Monday, September 30, 2013

The Beatles in Australia (and a little giveaway!)

On Sunday, my boyfriend and I took a little visit to the city to see the exhibition - The Beatles in Australia! 

The exhibition details the hype before, during and after The Beatles tour to Australia in June 1964.

It was a pretty thorough and exciting exhibition, with lots of newspaper clippings, magazines, promotional merchandise and newsreel footage for visitors to read. There were also listening booths set up to hear from people who were there recall their own experiences with the tour and a mini diner set with a jukebox and dining table so you could sit and flick through scrapbooks put together by various Beatles fans

You can view the entire photo album over here on my Flickr, but here are a few stand outs of the exhibition

As you came down the elevator you were greeted with footage of the Beatles in concert and a huge picture of the Beatles stepping off the plane when they returned from New Zealand. They had actually came to Sydney first on a cold and wet winter day, before starting their 13 day tour of Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, New Zealand and back to Sydney. 

As a precursor, the exhibit introduces you to what was playing on Australian radios before Beatlemania arrived. Artists like Bill Haley and his Comets, Lonnie Donegan and Cliff Richard were popular as well as Elvis.

The tour promoter, Kenn Brodziack had heard of the Beatles early on and booked them for a tour just before Beatlemania had really taken off. By the time they arrived here however, they had been on the Ed Sullivan show and their tour fee had been increased to suit their new level of fame.

Beatles "beetle" jewellery

When they arrived, Ringo Starr was missing from the group, having been kept back with tonsillitis; he was replaced with Jimmie Nicol. When Ringo eventually arrived in Melbourne he received his very own welcome from his own dedicated fans - part of me thinks he may have planned this? Haha 

Jimmie Nicol returns home, with no fanfare

Initially they were to only tour Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand, but a very well delivered campaign of 800,000 signatures, saw Adelaide added to the tour also. Adelaide ended up being the most riotous of the cities, with the band being swarmed with tens of thousands of fans on their way to a reception at the Lord Mayor’s office. The true signs of Beatlemania were seen - girls fainting, surging crowds and police struggling to with Beatle-mad girls - nothing they would have ever seen before! 

Map of their tour

The crowd in Adelaide

They next toured Melbourne at Festival Hall, and a similar reception was provided with The Sun newspaper delivering Sydney a stern warning. These signs below prepared by Beatles fan girls were prepared a few nights before the Sydney show on the 18th of June

These telephones acted a sort of head-phones to listen to various interviews

Once in Sydney, they took a short break to celebrate Paul McCartney’s 22nd birthday party for which 17 lucky girls were invited to mingle with Paul and have a wonderful time. While at the exhibit, a woman standing next to me was studying the paper clippings very carefully. It turned out that her aunt was one of the lucky party girls and had her photo in the paper the next day with Paul, but no copy survived! 

These pink socks were found by Betty Stewart (Their publicist) underneath Paul McCartney’s bed. She assumed they were his and kept them!

John Lennons suit was there - I tried to stand with my reflection in the glass to see how the suit looked, but he was quite a bit taller than me, which was cool to find out. Also featured was his cap, which he gave to Kenn Brodziack as a gesture of thanks

John Lennons blue cap

It was next that the Beatles headed to New Zealand and then Brisbane before heading back to Sydney for a final show at Sydney Stadium on a revolving stage. Apparently it wasn't a pleasant experience! 

From there they left for their Hard Day’s Night film premier, never to return as The Beatles, but they definitely left a huge mark on our conservative and geographically distant country. 

Many bands sprouted after their visit - notably The Easybeats and The Bee Gees. And other bands also saw the opportunity in Australia for fame, including The Kinks, Manfred Mann, The Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones

Magazine and newspapers managed to get squeeze more issues out of the tour - with Beatles Fashions and stories for their longing fans, anything Beatles related was a sure seller.

Recipes for a Beatle party

And the country itself relaxed its morals somewhat, and more and more Aussies followed the band back home to England. Not to chase them, but to hang out in what was the coolest city of the time and find their own independence and freedom. (Which they still do today) Jenny Kee the fashion designer opened a stall in The Chelsea Antique Market and Richard Neville, Richard Walsh and Martin Sharp took their underground publication Oz to London after being taken to court for Indecency Charges here in Australia

We spent a pretty long time in the exhibit, Reason and listening. There were a lot of older people there - the original fans that were there, and kids as well whose knowledge of the Beatles completely flabbergasted me. At one point a small boy came out of one of the other exhibits and screamed loudly "The Beatles!!!! Before being ushered off by his mum. So good to see their name being screamed still to this day! 

The Beatles merchandise

This cartoon shows the hype surrounding The Beatles while they were in Sydney. Media rented out the hotel across from theirs and followed them everywhere. This shows the information hungry media, watching three of the Beatles sleeping 

At the shop my lovely boy bought me this photo book of the Beatles - the photographer Robert Whitaker was Australian also! 

And I also picked up these dandy little treats - 3 cards and 3 stickers, which if you can answer my question, can be yours! 

************************************************Yay a giveaway!****************************************** 

The prize contains - 
3 greeting cards (Abbey Road, Sgt Peppers and Let it Be. Let it Be contains a matching badge) 
3 stickers of the same albums. 

So the question is...

While in Sydney, a couple of cheeky girls from the Sydney design school, snuck into the Beatles hotel and jammed the lifts, which meant the Beatles had to take the stairs up to their rooms. As they walked up, they saw the girls and John invited one back to his room. Who was this lucky girl? 

And as a bonus question, with maybe an extra treat as well, who in the 80s was snapped wearing a jumper designed by this same woman? 

Well I hope you enjoyed that - I’m terrible at short posts! 

The exhibit will be on show at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum  till the 16th of February and will then be at the Melbourne Arts centre till the 1st of July (The 50th anniversary of The Beatles leaving Australia)

Cat xo


  1. Good morning, dear Catherine! This is an outstanding post, carefully researched, richly illustrated and incredibly entertaining and informative. I must say that your Flickr page is also sensational! I've never seen so many gorgeous pictures of Beatles memorabilia. I am also thrilled to see you posing in your bright green Sixties dress that you showed us the other day. You look adorable!

    I can understand how you could spend hours if not days exploring this marvelous exhibit recalling the Beatles 1964 tour of Australia and New Zealand. The exhibition hall itself looks new and spotlessly clean, well lighted - top notch all the way. I found your theory about Ringo interesting. Perhaps he wanted to build suspense and make a grand entrance to take the spotlight off his cohorts for a while.

    I don't know the answer to your contest question and therefore will wait and see which one of your knowledgeable readers can guess correctly.

    I was wondering if you've ever seen ABBA: The Movie (2008) which follows the Swedish super group on their 1977 Australian tour? If not, I think you'd enjoy it!

    Thank you for another superb post, dear friend Cat, and enjoy the rest of your week!

    1. im glad you like it! There were so many good things to photograph i couldnt help take so many.
      The space is actually in an old powerhouse, but they re-do the spaced whenever they start a new exhibit. hopefully it stays clean for awhile

      Ill have to check out that ABBA movie. They have a very good fan base here, i think one of the top cover bands is Australian (Bjorn Again) actually!

  2. How fab! So glad it's coming to Melbs!

    1. Oh i hope i didnt spoil it for you! but yes, its really good!

  3. The Beatles balloons are so cute !!!!!!

    1. haha! yes they are! though i dont know why Ringo has white eyes!

  4. You put so much effort into your posts, dear Cat, you are brilliant. I love what you chose to wear to the exhibition, you look like you could have hung out with them way back when! xxx

    1. Thanks Vix! I try to always share the experiences i have, esp a good little exhibit like this. The weather was really nice and warm so the dress was appropriate!

  5. This looks like such a great exhibition! I'm completely staggered by the number of fans waiting for The Beatles in Adelaide, it makes you wonder what must have been going through the The Beatles heads as they saw all of this.

    Your dress looks lovely as well, I've been very lazy with sewing lately - I need to get back to it! xx

    1. I was so amazed to see the amount of signatures to get them there! 800,000! Thats pretty good for Adelaide back then. They would have seen a lot of it already in the UK and US i imagine, but I think in a way they knew they might not get to see them again and just went crazy!

  6. What a fantastic exhibition to visit! And how lovely that your boy bought you such a thoughtful present - he has good taste!
    It must be so incredible to see such things and stand by John's suit and hat especially.
    I often feel sad about how the original site that The Beatles played at in Brisbane is no longer around. It was knocked down years later. They still however had a memorial in dedication to it on the site, with the original floorboards of the stage and seat numbers from the theater.
    That picture of Jimmy leaving for home at the airport with no fans was quite sad. Poor Jimmy.

    I've heard that story before about the girls and the elevator. Something is telling me it is Jenny Kee that you are talking about but I don't trust my memory! I think he also gave her a lady beetle necklace and sang "Please Please Me" to her with the guitar? Not too sure.
    You looked lovely too, perfect part for the exhibition and such a pretty dress! xxx

    1. Yay! Lucy your are correct! Jenny Kee was the girl who jammed the elevator! If your keen for the prize, ill pop you an email to get your postage details!


      I didnt know about the lady beetle pin and the serenade, i shall have to look into that a little more.

      The tour will be around till July, your should try to take a trip to see it!


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