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The Grant McLennan Library

THE GRANT McLENNAN LIBRARY
Jessica Adams


I once met Grant McLennan for lunch in a Thai restaurant in Sydney in 1991 with Annette Shun-Wah (a Queenslander, like him). I didn’t realise he was compiling The Grant McLennan Library at the time.

Annette was hosting the Australian music TV show The Noise for SBS. I was writing about both music and astrology for Elle magazine. Grant was working with Steve Kilbey on Jack Frost.  

The restaurant was just down from The Bookshop at 207 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst – and Grant had a suspicious-looking bag under his arm. I suspect one of these mighty tomes, below – perhaps Outback Women? – may have been hidden within.  (These is just a small selection of the Grant McLennan library, below, featured on the band’s British website).

 

Grant's library - as seen on the band's UK site.
The Grant McLennan Library – a small selection.

 

THE MAN WITH THE SERIOUS BOOKSHOP HABIT
I’m fairly sure inside Grant’s bag that day, was a book. I know, I know, it might have been drugs.  People talk a lot about Grant McLennan’s use of heroin, after Steve Kilbey’s revelations. Never mind the drugs, though, what about the bookshop habit? We now know that Grant left  behind 1800 books in his 48 years on the planet, when he passed so suddenly in 2006.

 

Grant McLennan
Grant McLennan

 

PETER PAN AND PETER CAREY
Nobody knew about Grant’s vast library, until 600 books (many signed, or with autographed bookmarks from Robert Forster) were given away to early purchasers of the G Stands for Go-Betweens box set. Fans were then told there were 1200 more.

Those who were first in the queue to buy the box set sometimes ended up with not one – but two – of Grant’s paperbacks. On Twitter, one fan ended up with this, below  (Image @country_mile on Twitter).

 

England is Mine and One Day She Catches Fire from Grant McLennan's library.
England is Mine and One Day She Catches Fire from Grant McLennan’s library.

 

ADDICTED TO BOOKS
By my reckoning, that means Grant McLennan was buying one book every week – at least – from the time he first learned to read. Now, that’s quite an addiction.

When Grant’s stash of paperbacks and dog-eared hardbacks was given away, randomly, to the first purchases of the box set G Stands For Go-Betweens, writer Greg Adams was fortunate enough to end up with a signed Angela Carter novel.

Other people unwrapped everything from Peter Pan, to Peter Carey. Greg’s compiled a list of all the books here.

Grant McLennan was a songwriter’s writer. Also a reader’s songwriter. This was part of his one-time muse, partner and colleague Amanda Brown’s statement at his funeral:

“Grant’s songs captured an Australia that was influenced by his love for contemporary American writers like Cormac Macarthy, Richard Ford and Raymond Carver and songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith. These writers inform his images of Australia, which range from the landscapes tinged with nostalgia and loss (Cattle and Cane and Bye Bye Pride), suburban life (Streets of Your Town), epic narratives (The Wrong Road, Black Mule) and of course, exquisite love songs like Quiet Heart, Stones for You, and Bachelor Kisses.” (The Sydney Morning Herald).

THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC HISTORY INSIDE GRANT’S LIBRARY
What is really interesting about Grant’s vast library is that it’s a window into Australian music history. His own, and the band’s. His interest in everything from the bush, to Ted Hughes, turns up in the songs too. And what songs.

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard put a Go-Betweens single on an iPod for former President Barack Obama. The current Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, was in the audience for the last concert The Go-Betweens ever played.

Years after that lunch with Grant,  I found myself joining the campaign for an Australian Music Museum. It was 2013 and like so many other people I was concerned about the way historic venues were being demolished – and everything from rare singles, to rusty old badges – were ending up on eBay, rather than in the nation’s archives.

Grant had been gone for 7 years by then (although of course, the spirit remains).  By that time, a copy of People Say, the second single by The Go-Betweens, was selling for hundreds of dollars to private collectors. Not to the nation, though. By 2017 the asking price for People Say was $835. (The current asking price for a vinyl edition of the box set, G Stands For Go-Betweens, is over $2000).

Fortunately, as I write this, it now looks as though we may have a potential home for at least some of The Go-Betweens’ possessions. Melbourne and Sydney have at last begun finding permanent spaces for – what it’s hoped – will be a proper archive.

The Go-Betweens were so much more than a band. Yet –  11 years after he passed and left all those books behind, Grant McLennan’s only presence in Australian galleries, museums and the rest – is a recording of Cattle and Cane in the National Film and Sound Archive, and a handful of photographs held by the State Library of Queensland.  This is one of them, taken by Paul O’Brien. It’s wonderful. But really – is that it?

 

April 28th 1978. The Go-Betweens begin.
April 28th 1978. The Go-Betweens begin.

 

MUSIC FOR OUTSIDERS
One of the reasons The Go-Betweens matters, is their role as a channel for outsiders in Australia, from the 1970s onwards. Together with their feminist drummer Lindy Morrison, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan helped to change a nation.  Nobody had ever seen a female drummer on  the ABC-TV series Countdown until Lindy turned up. I don’t think anyone had seen a man reading what amounted to poetry on Countdown, either.

It went on. Robert dyed his hair Monroe-blonde and occasionally wore corsets. Grant read Angela Carter. We had songs about menstruation and bookshops. Finally, it seemed, Australia had a band to take its place alongside Germaine Greer, on the world stage.

Together with their remarkable drummer, The Go-Betweens were a Mod Squad all of their own, fighting an entire nation’s fixed ideas about what men and women should be.  This is another photograph from Paul O’ Brien’s archive, taken from that time.

 

Lindy Morrison
Lindy Morrison

THE BOOKS  BEHIND THE SONGS

Look around Grant’s library,  partly distributed with the box set – and it quickly becomes obvious that there are a lot of books behind those songs. I’m sure if you look at the books you will find something that speaks to you personally to the point where it gets you, where you live.

As an astrologer I have always been curious about the lyrics in Quiet Heart: How on earth could Grant McLennan have known so much about one particular sign of the Zodiac on the Ascendant of a natal chart? (Not to mention its association with the Eighth House and reincarnation).

Scorpio Rising
Doesn’t matter how far you come

You’ve always got further to go

Lindy Morrison has since confirmed that the Scorpio Rising lover in Quiet Heart was Amanda Brown. Both women were born in November under the zodiac sign of Scorpio.

Grant owned not only The Birthday Letters by the poet and astrologer Ted Hughes, he also owned at least two volumes in Anthony Powell’s cult series, A Dance to the Music of Time. 

Hughes was married to the Scorpio, Sylvia Plath. Powell’s central character in the final book in the series, Hearing Secret Harmonies, was an astrologer called Scorpio Murtlock.

The Birthday Letters is partly a collection of poems about fated twists and turns in the horoscopes and lives of Hughes and Plath. You can read more here, by my friend Neil Spencer, in The Guardian.
Neil, the former editor of NME later became the astrologer for The Observer.

The reason I am picking out this tiny detail which tells a long story,  is that Grant had a head like a library and someone will always find their life on a Go-Betweens’ old vinyl shelf.  He and Robert found each other and also found us, which is why people will queue – and queue – to talk to Robert today, about the band and about the music. At the Louder Than Words weekend event in Manchester in November 2017, Robert invited people in his audience to come and talk after his gig/interview – no matter if they bought a book or not. Needless to say, the queue stretched out of the door and the waiting time was long, because together with Grant, Robert had/has the personal touch. This is intimate music for people who are outsiders in some way.  In Manchester, Robert said he was looking for someone like him – and he found him in Grant. They were two students far, far outside the Queensland/Australian mainstream. Maybe that has something to do with the way so many fans of the music feel included. Both men knew what it was like to feel apart from what was around them.

 

BOOKS STARS POWELL

 

CHRISSY AMPHLETT’S LANE AND LINDY MORRISON’S DRUMS
When I met Lindy Morrison to talk about an Australian music museum in May 2014,  I was there to discuss Chrissy Amphlett’s Lane (Amphlett Lane, Melbourne) and the planned destruction of the historic Palace Theatre, backing onto the lane. Lindy had known Chrissy, of course. This photograph was taken in 1988 by Tony Mott (Sydney Morning Herald/Twitter). It’s just a moment, on a night, but it’s also this wonderful picture of a certain kind of wake-up call in Australian music, and Australia, at the time…

 

Deborah Conway, Chrissy Amphlett, Lindy Morrison 1988 (Tony Mott).
Deborah Conway, Chrissy Amphlett, Lindy Morrison 1988 (Tony Mott).

 

The Go-Betweens marched to the beat of a different drummer, literally. So – the conversation a while back, about a museum, in Sydney turned to Lindy’s Ludwig drum kit, and where to house it for posterity. This is a conversation which will go on for years in Australia, I guess – about so many other iconic drum kits, and guitars – not to mention wardrobe items, posters and photographs.

 

GRANT AND ROBERT

 

GRANT MCLENNAN, PAPERBACK WRITER

Speaking at The Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2017, Robert Forster noted, “Grant was going to write a novel and he never did.”

True, but he did become a paperback writer, in the end. My friend Nick Earls asked Grant to contribute a piece to our Penguin anthology  Big Night Out in aid of the charity War Child – and you can still read it today, in the latest anthology in the series, Girls’ Night In – The 10th Anniversary Collection. 

Party Piece is Grant’s tale of a party that never was.

Nick Earls’  stage adaptation of his  novel about a former rock idol, The True Story of Butterfish, features music from both Robert Forster and Adele Pickvance so the Go-Betweens beat goes on. It probably all started with Nick’s classic Bachelor Kisses, named after the song,  though – and you can find it here.

I have in my possession a small mountain of e-mails about Grant McLennan’s involvement in Big Night Out and I’m sure Penguin and Nick do too – but again – the question remains, where in Australia can we find a space to preserve these tiny bits of musical history?  There must be so many more. Thousands of saved memories about this crucially important band, some of which may be in your pocket.

 

Bachelor Kisses by Nick Earls.
Bachelor Kisses by Nick Earls.

 

Dorothy Parker and Grant’s Party Piece
Party Piece by Grant McLennan in our Penguin anthology for War Child, begins like this.

when dorothy parker and lord byron invite you over, you should arrive early and smell like an orchid, be sure to bring some peaches for your horse, because you can never have enough friends at these kinds of things.

Here Lies by Dorothy Parker was also on Grant’s shelves at the end.

BOOKS DO FURNISH A ROOM
In his tremendously sad/funny autobiography Grant and I (Penguin) Robert Forster remembers his old friend habitually carrying records, magazines, novels and poetry books under his arm at university. At the end, Robert remembers (in Manchester in November 2017) Grant ‘walking towards’ a particular destination, thanks to his drinking, noting that we all have friends like that. They get to their forties, and they don’t stop. Grant also had depression, Robert remembers, as so many songwriters, authors and painters do.

And yet –

Robert Forster’s article about Grant in The Monthly remembers –

“I’d drive over to his place to play guitar and he’d be lying on a bed reading a book. Grant never felt guilt about this. The world turned and worked; he read. That was the first message. He’d offer to make coffee, and I knew – and here’s one of the great luxuries of my life – I knew I could ask him anything, on any artistic frontier, and he’d have an answer. He had an encyclopaedic mind of the arts, with his own personal twist. So, as he worked on the coffee, I could toss in anything I liked – something that had popped up in my life that I needed his angle on. I’d say, “Tell me about Goya,” or, “What do you know about Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry?” or, “Is the Youth Group CD any good?”

The Little Something

Perhaps that is one of the many keys to the success of The Go-Betweens. They had a little something – and it was always intensely personal  –  no matter if it’s astrology, or Queensland farming, or Eighties haircuts, or heroin, or Frank Brunetti, or feminism – for everyone. When I first heard the line ‘Scorpio Rising’ in Quiet Heart I nearly fell off my chair.  And not only that, Grant McLennan actually seemed to know what it meant, as any astrologer would attest. This is one of so many, many personal song stories. I wonder what yours might be?  Because…

Australian surfers of a certain age who spent their youth wearing Lee Cooper Jeans and reading Tracks probably feel exactly the same way about the band’s later work – like Surfing Magazines.

It’s The Go-Betweens Effect. It’s from them, to you.  Even now, when Grant is physically gone from the world, the music still has that power. Robert and Grant thought the band would be a temporary activity before they moved onto other things, like films. In the end, fans put a stop to that idea. Even after Grant has gone, maybe partly as a result of that, the music seems even more personal and powerful than it ever did.

Queenslander Kriv Stenders’ documentary about The Go-Betweens with unforgettable interviews with later band members, John Willsteed and Robert Vickers, captures that personal touch, perfectly.

 

 


BUILDING BRIDGES AND SAVING BUILDINGS
Other bands have plaques. The Go-Betweens have not only a plaque in Brisbane, but also a bridge. The missing ‘s’ in the name is a minor source of regret for fans – and the band – but otherwise, as Robert Forster has said, it’s a beautiful thing.

Speaking to the ABC,  he reflected, “The Go-Between Bridge, it’s almost, well, you know, when Grant and I first sat around in 1978 thinking about the things we’d get from being a rock band, a bridge wasn’t one of them. I can’t remember him saying that. And a bridge is a beautiful thing. It’s better than the Go-Between Sewerage Works.”

At Grant’s funeral, Forster delivered a eulogy in which he said McLennan’s songs would last 1000 years. Acknowledging his friend’s presence in spirit at the service, he quickly added: “Grant’s just told me 10,000.”

It would be nice to think that in 1000 or 10,000 years from now, Australians could still see some of Grant’s mountain of 1800 signed books, safely under dim-lit glass.

The house where Grant McLennan lived, in Highgate Hill, may have gone by then. Nothing may remain of the foundations of 10 Golding Street, Toowong, where he began writing songs with Robert Forster. Even so – there are other ways, to make sure we’ll never forget the books that helped make The House That Jack Kerouac Built. Collect, collect and keep collecting.

Grant & I by Robert Forster is available at Booktopia.

 

 

 

 

 

NUKES AND AUSTRALIAN MUSIC

 

NUKES AND AUSTRALIAN MUSIC

Australian music and politics have been intertwined since Vietnam and its aftermath. Khe Sanh is sometimes called the alternative Australian national anthem. Only Nineteen, by Redgum, continued the tradition set by Don Walker and Cold Chisel, in the Eighties.

THE OILS IN THE EIGHTIES

The early-mid 1980s saw the rise of People for Nuclear Disarmament in Australia. Midnight Oil played strong songs that sold the anti-nuclear message and toured the country widely, educating a generation about nukes. This laminate, from the collection of Marshall Cullen, dates from that time. Hobart was a focus for the anti-nuke protests of the mid 1980’s after the controversial visit of the U.S.S. Enterprise – Peter Garrett was there.

Midnight Oil laminate: Marshall Cullen.
Midnight Oil laminate: Marshall Cullen.

 

STOP THE DROP, 1983

 

 

 

U.S. FORCES GIVE THE NOD

U.S. Forces lyrics which the crowd sing word-for-word in the Stop The Drop clip can be found at Midnight Oil’s official website . The song was written by Jim Moginie and Peter Garrett.

The anthem U.S. Forces name checks Shakespeare (‘dogs of war ‘) as well as the Wall Street TV-speak of the early Eighties (‘market movements call the shots.’)  You can see the crowd mouthing the lines “People too scared to go to prison” at Stop The Drop which was also a reflection of the times. This T-Shirt, below, is in The Powerhouse Museum collection in Sydney.

 

Stop The Drop Concert 1983 Powerhouse Museum T Shirt

Stop The Drop Concert 1983 Powerhouse Museum T Shirt

 

STOP THE DROP CONCERT POSTER - Arts Centre Melbourne
STOP THE DROP CONCERT POSTER – Arts Centre Melbourne

 

INXS, GOANNA AND  REDGUM

The Stop the Drop concert held at Melbourne’s Myer Music Bowl on Sunday 13 February 1983 was attended by the T-shirt donor you see responsible for the Powerhouse Museum archive donation on this page – Kevin Fewster  – who also happened to be one of the organisers.

The 1983 concert was attended by 8000 people. In 1984 Peter Garrett was to run for the Australian Senate in NSW for the Nuclear Disarmament Party but was not elected.

Also at this concert, members of Goanna, Midnight Oil and Redgum recorded an impromptu song to protest the proposed damming of Tasmania’s Franklin River. Released as ‘Let The Franklin Flow’ by Gordon Franklin and the Wilderness Ensemble, it reached number 15 on the charts in May that year.

 
10 9 8

 

PLUTONIUM WIFE

The line “Superboy takes a plutonium wife” might just be one of the most mis-heard in Australian music, but ‘sing me songs of no denying’ is something most Australian music fans would automatically attribute to the band. The album was huge in the early 1980’s and together with Red Sails In The Sunset (which shows Sydney after the bomb) politicised part of a generation.

 THE RANGER URANIUM MINE

Between 1979 and 1984, the majority of what is now Kakadu National Park was created, surrounding but not including the Ranger uranium mine.  The two themes for the 1980 Hiroshima Day march and rally in Sydney, sponsored by the Movement Against Uranium Mining (MAUM), were: “Keep uranium in the ground” and “No to nuclear war.” Later that year, the Sydney city council officially proclaimed Sydney nuclear-free.

The Nobel-prize winning Australian novelist Patrick White led one such march, and was photographed  with Tom Uren, pictured with dark glasses, bag and stick. This is his novel The Eye of the Storm.

 

Patrick White

 

RUBBERY FIGURES, RONALD REAGAN AND MIDNIGHT OIL

By 1982, there were 350,000 Australians at anti-nuclear rallies, focussed on halting Australia’s uranium exports, removing foreign bases from Australian land and creating a nuclear-free Pacific. The visits of U.S. nuclear warships – as far as Hobart – was also a major early Eighties issue and Midnight Oil sang the soundtrack.

The comedy puppet series Rubbery Figures (ABC-TV 1984-1990) satirised U.S. President Ronald Reagan in the same period. To put Midnight Oil’s anti-nuclear albums 10, 9, 8 and Red Sails in context, it’s also important to remember that in 1984, shortly after both records (still vinyl) were released, President Reagan joked in a soundcheck on National Public Radio,  ‘My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.’

Rubbery Figures – Ronald Regan re Anzac Day


THE BOMB AND THE EIGHTIES

Writing in Meanjin, Simon Castles remembers, ‘In 1984 the Doomsday Clock kept by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was moved to three minutes to midnight, its most dire position since the invention of the hydrogen bomb. Midnight Oil released Red Sails in the Sunset the same year, an album whose cover shows Sydney after a nuclear strike.’

‘In the eighties there was a stack of pop songs about the bomb. To name just a handful of tracks on a list that ran long, as if to a mushroom cloud on the horizon: ‘Breathing’ by Kate Bush (1980), ‘1999’ by Prince (1982), ‘Seconds’ by U2 (1983), ‘99 Luftballons’ by Nena (1983), ‘Walking in Your Footsteps’ by The Police (1983), ‘Two Minute Warning’ by Depeche Mode (1983), ‘Forever Young’ by Alphaville and then Laura Branigan (1984–85), ‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1984), ‘Russians’ by Sting (1985), ‘Guns in the Sky’ by INXS (1987) and ‘Everyday is like Sunday’ by Morrissey (1988).’

You can read more in Meanjin online

RED SAILS ART

Red Sails in the Sunset was a title more associated with Bing Crosby and Fats Domino in the Eighties – until Midnight Oil took it over with the help of a Japanese artist who was years ahead of his time. American blogger Sam Wade, writes at The Vinyl Odyssey:

“Japanese artist, Tsunehisa Kimura, created the post-apocalyptic vision of Sydney Harbor – no water only craters from nuclear bombs and a giant fireball near the bridge. It’s one of the coolest photomontages I’ve seen and it stuck with me even more because I have family in Australia. But remember, this record came out in 1984, six years before Photoshop 1.0 would ever hit the streets. In this digital age, it’s easy to forget that this type of art was much more painstaking and analog to create.”

The Vinyl Odyssey: Red Sails In The Sunset – Midnight Oil

 

RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET BING CROSBY
RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET BING CROSBY

 

RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET FATS DOMINO
RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET FATS DOMINO

 

MIDNIGHT OIL RED SAILS TAPE
MIDNIGHT OIL RED SAILS TAPE at WWW.EBAY.COM

 

NO DAMS

Dr Sarah Engledow, Historian and Curator at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia, wrote in Portrait magazine.

“In 1983, in an international climate of increased public involvement in protest, the Australian local news was dominated by environmental demonstrations on two fronts. The first was the Tasmanian NO DAMS campaign, making highly professional and effective use of photographs by Peter Dombrovskis,a wilderness photographer mentored by Olegas Truchanas. The second was the anti-nuclear movement. In February 1983 Midnight Oil helped organise the Stop the Drop concert in Melbourne, and headlined the event. That year, Tom Uren and Peter Garrett marched together at the head of an anti-nuclear protest. In 1984, when Tom Uren and Patrick White walked side by side at the front of an Australians for Nuclear Disarmament march and Peter Garrett stood unsuccessfully for the Senate on behalf of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, Midnight Oil released the album Red Sails in the Sunset, featuring sinisterly surreal cover artwork by Tsunehisa Kimura of the Sydney Harbour Bridge spanning an expanse of cratered red dirt, a bomb-like ball glowing lava-hot beside the Opera House. The following year, the Oils’ EP Species Deceases came with album notes on the theme of Hiroshima forty years on. Including the great track ‘Hercules’, Species Deceases was an exasperated exhortation to action: ‘Come to your senses and care/16 million I can’t hear you at all’, Garrett cried.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Chrissy Amphlett

Happy Birthday Chrissy Amphlett

Chrissy Amphlett was born on 25th October 1959. This is her dog, Holiday, who is immortalised, along with Chrissy’s famous school uniform and Divinyls amplifier, at Amphlett Lane in Melbourne. (Picture: Copyright Charley Drayton/Chrissy Amphlett).

 

Holiday (Chrissy Amphlett/Charley Drayton)
Holiday (Chrissy Amphlett/Charley Drayton)

The school uniform she is remembered by was not her only look (see below, in this photograph by Tony Mott for On the Street magazine) but it was her most famous wardrobe branding, helping break Divinyls internationally.

 

Chrissy Amphlett photographed by Tony Mott for On the Street.
Chrissy Amphlett photographed by Tony Mott for On the Street.

Amphlett Lane

Amphlett Lane, off Little Bourke Street, near Spring Street and Exhibition Street,  Melbourne, is where Chrissy Amphlett  walked from the stage door of The Princess Theatre, where she starred in the hit musical Boy From Oz.

The Divinyls are also recorded in gig guides as having played a double-bill with Joan Jett at The Palace Theatre, Bourke Street, which is at the back of Amphlett Lane. Both stage doors are steps away from each other.

Chrissy’s husband Charley Drayton, drummer for Cold Chisel, remembers her here, at the opening, along with her cousin Patricia ‘Little Pattie’ Amphlett and members of her family.

 

 

One of the last messages Chrissy ever left for her fans was on  social media, where she mentions Holiday (below). “My little dog Holiday lays on the end of the bed when I am not feeling great  and doesn’t leave my side.”

Amphlett Lane is a permanent tribute to Chrissy Amphlett along with her music – and a campaign for breast cancer awareness, I Touch Myself  which Chrissy gave her blessing to, before she passed. She is also remembered in the ARIA Hall of Fame along with one of her most famous songs, Science Fiction.  Happy Birthday Chrissy Amphlett!

 

Peter Gouldthorpe painting Chrissy's Divinyls amplifier and her dogs (Image: Peter Gouldthorpe)
Peter Gouldthorpe painting Chrissy’s Divinyls amplifier and her dogs (Image: Peter Gouldthorpe)
Chrissy Amphlett's message to her fans - and Holiday, her dog.
Chrissy Amphlett’s message to her fans mentions Holiday, her dog, who never left her side.

George Young – the AC/DC Map

GEORGE YOUNG

Vale George Young. The passing of the genius behind The Easybeats and a key member of the Young dynasty has generated new interest in AC/DC, the Young brothers and their huge influence on Australia.

THE AC/DC MAP

If you’re visiting Fremantle, Melbourne or Sydney and want to go on a Bon Scott and Angus Young pilgrimage, here are the sacred sites. On the AC/DC Map of Australia, Melbourne has to come first. Why? The band lived there. And Countdown made them famous there – mainly because Bon Scott put on a school uniform too.

 

Countdown (Melbourne) is big on the AC/DC Map. (ABC-TV).
Countdown (Melbourne) is big on the AC/DC Map. (ABC-TV).

AC/DC IN ELSTERNWICK, MELBOURNE

Bon Scott immortalised himself and the band filming Countdown  for ABC-TV. These images are from Twitter #ClassicCountdown.  Sarah Clarke @ACSarahAC is the source for the 1985 Countdown studio audience pass.  Sadly the famous studio has now been sold to a supermarket. And by 1985 AC/DC had become world superstars.

 

Sarah Clarke on Twitter @ACSarahAC Bon Scott on Countdown Bon Scott Countdown II

The AC/DC Map of Australia just has to include Melbourne (ABC-TV).
The AC/DC Map of Australia just has to include Melbourne (ABC-TV).

 MELBOURNE – ST KILDA

6 Lansdowne Road, East St Kilda.  Demolished and replaced (like most of Melbourne music history) but nevertheless, nominated by music magazine Mojo as a contender for music history’s “vilest den of depravity”. There is also a free app if you are interested – put together by Australian music historian Bruce Milne and Music Victoria.

The St. Kilda Kitchen

It wasn’t all depravity, though. Sometimes there was cake. Trudy Worme’s mum used to drop her off at 6 Lansdowne Road on Sunday afternoons so she could cook dinner for them. She also baked Angus his favourite chocolate cakes. That definitely puts her on the AC/DC Map.

 AC/DC Lane

The visuals in AC/DC Lane (off Flinders Lane, Melbourne and the home of the ‘musicians’ music venue’ Cherry Bar) change all the time.  Even if you’ve been here before, it won’t look the same. AC/DC Lane was the result of lobbying by Music Victoria’s Patrick Donovan (then a journalist with The Age) and James Young, who runs Cherry Bar. 

This part of Melbourne is associated with Bon Scott (far right, with hippie band Fraternity) in particular. This is where he lost his flares, found his tight jeans and discovered his voice. You can walk from AC/DC Lane to Swanston Street and see the trail Bon and the band followed for It’s A Long Way to the Top. 

 

Bon Scott with Fraternity in a Go-Set poster.
Bon Scott with Fraternity in a Go-Set poster.

The Hard Rock Cafe

The original Hard Rock Cafe was created by former AC/DC manager Michael Browning from the remains of Bertie’s, formerly Victoria and Albert. This is where AC/DC played for $1 and Angus Young fell on the floor and accidentally invented his ‘dying insect’ pose. It stood at 1 Spring Street.

The Australian Music Vault

The Hard Rock Cafe of Seventies legend at 1 Spring Street has now been swallowed up by the corporate towers of Shell (below).  If you want to get a feeling for not only AC/DC, but also Melbourne music history though – the place which formed the sound – The Australian Music Vault in The Arts Centre Melbourne (opened December 2017) is a good place to start. Bon’s leather jacket is archived there.

 

The former Hard Rock Cafe, 1 Spring St, Melbourne.
The former Hard Rock Cafe, 1 Spring St, Melbourne.
Curator at The Australian Music Vault with Bon's jacket.
Curator at The Australian Music Vault with Bon’s jacket.

 

SYDNEY – THE YOUNGS’ HOME

4 Burleigh Street, Burwood was once home to George, Malcolm and Angus Young. George went on to form The Easybeats and Malcolm and Angus went on to form AC/DC. Burwood is less well-known than AC/DC Lane in Melbourne or Bon Scott’s memorial in Fremantle, but it’s a highlight of the AC/DC Map in New South Wales.

Purchased in 1965 by the Youngs’ father, a migrant from Scotland the house at 4 Burleigh Street was home, after the family left Villawood Migrants’ Hostel. The house dates from 1906. Historian Glenn A. Baker successfully lobbied for its preservation (among with other Australian music landmarks) some years ago.

The National Trust included this house on the National Trust Register in July 2013, saving it for Australia.

FREMANTLE – BON’S GRAVE

You can pay your respects at Bon Scott’s grave in Fremantle, Western Australia. There is a walking trail with QR code available.  In 2006 the grave was listed by the National Trust and given heritage status.

On 19 February 1980 Bon tragically died outside 67 Overhill Road, East Dulwich in London. There is no plaque there, despite a petition by fans – but Bon’s memorial in Fremantle is one of the National Trust’s most visited Australian sites. There is also a  statue.

 

The AC/DC Map of Australia begins in Melbourne with the site of the old Hard Rock Cafe at 1 Spring Street (below) and stretches as far as Bon Scott’s grave in Fremantle. Images: Pinterest/Twitter

 

.ACDC 1 Spring St BON SCOTT GATE FREMANTLE 6LansdowneRdCirca75 ACDCINMELBOURNE DOT BLOGSPOT DOt COM DOt AU BON SCOTT GRAVE FREMANTLE CEMETERY BON SCOTT GATE 4 Burleigh St Pinterest Fremantle Cemetery Heritage Walk Trail PLAQUE DEMOLISHED 2001 Young House Burwood State Library NSW Stephen Thomas ACDC LANE

 

 

Palace Theatre Melbourne Secrets

Palace Theatre Melbourne Secrets

The Palace Theatre on Bourke Street, Melbourne – slated for demolition –  has had many names. It also has secrets. A  tunnel linking it to the Princess Theatre next door. The starting point for Peter Finch, who went onto Hollywood fame with Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Glenda Jackson. A special role in Chrissy Amphlett’s life. A rumoured Eureka Stockade hiding place. Melbourne’s centenary opera season. It is a theatre like no other.  

The theatre has Nick Cave posters backstage and floorboards walked by the young Peter Finch. The tiles, smashed during the first stage of demolition inside the theatre, are Art Nouveau (below).

 

Historic tiles from The Palace Theatre
Historic tiles –  Palace Theatre Melbourne Secrets, now in a rubbish tip.

These are  1916 – built Louis 16th style decorations to the galleries, and tiles from the 1912 – built art nouveau dado from the Bourke Street staircase. They have been rescued and saved.

The Palace in a plastic bag.
The Palace in a plastic bag.

The Palace Theatre backs onto the end of Amphlett Lane, at the top of Little Bourke Street, near Spring Street. Chrissy Amphlett played at The Palace Theatre on Bourke Street with Divinyls on Friday 2nd June 1995 with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Map: MIXFM

Amphlett Lane flanks The Palace Theatre.
Amphlett Lane flanks The Palace Theatre.

AMPHLETT LANE Shelley Blake Jessica Adams Jenny Valentish

Life as The Metro
The mirrored ball from The Palace Theatre’s time as the re-named Metro has been saved and stored along with the spotlight. Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum was an occasional DJ at The Metro. This is his iconic cowboy hat, stored the new Melbourne Music Vault. The hat is a museum piece – but The Metro/The Palace is slated for destruction, so it can be turned into a hotel.

The Palace mirror ball and spotlight
The Palace mirror ball and spotlight

Ian Meldrum hat via Twitter and Australian Music Vault.
Ian Meldrum hat via Twitter and Australian Music Vault.

TWO STAGE DOORS

This is the Princess Theatre from Little Bourke Street. The Palace Theatre is linked to her sister theatre by a small alleyway and two hidden stage doors, coming off Amphlett Lane. Destroying The Palace destroys the historic connection. If you walk up Amphlett Lane today you will find the tiny alleyway on your left, and the two doors, steps away from each other.

Amphlett Lane adjoins The Princess Theatre

THE PALACE THEATRE AND THE EUREKA STOCKADE

The site of The Palace Theatre today housed the National Hotel in the early days of Victorian gold rush. Writing in her book, A City Lost and Found (Penguin), Robyn Annear notes, ‘By the end of 1854, the National Hotel was under the management of Tom Mooney, proudly Irish and of nationalist persuasion. The cartoon below shows The Palace Theatre when it was the National Theatre. Tom Mooney is centre-stage with glasses and sideburns. 

Thomas Mooney Cartoon

Legend tells us that Mooney harboured the injured rebel leader, Peter Lalor, in an attic room at the National ‘for months’ after the clash at the Eureka stockade in December 1954.’ If this story is true, then perhaps it involves the secret tunnel to The Princess Theatre next door, described by an usherette who worked at The Palace during the 1940’s.

THE SECRET TUNNEL FROM THE PALACE TO THE PRINCESS 

This account appears in On The Home Front, by Professor Kate Darian-Smith, from the University of Melbourne. An usherette named Ngaere Macgregor worked at The Palace when it was known as the St. James, and remembers:

Auditorium - Ceiling

‘I was working at St. James Theatre (in Bourke Street) and there was another girl there – a stuck-up little devil. We got together and decided we’d have a ball, just usherettes, and we had a competition for the best-dressed at this ball. Well, Sheila her name was, she went to no end of trouble, and money, to get this glorious dress. And I had no money – Mum took it all! – so I devised this thing in my head and I found this material at Norman’s – a very cheap place, but it was nice white pique. I wanted to have sparkly things, but you just couldn’t get them.

But I had a secret. At the back of St. James, at the back of the stage, I was snooping around one day and I came across one of those big, big old security doors. So I strained at it, and poked and pushed and it creaked open into a long stone corridor. It was all vaulted – ooh, cold and dark – it was like the sewers of Paris! And I found myself in the Princess Theatre around the corner. I wandered right through this labyrinth thing – and you know the Princess is haunted! I don’t know how I had the nerve! I found myself in the wardobe room and you’ve got no idea how spooky that was, with all these costumes hanging up in the semi-gloom and swords in corners and suits of armour and all these marvellous costumes! But then I came across this beautiful black velvet crinoline and around the hem there were all these stones. ‘My God, that will do for the dress!’ But I couldn’t take the whole thing, so the next day I went back with scissors and I cut the bottom right off. I unpicked them all and took them to a dressmaker and Voila! I won ,I won, and the other girl looked awful! Not really, she had on a beautiful royal blue georgette and I thought she’d win.’

THE PALACE IN 1934 AND MELBOURNE’S CENTENARY

The Palace Theatre played a very special part in the history of Melbourne in 1934 when it was chosen to host what was hoped would become the start of an Australian Opera House – some forty years before Sydney Opera House.

MelbourneCentenary1934

Sir Benjamin Fuller’s Royal Opera Company in Melbourne, which launched for the 1934 centenary of the city, can still be seen in the decor of The Palace Theatre today.  Or at least – you can see it in this plasterwork, ripped from the building’s amazing interior and saved.

The Palace plasterwork
The Palace plasterwork

The Palace Theatre was renamed The Apollo for the centenary of Melbourne and Sir Benjamin Fuller gave it ‘the biggest neon light in Australia’ and presented two of Australia’s greatest singers, the soprano Florence Austral and the bass Horace Stevens.

The beautiful Palace
The beautiful Palace

The Lord Mayor of Melbourne (Sir Harold Gengoult Smith) welcomed the opera season to a huge fanfare in 1934.

According to Sir Benjamin Fuller the costumes were from The Met in New York. His aim was to establish The Royal Grand Opera Company in Australia, in Melbourne. Thus, The Palace Theatre (then known as The Apollo) would have preceded The Sydney Opera House by forty years. Fuller’s biggest attraction was Florence Austral, below.

Florence-Austral-685w

FLORENCE AUSTRAL – THE PALACE SUPERSTAR

Dame Nellie Melba called her, “One of the wonder voices of the world”. Florence Austral, born in Melbourne, was a world-class Soprano who sang with the New York Philarmonic at Carnegie Hall in the 1920’s and went on to became an opera star in London. This is one of her preserved jackets.

Florence Austral blouse australiandressregisterorg

During her 1934 season in AIDA  Florence was suffering with M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis) in an uncanny parallel with Chrissy Amphlett, who was to take the  Palace stage sixty years after her. Florence is one of the famous faces immortalised in the Personalities of Opera mural in the dining room of the Melbourne Myer emporium.

Florence Austral Myer

This costume (below) is from the AIDA production at The Palace, from the Arts Centre Melbourne archive.  Florence’s  jacket is preserved at The Dress Register

tremelbourne com au

It's not over yet!

PETER FINCH AND THE PALACE THEATRE

The young Peter Finch (who later went on to star in films with Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Faye Dunaway and Glenda Jackson) got his start at The Palace Theatre in 1935 when it was known as The Apollo. Finch later won an Oscar for his work in Hollywood.

Audrey Hepburn Peter Finch

Peter Finch Faye Dunaway

Peter Finch Elizabeth Taylor

If walls could talk at The Palace Theatre,  they would describe everything from Peter Finch’s performance in the 1935 season of So This Is Hollywood to Kylie’s season at the venue. Kylie and Grace Angelou (whose armlet in the 1934 production of AIDA is shown here) both have their costumes preserved at The Arts Centre, Melbourne, so why were  parts of the stunning Art Nouveau tiles and Picton Hopkins plasterwork from the same theatre, being sacrificed? But – it’s not over yet.

 

Armlet worn by Grace Angelou at The Palace Theatre (Arts Centre Melbourne).
Armlet worn by Grace Angelou at The Palace Theatre (Arts Centre Melbourne).

 

Salvaging fittings from The Palace Theatre.
Salvaging fittings from The Palace Theatre.

 

Save The Palace rally, November 2014.
Save The Palace rally, November 2014.

 

This is from the Save The Palace Facebook page:

“A sad day today for the the Save The Palace crew. Together with Melbourne Heritage Action, National Trust of Australia (Victoria) and Australian Music Museum Project, we trudged down to an isolated industrial yard where a single skip sat, protected from the elements by a mish-mash of tarps hurriedly thrown over to protect its contents from the elements.”

Tiles saved from the skip.

“The skip was emptied and we started our heart-wrenching foraging for items of significance. Crushed Baroque plasterwork, smashed 100 year old Art Nouveau tiles (pictured above), classical Grecian cameos ripped from balconies made our job all the harder. It took hours to retrieve salvageable items with our small team and as each layer of plaster was turned over, that had been ripped inconsiderately by uncaring construction workers our unease started to fade.”

“There was so much more we had been expecting to find that just wasn’t there. This renewed our hope. Regardless, there is ultimately still a 100 year old theatre standing there. What was taken can be restored. The cultural history can never be ripped out and it is what we will continue to fight for. “

The Palace when it was named The Apollo.
The Palace when it was named The Apollo.

It’s Not Over Yet

You can help rescue this historic Melbourne theatre before it’s too late.  It has had many names. The Apollo. The Metro. The song remains the same, though – and despite its part-destruction – the beat goes on. It’s not too late to Save The Palace!

Hair at The Metro (Palace Theatre) Bourke St Melbourne.
Hair at The Metro (Palace Theatre) Bourke St Melbourne.

 

Happy Birthday Wendy Saddington

Happy Birthday Wendy Saddington

Wendy Saddington was born on 26th September 1949. Her life and work were celebrated at the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery. If you missed the exhibition, there is an excellent record at YouTube.

Go-Set Writer

Wendy was not only one of the most acclaimed singers Australia has produced, she also wrote for Go-Set and is pictured here with Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum in a staff photograph with a Swinging Sixties mug – and cigarettes all round. Wendy played gigs at Melbourne club, The Thumping Tum, which is where the idea for Go-Set was born. (Photo source: SMH and Clinton Walker).

 

Wendy Saddington (far right) next to Ian 'Molly' Meldrum at Go-Set (SMH, Clinton Walker)
Wendy Saddington (far right) next to Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum at Go-Set (SMH, Clinton Walker)

 

Wendy Saddington's Advice Column in Go-Set
Wendy Saddington’s Advice Column in Go-Set

 

Answering Cris de Coeur 

Writer Jen Jewel Brown: “Her advice column, ”Wendy Saddington takes care of business”, for Go-Set from 1969-71 ”got dozens of genuine cris de coeur each week”, according to then editor Phillip Frazer, and she approached it ”with earnest concern”.

Right Place, Right Time

Wendy Saddington (lesbian) and Ian Meldrum (gay) were the right people, in the right place, at the right time – the Sixties – to steer Australia into a new era. As a strong woman with a powerful voice, Wendy was the musical ‘fit’ for the book everyone had read by the early Seventies –  The Female Eunuch, by Germaine Greer.

 


From Bon Scott to Cat Stevens

Wendy was one of the hardest-working singers in Australia and was billed alongside some of the biggest names in music at festivals like Pilgrimage for Pop in 1970 and  Myponga in 1971.  At the latter, she can be found alongside Black Sabbath, Cat Stevens and the young Bon Scott in Fraternity. Gone but never forgotten. Happy Birthday Wendy Saddington!

 

The Pilgrimage for Pop with Wendy Saddington.
The Pilgrimage for Pop with Wendy Saddington.
Wendy Saddington on the bill with Cat Stevens and Bon Scott.
On the bill with Cat Stevens and Bon Scott. Happy Birthday Wendy Saddington.

 

 

 

 

SONGS – I’m Stranded

 

SONGS (I’M) STRANDED BY THE SAINTS

 

“It was our first adventure in a recording studio. 
I recall it all felt rather natural. Drink and go to work”

Christ Bailey, 2001 speaking to MOJO

(I’m) Stranded is the first Australian punk single.  Speaking to Andrew P. Street at Faster Louder, Chris Bailey said:

” I know that years ago I refused to play [debut single] ’(I’m) Stranded’ because I thought it was the most boring song I’d ever heard – well, that’s not strictly true, it’s actually an OK tune – but people even had t-shirts printed up that said “Play Stranded, You Bastard” [laughs]. But I remember there was one tour and there were all these Hitler Youth looking kids going “play ‘Stranded’! Play ‘Stranded’!” so we did, and nobody noticed.”

Chris Bailey on Triple J, 1985

 “With Stranded I was chuffed because it was a record and it had my picture on it. I was young and I didn’t know any better.”

Andrew Stafford, in The Guardian

“Then there was the video, which begins with the unintended metaphor of drummer Ivor Hay kicking open a door. The band are playing in an abandoned building on inner city Petrie Terrace, Bailey singing in front of a fireplace with the words “(I’m) Stranded” daubed above in red letters, which would form the backdrop for the cover of the Saints’ debut album of the same name, released in February 1977.”

PUNK ROCK – AN ORAL HISTORY BY JOHN ROBB

Rat Scabies, The Damned:

“One of the things that made punk very valid was, when you consider The Saints were doing the same in Australia at the same time and the Ramones in New York, it was obvious that people wanted to do it all over the world. The Saints were totally removed from everything going on anywhere else. They couldn’t get Sounds or NME in Australia. The synchronicity was amazing.”

GRANT AND I BY ROBERT FORSTER

“I got the single, released on the band’s Fatal label, the next day and I wish I’d bought twenty and was now slowly selling them on eBay.”

NICK CAVE

“The Saints had a genuine gut level contempt for everything going – it was very Australian, it was very different from the English punk thing. (I’m) Stranded gave me and a lot of people around me a kind of soundtrack to the way we wanted to live, it gave us a licence to behave in a certain way.’

DAVID NICHOLS : Dig: Australian Rock and Pop Music 1960-1985

Ed Kuepper: “I was working at Astor Records as a storeman and noticed boxes of private pressings – mostly country tunes by truck drivers. Having our own label seemed like the sensible way to get a record out. We conducted a poll among our fans as to which songs would most likely become a hit and ‘Stranded’ got the most votes. I can’t remember if we rigged the poll.’

 

SONGS (I'm) Stranded by The Saints on Fatal Records.
SONGS (I’m) Stranded by The Saints on Fatal Records.

 

All The Punks Bought It

The Clash in the NME. Bernie Rhodes bought (I'm) Stranded in bulk.
The Clash in the NME. Bernie Rhodes bought (I’m) Stranded in bulk.

BARRY MILES “All the punks bought it. Bernie Rhodes, the manager of The Clash, had a box of them and gave me one just two weeks after release. “ (London Calling: A Countercultural History of London Since 1945)

JON SAVAGE, ENGLAND’S DREAMING

“The Saints had been developing in near-isolation for three years but it took just one review in Sounds to make their career.”

Jon Savage in Hero Magazine: 

“I came out of university, and into a recession. I couldn’t see how I could have the life I wanted to have. Anybody that was into rock music in around 1975 had a real sense that something was going to happen. When the first Ramones album came out in 76 I thought, “Whoa, this is it.” I was obsessed with them, and The Saints’ record, I’m Stranded. It’s a great record, the singer just didn’t give a shit.”

 

SONGS (I'm) Stranded by The Saints reviewed by John Ingham.
SONGS (I’m) Stranded by The Saints reviewed by John Ingham.

BOB GELDOF

Rock historian Glenn A. Baker records how Boomtown Rat Bob Geldof told him: “Rock music in the ’70s was changed by three bands—the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and the Saints”.

Ed Kuepper to Joe MateraAustralian Guitar, 2004

JM: You actually did two sessions for I’m Stranded. Did you use the same gear for both sessions?

EK: “No, the first session we did at Window Studios in Brisbane, was for the single ‘(I’m) Stranded’ b/w ‘No Time’ in June, 1976 about six months before we did the rest of the album. For the single, which was engineered by Mark Moffat, we went in, set-up and recorded it and mixed that same night. Everything was done in about five hours and it’s the original single which appears on the album. On the first session, I used a Fender Twin amp and Gibson SG with no effects whatsoever, I just cranked the amp up.”

CLINTON WALKER – “When Kid Galahad and the Etemals became the Saints back in Brisbane in the mid seventies,there wasn’t even a scene they could crash into. Eventually, with bassist Kym BradShaw in tow, they wound-up playing at parties they would throw themselves.”

MARK MOFFATT “In London, I worked in a guitar shop and people would bring in their amps to sell for cash,” Moffatt recalls. “I could hear this thunderous noise upstairs so I went to see what was making it and bought the amp that afternoon.”

Moffatt, a guitarist in the Carol Lloyd Band, had recorded in Sydney, where he picked up tips about microphone placement.

“There was a cement hallway at the studio, so for The Saints I put a microphone in there. You can hear that in the chorus of No Time where it takes off. I still hear that now and go ‘Wow’.”

THE DOCUMENTARY
Great Australian Albums – I’m Stranded

 

Chris Bailey in the famous Petrie Terrace house.
Chris Bailey in the famous Petrie Terrace house.

Great Australian Albums – I’m Stranded is free to watch on YouTube.
With interviews with Chris Bailey, Ed Kuepper,  Nick Cave, Rob Younger (Radio Birdman), Damien Lovelock (The Celibate Rifles) and many more, this is the definitive documentary on the band, the single and the album.  Written by Toby Creswell ; produced by Toby Creswell &​ Larry Meltzer ; executive producers Martin Fabinyi &​ Michael Gudinski. Originally screened on SBS-TV.

 

Songs - (I'm) Stranded on Apple and Amazon
Songs – (I’m) Stranded on Apple and Amazon

Songs – (I’m) Stranded on Apple and Amazon

BUY I’M STRANDED ON APPLE MUSIC
BUY I’M STRANDED ON AMAZON

 

 

 

Classic Countdown! Music Map

 

CLASSIC COUNTDOWN! MUSIC MAP

 

The Countdown Map
The Countdown Map

An interactive Australian music map, inspired by the old Classic Countdown map, is an ongoing story at AMMP where we add new map pins every month.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Aunty Jack – Wollongong. The entire town. The Aunty Jack album ‘Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong’ features a young Norman Gunston with his Gunstonettes singing ‘Wollongong the Brave.’ Aunty Jack was at the inauguration of colour television in Australia on 1 March 1975. The special beat ABC’s commercial rivals by beginning 3 minutes early, at 11:57 pm 28 March 1975 in black and white and then wiping to colour at midnight.

 

YouTube Farewell Aunty Jack (song)

 

SYDNEY

The Marble Bar at The Hilton Hotel on George Street, Sydney is where Cold Chisel were photographed for their album Breakfast at Sweethearts. Sweethearts in Kings Cross no longer exists but a brass plaque in the pavement marks its location.

Cold Chisel made Sydney their own.
Cold Chisel made Sydney their own.

THE EASYBEATS/AC/DC FAMILY HOME

This before/after shot (Twitter, Pinterest) shows the Young family at 4 Burleigh Street, Burwood.

 

4 Burleigh Street, Burwood (Twitter).
4 Burleigh Street, Burwood (Twitter).

 

THE CIVIC HOTEL, PITT STREET 
Mental as Anything featuring Greedy Smith (below, in a portrait by Paul Worstead) made The Civic Hotel on Pitt Street in the centre of Sydney their own. The old Phantom Records shop was steps away.

The Paul Worstead portrait of Greedy Smith, Mental as Anything.
The Paul Worstead portrait of Greedy Smith, Mental as Anything.

THE HOODOO GURUS
The Hoodoo Gurus are a Sydney band not identified with any one venue, but as Le Hoodoo Gurus, they played The Mosman Hotel, Mosman.

Hoodoo Gurus poster from the brilliant website 1980schild.blogspot.com.au
Hoodoo Gurus poster from the brilliant website 1980schild.blogspot.com.au
MELBOURNE
Skyhooks poster 1970s
Skyhooks poster 1970s

SKYHOOKS
Skyhooks created songs about whole suburbs in Melbourne. Carlton and Balwyn are just two of those namechecked.

HUNTERS AND COLLECTORS
Westgate after the song by Mark Seymour – but also Ormond College, University of Melbourne where John Archer, Doug Falconer and Mark Seymour first met on the way to forming Hunters and Collectors.

ST. KILDA
From St Kilda to Kings Cross by Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls  is just part of the St. Kilda story. So many bands are associated with the area and still play there – like Cold Chisel’s Don Walker – that it has a permanent pin on the Countdown Map.

Time Out

Festival Hall needs no introduction, thanks to Sherbet, Daddy Cool and unknown third support act AC/DC.

ACDC support Sherbet
THE COUNTDOWN STUDIOS, RIPPONLEA
This is where Classic Countdown was filmed and there is a fascinating story on the closure of the old ABC-TV Dream Factory here. Devoted fans including The Countdown Sisters used to make the pilgrimage. Follow them here. (Images: ABC Archives, Twitter, Instagram).

classic coutndown dsisters utndwon club

Ian Meldrum filming Countdown. ABC Archives.
Ian Meldrum filming Countdown. ABC Archives.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Arnhem Land – Yothu Yindi
Aboriginal members of Yothu Yindi came from Yolngu homelands near Yirrkala on the Gove Peninsula in Northern Territory’s Arnhem Land.

ACT

D.A.A.S. – Canberra
You could use up a lot of pins on Google Maps just trying to follow all the busking spots where the Doug Anthony Allstars put their guitar cases down. D.A.A.S. began performing as buskers on the streets of Canberra in 1984, while they were attending university.

NEW! Chrissy Amphlett Street
Melbourne has Amphlett Lane. Canberra now has Amphlett Street. Divinyls fans, start your engines. (Photograph: Twitter @AmphlettLane)

Amphlett Street Canberra named after Chrissy Amphlett.
Amphlett Street Canberra named after Chrissy Amphlett.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA

AC/DC – Largs Pier hotel, Adelaide
During the 70s and 80s Largs hosted Jimmy Barnes with Cold Chisel, AC/DC, The Little River Band and The Angels. Bon Scott, who later became the lead singer of AC/DC, met his wife at the Largs Pier Hotel after a gig in 1971.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Dave Warner From The Suburbs – The Victoria Hotel, Perth
Watch ‘Half Time at the Football’ on YouTube – Dave Warner – “Half-time at the Football” (1981)

Backstage Passes - Greg Phillips
Backstage Passes – Greg Phillips

INXS – Davidson High School, Perth. Imagine this. After recess, Andrew Farriss convincing his fellow Davidson High School classmate, Michael Hutchence, to join his band, Doctor Dolphin.The rest is history. If not actually a band called Doctor Dolphin.

TASMANIA

The Innocents with singer Charlie Tauber put Hobart on the Countdown map when they appeared on the show. Sooner or Later is a power pop classic.

QUEENSLAND

The Saints – Corinda High School.
Author and journalist Clinton Walker:  “I first became aware of the Saints in 1974, while living in Brisbane. I had transferred to a new school, Corinda High. There, in art class, I met a gaggle of antisocial young long hairs that revolved around an embryonic band called the Saints. Perhaps the strongest common bond I had initially with the guys in art was that we all hated hippies. I fell in with them, and it wasn’t long before I fell in the Saints’ thrall too.”
Read more: Raven Records – The Saints – Wild About You 1976-1978

 

RAM Magazine anniversary editions, photographed by owner Michael Witheford
RAM Magazine anniversary editions, photographed by owner Michael Witheford

 

The Go Between Bridge – The Go Betweens
The Go Between Bridge, formerly known as the Hale Street Link, is a toll bridge for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists over the Brisbane River in inner-city Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Countdown GPO Box Melbourne
Countdown GPO Box Melbourne

 

THE COUNTDOWN MAP ON TWITTER
Follow @ammptv on Twitter and send us your map suggestions.

Classic Countdown! From Twitter @ABCTV
Classic Countdown! From Twitter @ABCTV

Australian Music Walking Tours

 

AUSTRALIAN MUSIC WALKING TOURS

Australian music maps, apps, podcasts and guided walks for fans of everyone from The Birthday Party to Archie Roach are in hefty supply these days. Australian music walking tours offer you Bon Scott or Nick Cave – take your pick.

Brisbane has her Walk of Fame and Go-Between Bridge – and Ed Kuepper will soon have a park, alongside The Saints’ forthcoming mural near their old Club 76 house/rehearsal space.

Melbourne, the Australian music capital, offers video, audio and printable guides to landmarks like AC/DC Lane and Rowland S. Howard Lane in St. Kilda.

SYDNEY – FROM COLD CHISEL TO  BOWIE

Sydney has hosted Bowie and started Chisel on their way.  The city is also on a global rock’n’roll map of early punk, thanks to The Oxford Bar, formerly The Oxford Hotel or Oxford Tavern at 134 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

This is where Radio Birdman turned an historic pub into the Oxford Funhouse. Bernard Zuel from The Sydney Morning Herald co-created this minimalist map of the city’s key landmarks. That’s Chris Bailey from The Saints standing over Paddington.

 

The Sydney Music Map by Bernard Zuel (Sydney Morning Herald).
The Sydney Music Map by Bernard Zuel (Sydney Morning Herald).

 

SYDNEY – DOWNLOAD FREE ROCK’N’ROLL AUDIO TOURS

SYDNEY WALK

 

Sydney offers wonderful audio guides from members of Mental As Anything, Radio Birdman and The Hoodoo Gurus – around Newtown and other historic music hubs.  This is a free download for visitors to Sydney and locals, too. Tour Festival Records. Meet John Kennedy (the king of King Street). See what Oxford Street was like when rock’n’roll ruled. Go from Surry Hills to Kings Cross, where Don Walker wrote Cold Chisel classics. From Waterfront Records to Phantom to Red Eye, Sydney was once a huge hub for Australian indie bands. Download and start walking to see why. Collector Vanessa Berry even has the old Waterfront bag on her blog.

 

Waterfront Records bag photograph: Vanessa Berry World
Waterfront Records bag photograph: Vanessa Berry World

 

MELBOURNE MUSIC WALKS AND MAPS

St. Kilda also offers visitors and fans of Australian music  a curated, guided tour – with rave reviews. You will need to book well ahead to secure a place, visiting landmarks like Rowland S. Howard Lane (below).  Explore local Sixties garage bands too. This is a five-star rated walk on Trip Advisor.  Find out more here. From the young Nick Cave (pictured, photographer unknown, from the website) to the still-young, Espy, this is a solid local walking tour.

 

Rowland S.Howard Lane poster, St. Kilda 2013. (Elle Russell).
Rowland S.Howard Lane poster, St. Kilda 2013. (Elle Russell).

 

THE MELBOURNE MUSIC WALK

This amazing free music walk is presented by the City of Melbourne and you can download a free PDF map (click on the heading link) and take it with you. The walk takes in AC/DC Lane and the pub and music venue Cherry Bar, halfway down the lane itself – along with thoroughly researched landmarks, past and present. AC/DC Lane graffiti is ever-changing. Like this (below). Cherry Bar is the watering hole for big-name musicians on tour in Melbourne. You never know who you’ll bump into at the bar.

 

AC/DC Lane, Melbourne.
AC/DC Lane, Melbourne.

 

FROM AC/DC TO SKYHOOKS AND ELVIS COSTELLO
The Melbourne Music Walk offers historical venues, rock routes, sticky carpets and music laneways. The walking time is 1.5 hours and covers a distance of 3.5 kilometres.

Melbourne has featured in many music clips over the years including: AC/DC It’s A Long Way To The Top (1975) Skyhooks This Is My City (1976) John Paul Young Yesterday’s Hero (1975) The Mixtures The Pushbike Song (1970) Elvis Costello I Wanna Be Loved (1984) The Meanies It’s A Long Way To The Top (1995) The Cat Empire Steal The Light (2013) Courtney Barnett Elevator Operator (2016). See the website for the map and the scoop on the city.

THE CHRISSY AMPHLETT WALK 2018

 

Amphlett Lane, Melbourne viewed by Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen (Instagram).
Amphlett Lane, Melbourne viewed by Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen (Instagram).

Pictured here are Paul Kelly and Charlie Owen at Amphlett Lane, the laneway off Little Bourke Street named in honour of the late, great, Chrissy Amphlett. The podcast, map and walking tour celebrating key places in her life in Melbourne will be available in 2018. (Instagram). Bookmark this website to stay updated.

TRIPLE J MELBOURNE WALKING TOUR PODCAST

This podcast starts at The Espy in St. Kilda as host Dom Alessio takes you on a music walking tour of Melbourne, meeting with locals Big Scary, The Smith Street Band, Saskwatch and more at key locations around the city. Another good free audio guide to Australian music.

MELBOURNE MUSIC CITY – VIDEO GUIDES
Bruce Milne is the best-known music historian in Melbourne and these free video guides take in some of the city’s most iconic locations, beginning with Archie Roach (below) and Gertrude Street. Don’t miss Bruce’s knowledgeable on-camera tours. All free.

The YouTube Channel is here.

The Models, Split Enz, Paul Kelly, Painters and Dockers, Lobby Lloyd and more are all part of Bruce’s unique, filmed snapshots.

ARCHIE

 

GERTRUDE STREET, MELBOURNE AND INDIGENOUS MUSIC

Gertrude Street, Fitzroy was an important hub for Indigenous musicians like Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach and The Workers’ Club, formerly the Rob Roy, still has bands today.

THE AC/DC HOUSE AT 6 LANSDOWNE ROAD, EAST ST KILDA
Bruce Milne continues this series of short YouTube clips with the 24-hour party house where half the bands in Melbourne would end up late at night. Was Whole Lotta Rosie also written here?

 

 

BRISBANE AND THE SAINTS – WALK THIS WAY

While Melbourne and Sydney are literally streets ahead with various music walk options – Brisbane is not far behind.  Ed Kuepper Park will link Oxley Road and Lawson Street, thanks to a petition campaign begun by Maurice Murphy.

The Go-Betweens’ John Willsteed successfully campaigned for The Saints’ rehearsal space/ house on the corner of Petrie Terrace and Milton Road to be honoured with a mural. This was also the home of Chris Bailey, Ivor Hay and Jeffrey Wegener who went on to drum for Laughing Clowns. The wall was daubed with the legend ‘Club 76’ by Kuepper.

 Everyone knows about The Brisbane Sound.  Let us know if you hear about a Brisbane Walk at @ammptv on Twitter. 

 

Just Keep Walking, Brisbane.
Just Keep Walking, Brisbane.

PERTH – AC/DC AND BON SCOTT  TOURS

Download guides to Perth and Fremantle, stamping ground of Bon Scott, free at this website. The Highway to Hell guide reveals where it all started. Don’t miss it. And – if you’re creating a new music walk of know of one we’ve missed, please let us know in Comments.

 

BON

 

 

The Little Pattie Scrapbook

Pop Into Randwick
Pop Into Randwick

THE LITTLE PATTIE SCRAPBOOK

The Pop Into Randwick exhibition in Sydney has put the career of Little Pattie back in the spotlight in Australia.

Little Pattie – Patricia Amphlett – has inspired generations of loyal fans in Australia and collector and friend Robyn Fagan has kindly lent photographs of her fan scrapbook to AMMP.

 

Patricia and Robyn 1966
Patricia  Amphlett and Roby Fagan in n 1966

The Amphlett Beat Goes On

On 27 August 2009,  Patricia, known professionally as Little Pattie, was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame alongside Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Mental As Anything and John Paul Young by Chrissy Amphlett, her cousin.

The family beat goes on and the late, great Chrissy Amphlett  has lent her name and face to tributes in Geelong, where she grew up – and in Melbourne. In the ACT another  Amphlett Lane twist – Amphlett Street in the suburb of Moncrieff – also keeps the Amphlett beat going.

Patricia Amphlett Fan Collections
Historians and curators often turn to fans for their collections. Someone who has been a lifelong fan, particularly of Little Pattie, is Robyn Fagan.  Robyn runs Patricia’s Facebook page. She has some rare memorabilia too (below) which she passed onto AMMP including a wonderful photo-booth moment in time.

 

He’s My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy’/’Stompin’ at Maroubra
He’s My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy’/’Stompin’ at Maroubra

 

Beyond the Little Pattie Scrapbook

How did Robyn’s fandom and friendship begin?

Robyn – ‘I was 13 years old at the end of 1964 when Little Pattie’s record He’s My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy/Stompin’ at Maroubra began getting lots of airplay on Sydney radio stations.  It became the first record that I ever bought and I played both sides constantly.

One day I heard the DJ say that it was by ’15 year old Sydney schoolgirl Little Pattie and I was gobsmacked that, not only someone from Sydney but someone who was only a little older  than me, could be singing on the radio.

It immediately became my mission to find out all about her and I remember raiding all the old newspapers and magazines in my parent’s garage to see what I could find.  And there began the first of many scrapbooks of photos and stories that I have collected about Pattie over the last 50 years.”

Patricia Scrapbook

 

The Birthday Party

In April 1964 I saw Pattie in person for the first time at Sydney Stadium and then at several store appearances and fetes.  I started sending her fan mail and sometimes included newspaper clippings about the Beatles and Judy Garland because I knew they were her favourite singers.

Later that year she wrote back thanking me, gave me her address and said to visit any time I was nearby.  Early in 1965 I plucked up enough courage to make the hour and a half trip by two buses and a train to make the visit, not even expecting her to be home.  She greeted me with a big hug when I told her who I was.  That was the beginning of many social outings together – and meeting up at her gigs – and we have remained close friends to this day.

I invited Pattie to my 16th birthday party. My friends didn’t believe me when I told them she was coming so they were surprised when she walked through my door and even more surprised at how friendly and down-to-earth she was for someone so well-known.

Running the Little Pattie Fan Club

I took over her fan club in 1966 which I ran until 1973.  There were over 300 members from all over Australia, many of whom wrote regular letters asking questions about Pattie, wanting her autograph and so on.  The members were sent a membership card when they joined and I sent out a newsletter every month or two with all the latest news, upcoming shows and photographs.

We held picnics every few months which Pattie attended. One of the fan club newsletters is in the Powerhouse Museum archives and has been on public display in two of their exhibitions as an example of a typical fan club newsletter of the time.

 

Patricia Fan Collection

From Scrapbooks to Social Media

A few years ago I decided to start a fan page for Pattie on Facebook and regularly post photographs, news and gigs. There are currently 3,580 followers and I get a lot of messages from fans and old friends wanting to get in touch with her and media wanting to interview her, as it’s the only way most people know of getting in touch with her.  It kind of feels like the old days of running the fan club all over again, but in a different format to back when I had to handwrite or type replies and post everything out by mail. It’s so much easier these days with the joys of modern technology.

The Many Moods of Little Pattie
My most precious single is Pattie’s first release as it was the first record I ever bought as a teenager and led to what has become a lifelong friendship.  My favourite album is her first, ‘The Many Moods of Little Pattie’, probably for the same reasons and also because I still remember how cool it was to be one of the few kids in my crowd to own this and listen to Pattie singing many different types of music.  This album is very rare and hardly ever seen for sale.

Vietnam and Patricia Amphlett

The most rare singles I have are Pattie’s  three Japanese releases from 1966/67, two of which she sings in Japanese and one a re-release of one of her Aussie hits.  These were recorded in Japan when she and Col Joye visited after their tour of Vietnam.  I also have the extremely rare red acetate prototype versions of these singles that Pattie gave me.  I have every single, EP, LP & CD that Pattie has ever released.

 

Little Pattie Vietnam
Little Pattie Vietnam

Photographs copyright Robyn Fagan. Photograph of Patricia and Chrissy on Pinterest. Photograph of Patricia in Vietnam from the Arts Centre, Melbourne – Jessica Adams.