Hervey Bay singer-songwriter Steve Case

Man's heartbreak over written-off van

WHEN local singer-songwriter Steve Case penned a song about his beloved van "Freda", he had no idea it would soon become a tribute.

Late last year, the 37-year-old was travelling along Torquay Tce in the rain when Freda lost traction and careered off the road.

"Either the steering went, or it was just the wet road, or perhaps a bit of an oil slick or something, and she just lost traction and I couldn't correct her," he said.

Thankfully I went to the left side of the road and not the right into oncoming traffic.

"I hit a gutter and went up and over and the next thing I'm on my side and the cops and the fire brigade were there and I'm looking a little bit white, but other than that, no harm done."

Case said Freda represented a time in his life when he threw in his nine-to-five job to pursue his music.

"I mean you probably shouldn't get so attached to a vehicle, but it signified my change of life from just this city rat-racer to this hippy travelling muso guy," he said.


"I looked after her the whole time, I nursed her through dirt roads and any corners and then for it to just come unstuck so dramatically it's not what I had imagined for her.

"I was actually going to retire her down the track to a mate's farm where she could live out her days in a field or something, but instead I had to sell her parts."

Hervey Bay singer-songwriter Steve Case is set to leave for a four month residency gig at the Kimberley.
Hervey Bay singer-songwriter Steve Case is set to leave for a four month residency gig at the Kimberley. Contributed

When Case started his new life travelling the country in Freda, he made his way to an outback resort in Kimberley, Western Australia, where he now plays at every year.

"I just rolled into this little outback resort at Lake Argyle and said, 'can I sing for my supper?'," he said.

"And they said 'sure' and then a night turned into a week and then into a fortnight.

"They invited me back the following season for a month, but then that turned into the season and they've been inviting me back ever since."

Despite Freda's untimely demise, Case said he has since moved on by purchasing a used Subaru Forester.

"I got a really good deal from this old bloke in Maryborough who only had 60,000km on it over a 10-year period and he's kept it in mint condition," he said.

"I've done a pre-pack to make sure all my gear is going to fit in and it will, but obviously there isn't the room there was in Freda.

"And I do feel a bit funny not being in a van, especially because I've just released my song Man in a Van, I feel like a bit of a fraud, but the song was written before I wrote the van off."

Case will launch his latest album, along with his song Man in a Van, at 11am on Saturday, April 28 at the Front Room, 399 Charlton Esplanade, Torquay.