Tag Archives: Sunnyboys

Collecting Australian Music

Naomi Dinnen's musical memories.
Naomi Dinnen’s musical memories.

Collecting Australian Music

Thanks to AC/DC but also obscure Australian artists like Leong Lau (his 1977 album is currently selling for $1574) the backstage passes, tickets, vinyl and other collectables from Down Under are now seen as a good investment.

Naomi Dinnen, part of whose personal collection was kindly  photographed by her for AMMP, had more than a decade in the music industry, successfully publishing an independent music magazine. She was a columnist for Rolling Stone, Drum Media, 3D World and Juice Magazines, worked for EMI Music and PolyGram Records.  Not everyone has a collection of laminates but they can and do turn up at street markets and garage sales – and on eBay.

 Collecting Go-Set Magazines

Go-Set magazines retail for around AUD$50 online. They are already preserved at The State Library of Victoria on film archives and at the National Film and Sound Archive. A copy of Go-Set bought in 1973 for 25 cents has increased in value 200 fold.


GERRY ON TV BILLY THORPE amazing_west_coast-lr_ruqkrmi


Collecting Nick Cave 

Nick Cave is one of the few Australian musicians to have crossed the threshold from ‘muso’ to sought-after museum, art gallery and library name. This famous photograph by Bleddyn Butcher (below) appeared in an exhibition on Australian Bohemia, presented at The State Library of Victoria.

Euchrid’s Crib, a gelatin silver photograph, taken in West Berlin on 3rd August 1985 captured Nick Cave when he was writing his novel And the Ass Saw the Angel  and Butcher’s title identifies the character from Cave’s book. This was both Cave’s  bedroom and study, complete with human hair.

When Australian musicians cross the line from gigs to galleries, libraries and museums, prices tend to rise accordingly.

This photograph of Nick Cave with Rowland S. Howard (and unfortunate cat) taken by Peter Milne was part of his superb Juvenilia exhibition at the Strange Neighbour gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Ballarat painter Casey Tosh captured Nick Cave in a portrait which has also found its way onto T-Shirts. He has also drawn Warren Ellis, a former Ballarat resident. The fact that Tosh has also created a whole laneway of street art dedicated to Rowland S. Howard in Ballarat may one day make his paintings and T-shirts collectable.




Paper Investments

What to watch for –
Australian magazines and street press that has a) vanished and b) escaped household recycling bins could be tomorrow’s Go-Set.

Bon Scott (seen here pointing to Juke magazine) has left a paper trail which is worth collecting.  On the Street, Drum Media and Ram are also worth watching out for.  Tony Mott, the Australian photographer who has exhibited widely and also produced a number of books, has helped to make what used to be free street press, collectable (below).

Australian music posters are best represented in Plastered  by Murray Walding with Nick Vukovic (The Miegunyah Press, 2005) which is now, by itself, a collectable book. The Hair and Masters Apprentices posters, here, are from Plastered.



The Masters Apprentices at Parramatta Town Hall.
The Masters Apprentices at Parramatta Town Hall.

Vinyl Investments


A copy of the Masters Apprentices 1979 album Now That It’s Over signed by the late Jim Keays sells for $80 online. Meanwhile, the Taman Shud Evolution LP is valued at $150

Australian pressings of British punk singles and albums are worth watching. The Clash put out London Calling in a Down Under version in 1979 which is now worth $100.  Looking for an eclectic selection? Try Vicious Sloth. This online store is a good source.

From Radio Birdman/Iggy Pop cancelled tour posters to mint-condition box-sets you may find that your Australiana ends up becoming far more valuable than stamps or coins to collectors.

Most people know that The Beatles Yesterday and Today is worth a lot of money (about $995 as we head towards 2020).


Who knew that a Tasmanian Christian folk group called The Ascension Four would put out an album worth $65 today, though?

Age and obscurity are not always the keys to a good investment, though. Famous, recent names like Magic Dirt are worth watching. You can buy a poster advertising a gig with Magic Dirt and Rowland S. Howard at The Corner Hotel on 29th October 2008 for $124.99

The poster was free at the time. So was the poster advertising a Nick Cave story in The Monthly magazine – now worth $84.99.

Nick Cave posters are highly collectable.
Nick Cave posters are highly collectable.


Start Small or Start Big?

Start small or start big? You don’t have to have a huge outlay to start collecting and vinyl is easily stored and portable.

Artists within bands – who contributed to memorable sleeve art – include Mental As Anything. Vinyl singles with iconic Australiana may help you to up your investment one day. Try  the Mental as Anything ‘Creatures of Leisure’ single for $20.

Sometimes mysteries occur in the marketplace and That Rongeng Sound by Leong Lau is one of them. Asking price? $1574.62 online.

The Beatles in Australia

There are two redesigned Antipodean Beatles covers – Beatles for Sale (tour photographs) and With the Beatles.

An Australian promotional copy of The White Album on eBay is $6000. One of the reasons for this is the censored photograph of a naked John Lennon on the poster which came with the album.

What to Watch

Bands like The Sunnyboys who found their career revived with a television documentary are now seen as an investment. Their self-titled, limited-edition, yellow vinyl album is now $325.

The Sunnyboys on yellow vinyl $325.
The Sunnyboys on yellow vinyl $325.

Midnight Oil posters are worth a long look as the band’s touring exhibition  and its important place in Australian political history is bound to make them desirable to the investors of the future. Blank Canvas Australia sell this poster (from Noosa, below) for almost $250.  It’s also strange but true that a mere flier, from a band like INXS, is now worth $49.99 online.

It is worth trawling eBay, record collectors’ fairs, secondhand shops and open-air markets to see what you can find.

Should this single (below) turn up in a car-boot sale, though, you’d better snap it up. This is God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols on A&M Records and it’s currently worth $24,411.

Do you have a photograph of your Australian music memorabilia you’d like to share with AMMP? Please let us know. Thank you.

The Sex Pistols' famous single $24, 411
The Sex Pistols’ famous single $24, 411



This Oils poster is worth $249.99
This Oils poster is worth $249.99

INXS Flier 49 99

Collecting Australian music – this INXS flier measures up.





The Thumping Tum and Bernhart’s


 The Thumping Tum and Bernhart’s

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.


The Thumping Tum captured by Henry Talbot.
The Thumping Tum captured by Henry Talbot. It became Bernhart’s in the punk era.

Henry Talbot The Thumping Tum

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.


Loved Ones at Thumping Tum Pinterest Martinis for Modernists


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.  




Max Merritt and the Meteors (Jordie Kilby) from abc.net.au
Max Merritt and the Meteors (Jordie Kilby) from abc.net.au
The David Bentley trio at The Thumping Tum from nickwarburton.com
The David Bentley trio at The Thumping Tum from nickwarburton.com

Barefoot Drummers

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.


1971 photo Harley Parker - Carson at The Thumping Tum Broderick Smith brodericksmith com



Michael Browning

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.

Thumping Tum advertisement from The Toorak Times.
Thumping Tum advertisement from The Toorak Times.

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.’

Chrissy Amphlett

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.”

Chrissy hippy from autobiography


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.

Thumping Tum staff member. From Tomorrow is Today (Iain McIntyre).
Thumping Tum staff member. From Tomorrow is Today (Iain McIntyre).

Lobby Loyde

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.


Thumping Tum advertisement from Go-Set.
Thumping Tum advertisement from Go-Set.


Photograph of The Thumping Tum at 50 Little Latrobe Street from Miles Ago (Harley Parker)
Photograph of The Thumping Tum at 50 Little Latrobe Street from Miles Ago (Harley Parker). The Thumping Tum and Bernhart’s would both occupy the same bluestone space.


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.

For more on Bernhardt’s/Bernhart’s please see these excellent websites  and don’t miss Punk Journey or Clinton Walker’s record of Pulp (which he set up with Melbourne music historian Bruce Milne)  and fanzines in Australia.

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.

News at Bernhart's 50 Little Latrobe St Melbourne.

PULP BENEFIT POSTER clintonwalker com Michael Lawrence 1978 The Boys Next Door www portrait gov au punkjourney com Young Charlatans 1978 The Thumping Tum became Bernharts at 50-52 Little Latrobe St Masthead logo by Rowland S Howard Clinton walker com PULP

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.

Buy Pleasure and Pain by Chrissy Amphlett
Buy Dog Eat Dog by Michael Browning


50 Little La Trobe Street 2017

50 Little Latrobe street in 2017 – the Tum bluestone, demolished.