Until he was 10, David Campbell thought Jimmy Barnes was just a “family friend”.
To him, his mother Kim was ‘his sister’, and his maternal grandmother the only mum he knew.
It wasn’t until his early teenage years that the singer and Today Extra co-host would come to terms with the fact he was actually the son of the legendary Cold Chisel front man he’d wanted to see in concert with his friends.
Although the father and son have since built a close relationship, Barnes’ decision to walkout on his family just after Campbell was born in 1973, and make the trip from Adelaide to Melbourne to play with the band Cold Chisel took a huge toll on them both.
In an interview published in Who Magazine, the 62-year-old entertainer and author described the mindset that made him think his newborn son would be better off without him.
"He wasn't a problem, he was a beautiful boy. I guess I ran away from the responsibility of [being a parent]," he told journalist Stephen Downie.
"I just felt like I was dying. I thought there was no hope... it was just a matter of time before I died. That's why I was trying hard to flee."
What Barnes felt he had to flee from was the abusive upbringing he experienced in the South Australian suburb of Elizabeth. After his parents Jim and Dorothy Swan moved their young family from Glasgow, Scotland to Australia when he was five years old, Barnes' childhood was filled with domestic violence, abuse and alcoholism.
The singer described the street his family lived on growing up as having made him "sick to his stomach", that you could walk down that street and "within 100 yards feel safe or that your life was in danger."
Much like his fractured early experiences of fatherhood with Campbell, Barnes said his parents ran to Australia away from their own problems.