Fred Dagg was actually New Zealand-born comedian and political satirist John Clarke, who appeared as Dagg on television always wearing a black singlet and gumboots.
Fred Dagg, father of seven sons all called Trev, became a household name in Australia in 1975.
His first single was Traditional Air, followed by We Don’t Know How Lucky We Are (which made it to #17 on the Aussie charts).
An album called Fred Dagg’s Greatest Hits followed and was a massive seller.
His 1976 single, Gumboots, was an even bigger hit, climbing to #6 on the charts. Gumboots was a modified version of Billy Connolly’s If It Weren’t For Your Wellies (itself an adaptation of the old song The Work Of The Weavers).
A second album (Fred Dagg Live) was released in 1976 and was also a huge seller. A third and final album was released in 1979 called The Fred Dagg Tapes.
John Clarke also appeared in a number of movies and television shows. Amongst the most memorable were his role as Fred Dagg in Dagg Day Afternoon in 1977 and as Wal in Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale in 1986.
John moved to Melbourne in the late seventies and established himself as a top scriptwriter and personality on Australian TV. He found fame as a political satirist, particularly his mock interviews with collaborator Bryan Dawe, which ran on the ABC for more than 25 years.
John Clarke died on 9 April 2017 while hiking in a national park in Victoria, Australia. He was 68.