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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
THE EASYBEATS/AC/DC FAMILY HOME
This before/after shot (Twitter, Pinterest) shows the Young family at 4 Burleigh Street, Burwood.
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 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.
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.
Festival Hall needs no introduction, thanks to Sherbet, Daddy Cool and unknown third support act AC/DC.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
THE COUNTDOWN MAP ON TWITTER
Follow @ammptv on Twitter and send us your map suggestions.
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.
SYDNEY – DOWNLOAD FREE ROCK’N’ROLL AUDIO TOURS
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Models, Split Enz, Paul Kelly, Painters and Dockers, Lobby Lloyd and more are all part of Bruce’s unique, filmed snapshots.
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.
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.
There was once a little Melbourne club which was so groovy it got its own song – and dance. The classic Sixties Australian garage rock single you can hear above, dedicated to the Thumping Tum was recently valued at nearly $1000.
By 1978 The Thumping Tum had become the Melbourne punk venue Bernhart’s and in 1978 not only The Boys Next Door but also Young Charlatans played gigs there, with Nick Cave and Rowland S. Howard in the room.
This is part of the story. Nothing remains of the historic music venue today. Apartments have been built in its place.
Story – Jessica Adams. Pictures, below, by Henry Talbot.
Groovy! The Thumping Tum by Henry Talbot (State Library Victoria).
Under the Umbrellas
The groovy Thumping Tum of inner-city Melbourne was the only place to be in the Sixties and Seventies with gigs under the umbrellas, by The Masters’ Apprentices, Max Merritt and the Meteors, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs.
Wander down Little Latrobe Street in Melbourne today and all you will see is apartments and cranes, but in the Sixties and Seventies, The Thumping Tum (which inspired that $1000 worth of great Australian single, in the YouTube clip above) had queues stretching to Swanston Street.
This is a modern homage poster (below) to The Thumping Tum, below (Pinterest). According to those who were there in the Sixties, it was a place for magic acts, toasted sandwiches, sleeping bags and incense – as well as unforgettable Australian music.
The Thumping Tum was decorated with inverted umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, a concept dreamed up by Myer window display staff who ran the place. This is a rare photograph (below) of the Thumping Tum ceiling, from Go-Set.
This Melbourne gig guide below, shows where it was all happening with gigs by Max Merritt and the Meteors (photographed at The Thumping Tum, below). The David Bentley Trio played there too.
The Thumping Tum was the club where the backdrop kept changing, in pace with the music. It would eventually become an inner-city punk space for what writer Clinton Walker would eventually describe as The Inner City Sound.
Back in 1971, though, when Carson were playing at The Thumping Tum, the wall mural had changed from late Sixties flower power and psychedelia to a rising sun. That was one its many incarnations, pictured below.
Broderick Smith, one of the best-known names from that time, has archived this photograph by Harley Parker of Carson at the Tum on his website.
Note the barefoot drummer. The Thumping Tum evolved from being the kind of ‘discotheque’ where bands like The Purple Hearts would spend the night – to a blues venue, home to Wendy Saddington (below) and Chain, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs and more local luminaries.
Michael Browning became famous for managing AC/DC but his recent book, Dog Eat Dog, is also a brilliant recollection of what it was like to run clubs in Sixties and Seventies Melbourne.
Myer window-display staffers Ken Moat and Ron Eden dreamed up The Thumping Tum in 1966 and found an old bluestone factory at 50 Little La Trobe Street, which had been a pub before. They also dreamed up a slogan. ‘Go-go to be seen at this swinging frugging scene.’ It was ten shillings to get in.
The umbrellas had been bought at a railway lost property auction. There were Tiffany lampshades. It was Melbourne bohemia. Writing in Dog Eat Dog, Browning recalls, ‘The clientele was a mix of very cool and edgy art students, serious music lovers, pill heads and hipsters.’
Before Chrissy Amphlett became a rock star she was a hippie, playing songs like St. James Infirmary on her autoharp. This photograph, and her memories of The Thumping Tum, are from her autobiography, Pleasure and Pain (Hodder).
Chrissy moved from Geelong to Melbourne with a friend, Alison Baker, and they became close in the big city. And Alison had connections.
Chrissy Amphlett: “Her cousin, David Flint, owned the Thumping Tum which with its red velvet curtains and antique furniture, vied with Bertie’s and Sebastian’s to be the best Melbourne nightclub of the time.”
Doing The Thump
David Pepperell is one of the unsung heroes of Australian music. Not only did he sing on that garage-band classic The Thump in his band, The Union (creating the sound with Trevor Lunn),he also found a choreographer named Antonio Rodriguez to organise the accompanying dance. A boxer named Leo Young was on the Tum door, working as a bouncer.
It was a time when you could turn up in a purple velvet jacket to see a band like Baron Burke and the Undertakers. Some crawled out of their boarding school windows and hitch rides to go and see gigs at 50 Little Latrobe St. In 1965 Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs filmed a Coca Cola advertisement there.
Pepperell remembers, “To me, the Thumpin’ Tum was the premier venue in Melbourne’s 1960’s discotheque scene. Although it had live bands and was not, strictly speaking, a discotheque, records were played over a sound system in the band breaks and it was copied from venues so popular in France in the mid 60’s. The Tum opened in 1965. First group on Saturday night was The Groop, of course, Melbourne’s coolest band.
Across town, Michael Browning was running Bertie’s and Sebastian’s, waiting for Angus Young and Bon Scott to arrive – but from 1965-1970 David Flint was running the show at The Thumping Tum and tending to inner-city Bohemia. As he told Peter Barrett at The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘This place was going to be different. Not only was it for young people but it wasn’t in a town hall, it wasn’t a jazz club, it wasn’t a pop music club, it was a club to dance to music.’
Ian Rilen was also in the Tum crowd watching (and being influenced by) Yuk Harrison playing bass with Max Merritt and the Meteors, according to author and music historian Clinton Walker. This photograph of a Thumping Tum staff member is from the definitive book about Australia in the psychedelic era, 1966-1970 called Tomorrow is Today, edited by Iain McIntyre. Wendy Saddington, who sang at the Tum and also wrote the problem page for Go-Set, was a fixture at the club.
Lobby Loyde, speaking to Patrick Donovan at The Age in 2006, remembered “When you came on at 2.00am at The Thumping Tum, the crowd was full of bands, roadies, journos, guys from the business, the fans. You’d never make any money but it was a hell of a night of music.” Loyde would go on to produce albums for The Sunnyboys, X and Painters and Dockers after his own career with Coloured Balls.
What Makes the Town Thump?
This advertisement from the February 2nd 1966 edition of Go-Set shows the iconic umbrellas from The Thumping Tum (which was by then being called the Thumpin’ Tum, dropping the g). The question posed was ‘What makes the town thump?’ The answer was ‘the uninhibited.’ You can see the TUM sign on the left of the photograph, from Harley Parker’s definitive Miles Ago website.
The Thumping Tum eventually morphed into a punk venue. The bluestone building at 50-52 Little Latrobe Street reverberated to the sound of The Blank Generation. Bands like News dragged their guitars up Little Latrobe Street. A benefit gig for the fanzine Pulp was held here. Rowland S. Howard illustrated the Pulp masthead.
The photograph of The Boys Next Door in 1978 is by Michael Lawrence from the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. Pinterest and social media are also good sources for punk era publications.
Little Latrobe Street Today
Today in Little Latrobe Street, thumping drums have been replaced by thumping cranes. The City of Melbourne has fixed a sign saying Literature Lane to the laneway coming off Little Latrobe Street, but there is no plaque remembering Go-Set magazine (founded at The Thumping Tum) or the novelist Lily Brett, employed as a writer there. There is no acknowledgement of novelist Nick Cave who played at 50 Little Latrobe Street in its Bernhart’s days.
Jim Keays (The Masters’ Apprentices) became a painter in the second half of his life and once said he would like to paint the old haunts of the band. “There was the Thumping Tum in Melbourne where I wouldn’t mind revisiting with my paint brush,” he said.
The umbrellas are gone, but the melody – and the influence of the club – lingers on.