There’s no way you could say Fred Smith is a run-of-the-mill entertainer.
In fact, the singer-songwriter, who will be performing in Mandurah on March 2, is an extraordinary bloke any way you look at him.
His album Dust of Uruzgan – and the book that goes with it – was written while working as a diplomat alongside Australian soldiers in the Uruzgan Province of southern Afghanistan.
Smith tells the enthralling and sometimes heartbreaking stories of the Australian troops who fought throughout in the region.
The plan to bring Smith to perform in Mandurah was hatched by Canning MP Andrew Hastie, who shared a desk with Smith when he served in Afghanistan.
He said he was discussing Smith’s book about his time in Afghanistan with a constituent when they had the idea to have him come to Mandurah.
“He’s incredibly thoughtful,” Mr Hastie said of Smith.
“We spent a lot of time between patrols discussing what we were doing in Afghanistan, the challenges of geography, culture and how the Afghans were perceiving us.”
Smith wrote the song Dust of Uruzgan about Private Benjamin Ranaudo, who was killed by an IED (improvised explosive device) in 2009 and Lance Corporal Paul Warren who lost a leg in the same attack.
“I was on the phone to a mate when the IED went off, it was like thunder right through the valley,” Mr Hastie said.
“By the time I got to the command post we were getting reports we’d lost someone.
“His song, the book, the memory he carries in his work – for people who want to get an idea of what it is to be a digger, it’s a great way to understand.
“He’ll touch your heart as well as your mind.”
ABC’s Australian Story featured Smith’s experiences in Uruzgan and the book The Dust of Uruzgan is available from Allen and Unwin.
Smith will perform at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre’s Boardwalk Theatre on March 2, from 7.30pm.
Use the code HASTIE 30 for a discount on tickets when booking through the website at manpac.com.au.