Hugh McDonald (Australian musician)

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Hugh McDonald
Born(1954-07-17)17 July 1954
Cowell, South Australia, Australia
Died18 November 2016(2016-11-18) (aged 62)
GenresRock, Australian folk, folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter, guitarist
Years active1970s-2016
LabelsCBS, Epic, Columbia, Sony

Hugh McDonald (17 July 1954 – 18 November 2016) was an Australian musician. Active from the 1970s to 2016, he performed and recorded with the Bushwackers, the Sundowners, Banshee, Redgum, Des "Animal" McKenna, Moving Cloud and the Colonials.[1]

McDonald became better known when he joined the folk-rock group Redgum in 1981. He wrote a number of the group's songs, including "The Diamantina Drover". After lead singer John Schumann left the band in 1986, he took over as lead singer until the group disbanded in 1990.[2]

After Redgum, McDonald continued playing and recording music,[3] and also taught music, including working with the Geelong Music College Orchestra.[4] In addition, he had his own recording studios in Melbourne.[5]

McDonald also lent his musical and recording expertise to the production of the Poowong Consolidated Primary School's annual music CD and more recently DVD. He worked alongside the students and music teacher Phil Beggs to compose, write, record and produce the CD.

From 2005 McDonald worked with Schumann again as part of the Vagabond Crew,[6] touring and performing on the albums Lawson and Behind the Lines. The latter album was recorded at McDonald's studios.

McDonald performed for Australian forces overseas several times. In December 2009 he visited East Timor to play for Australian and New Zealand troops stationed there,[7] in September–October 2011 he played for Australian troops in Afghanistan[8] and in July 2013 he played for Australian troops and Australian Federal Police in the Solomon Islands.[9] In 2014 he played for the Royal Australian Navy troops in Tanzania, Africa, and in March 2016 he returned to Afghanistan to play for Australian troops.

In 2014 McDonald released his third solo album, titled The Land, which includes his more recent originals "If It All Goes South", a tender heartfelt song which he wrote for his wife, Rebecca Harris Mason, and "Shrodinger's Cat", a contemplative song about accepting the uncertainties of life.

McDonald had seven children, six grandchildren and lived with his wife, pianist Rebecca Harris Mason, and his two stepchildren.[10] His daughter, Georgia, is also a musician who sings and plays guitar in Melbourne band Camp Cope.

Hugh McDonald died on 18 November 2016 from complications of prostate cancer.[11][12]



Title Details
The Lawson Album
  • Released: 1993
  • Label: ABC Music
  • Format: CD
Spirit of the Land
  • Released: 2004[13]
  • Label: Hugh McDonald
  • Format: CD, DD
The Land
  • Released: July 2014[14]
  • Label: Hugh McDonald
  • Format: CD, DD
Bush Shenanigans
  • Released: 2017[15]
  • Label: Hugh McDonald
  • Format: CD, DD, streaming

Other singles[edit]

List of singles as featured artist, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions
"The Garden"
(as Australia Too)
1985 22


  1. ^ Hugh McDonald Studios website About Archived 24 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Bmusic Redgum: Where Are They Now? Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ That Striped Sunlight Sound blog Hugh McDonald's Lawson album
  4. ^ National Library of Australia website Interview information
  5. ^ Hugh McDonald Studios website Studio Information Archived 5 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ That Striped Sunlight Sound Lawson review
  7. ^ Facebook Facebook album
  8. ^ Soundcloud website John Schumann talks about his November gig with the Vagabond Crew in Canberra Retrieved on 5 January 2012
  9. ^ Department of Defense One last show before curtain draws on Operation ANODE 26 July 2013
  10. ^ Peter MacCallum Cancer Center YouTube Channel Peter Mac prostate cancer patient Hugh McDonald shares his story 11 June 2013
  11. ^ Vlach, Anna R.I.P. Hugh McDonald of Redgum 1954-2016
  12. ^ John Schumann posts emotional tribute to Redgum guitarist Hugh McDonald, who died aged 62 21 November 2016 Adelaide Advertiser Retrieved 28 November 2016
  13. ^ "Spirit of he Land by Hugh McDonald". bandcamp. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  14. ^ "The Land by Hugh McDonald". bandcamp. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  15. ^ "Bush Shenanigans by Hugh McDonald". bandcamp. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  16. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 22. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid-1983 and 19 June 1988.

External links[edit]