Fans of the late Seekers’ lead singer Judith Durham will be offered a chance to farewell the iconic entertainer and pay tribute to the late singer’s “magnificent” contribution to music after the Victorian government confirmed she would be honoured with a state memorial.
Durham passed away at the age of 79 in palliative care on Friday, August 5 after suffering complications from chronic lung disease.
Following her death, a statement on behalf of Durham’s former Seeker’s bandmates was released by Universal Music Group, in which the band revealed their “lives are changed forever losing our treasured lifelong friend and shining star”.
“Her struggle was intense and heroic – never complaining of her destiny and fully accepting its conclusion,” the statement read.
“Her magnificent musical legacy Keith, Bruce and I are so blessed to share.”
The subject of a state memorial came to light after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews took to Twitter to reveal Durham’s family “have accepted the offer of a State Funeral to honour the life and contribution of a true icon of Australian music”.
I’ve spoken with Judith Durham’s family today and I’m pleased they have accepted the offer of a State Funeral to honour the life and contribution of a true icon of Australian music.
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 7, 2022
Further details of the ceremony have now been released with the Victorian government confirming the service will be held on Tuesday, September 6 starting at 7.00pm.
Durham’s farewell will be held at Hamer Hall in Melbourne where seats will be reserved for family, friends, dignitaries and invited guests to pay their respects.
Members of the public who also wish to pay tribute to Durham can do so by registering their interest via the Arts Centre Melbourne website.
Victorians will have an opportunity to remember Judith Durham’s life and music at a State Memorial Service. We’ve now locked in the details with Judith’s family.
The service will be held at Hamer Hall on Tuesday, 6 September 2022 from 6pm. https://t.co/IQqgBf5jD4
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 26, 2022
For those unable to attend in person the service will also be live-streamed.
Rather than leave flowers, Durham’s family has requested that tributes be made in the form of donations to Motor Neurone Disease Australia via the MND Australia website.
Durham was born on July 3, 1943 and had early aspirations to become a pianist, gaining a qualification of Associate in Music, Australia (AMusA), in classical piano at the University of Melbourne Conservatorium.
She played the piano for numerous professional engagements while undertaking classical vocal training. At the age of 18, Durham requested if she could sing with the Melbourne University Jazz Band at the Memphis Jazz Club from there she continued performing at the club with Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers.
In 1963 she recorded her first EP, Judy Durham, for W&G Records. In the same year, Durham joined the popular folk music group The Seekers alongside Athol Guy, Bruce Woodley, and Keith Potger.
The group achieved significant chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States with 50 million records sold worldwide, becoming the first Australian pop music group to do so.
Some of The Seekers’ biggest hits included I’ll Never Find Another You which reached number one in the UK and Australia in 1965. The iconic Georgy Girl got to number two on the Billboard charts and number one on the Cashbox charts in the United States while The Carnival Is Over remains one of the top 50 best-selling singles in the UK.