Smoky Dawson was tonight farewelled by fans and friends with a celebratory concert the ‘singing cowboy’ would have loved. Some of Australian country music’s biggest stars turned out to help celebrate the life of the singing cowboy, who died on February 13 after complications from surgery at the age of 94.
Lee Kernaghan, John Williamson, James Blundell, Adam Brand, Beccy Cole, Normie Rowe, Melinda Schneider and Graeme Connors were among the more than 40 performers who volunteered their time for The Adventures of Smoky Dawson - A Life Remembered.

A crowd of about 1000 gathered at The Hills Centre for Performing Arts at Castle Hill in Sydney’s north west for the show, which included live performances, television and film footage of the late singer and excerpts from his radio show.

The star-studded event was hosted by Ray Martin and Dick Smith on what would have been Dawson’s 95th birthday.

Dawson’s 101-year-old widow Dot did not attend, but some of her family flew up from Melbourne especially for the concert.

John Williamson was selected to close the two-and-a-half hour show with his classic hit True Blue.

“They asked what I wanted to sing and I thought there’s no-one more true blue than Smoky,” Williamson told AAP.

“It’s the sort of song you can’t really sing for somebody until they are gone, because the first line is ‘don’t say you’ve gone, say you’ve knocked off for a smoko’.

“I don’t use it lightly I must say. I get requests to sing that song at all sorts of things, but with Smoky, he was the perfect example of what the song is about.”

Williamson said Dawson had been a mentor to young Australian country singers, including himself.

“Smoky never had any enemies and never had a bad word to say about anything. He was always very encouraging,” he said.

“I’m a veteran now almost but when I started 38 years ago he was one of those fellas who was always very warm to you and very keen for young Aussies to make it in the country music world.

“Slim (Dusty) was the king but (Dawson) was more like the father, you know.”

Organisers said they wanted the night to be a celebration as well as a memorial.

“Smoky would hate the thought of anybody being sad,” said concert producer and Dawson’s friend Glenn T.

“Tonight in his honour we’re celebrating a spectacular life and paying homage to a truly remarkable human being.”

Glenn T said he thought Dawson would have been proud of the show and wished he could be there to enjoy it.

But he said others were of the opinion that he wouldn’t miss it for the world: “I was talking to Jack Thompson about it the other day, and Jack looked at me and winked, and said ‘mate, he’ll be there, don’t you worry about that’.”