History of Rock n Roll Dancing in Melbourne

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Posted by [email protected] on April 23, 2019 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)

March 1996.

50's Rock & Roll dance teachers Carol and Kevin became engaged.  They were teaching on Mon nights at the Anglican Church on Burwood Hwy for $5 a class. Ray was starting up junior dance classes, Teresa Mileto started running monthly dances at Coburg Town Hall from March 1996, with dance competitions, $12 entry, with Adrian running dance classes there as well.  Adrian Spadaro and Chris Black ran a dance at Mordialloc Community Centre with band "Brassworks" and guest teacher Sylvia Sykes from the US taught the shim sham.  Merv Benton played at the Moorabbin Town Hall, the Starliners and Wild Turkey with DJ Wolf played at the Waltzing Matilda Hotel, The Premiers and DJ Jeff played at Clayton RSL, $8 entry.  Ararat Jailhouse Rock festival was held in March with bands including Eddie Youngblood and Flashback.  The Rebel Tavern in Seaford had bands every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with $5 entry.  The Straight 8's played at the Monash Hotel, $8 entry, Aspendale, Box Hill, Clayton, Frankston, Spotswood, Rye, Springvale RSL's all had live bands on Fri or Saturday nights, Just Rock in Kilsyth had Fri and Sat night monthly social dances, Pitrones in Keysborough had bands every Wednesday night, Good Friday Children's Hospital appeal was held at the Moorabbin Town Hall on 4th April with the Allstars, Donna Fisk, Johnny Chester, Andrew Portelli, Bill O'Rourke, Grantley Dee, Steve Lawson and Oscar Swaru, $20 entry. The Australian Rockabilly Accociation held a dance with the Straight 8's and Jump & Jive at Caulfield Secondary, $15 entry.  Line dancing / bootscootin was popular with classes held all over Melbourne, live bands playing on Wed nights at Italo Australian Club Dandenong on Wed nights and San Souci in Moorabbin on Thurs nights, plus a monthly gig guide / booklet "Heart of Country News".

Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival 2019

Posted by [email protected] on April 23, 2019 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival 2019

What a fabulous event again in Merimbula for the 10th Sapphire Coast Rock n Rodders Festival. It was hosted by Club Sapphire early in March but, as in the last 10 years, it was principally organised by Lyndon & Kerry with assistance from the local Merimbula R&R club. The weather in this seaside holiday town located in NSW South Coast as usual was fantastic with sunny sky during the whole weekend, and mild evening temperature which makes it perfect for rock n roll dancing.

This year, we again have Lyndon's band, Shadoogie, which was a household R&R band in Melbourne for many years before he moved away to live in Merimbula. Also performing on the 3 day event were the Fender Benders and the Honky Tonk Rockers. Shadoogie started off the festival playing to a capacity crowd on Friday evening. This was followed by the Saturday night dance with Shadoogie and the Honky Tonk Rockers playing in the main dance hall and the Fender Benders in the smaller room upstairs. Sunday night was the dinner dance with Fender Benders and the Honky Tonk Rockers and finished off with the jam session featuring all 3 bands on stage. The jam session has always been the highlight of the evening as patrons gathered around at the front of the stage to soak up the atmosphere and admire the talent on display as the 3 bands played as one. Lyndon even pulled a "band reunion" surprise on Sunday when he got his old band mates including Artie Shugg (ex Atomic Hi Tones and now with the Jump Devils) from 30 years ago to come on stage to perform a couple of songs.

There were dance classes and dance demo plus a "Jack n Jill" dance competition. Also on Sunday morning, classic cars and hot rods gathered for a hot rodders show. For those who wanted more to do, there was a food & wine market on Lake Merimbula's foreshore on Sunday morning or you could enjoy walking the whole section of the Merimbula Board walk which has a fantastic bush land scenery along with the beauty & serenity of Lake Merimbula.

This year's festival was the tenth in a row and Lyndon and Kerry have done a fantastic job in organizing it, year after year. Well done to Lyndon & Kerry. Well done also to the Sapphire Club for hosting it plus all the bands that have participated in this festival. I believe this year might be the last time that Lyndon & Kerry are going to host the festival. It has been an incredible success and whether the festival continues in its present form, only time will tell. I have always enjoyed attending the festival the few times I have been able to make it.

Paul - Jitterbug. Copied with permission from vicrock.com.au

Jocelyn's memories

Posted by [email protected] on March 21, 2019 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I first stumbled on the rock n roll dance scene in 2004.  I was asked to dance at our local club by James Wing, who had come along to watch a band called Shindig.  James taught myself and 3 girlfriends how to do a couple of basic rock n roll moves and told us about the dance lessons at the Waltzing Matilda hotel in springvale. He also showed us a copy of the Rock n Roll News, opening our eyes to the rock n roll dance scene.  We were all excited to learn that there was somewhere we could go to learn to dance, so the next week we went along to the "Waltzy" and started lessons with Glenis Boyd's Southside Rockers.  That became a regular girls night out every Tuesday and Sunday night for the next 2 years.  Our husbands came a few times but weren't interested in dancing, - I think they were secretly pleased to have a night at home in charge of the TV remote.

It wasn't long before we heard about "Little Marias" dance at the Whitehorse Club with a live band, and we soon became regulars there until Maria closed down in 2013.  Devastated at loosing our regular fortnightly dance I pursuaded Milton and Sue from Flipside music trivia into having a go at running a rock n roll dance.  The Flipside dance at the Hungarian Club was born, running twice a month for 5 years until it sadly closed at the end of 2018. 

Over the years I've enjoyed dance lessons from Glenis at Southside Rockers, Graeme and Heather at Sylvester Swingers, Pat Noakes at Swing Central, Adrian Spadaro at Red Hot Rockers, Lou, Lynette and Graeme at Top Cats, Andy Zammit at Andy's Cats, Jon Hannon at Alley Cats, Swing Patrol, Rusty at Ashburton Swing, as well as several other one off classes and numerous workshops and festivals.  All of the teachers have put lots of effort into spreading their love of dance and helping their students to learn new moves.

Some of the places I've enjoyed dancing socially at include : the Waltzy, Whitehorse Club, Heritage in Epping, Sunshine City Club, Springvale RSL, Dandenong Workers, Cheltenham RSL, Dandenong RSL, Mordi Rock, Mentone RSL, Mitcham RSL, East Malvern RSL, Bentleigh RSL, West Coburg Bowls, Alley Cats Sunshine and Lilydale dances, Flipside, Little Maria's, Clayton RSL, Eddies Bandroom, Highett Bowls, Linda's dances, Swing on High...

Over the past 15 years I've met lots of wonderful people, travelled to suburbs I'd never heard of, danced to many wonderful bands and had a great time.  I've also sadly said goodbye to many characters who have passed away.  We are so lucky to have great dance teachers, bands and dance promoters who are willing to take a risk at putting on dances for our enjoyment, as well as so many places to dance and hear great music.

I decided last year that it would be worthwhile creating a website to record some of the history of the dance scene so that it doesn't get forgotten.  I hope you enjoy reading people's memories and I hope they keep rolling in so together we can continue to record the stories of Melbourne's rock n roll dancers.

Jocelyn Bloye

March 2019

1995 Snapshot

Posted by [email protected] on February 2, 2019 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

In 1995 the following rock n roll dances and classes were being held around Melbourne.  Large town halls were popular venues, line dancing was very popular, and Lindy Hop was starting to be danced.

Dance Classes

Andy's flipside, Tues nights at Springers in Keysborough.  $8 with Andy Zammit

Adrian and Chris dance classes, Camberwell, Coburg town hall, Clayton RSL $8.  Adrian Spadaro and Chris Black

Carrum RSL Tues nights with Joe and Marnie $3

Dance Away at Mt Eliza

Dance Tyme International in Croydon Sunday night

Glenys Southside Rockers, Frankston on Mon nights

Just Rock in Kilsyth Sunday nights $6

Rock n Roll with Lindsay and Heather in Mornington Wed nights.

Rock n Soul Boronia with Michael and Sheryl sunday nights $4

Rock Plus in Sunshine with Denise

Rock n Roll with Laurie and Claudette in Braebrook wed nights

50's Rock n Roll with Kevin and Carol Ross Burwood, Mon nights, $5

Rock with Us, Deer Park with John

Sebastians Rock n Roll & Swing, Preston Mon night, Moonee Ponds Tues night, Blackburn Thurs night and Glen Iris Sat arvo, $9.  Also line dancing lessons on the same nights.

Dances held in 1995

The Allstars played at Chelsea Town Hall

Derek Gray opened a dance at the Malvern Town Hall

Dave Rama started 50's rock n roll at the Monash Hotel

Lindy Hop started to become popular

Rockabilly dance at the Walzing Matilda Hotel in Springvale with bands and DJ Dr. Wolf cost $10

Elvis Presley Fan Club ran dances at the Chelsea Town Hall

Mordi Rock dances were held regularly at Warren Rd Community Centre, Mordialloc

Fabulous 50's Rock n roll dance run by Teresa held at community centre in Thornbury, $12 entry

Pitrone's on Springvale Rd Keysborough had bands and dancing every Wed night, $10 entry included a 2 course meal

DJ Jeff Pool played for social dancing every Thur night 8.30-11pm, after Adrians dance class in North Balwyn 

Line dancing / bootscooting classes and dances were held in many venues

Box Hill RSL had bands and dancing Fri and Sat nights

Clayton RSL had bands and dancing Fri nights with $8 entry

Old Dandenong Inn had bands on Fri and Sat nights with free entry

Aspendale Edithvale RSL had bands Fri and Sat nights

Cranbourne RSL had bands Fri and Sat nights

Just Rock in Kilsyth held dances once a month

Carrum RSL held monthly bands

Bands Playing in 1995



Calico Band

Country Brew

Cut Loose




Flying Tigers

Frankie and the Highlighters


Itchy Fingers

Jump & Jive

Kathy Raydings




Rebel Rousers


Rough Cut


Steppin' Out

Straight 8's

Teddy Boys

Texas Touch

Tony Dee

White Lightening

Wild Turkey


Posted by [email protected] on January 24, 2019 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

2018 Highlights.

Flipside dance at the Hungarian Club closed after 5 years of fortnightly dances.

Speedsters band retired after 30 years of playing at rock n roll dances.

Adrian Spadaro held a retirement dance in April at the Whitehorse Club to say goodbye after 25 years of teaching rock n roll and running dances.

RocketApp was launched by Jon and Zoe Hannon.

Buckley Park dance taken over by Phillip Pananche and Agatha, 2018, then Rhonda and Phillip alternating.

Cool Cats Club established with Facebook page and Website with the same name designed to promote not only Buckley Park events but all R&R events happening across Victoria.

People of rock n roll

Posted by [email protected] on January 7, 2019 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Apart from those who have been inducted into the VRRDA hall of fame, there are many other contributors to the Rock n Roll dance scene in Melbourne and Victoria.

Contributions welcome.

Bruce Prest - 1st President of the VRRDA

Grant and Maryanne Richards – Team Richards are teaching kids to dance (and compete) for free in their home in Cranbourne on Saturday mornings, to promote dancing to a new generation.  Grant and Maryanne have also won many dance competitions all around Australia.

Paul Wan - Jitterbug, Moderator of vicrock.com.au. Paul videos many bands and dances to record the rock n roll dance scene, posts many reviews on vicrock.com.au and attends and supports as many dances and festivals as he can. A great ambasador for the rock n roll dance scene.

Philip Panache - creator of free website  http://www.coolcatsclub.com.au to list bands, dances and dance classes around Australia. Started in 2018

Ray Harris - Gorgeous Gear

Pennsylvannia 65000

Posted by [email protected] on January 7, 2019 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A popular Rock'n'Roll line dance frequently seen at Classic Rock venues in Melbourne Australia in the mid to late 2000's. The sequence was developed by Les Maslin and the music is "Pennsylvania 65000" by Brian Setzer.

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Jon Hannon and Irene Amos late 1990's

Posted by [email protected] on January 7, 2019 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Jon Hannon and Irene Amos were winners of the Le Classique dance competition at Adelaide's Rock n Roll Dance competition in the late 1990's.

Maltese cha cha

Posted by [email protected] on January 7, 2019 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Video of the Maltese cha cha line dance from the Jukebox Rockers annual rock n roll festival in Geelong, Jan 2019.

The line dance is a modified version of the "Stroll along cha cha" and was introduced to the rock n roll dance scene by Rhonda Watts from Renegade Rockers around 2016 after seeing it on a holiday to Malta.  It was one of the most popular line dances in 2016-2018 and was danced to the song "Last night"by Chris Anderson and DJ Robbie.

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Big Jive dance competition 1974

Posted by [email protected] on January 7, 2019 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

To promote the release of the movie "American Graffiti " radio station 3UZ held a jive dance competition at Doncaster Shopping Town in 20th April 1974.

Michele Clay Van Sprang entered with her younger brother, with no rehearsal.  The competition was suppose to be on a Friday night but was cancelled and transferred to Saturday afternoon. They entered at the last minute as a joke on the say so of friends that they were good enough to win.

To see video f the competition go to the "History of rock n roll dancing in Melbourne" Facebook page.

Thanks to Michele for photos and information.