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Singer-song­writer Troy Cas­sar-Da­ley de­scribes him­self as a lar­rikin at heart who has of­ten learnt life lessons the hard way.

That at­ti­tude will be on full show to­mor­row evening as he takes to the stage for the an­nual Bond Uni­ver­sity In­dige­nous Gala.

There, he’ll share sto­ries about grow­ing up as an in­dige­nous Aus­tralian and his rise to the pin­na­cle of the Aussie coun­try mu­sic in­dus­try, as well as per­form some of his most-loved songs.

Since the gala’s 2010 in­cep­tion, it has es­tab­lished it­self as quite the Gold Coast so­cial out­ing, not to men­tion hav­ing raised more than $1 mil­lion to go to­wards the ed­u­ca­tion of young Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der stu­dents.

As a proud mem­ber of the Bund­jalung na­tion, Cas­sarDa­ley was surely top of the list to front the event, which more than 550 peo­ple are ex­pected to at­tend.

In Cas­sar-Da­ley’s re­cent tell-all me­moir, Things I Carry Around, the star traces his life from grow­ing up with his in­dige­nous mum in Grafton, to spend­ing time with his Mal­tese-Aus­tralian dad in Syd­ney’s swanky Surry Hills.

Cas­sar-Da­ley took three years to write the book, de­scrib­ing the gath­er­ing of so many mem­o­ries as an emo­tional roller­coaster.

“I want peo­ple to see you can go through a lot of things in a fam­ily and still be re­silient, still get out the other end OK,” he says.

The book is a story of his staunch love for fam­ily and his in­dige­nous her­itage, as well as the highs and lows of his ca­reer and his pas­sion for per­form­ing. Of his al­bum, also ti­tled Things I Carry Around, he says: “Each song has a di­rect con­nec­tion to the book and helps set the tones that have been the sound­track of my life.

“There is no sugar coat­ing here. This is my story as it stands and as I re­mem­ber it.”

Cas­sar-Da­ley started out his mu­sic ca­reer at the ripe old age of 10 when he signed up for gui­tar lessons, never think­ing he would one day end up with a col­lec­tion of 32 Golden Gui­tar Awards.

His al­bum True Be­liever was a turn­ing point for the artist and in­cludes ref­er­ences to the strug­gles and tri­umphs he has en­dured.

The Tam­worth Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val has al­ways been spe­cial to Cas­sar-Da­ley, who writes about Keith Ur­ban win­ning his first Golden Gui­tar Award among other celebrity anec­dotes. For in­stance, the one about teach­ing coun­try mu­sic leg­end Wil­lie Nel­son how to play the didgeri­doo, and tales about his time spent in Nashville – the beat­ing heart of coun­try mu­sic in Amer­ica.

The love of Cas­sar-Da­ley’s life, wife Lau­rel whom he met at the Gympie Tal­ent Quest, son Clay and daugh­ter Jem are the most im­por­tant things in his life. And, charm­ingly, he still drives his old EH Holden that over­heats on a hot day. Troy Cas­sar-Daly, to­mor­row, 6pm, Bond Uni­ver­sity. Tick­ets $220 per per­son or $2200 for a ta­ble of 10

Troy Cas­sar-Da­ley first per­formed at the Tam­worth Coun­try Mu­sic Fes­ti­val at the age of 11. To­mor­row he plays Bond Uni­ver­sity for its an­nual In­dige­nous Gala.

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