Honouring Graham Pampling, Beloved Busker of the Queen Street Mall

A petition has been called by the Brisbane public to erect a statue of the late-yet-legendary busker Graham Pampling at Queen Street Mall, where he played the saxophone six days a week from 1998 to 2018. 

Graham Pampling, who passed in 2019, was a beloved busker who had become something of a community staple in Queen Street. It was hard to ignore the blind busker whose music had become an integral part of everyone’s everyday life, regaling the city with his saxophone.

His labradors, who served as his guide dogs and loyal friends, often accompanied him during these sessions. Pampling became something of a local celebrity given his inspiring story.

Pampling was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic condition that slowly causes cells in the retina to die which then leads to blindness.

Throughout his life, he experienced a great many hardships — including the death of his 19-year-old son, who tragically perished in a forklifting accident in 1985.

The marriage between Pampling and his wife of 28 years also broke down, which then led to the busker-to-be to travel to Brisbane with his saxophone, where he stayed for the next three decades. He’d set up in Queen Street Mall and begin busking for every passerby, serenading the public with his beautiful music. 

His music wasn’t the only thing that cemented his status as a local icon and inspiration in the city, for Pampling had also volunteered at local schools to teach visually impaired students how to type without using their sight. 

Brisbane residents from all around the city have signed a petition, titled Remember Graham Pampling, to immortalise him and celebrate his memory by creating a statue in his honour. As of the 28th of February, 2021, over 6,900 people have signed in hopes of having the statue raised. Those interested in contributing to Graham Pampling’s memory can find and sign the petition here.