Bands, punch-ups all a part of the Friday dance

A print advert from 1964 promoting the line-up on the Queanbeyan RSL Corridor.

QUEANBEYAN residents of the ’60s and ’70s would bear in mind the Silver Metropolis dances on a Friday evening.

Held on the Queanbeyan RSL Corridor, the dances have been a everlasting fixture on the social calendar for younger individuals on the time.

Many locals would have fond recollections of occasions spent at these gatherings.

Beginner historian Phill Hawke stated the Silver Metropolis dances – sponsored by Donoghoe’s Music Centre – commonly drew crowds of as much as 500 individuals.

“Neil Donoghoe, of the Donoghoe’s Music Centre, sponsored a weekly Friday evening dance on the Queanbeyan RSL Corridor, which was named Silver Metropolis in 1964,” stated Hawke, who’s been researching the historical past of dances in Queanbeyan.

The Casuals outdoors Silver Metropolis in 1964.

The dances featured native bands and infrequently some large names would seem.

“Well-liked bands of the time just like the Casuals, Penny Farthings, Cyclones and the Phantoms appeared commonly at Silver Metropolis,” Hawke stated.

“Greater draw playing cards equivalent to Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, and Ray Brown and the Whispers sometimes appeared on the RSL.”

Whereas Silver Metropolis was the preferred, it wasn’t the one dance that was held within the metropolis on the time.

Different well-liked dances have been held at venues together with The Inexperienced Eucalypt, The UNO Membership, Sound Lounge, Espresso Bean and the Oaks Property Corridor.

Hawke stated the Silver Metropolis dances generally attracted a rowdy component, with brawls breaking out and the police having to be known as.

“Charles McManus, who was president of the RSL, stated that in a dance in November, 1964, home windows had been damaged, curtains torn down and bogs broken,” Hawke stated.

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“There had been fights outdoors the corridor and at one stage police patrolled the corridor to forestall gang warfare.”

Following a sequence of incidents the dances have been cancelled, which prompted younger individuals to petition for them to be reinstated.

“Round 1000 native youngsters signed a petition in search of the reintroduction of the Silver Metropolis dances,” stated Hawke.

“The petition was introduced to the RSL board at their first assembly in 1965.

“The dances re-opened on the RSL Corridor that 12 months, however they didn’t final lengthy after that.”

Queanbeyan band So Known as outdoors the UNO Membership within the ’60s..

It was commonplace for fights to interrupt out at dances proper by way of the district and in Canberra on the time.

“The Canberra Police Residents Boys Membership needed to tighten safety at their dances,” stated Hawke.

“Preventative measures have been taken together with no cross outs being handed out, and male youths attending have been required to put on a tie.”

Describing the gang tradition that was related to these dances on the time Hawke stated: “On one event a significant battle broke out on the Woman Gowrie Corridor at Manuka between Queanbeyan youths and a rival Canberra group throughout a Sunday dance.

“It adopted one other battle the week earlier than when the Queanbeyan lads sorted out a few Canberrans.”

Hawke stated the UNO Membership, on Crawford Avenue, featured prominently within the historical past of Queanbeyan’s early nightlife scene.

The membership was beforehand often called the Bamboo Restaurant and

Evening Membership, and earlier than that the San Remo Restaurant, the place the inclusion of unique dancers drew the unwelcome consideration of the native police.

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“The San Remo Restaurant had unique dancers, which regularly attracted police, if solely to observe the reveals,” stated Hawke.

Go-go dancers additionally featured commonly on the membership, he stated.

On the different finish of the spectrum the interval noticed rock bands rehearsing and performing on the Oaks Property Corridor.

“The corridor was run by Oaks Property character Mrs Corsini… bands might put the rent cash in her letterbox and gather the important thing,” stated Hawke.

Though the Silver Metropolis dances and different dances held in Queanbeyan throughout that interval at the moment are consigned to the recollections of those that had been there, they symbolize an vital a part of the town’s cultural improvement.

“It was a particular time within the lives of many younger individuals in Queanbeyan,” Hawke stated.

“Whereas the dances didn’t final ceaselessly, they nonetheless dwell on within the recollections of individuals within the many years that adopted.”


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Ian Meikle, editor