Richard Davis is probably the writer one might hope for if, as an Australian musician, one’s biography is about to be written. His subjects include Marjorie Lawrence, Stuart Challender, Geoffrey Parsons and Anna Bishop, and responses to them usually include comments such as“definitive”, “authoritative”, “internationally acclaimed”, “meticulously researched”, “refreshingly objective”, and so on.

June Bronhill

However, few earnest opinions focus on Davis’s seemingly effortless and lively style. It’s this that helps bring to life June Bronhill, a woman whose joie de vivre was effortless and whose talent to amuse and enthral was always lively. She was born the sixth and youngest to George Francis Gough and Mary Isobel Gough née Hall, in June 1929 in a city as far west as is possible in NSW – Broken Hill.

Four months later, the world was engulfed in the worst economic disaster ever known: the Wall Street Crash. The falling wool and wheat prices of the 1920s had already sent Australia into a slow downward spiral and Broken Hill didn’t escape. The Goughs did it tough in a town...