All about Judith Durham: a woman of our time

Jan 2019 All about Judith Durham: a woman of our time

By Derek Mead

JUDITH DURHAM was born Judith Mavis Cock in Essendon, Victoria, Australia on July 3, 1943.

Until 1950, she lived in Essendon and attended the primary school there. From early 1950 she lived in Taroona, Hobart, Tasmania, before returning to Melbourne in 1956. There, she attended Ruyton Girls School before enrolling at RM1T, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Tech­nology, an internationally acclaimed university.

Judith planned to be a pianist, and in concert, she played as a ragtime pianist and sung blues gospel and jazz. Judith was born to sing, and with the encouragement of her sister Beverley, she became excited about the expanding jazz revival of the early 1960s in Melbourne, meeting many of those involved with music and song, and with the many jazz followers, frequenting the numerous venues.

**FORMATION. Two of the most important events of her early life were firstly when she began her singing career aged 18 with the Uni­versity Jazz Band at the Memphis Club in Melbourne, where she also sang with Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers.

In 1963, she recorded for W&G Records, her first EP ‘Judy Durham with Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers’ the first occasion on which she sang as Judy Durham, using her mother’s maiden name, and later Judy was to become Judith.

A new powerful name had been introduced to the world of music…

To read Derek Meads’s full 4400+ words story about Judith’s life, order a copy of the January issue of The Beat: Call 01722 742902 or email