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This week marks 30 years since the passing of local identity Raymond Perry.
Taken from his family at Kempsey as a boy, Ray was sent to work at a farm at Bylong. During his life Ray worked at Port Kembla and on the railways, even touring with Bob Tuite’s Boxing Troupe to Queensland, but he would always return to Mudgee, the town he called home.
"Teaching himself guitar, in 1948 he had his own radio program on 2MG every Sunday- when people called with their requests, he sang them live over the radio. "
At a time when Aboriginal people were struggling for equal rights, Ray made some remarkable achievements.
He was the men’s Mudgee Swimming Champion, teaching children to swim at the local weir in Lawson Park (when it was Mudgee swimming pool).
Teaching himself guitar, in 1948 he had his own radio program on 2MG every Sunday - when people called with their requests, he sang them live over the radio.
He worked as a tracker at the Mudgee Police Station from 1950 to 1959- at one time having to ask Roy Governor, brother to the notorious Jimmy, to move on as his presence was unsettling people in the area.
Ray’s later years were spent living with the Westwood family near Ulan where he became a much loved grandfatherly figure, teaching the kids bushcraft skills and cooking, and always ready to entertain with a song on his guitar.
Ray died at the age of 61, a victim of diabetes, and was buried at his favourite camping spot on the banks of the Goulburn River.
A true gentleman, Ray has been the inspiration of art and song and is still remembered fondly by the people who knew and loved him.