Joy McKean

Joy McKean OAM, born 14 January 1930, is an Australian country music singer-songwriter and wife and manager of the late Slim Dusty. Known as the “grand lady” of Australian country music, McKean is recognised as one of Australia’s leading songwriters and bush balladeers and wrote several of Dusty’s most popular songs.[1] In 1973, she was awarded the first ever Golden Guitar, for writing “Lights on the Hill”. She was inducted into the Australian Roll of Renown in 1983. (Wikipedia).

The 2020 documentary film Slim and I , telling the story of her life and musical partnership with Dusty, won the Best Australian film category of the 2020 Gold Coast Film Festival Awards. The McKean-Dusty musical partnership produced over 100 albums, sold eight million records in Australia alone, and earned 45 Golden Guitars. While Slim Dusty sadly passed away in 2003, Joy McKean has continued to write songs to the present day (Feb 2021). Catch up Joy McKean’s diary archive on the official website Slim Dusty Music.

Joy McKean australian songwriter

Listen to Songs By Joy McKean

Indian Pacific

Words and music by Joy McKean – Sung by Slim Dusty

The song Indian Pacific was generously offered in 1989 by Joy McKean for publication in the First Australian Women’s Songbook.


Song Lyrics

From coast to coast by night and day
Hear the clickin’ of the wheels,
The hummin’ of the diesel
On her ribbons of steel;
Carryin’ the mem’ries
Of a nation built by hand,
See the Indian Pacific span the land.

She’s the pride of all the railway men
‘Cross country where she flies,
From the blue Pacific waters
To where the mountains rise;
By lakes and wide brown rivers,
Through desert country dry,
See the Indian Pacific passin’ by.

Oh, the Indian Pacific
She goes rollin’ down the track,
Five thousand miles to travel,
Before she’s there and back.

Beside the line a drover waves
His battered old grey hat,
And kids are catchin’ yabbies
Down by the river flat,
And a woman hangs her washing
In the backyard near the line,
As the Indian Pacific’s rollin’ by.

Hear the whistle blowin’ lonely
‘Neath the Nullarbor starlight,
Salutin’ those who walked across
The track she rides tonight;
Callin’ to the railway camp
And the fettlers on the line,
I’m the Indian Pacific right on time.

From the silver of the Broken Hill
To old Kalgoorlie gold,
She mirrors all the colours
Of a land so hard and old;
Then the western flowers are blooming,
And the air is just like wine,
And the Indian Pacific’s makin’ time.

Last chorus:

Oh, the Indian Pacific
She goes rollin’ down the track,
Five thousand miles to travel,
Before she’s there and back.
From the waters of the western sea
To the eastern ocean sand,
The Indian Pacific spans the land.
Oh, the Indian Pacific spans the land.