'd never done in my life in the Theatre of the Round, Atlanta Field, New Jersey. All these great things were happening to me because I was suddenly wrapped up in a world of show business. And the Palace Theatre. There was offers for me. Irving Barrett - he was big booking agent there at the Palace Theatre, where Judy Garland was then showing and Will Mahoney, and he said, 'You've got a great future. Boy you've got talent. I want to represent you'. And I said, 'No I don't want any more please. I got to go home'. 'No, you can't do that'. So, I did come home. And I'll never forget it. After all the offers were coming through for me to stay and make movies and go to Hollywood and ... but Australia was calling. Kellogg's had eventually ... not because of my kangaroo, but what they had seen at the Wintergarden Theatre in Rose Bay, of the movie that I made before I went away, The Cowboys from Down Under with Uncle Scrim, a one man show, in which I carried the camera, I did all the stunting, I rode the horses, I milked the cows. I did all sorts of things in it. With one cameraman who only had one eye and a camera that he had to get a screw driver out to get a close up in his lens. And I had to carry all this up the hills there up near Gosford. Oh, I'll never forget what I had to do to try and make myself famous.
And Kellogg's saw this film and offered you ...
They saw that. They said, 'We want him'. And Tom Carruthers and Scrim said, 'We've been trying to sell him before he went away'. 'We'll get him back'. So I did a real bargaining there and I said, 'Right'. And I said, 'Well you got to come'.
So they in fact offered you ... made you a really terrific offer to come back to Australia.
They made me the biggest offer that's ever been offered in this country. I was right on the top bracket with the Dyers and ...
What did they want you to do?
What did they want you to do?
They wanted me to do a serial which was called Jindawarrabel, a national programme. They were going to have an Australian character that would replace, on the movies and the theatres where they go, Gene Autry and Wild Bill. They were going to have Smoky Dawson. And for the first time the drovers in Australia, they'd be like me, they'd have their own cowboy. And when I told this to Americans later, that we only had one cowboy and a horse, they said, 'How come?' I said, 'That's all they could afford'. Yeah. Well, you know - when I look back in all this it is just like a fantasy. But it's very real, but ...
And so how did you make the decision? Was it at all difficult for you to decide to come back?
Oh yes. See, it took a bit of decision. But I think what made me decide to come home was mainly Dot. Plus the fact I do believe, too, that I hadn't finished with Australia, that I had still a lot to give to it. And although I might have gone on to a lot of success - I had a little short movies offered to me. Like before I went home I was offered a couple of short movies, like riding out with Gene Autry, riding out to do a quickie on a horse, a baddie and throwing a knife in ... past somebody as I went by on a horse. Just a quickie in and out. And fly me ... pick me up in a few minutes in a helicopter and go home. As quick as that.
Why did Dot want to come back?
A bit homesick I think. She was missing home. She had a few tears, you know. Mainly it all started when I was training to play Petruccio. Or understudying Ted Scott. But I had to fill in a gap and I had to do this stock whip and to get a bit of practice we were staying at the Woodward Hotel. So we went right up onto the top and stood up there on the top, with all the skyscrapers around us. And she was holding these pieces of paper and doing all that. And I'm banging this whip and all these fellers are yelling out and of course she breaks down and starts crying. And I went, Oh God, what have I done?' And then out - all these fellers in their shirtsleeves. It's a hot summer night too. And of course when you crack a whip you can hear it echoing all down like canyons, down through the city. And all these fellers open their windows: 'What the heck's going on? Leave the darn girl alone. What are you doing beating her like that for?' And I'm trying to tell them to shut their mouths all this time, that I'm trying to get a rehearsal in. And Dottie said ... she was to come along and she was going to be the girl in it too - play Kate. And oh, she broke up. She went down. She said, 'Why can't we go back to Australia? Why do we have to do all this kangaroo chases? You're always up to something. I never know where you are'. Worrying about me. It all comes out all right. And I thought: Oh dear, what am I doing now? So I went back. I went back to the agency and I said, 'I'm sorry, I can't do it. I can't play Petruccio'. 'You'll play Petruccio'. I said, 'My wife ...'. 'Well we'll find somebody else's wife, but you've got to do that. If you don't do that, I will blackball you right through America. You'll never make another appearance in America'. There I was torn between Dottie ... my love for Dottie and that, and I'd never be able to do that and my ego. My climbing to success, who knows where I might have ended up. Oh dear, oh dear: What'll I do? It was all emotional, you know. And I thought: What's she gone through for me ... because you see I was out doing things, where Dottie ... and all these things were happening and she was powerless. And half the time I was never there. I was just reporting back to her. 'Where have you been? I've been waiting here all this time and where are you? I've been hearing you on the radio. What are you doing?' 'It'll all be over. Let us go home. All right. We'll go home'.
So when you got there and you were working with Kellogg's and they were your sponsor, what did you have to do? You did the radio programme and what other things did you do?
Well I also had an ABC contract too. Harry Pringle decided to get in on the act, just for The Showman on Sunday. The Adventures of Smoky in America and I done three years with him on what was called The Inlander, stories of the inland in which I travelled outback and brought back and put them into sequences [for] quarter-of-an-hour programmes. Got the honours of the week in Melbourne when it first started, much to the amazement of some agencies, who thought it would flop, for its unusual character of a man coming into a living room telling stories and singing songs about it. So I had three years with them and then I finished up with that too ... with Peter Dawson. But, now here was Harry Pringle. He was out there to meet me at this airport. Now Scrim had worked the Oracle. So we were booked to come home and I said, 'We're not coming home, unless Dottie's in the programme too'. So she played Janet. They wrote her into it. And she become the lovely girl that Bud Tingwell had to fall in love with, playing the part of Sergeant Keene at Jindawarrabel Station. That was all tied up in one go and that's how segue ... segue, you know, from America back home, this wonderful meeting at the airport. Home.
How long did this radio programme run for?
About ten years. That was with replays. It existed ten years. It only succumbered (sic) because of this thing called television. And as I was doing plenty of it in New York ... In fact I did a lot of television. I had no experience with it but I gathered it all and I found what you had to do and what you didn't do. And I knew things like shadows on the face and the type of make up and over reaction and movements. And I just fell into it. I set up my stockwhip and knife throwing act as quick as anything. I could do anything at all. And I was going over everywhere I went. I was going big and all this was opening up for me. When I come back here and then Kellogg's signed me up and they said for three years and I had a contract that allowed me to go back one year here, one year there. Do enough here. Because I was signed up to do a major movie and it was called Adventure Down Under about an American and an Australian, which I had written and because they wouldn't come to the party here with Aborigines, they were going to use Puerto Ricans and I'd dress them up as Aborigines. [Laughs] And we got all this stuff for a television series and motion picture. And I still got those old scripts but it never eventuated because Scrim wouldn't come to the party. So I stayed. I never went back to America for many years. I become successful.
Could you describe ... I want to ask you a question and I'd like you to put together for me in one nice, neat answer, the whole business of that period of sponsorship by Kellogg's and how you had the radio programme and you also had the Smoky Dawson Club and, you know, all of that. So I'll ask you a question about that. You are asked by Kellogg's to come back and do this radio programme, what other kinds of things did they want from you as your sponsor?
Well they wanted me really to sell cornflakes, [Laughs] which I did. In fact we took the cup from the world as the biggest eater of cereals and got the cup, and due to Smoky. And they made the serial so good that it went all over Australia and won the hearts of everybody. It was supposed to be doomed to die in the first year but it went on and on and on. And we had the best actors, like Gordon Chater and Bud Tingwell, who are the only two remaining people. Grogan has since died played by Ken Wayne. Leaves me a little sad. But yeah, that programme embraced a lot of other good things. It was to get down to the hearts of children in their ways of life - the values of life. Smoky was a good guy and it was me - I really wanted to do that. So they invented ... they had a lovely badge. And this was to be pinned on every child that was able to adhere to certain principles: the Codes of the West that were ... one was to obey your parents, come to the table when you're first called with clean fingers, clean mind and all that kind of thing. And honour your flag and country, which was most important. Be a good sportsman and a good citizen, help your neighbour in need. And when you fulfilled twenty-two days of that without blemish, mum and dad pinned the badge on you. Now I might say, along the way, those little boxes weren't all filled in with ticks. And many of them have shown me their old forms they filled in and never passed. They had a lot of crosses in them. And I know some very important people doing policy today that still have their badges. I don't know whether they adhere to those same principles, which I feel they should. I think they've gone a little astray and I think they need another Smoky to bring them back into morality and to get on with the business and get the country running and that wonderful mateship going again. So Kellogg's did something there. They gathered in one million fans - one million all over Australia, which was the biggest, the most biggest club we've ever had. So big they couldn't handle any more, because of the correspondence. And I still have some of those letters. I keep every letter. I don't keep diaries - dangerous to have diaries. But I have letters of children when they were writing when they were six that are somewhere in Australia. If we put a call out and say, 'Where are you?' well maybe we might come up with some answers.
Who were some of the famous ex-members?
Ah well, we had Bob Cavallieri. I know he's still got his badge. He was one of the Ministers in the Labor government when yes - not so very long ago. And Paul Keating. And I had some memories too of who we got ... Ministers, still got it. And some of the artists too have come up to me and said they've still got their badge. Some have sent their badges to me - turned them in, only because they're frightened they might lose them. But I meet them every day and I find people coming along [saying] 'When I was a kid you taught me the ways of life and I want to let you know how far I went'. This is something that I'd like to know. [INTERRUPTION]
So who were some of the famous people, who used to be members of the Smoky Dawson Fan Club?
[Laughs] Well I can't rule out the Prime Minister, Paul Keating. He's a friend of mine. I've had several occasions of meeting him with Kevin Hill, the Mayor of Bankstown and his wife is Dutch, as you know. And of course she didn't know anything about Australia and of course when we were invited to be the guests at the mayoral ball we were the VIPs and Kevin said to me, 'Look, wait a minute because I had two special friends coming to join us, who will be sharing the night with us', and when he walked in it was the Prime Minister and his wife. And he said, 'This is Smoky', and he said to me, 'I know all about Smoky Dawson. I've just been telling my wife, who is from Holland, all about what Smoky stands for: Honesty, Integrity ...' - everything that was on the Code of the West. So I said to him, 'Fancy that, I didn't know that you were a member'. He said, 'I've always listened to Smoky Dawson. I've been one of his members for years'. And I then discovered too, when I met up with Graeme Richardson, when he opened up that big school on what was once my ranch up there now, and he said, 'Anyone that's got this place of Smoky Dawson's is on hallowed ground'. And he said to me, 'I remember Smoky'. I said, 'Yeah'. And he said, 'When I was a kid', he said, 'You nearly took my bloomin' tongue off with your stockwhip, trying to knock a piece of paper out of my mouth', when I went to his school.
[end of tape]