Fab journo Katherine Feeney has written an article based around footage that she saw filmed at Tracks nightclub in the 80′s. She also interviewed me about Clubbed Out and going out in the 80′s. Great footage of the club and fashion too. This project is keen for any footage, photos or memorabilia and of course your stories. Lots of people have commented how they would take photos before going out, but no one would take their cameras out with them. Cameras were expensive and a lot of them were bulky. As for video or film, any that we’ve found (very little so far) was done by the venue operators.
Since the article has been up, I’ve received a lot of comments and feedback about the project so thank you all. If you haven’t already seen it take a look, it’s worth a gander and yes the podium dancers are included!
I’ll be posting more of your recollections as well. If you have some interesting stories and recollections you can leave a comment or go to contribute and fill out a survey form.
Recently I received some great cards and info from Noelene. I love discovering clubs and really appreciate everyone posting their stories on going out. If you are interested in being a part of this project, please do! Can you include years and addresses so I can pin point when the club existed and where it was. Without this I can’t add it to our club list. As for the club list, I have had such a great response I will be totally revising it soon. Promise. When you do list a club I do have to check via archives and library research which does take time.
This is what Noelene sent through: First club I went to was Rebeccas it was in the basement of a building that now is occupied by Commonwealth bank in Edward Street. The entry door as I recall was about a metre from the laneway that is still there and bounds the Rowes Building. There was another club downstairs in Rowes arcade. I think it had a spiral staircase and was called Rowes or Roses Wine Bar ???(ed I think it was Old Roses – can anyone confirm?) Licence laws meant that meals had to be served with the ticket price.Rebeccas had a rib fillet and salad deal. The steak was very thin as I recall.
The laneway was the scene of much boy/girl action and drugs, but I just recall seeing marijuana and pills. The first night I was there was late in 1977 I think it was November and we called in after Rod Stewart’s concert at Festival Hall. I worked there at lunchtime as a waitress. One of the part owners, Lez Zeilin was Polish and his Mother worked in the kitchen making traditional Polish food. Surprisingly for such a dive of a place that Polish food was made with love and care and tasted fantastic. I still remember how different that place looked in the daytime, although being in the basement it wasn’t exactly bright.
The second club was Harringtons. Owned by Gerry Harrington who also owned Rebeccas. Harringtons was in the Valley opposite the now China Town street. Think it is Tony’s Nightclub now. Gerry had it all decked out in maroon velvet with lamps on tables and a small stage with a dance floor which was surrounded with mirrors. Same licence laws. The chef (for want of a better word) was called Cookie. The lasagne was very popular, can’t remember much else on the menu, most people stuck with the lasagne although watching Cookie make it was enough for me not to recommend it.The tomato base was made by a guy who owned/worked in ??? the restaurantacross the road on the corner of the side street. (ed- I think this was the Riveria) He used to deliver boxes of the sauce in XXXX longneck bottles. They were the main clubs I went to. After Harringtons came Whispers in the Valley. I was out of the scene by then. Oddly I don’t remember Rebeccas or Harringtons closing down.(ed- Can anyone assist?)
Charlie Browns wine bar was also popular, it was downstairs just around the corner of Albert Street in QUEEN Street. Think there is a phone shop or ANZ bank there now. Suspect that the downstairs part of JB Hi Fi formed part of it. Afrika in Elizabeth Street became popular, I think it may have preceded Rebeccas but I’m not sure, my first husband worked there and on the back of the entry card he has written me a note from when he lived at Annerley. Thats why I think it was early days. The guys (Gerry Harrington and Les Zeilin) had leased the site that became the Atcherley. Awful place, what were they thinking, I remember going there with them to see if it could become the next hot spot. They went ahead and I recall being there on the opening night but can’t recall ever going back. After Whispers in the Valley, much later, probably 1983/84 was The Brisbane Underground in Caxton Street. That place was my last experience of clubs. Anyway, enjoy the cards…Boogie Wonderland just started playing in my head.
Thanks Noelene for your stories and your cards. If you have something you’d like to contribute, let me know.
Recently I received a message from Leigh who is doing a Masters in Creative Writing. She is writing a personal memoir bringing to life the 80′s nightclub scene of her late teens/early twenties to life. She is very keen to find out if this is fact or fiction. Or in other words if this is fact or did she have a few too many beers and imagined it! So Clubbed Out readers can you help?
Did Robert Smith (lead singer of The Cure) visit The Tube Club (Lands Office Hotel) after his 1984 concert at Festival Hall, Brisbane???
If anyone can remember please let us know. Leigh believes he turned up pretty late. If anyone has any recollections of this happening please let us know.
Stay tuned as the club list will be updated soon. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions. If you could please include years that you recall clubs going for an even an actual address this can help in compiling the list.
For those of you who liked punk bands and that great bar White Chairs, a special reunion day is just around the corner. “White chairs” for those of you who don’t know was located at the back of the Carlton Hotel in Elizabeth Street. It used to be the Carlton Hotel’s Public Bar. This building was one of the many great buildings we lost to the truly awful Myer Centre. In the late 70′s through to the early 80′s White Chairs was a meeting spot for many a Brisbane punk before heading out to live gigs. The beer was cheap and the bar was pretty packed with leather, mohawks, coloured hair, studs and chains.
Return to White Chairs is a reunion featuring a smorgasbord of original bands from Brisbane’s most anarchist musical period. This is going to be a great event with an amazing line up. This is what is in store for you…
Lemmings 2 -2.30pm
Skeletones 2.50 -3.20pm
The Pits 3.40 -4.10pm
Pork 4.30 -5.00pm
No V Bleet 5.20 -5.50pm
Xero 6.10 -6.40pm
Lovecraft 7.00 -7.30pm
Black Assassins 7.50 -8.20pm
Leftovers 8.40 – 9.10
New Improved Testament 9.30 – 10pm
Screenings will be upstairs above the band area, in a chill out zone and there are over 800 pics and 21 videos to feast your eyes on while resting your ears. The bistro bar will be playing all the hits from back in the day as well.
www.facebook.com/returntowhitechairs Have a look here for info, music clips and pics
It’s bound to be a biggy!!!!
Sunday 30 September at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Nundah. Doors open 10am.
Hi to you all. I know it’s been a while between drinks or posts but I hope to keep you up to date about what you are sending me. In the coming weeks the club list will be updated and we will post more pics. Special thanks to Kyle for this one… Rogues International, now there’s a club! You can’t get anymore international than Underwood and Rogues set its sights on being the classiest club you could get in the ‘wood. Before Rogues however the club that existed was Caesars Palace. They had a great jingle “Caesars Palace, the ROCK HEART UNDERWOOD!!” The last three words were meant to be shouted as that’s what this place was all about. Rogues continued the tradition especially with their amateur strip night for both ladies and gentlemen. Now there’s a way to meet the locals. When Kyle sent me through this pic I was a little sad that yet again another clubbing institution has said bye bye. Although if any of you are keen there is a business opportunity awaiting for you!
Please let me know your memories from this great venue.
By the way Kyle has informed me that there was a Caesars Palace in Ipswich that hosted an amateur strip night as well. Does anyone know about this? If so were the two venues run by the same people? We’d love to know.
Thanks to everyone who came along to the Brisbane Square Library for the talk and also those of you who have seen the Clubbed Out display. If you haven’t been in to the library yet, you still have time as the display has been extended until the end of December. There is also a selection of radio 4zzz memorabilia so it’s well worth a gander. Details are below in Show and Tell.
Clubbed Out currently has on display a selection of memorabilia kindly on loan from many of you. There are two cabinets located on level two, at the Local History Gallery at Brisbane Square Library. The items will be on display for the month of November. Special thanks to Tim, Julie, Louis, Terry, Olga and Robert. There is also a display of 4ZZZ memorabilia so it’s definitely worth a visit.
I’ll be hosting a talk on Saturday 26th November at the Brisbane Square Library as well. It would be great to see you and I would love to hear your stories as well. Admission is free.
Clubbed Out Display - Until 30 November 2011 2nd Level Brisbane Square Library, 266 George St, City
Clubbed Out Talk – Saturday 26 November, 10.30am Brisbane Square Library, 266 George Street, City
In undertaking this research for Clubbed Out quite often I am annoyed at how many hotels and venues have been demolished. We have really lost some fantastic buildings that made the town so special (don’t even get me started on that souless Myer Centre!). One of my favourite haunts in the 80′s was the Majestic Hotel. We had many a great night there especially when the Move kids ran it. I remember having beer served in a pilsener glass, this was very classy! The music was great as well. I also used to go to the hotel for a great counter lunch and I would also have many a fine cocktail in the stunning cocktail bar. Well the wrecking ball came along and took away yet another great venue. Matt has kindly sent through a photocard from around 1968/69. Just click on the image to enlarge. I like that they promoted the hotel for the “Smart Set”! I also love the choice of bars – where are the Tiki Bars now for the Smart Set? Thanks Matt for sending these through. I’ll post the National Hotel one soon too.
Well it’s been a crazy busy time! Even though there hasn’t been any posts for quite some time there has been a heap of research going on. Thanks for all your comments, I do appreciate them. In the coming weeks we will be searching through the state archives to confirm stories, incidents and licensing info from many a club, piecing the history together. These projects do take time and the next couple of months will be full steam ahead.
Throughout November there will be a special display of club memorabilia at the Brisbane Square Library in the City. If you have anything that you would like to lend for this display let us know. We are looking for photos, flyers, matchboxes, ashtrays, glasses, uniforms in fact anything relating to clubs from 1950-2000. So if you’d like to help out, just go to our contact page.
I thought that we would have another look at a club or should I say it was THE club to go to Whispers. It was located in Brunswick Street at what was known as “Downtown Brisbane” instead of Fortitude Valley. Whispers was opened in 1979 as Brisbane’s premier entertainment centre by the then Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke Peterson. Spread over three levels, Whispers catered for functions and the general public with a capacity of 1,000 people. A group of commissionaires dressed in red suit tails acted as security and ensured the dressed regulations were adhered to.There was valet parking, cigarette girls, drink waiters and a very ritzy a-la-carte silver service restaurant. No expense was spared on the fit-out. Half a million dollars was spent on lighting which was created by the Studio 54 lighting designers. The entire sound system focussed on the dance floor resulting in being able to communicate to your friends without shouting. Whispers also hosted regular live entertainment with top acts of the day performing.
I had the pleasure of meeting at our Roadshow the lovely Olga Smeldley. She was the head receptionist at Whispers. Olga was the “meet and greet” of the establishment. Fortunately she has held on to quite a bit of memorabilia from Whispers including menus, promotional flyers, photos and drink lists. Olga also has a wealth of stories which I will share with you in the coming months.
Whispers closed it’s doors in 1983. Soon after Manhattans opened. If you went to Whispers or worked there we’d love to hear from you.
Posted in 1970's, 1980's