Most living Australians grew up with Slim Dusty as just one of those immortal Australian icons, like Bert Newton, John Laws, or Dame Edna Everage. One of those parts of the landscape, a part of the background to one's life that had always been there and always would.
When someone like Slim Dusty dies, it makes us pause and reflect, just momentarily, on where we are and how we got here. Even if we don't think about them in our everyday lives, they still shape our awareness of ourselves as Australians and as people.
Most Australians can at least hum the tune to his defining song The Pub With No Beer, even if they don't know the words. Many would regard the high point of Slim Dusty's career to be the time he sang this quintessentially Australian song at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, to a TV audience of over 4 billion people.
Peter Garret, lead singer of the great Aussie rock band Midnight Oil, wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald today:
"At the end, Slim Dusty was as good if not better than the day he started. That's the phenomenal thing about it. His career did not go up and down like most of ours go up and down. His career went up, found its rightful place - the Slim Place - in the galaxy of Australian country and stayed there.
There's the country music industry place and there's the Slim Dusty Place."
He will be missed. Rest in peace, Slim Dusty.