History of Rock n Roll Dancing in Melbourne

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DJ Ashley retires

Posted by [email protected] on July 30, 2019 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

DJ Ashley's Farewell Gig with the Detonators Sunday 28th July 2019 

Hi everyone. DJ Ashley and his wife, Leanne, are household names in our 1950's style rock n roll community. For well over 20 or more years, DJ Ashley has tirelessly staged dance gigs at numerous venues all over Melbourne to cater for our dancing enjoyment. He is well known for introducing new bands to the scene as well as engaging the best Melbourne bands of various genres (rock n roll, rockabilly, country rock, blues and even swing) to play for his gigs. He also introduced numerous inter-state bands to the Melbourne dance scene as well as getting overseas bands when they were touring Australia.

DJ Ashley is a well know rock n roll paparazzi for the thousands of photos and videos he has shot at various dance events and rock n roll cruises over the years.

If you have not read from social media postings or heard from friends recently, DJ Ashley is presently very unwell. Leanne has advised that his recent operation or procedure has been unsuccessful. As a result, Ashley has decided to stage his farewell gig this Sunday afternoon so that he could spend the remainder of his time with his wife, Leanne. Ashley has been a great contributor to our rock n roll scene over so many years. He loves his music and is a very stylish dancer himself. We shall miss very much DJ Ashley's gigs after this Sunday. The end of an era as someone puts it. But I am sure the memories of DJ Ashley and all his gigs, photos and videos shall remain forever in our hearts and will never be forgotten. Thank you DJ Ashley for all the good rockin' times and music...

So lets do it for DJ Ashley this Sunday at the Moorabbin Bowls club where his farewell gig with the Detonators will be held. Lets all turn up to dance and, most of all, show we love him and want to thank him for all he has done for rock n roll music and dancing in Melbourne.....

Jitterbug


Copied with permission from Vicrock.com.au

Rockhouse Dance Championships

Posted by [email protected] on June 18, 2019 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)
Rockhouse monthly dance at 899 Mountain Hwy, Bayswater put on by the band Alive 'n' Kicking from 1991 - 1996.  Dance competions were held each month with finalists dancing for the championship towards the end of the year.

Band member Len O'Connor designed the posters and hand coloured each one.  The posters were then given to the finalists at the championships.

Judging Criteria for Rockhouse Dance Comps - 5 Judges each awarded a possible 20 points for 1 Technique - 2 Originality - 3 Choreography - 4 Showmanship - 5 Dress - Making a total of 100 points - Couldn't be fairer than that for overall dancing ability regardless of Dance Style.

1993 finals competitors were, in order of appearance, : Jamie and Renee, John and Sue, Jason and Caroline, Adrian and Chris, Andy and Terry. 1st place Andy and Terri, 2nd John and Sue, 3rd Adrian and Chris. Winners all received trophy and dance posters 1st place also won blue satin embroidered jackets.   Cowboy & Tiffany - Alistair & Carol were the omissions although they're names appear on the poster.

Judges include Glenn and Rachel Delafiore

Alive 'n' Kicking band members : Ian Mair (deceased) - Damien Knott - Richard Lewis - Greg White - Len O'Connor - The Band started slowly with few gigs on offer so decided to start our own Dance (Rockhouse) - Sue Wilkinson was appointed Dance Comp promoter & organizer & unlike competitions at other Dances, we had individual couples compete solo in turn with 5 judges ( Technique - Choreography - Dress - Originality - Showmanship ) scoring out of 100 ( 20 points max per judge ) with monthly winners competing in an end of year dance off, with winners receiving Championship Silk Jackets The dance was held on the 3rd Saturday of each month and went from 60 attendees at the 1st dance to crowds of 300 & more from the 3rd month of operation. By that time the band had become quite popular & were soon regularly working 4 gigs per week at all major venues. The dance lasted around 4 years when the Bayswater Darts Club decided to sell the venue thus ending operations. No other venue could be found with the same unique atmosphere so the Dance expired but the memories live on.

Visit the History of rock n roll dancingin Melbourne Facebook page to see video's on some of the competitions and dance nights, plus video of the band playing.

The band Alive 'n' Kicking :  Ian Mair (deceased) - Damien Knott - Richard Lewis - Greg White - Len O'Connor


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Jim and Rhonda at the Rockhouse Dance championships in 1992 which they won.

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Minor dance competition at Rockhouse 1992

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Alive 'n' Kicking performing at Rockhouse JOK show

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Adrian Spadaro and Chris Black dancing in the Championships in 1993.  They placed 3rd.

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Carolyn McAlister and Jason Vargas dancing at the Rockhouse championships 1992







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.


Len O'Connor - band member of Alive 'n' Kicking who started up the Rockhouse Rock n Roll Club in Bayswater that ran monthly saturday night dances and dance competitions from 1991 - 1996.  Len also designed the Rockhouse dance posters, hand couloured them, and each dance finalist received a poster to keep.  Rockhouse was one of the most popular dances in Melbourne.  It closed when the Bayswater Darts Club who owned the building, sold up.  See video links to some of the dance competitions.



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






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.



Adam Gardner (That's Rock Dance Studios) dancing doubles

Posted by [email protected] on January 3, 2019 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Adam Gardner dancing doubles with Iren Amos and Denise at Just Rock club, Kilsyth in 1997.

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Karin and Erwin Schelling

Posted by [email protected] on January 3, 2019 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Vicrock.com.au - 2018 Social Dancers of the Year - Karin & Erwin


To me, it's not so much the showy dance moves you exhibit but how much joy & fun you have on the dance floor. And it's also about you supporting our various dance gigs week in week out that matters. Without your support there'll be no more R&R dances as we know it today. So many dancers I can mention that have supported our dance scene for many years and continue to do so today - Coral, Inga, Paul & Maree, Rob & Margie, Vince & Joyce, Laura & Manny, Italia, Glenda Raka, Maria Stolnik, Wayne, Mick, Bernie, Laurie, Jocelyn, Denise Winter, Irene, Denise & Les, Lynn & john, Linda etc. But to me, the social dancers I most admire and hope to emulate dancing right through my seniors years have to be Karin & Erwin. Just like the "Swingchesters" who have been dancing since the 1950's, Karin & Erwin have been dancing for so many years that I have lost count of. They have been featured in newspapers article and on TV so they are our very own "A list" rock & rollers in our dance scene.

Jitterbug (Paul Wan).  Copied with permission from Vicrock.com.au


Karin and Erwin are well know to everyone at dances in the Southeastern Suburbs.  They took up rock n roll dancing in 2000 after many years of ballroom and have loved every minute of it.

They were featured on Weekend Sunrise program in 2010 when they were in their 70's.  Erwin is now in his 80's and is still dancing several times a week.

  

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Little Maria RIP 5.11.2015

Posted by [email protected] on December 25, 2018 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)

RIP Little Maria.


It is with great sadness that I write to inform you Little Maria has passed away today surrounded by her beloved family. As many of you might know, Little Maria has been fighting an illness in the last several months but she has kept up her spirit despite the pain she must have endured. She was visited and comforted by many of her close friends in the last several weeks and I was one of those who had the privilege of doing so. She even cooked me pancakes for supper when she should be resting. How could I not love her so much.


Little Maria might be little in height but she was a giant in our rock 'n' roll scene. She was recently inducted into the Victorian Rock & Roll Dance Association Hall of Fame. She was a very well known personality in Melbourne, country Victoria and interstate especially in Queensland where she was a regular visitor to Wintersun Rock & Roll Festival for many years. She was well loved by everyone in our 1950's style rock 'n' roll scene.


No one who has ever attended one of her "Little Maria" dances would forget or fail to notice the extra touch and effort she put into her dances. The decorations in the hall, the table settings, the many, fun themes night and her very colourful and flamboyant costumes. The opportunities she had given many rock & roll bands to play at her dances. And Little Maria always without fail greeted each and everyone by name and with a big, happy smile and cuddle. She was the dance host extraordinaire. Through her dances, many romances and relationships have blossomed and flourished and even resulted in a few marriages. And many, including myself, learned to dance rock & roll socially at her dances as a beginner which Little Maria welcomed everyone as one big, happy dance family irrespective of your dance ability & style, colour, age or even religion. All her dances which ran for 13 years were filled with fun, laughter, music and lots of dancing.


We salute you, Little Maria, for your huge & enduring contribution to our 1950's style rock & roll live music and dance scene. You have departed from us now but will never be forgotten. Those happy memories from your dances shall be with us forever. The thousands of photos and videos you have personally taken at your dances shall remain a living recorded history of your dances and the fun times that we all had. Thank you very much Little Maria.


The Lord be with you. Rest In Peace, Little Maria.


Jitterbug (Paul Wan) Copied with permission from Vicrock.com.au

 

2018 awards

Posted by [email protected] on December 25, 2018 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Each year Jitterbug, (Paul) the moderator of Vicrock website nominates people for his yearly awards. Copied from http://www.vicrock.com.au


2018 R&R Person of the Year


This is only my personal opinion as someone who has been in our 1950's style music & dance scene for a number of years in Melbourne. There have been so many people & bands who have contributed greatly to our 1950's scene during 2018 and I am sure many of you have your own personal favourite(s) as well. I would be happy to hear from you of your favourite people, bands, festivals and dance teachers.


2018 Melbourne Rock n Roll Person of the Year - Jocelyn B O'Mara


So many people caught my attention in 2018. Jonathan & Zoe continue to spread the message of R&R dancing far & wide in Melbourne with their classes and "8 Week Wonder" and also their $1,000 shoot Out Dance Comp. Their dance gigs are usually well attended and they have brought out Si Cranstoun and A Band Called Twang for our enjoyment. DJ Ashley & Leanne Lonel impressed me with their energy & passion in promoting live music and R&R dancing bringing us top bands week in week out. DJ Ashley's photos and videos are legendary keeping our memories of happy times alive for many years to come. Suzie from Rock'n Suzie is another who needs no introduction teaching hundreds of students over the years and holding dances monthly in Pakenham. Her contribution for so many years in staging the Good Friday Charity dance event raising money for a good cause will always be remembered. But the person who I think deserves to be our Melbourne R&R Person of the Year is Jocelyn B O'Mara. I have known Jocelyn in our R&R scene for many years. She has been an active contributor on Vicrock (arguably the world's first website totally dedicated to 1950's style music and dancing) for many years and continue to share her views online. She was also one of a small group of people who came up with the idea of staging the R&R Flashmob dance at various locations in Melbourne city as well as at the Doncaster Shopping centre. But what I am most impressed is her dedication and passion in wanting to preserve the history of R&R music and dancing in Melbourne for future generations by starting a website called "History of R&R Dancing in Melbourne" specially for this purpose. Everyone can go onto this website and make a positive contribution with your knowledge, photos and videos of our 1950's scene in Melbourne. Wouldn't it be a fantastic outcome & achievement if the data and knowledge captured of our 1950's scene for posterity will be taken up and accepted by our university's history departments as well as Australia's museums and Australian Historical Archives.


Other Awards for 2018:


2018 Band of the Year - Shane Magro Trio


So many great bands in Melbourne with some like the Straight 8's and the Vincents having been in our dance scene for over 25 years or more. Sadly, the Speedsters are no more having played their last gig recently. We all have our local favourites such as the Fender Benders, the Detonators, Louis King & the Liars Klub, Honky Tonk Rockers, Rockin' Daddies, Itchy Fingers, the Rockin' Tones, the Jump Devils and later the Jump Cats, Hank Jalopy Demons, the Firebird etc but to me, the most exciting band to have come into our 1950's style R&R live music scene in recent times has to be the Shane Magro Trio comprising the very youthful & dynamic Shane Magro & James Schembri and well supported by Frank D'abaco on drums and the stylish Robin Sharrock on the double bass. Hope to see Shane Magro Trio continue to grow in popularity in years to come.


2018 Dance Promoter of the Year - DJ Ashley & Leanne Lonel


Great to see many taking the risk and spending huge amount of time and commitment to promote our R&R scene usually for very little reward. Some have been doing this for many years such as Cliffy & Maryann and also Jonathan & Zoe. Special mention must also go to promoters at the Furlan Club, Renegade Rockers, Rosebud Rockers, Peninsula Rockers, Rock'n Suzie, Geelong Jukebox Rockers, Triple F's etc. Special thank you to Milton, Sue & Big Al for staging Flipside for 5 wonderful years. It was a sad day with their last dance in December. But to me, the promoter of the year goes to DJ Ashley & Leanne Lonel who have kept dancers busy on the dance floor for so many years and keep introducing so many new and great bands to our scene. DJ Ashley is someone who never say never, and he just keep on surprising us to keep our dance scene rockin'. Thank you DJ Ashley and Leanne Lonel for your dedication in promoting 1950's tyle live music and R&R dancing.


2018 Dance Teachers of the Year - Jonathan & Zoe


Thanks to the many dedicated R&R dance teachers, so many people have now found a new passion in life dancing R&R in Melbourne. Some have been teaching for many years like Glenys at Southside, Anne Truex in LaTrobe Valley, Adam & Deanne in country Victoria and Sue in Pakenham whilst others such as Brian & Marge and Charlie & Karen Toia took up the baton to keep R&R dancing alive. Special mention must go to Adrian who had taught thousands to dance over the years before his retirement from teaching. Linda Symth is another who has taught for so many years and continue to do so today, and many have found the joy of dancing through her special skills & dedication especially amongst those new to R&R dancing. I must mention also Grant & Maryanne Richards for their passion in competing but especially in bringing R&R to young people who are our future in keeping R&R alive. But to me, Jonathan & Zoe embodied what is great & the future for R&R dancing. Not only are they State Champions but they have taught R&R to a large number of people in different age groups with classes all over Melbourne for many years. I love especially their innovative and fun "8 week Wonder" classes.


2018 Social Dancers of the Year - Karin & Erwin


To me, it's not so much the showy dance moves you exhibit but how much joy & fun you have on the dance floor. And it's also about you supporting our the various dance gigs week in week out that matters. Without your support there'll be no more R&R dances as we know it today. So many dancers I can mention that have supported our dance scene for many years and continue to do so today - Coral, Inga, Paul & Maree, Rob & Margie, Vince & Joyce, Laura & Manny, Italia, Glenda Raka, Maria Stolnik, Wayne, Mick, Bernie, Laurie, Jocelyn, Denise Winter, Irene, Denise & Les, Lynn & john, Linda etc. But to me, the social dancers I most admire and hope to emulate dancing right through my seniors years have to be Karin & Erwin. Just like the "Swingchesters" who have been dancing since the 1950's, Karin & Erwin have been dancing for so many years that I have lost count of. They have been featured in newspapers article and on TV so they are our very own "A list" rock & rollers in our dance scene.


2018 R&R Festival of the Year - Camperdown's "Rock the Clock" R&R Festival


R&R Festivals have the potential to really promote R&R music, fashion and dance far & wide and to have that massive impact in the general public arena. We are lucky in Melboune & in Victoria generally to continue to enjoy & attend various R&R festivals although it was sad to see some closing down like Shepparton Rockabilly festival and the Tallangatta R&R festival. Geelong Jukebox Rockers' Summer R&R festival continues to be staged after so many years and continues to draw a large crowd. Rosebud R&R festival is growing in popularity with some dance events sold out weeks before. Ballarat rockabilly festival which I attended was quite popular with the general public especially the open stage area on Lydiard street where bands performed and with dancing on the main street. But the festival which gains my admiration & support is Camperdown's "Rock the Clock" R&R festival. From what I understand, the people & businesses in Camperdown came together to support and stage the festival after Camperdown rockabilly festival was closed. It's in this spirit of togetherness exhibited by this small country Victorian town to bring alive our 1950's music, cars, fashion and dance scene that I most admire. For this reason alone, I nominate Camperdown's "Rock the Clock" to be the R&R festival of the year.

Jitterbug (Paul Wan)

Tom Amos's memories

Posted by [email protected] on November 12, 2018 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

I will give you an insight to the Rock "n" roll scene as we found it in Melbourne in 1962 onwards. In foreword I will give you an insight of Irene and myself at the start of our dance life together. We met in 1958 at the teenbeat dance at the Flamingo Ballroom in Glasgow where we started "Jiving" as we called it and 4 years later we emigrated to Melbourne.

We frequented many Melbourne dance venues such as Leggetts Ballroom, Canterbury Ballroon, The Orama Ballroom, Box hill town hall, and a host of RSL clubs but the thing that stood out was that they nearly all had their own style of R "and " Roll dance with subtle differences in their basic steps. We believe that this was because there was no formal R :n"R teaching schools in operation so it was simply "monky see, monky do" and people simply made up their own style and steps. But it worked for there were some very good dancers with very good footwork.

We spent 4 years in Adelaide where the style was different again The males had great handwork and figures but simply walked to the beat but still has some wonderful dancers. We only social danced from 1970 to 1992 whilst bring up our kids but joined Just Rock in 1992 . By this time the dance had settled down into a semi rockabilly style which was very different to our style but we adapted and taught there for a few years. The R "n' Roll social scene was in full swing with many venues like Rockhouse and Box Hill RSL, in operation. The present day style is a combination of all the aforementiond influences and the genre is all the better for it.

Cheers Tommy


Tom and Irene Amos taught with Just Rock in the 1990's.

VRRDA Hall of Fame

Posted by [email protected] on September 7, 2018 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

VRRDA Hall of Fame


Each year the VRRDA recognises people who've made a significant contribution to rock n roll. The VRRDA Hall of Fame was started in 2014, but there are many others who have been significant over the years.

Hopefully this list will grow with contributions.


For details on each inductee visit the VRRDA website http://vrrda.org.au/inductees.html


Jenny Hartskeerl (Rock and Roll News) - 2014


Jenny started learning rock n roll in 1989 at the Bayswater hotel, then began teaching with Just Rock and also Rock and Soul.  In 1989 she started to compile a list of venues which later became known as the Rock and Roll News.  Jenny also started making petticoats, starting her Dance with Petticoats business in 1989.


Carol and Kevin Ross (Fourmost dance company) - 2014


Kevin started dancing in 1990 and Carol in 1991.  They started teaching in 1996 when they formed Fourmost Dance Company with Nikki and Barry Slater.  Kevin and Carol entered many dance competitions between 1995 and 2003, and then became judges for the VRRDA championships as well as serving on the committee from 2007 - 2010.  They moved to Queensland in 2011.



Heather and John Jarman (Lakeside Rockers) - 2014


Heather and John started dancing in 1993 in Lismore.  In 1995 they started teaching in Sale and for Lakeside Rockers.  In 2000 John became VRRDA president and Heather became a VRRDA judge, doing so until 2009.  John started jusdging in 2005. 



Little Maria (Maria Battaglia - Little Maria's dances) - 2014


Maria's first rock n roll dance was at Petrones in 1997.  She only ever had 1 lesson in her life, with Fourmost in 1997. She danced as much as she could and was self taught.  Maria started helping Adrian Spadaro run his rock n roll dances and eventually took over running the fortnightly Friday night dance in 2000.  Little Maria's dances at the Whitehorse Club became one of the most popular dances in Melbourne, and everyone was treated as a special friend by Little Maria. Her crazy outfits, Minnie Mouse decorations and theme dress up nights were legendary. The dances ran for 13 years until Dec 2013 when Maria gave it away.



2014 inductees


Mel Hogan (Vicrock website)- VRRDA Hall of Fame 2015


Mel, a quiet, unassuming, almost invisible member of the Rock’n’Roll dance community, has made an enormous contribution by providing us with the VicRock website. The web site www.vicrock.com.au has continued to provide Rock’n’Roll dancers with up to date information since its launch in 2002. Mel is the site’s creator and web master. It may be that Vic Rock was the world’s first Rock’n’Roll dance focused web site. It certainly can be argued that, both in Australia and internationally, it is possibly one of the best, if not The Best. The gig guide is a particularly useful asset. Mel has arranged the site so that there is plenty of opportunities for registered members to play an active role; to contribute information, to list on the gig guide and to interact with other members. This interaction has really helped to build the feeling of community between dancers. Mel is noted for his integrity and discretion. Unlike some other web operations which harvest user details for resale, the details of registered VicRock members are sacrosanct.


Barbara Mitchell (Geelong Juke Box Rockers) - VRRDA Hall of Fame 2015


Geelong Juke Box Rockers began operations on 28 June 1998. Barbara was one of the main instigators in the creation of this highly successful, community based Rock’n’Roll dance club. Barbara served as the club’s President for 14 ½ years. She still plays a particularly active role in the organization of the club’s regular calendar of monthly dances, the weekly social nights and the weekly dance class nights. Barbara is involved in the club’s annual charity fund raiser dance. She is also deeply involved with the annual three day summer festival. Barbara is renowned for her warm personality and her generous spirit. She has encouraged families & young people to be active club members and she seeks out opportunities for the club to perform charity dancing demonstrations. On top of all this Barbara served on the VRRDA committee for three years.


Greg and Wendy Gilbert (S'coolhouse Rock) - 2016


In the early days, Greg and Wendy danced rock’n’roll as teenagers at the traditional Saturday night dances in Gippsland, in the local hall. Wendy’s first rock’n’roll lessons were taught in Sale by a visiting teacher from Starr ballroom, and then later, John and Heather Jarman began their Lakeside classes, making rock’n’roll so much more accessible.

Greg and Wendy began dancing together as a couple in 1997, married in 1998, and in the same year, started teaching under the name of S’Coolhouse Rock & Swing in country Victoria. And so they began teaching in Heyfield, a timber town in the foothills where ‘men don’t dance’. It proved quite a challenge to say the least! But the classes grew and they eventually started a second class in Maffra.

After training teachers to take over their classes, they moved to Perth in 2001. They worked for 4 years in Perth, taught classes 4 nights a week, and performed in corporate groups. They helped establish Summersun: a rock’n’roll festival held in Perth, and also travelled interstate to teach workshops at Wintersun, and in WA, Tas, NSW and Victoria.

Greg and Wendy were also instrumental in establishing the first Rock & Roll club in Launceston, Tasmania, called the Retro Rockers. They also developed a program for training dance teachers, which they put into place in Victoria, NSW, WA and Tasmania.

Did you know that Wendy was the first agent for Gorgeous, and sold shoes and merchandise for 15 years? In fact, I bought my first pair of Aris Allen swing shoes from Wendy several years ago.

They had several TV appearances in Perth including backing the weather on Channel 9 and promoting dancing on TV with appearances on Channel 21, and have been involved in many fund raising activities, including the Royal Perth Hospital appeal.

They have danced and entertained crowds at school fairs and community festivals, elderly citizens homes, hospitals, corporate functions, and have delivered many workshops to teachers and students alike. Wendy regularly teaches disabled adults, and has taught classes at the National Conference for the Disabled in Geelong.

Greg and Wendy started competing in the late 1990s, back in the days when you had to qualify for the Vic State Championships at one of the heats held around the state. This was a major logistical operation for them as they still had four of their six children at home and had to take the kids with them. It was so much easier when a heat was held in Sale. It was also easier when their daughter Grace, began to compete in the under 12 division from the age of 6. She and Zoe Hannon competed together for several years and were VRRDA Junior Champions every year of their competition.

Greg and Wendy competed successfully in Victoria and at Wintersun, and have trained other dancers for competitions in WA and Victoria, including junior divisions and teams. They have both been regular guest judges at the Victorian State Championships over many years, and are a delight to watch when they hit the dance floor.

Wendy has been a choreographer for local theatre and school productions, and was nominated for a choreography award for Grease by the Maffra Theatrical Company. She has also danced in many productions of Grease.

Between 2006-­‐2009, Greg and Wendy lived and taught in Echuca, opening up their Echuca branch of S’Coolhouse, and then trained other teachers to take over their dance school when they returned to Gippsland in 2009. At this time, Greg and Wendy opened a dance studio in Maffra, which they ran for 3 years. To them it was a dream come true, and it enabled them to teach so many people to develop the love of dance, no matter what style. For those 3 years, their junior dancers were VRRDA champions.

Over a period of 17 years, they have enabled thousands of people to enjoy a love of dancing, and have encouraged people from so many walks of life to get up on the dance floor, and have fun!

Some of Greg and Wendy’s greatest achievements:

1. Establishing the Launceston Club.

2. Creating an opportunity for people to enjoy dancing who didn’t think they could…including those men in Heyfield!!

3. Community involvement

4. And the great friendships made through dancing.

Annette Niven VRRDA Secretary


DJ Flash (Gordon Jones) - 2016


Gordon Jones, affectionately known as DJ Flash Gordon has been a fixture of the classic Rock’n’Roll dancing scene for as long as most dancers can remember. He has made an enormous contribution, providing us with many hours of entertainment over several decades.

His love of music developed as a teenager, and he would travel into the city every Saturday morning from Clayton to add to his collection of 45s. Most of us here are… shall I say, experienced enough to know what 45s are, but I‘m sure there are many younger people here tonight who do not know what 45s are! (They were a vinyl disc that single music tracks were released on. They were called the 45 or 7-­‐inch, the name came from its play speed, 45 rpm, and the diameter, 7 inches (18 cm). They were released in 7 colours for different music styles and black was for ‘popular’ music.

Gordon loves working as a DJ promoting the music of the rock’n’roll era. He worked with DJ Jeff in the early days, was a member of Just Rock in Kilsyth, and learnt to dance at Fourmost, with Kevin, Carol, Barry and Nicky.

He is held in high regard in Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria, not only because of his consistently high quality DJ skills but also because of his friendly, warm approach. Gordon has the ability to personalise his stage presentations so that audience members feel included. He has the incredible knack of remembering names and individual characteristics. By including this information in his role as DJ, he helps to create a feeling of inclusion and this has contributed to the development of the Rock’n’Roll dance community for a considerable number of years.

Before the VRRDA started using live bands to play for the Championships, Flash Gordon was also the Association’s DJ of choice, always doing a fantastic job, and playing some great dance music.

Gordon is also noted for his wonderful fundraising efforts, and has organised events to help out families who are doing it tough, or who need a helping hand. He has also been part of the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal on many occasions. He is a true ambassador for promoting rock’n’roll to the wider community, and I’m sure you would all agree, is one of the friendliest people you could hope to meet in our community.

As well as being a highly skilled DJ for the regular Rock’n’Roll community, Gordon has been providing dance opportunities for teenagers and young adults with special needs for many years. At his ‘Turntable Discos’ in Bayswater, Gordon has been able to provide a supportive program that encourages young people to enjoy the pleasures of this wonderful activity. He has also provided services through the Allabilities section of the community to assist people with special needs.

Some of Gordon’s greatest achievements:

1. Raising funds to send a 13-­‐year old girl, Keisha, on the trip of a lifetime with the little time she had left in this world.

2. Performing in The Big Swing @ The Forum Theatre in Melbourne.

3. Performing and acting as DJ at the Palladium Room at Crown Casino.

4. Meeting his beautiful partner, Gillian in 1982.

5. Meeting many wonderful people, and seeing their smiles and happy faces when they dance to his music.

6. And passing on his love of music and rock’n’roll.

Ladies and gentlemen, the VRRDA is honoured to induct Gordon Jones into the 2016 Hall of Fame.

Annette Niven, VRRDA Secretary


DJ Jeff (Poole) - VRRDA Hall of Fame 2017


Jeff Poole, affectionately known as DJ Jeff, has made an enormous contribution to the Rock’n’Roll dance scene, providing us with many hours of entertainment over several decades.  Jeff became interested in Rock & Roll as a dancer in the early 1970’s, dancing at the Springvale Hotel, Chelsea Hotel, and at several RSL clubs. Did you know that Jeff danced on stage at the Melbourne Glasshouse in the show “Elvis to the Max” with the band Flashback in 1988?

A long time ago… around 42 years ago, in the mid 1970s, there was a young man named Jeff who began working as a DJ between band sets at the Springvale Hotel, playing 45rpm records. Most of us here are old enough to know what 45s are, but the younger people here tonight might not even know what 45s are! (they existed long before we used CDs and downloads). Jeff loved Rock’n’Roll, and loved playing that music! He then went on to DJ at the original Mordy Rock and the South Eastern Rock’n’Roll Club between band sets.

When Jeff became older and wiser, he thought of a great idea, and started to put it into motion! In 1995, Jeff approached the Dandenong Workers Club and arranged to DJ a Rock & Roll night every second Sunday. This was the first venue that Jeff played at as a stand-alone DJ without a band. He then introduced Gordon Jones (DJ Flash) to DJ on alternate Sundays. Sunday night Rock’n’Roll at the Dandy Workers became a popular favourite with rock’n’roll dancers and it has now been running successfully for 22 years.

Jeff started up Rock’n’Roll at a variety of venues and clubs, and has helped many people learn basic rock’n’roll dancing or encouraged them to join dance classes. In 2005, Jeff and his wife Susanne started the annual Australia Day Rock’n’Roll Picnic Day at Gumbuya Park, where Jeff plays music all day. This has become a hugely popular event with dancers and car enthusiasts and attracts large audiences of over 3,000 people. Jeff has also been DJ at the Rockin’ Suzie’s Good Friday Appeal since 2006, playing his fantastic mix of music between band sets.

Over recent years, Jeff has also worked as DJ at many country festivals, and Susanne has accompanied him as MC. These include festivals such as Ballarat Rockers, the Ballarat Beat Rockabilly Festival, Club Mulwala Rock’n’Roll Festival, and Country Music Festival, the Geelong Summer Rock Festival, Ararat’s Jailhouse Rock Festival, Camperdown Cruise Rockabilly Weekend, Horsham Rockers Festival, and the Hooked On Rock dances in Gippsland. Jeff has also run an annual dance at the South Tweeds Sports Club as part of the Cooly Rocks On Festival since 2013.

Some of Jeff’s greatest achievements:

1. Sourcing a range of songs that have become popular with all styles of dancers, and that many bands then choose to play at dances.

2. Dancing as one of three couples in the very first Progressive Cha-Cha at the original Mordy Rock.

3. Having a song that Jeff played on 45 records become the first Rock’n’Roll Line Dance in Melbourne: this was Glen Miller’s ‘In The Mood’.

4. Starting up his Sunday night Rock’n’Roll at the Dandy Workers which is still running successfully after 22 years.

5. Being able to source many dance songs that dancers have then turned into Partner Dances and Line Dances e.g. Made In Japan played for The Drifter, and Upside Down played for Chicago Swing.

6. Meeting so many wonderful people, who share his love of music, swing and rock’n’roll.

Ladies and gentlemen, the VRRDA is honoured to induct Jeff Poole into the 2017 Hall of Fame.

Annette Niven VRRDA Secretary


Adrian Spadaro - VRRDA Hall of Fame 2017


Adrian Spadaro has made a considerable contribution to the Melbourne rock’n’roll scene over the past 25 years, firstly as a dance competitor, then as a dance teacher and dance promoter. Adrian started teaching rock’n’roll in 1991, and continued to teach each week in many areas around Melbourne, including Camberwell, Burwood, Coburg, and Wantirna. In the early 1990s, Adrian and Chris Black were a well-known competition couple, and together built up one of the biggest Rock’n’Roll dance schools in Melbourne. Adrian won the 1992 South Pacific Triples, and 1993 VRRDA Open Doubles with Chris Black and Terri Moon, and the 1993 VRRDA Open Teams event.


Adrian was passionate about his dancing and was keen to expand into other areas. Did you know that Adrian was instrumental in introducing Lindy Hop to Melbourne? On 20 August 1995, the first Lindy Hop workshop was held in Melbourne at Two’s Company, with dance teacher Rob Bloom (who had moved from London to Sydney). This workshop was organised by Adrian and Chris, kicking off Melbourne’s swing revival. Adrian also hosted Catrine Ljunggren, from Sweden's dance company ‘The Rhythm Hot Shots’ in December 1995, when she taught workshops with Rob Bloom. Next came a workshop and dance with Sylvia Sykes from California. In March 1996, Vic Lindy Hop was formed, run by Melbourne teachers and dancers, including Adrian, Pat Noakes, Claudia Funder and Steve Octagon. Adrian’s initial contribution to the swing dancing world in Melbourne was an important step in establishing this dance style.



Do you realise that within our rock’n’roll dance community, many of the current dance instructors started their teaching careers with Adrian? He was very good at spotting people with the potential to teach. He mentored them, encouraged them to teach and also employed some of them. Jonathon Hannon of Alley Catz, Debbie Krause of Swing Dance with Debbie, Pat Noakes of Swing Central, Rhonda Watts of Renegade Rockers, Dave Dooley, Wendy Gapper and Gavin Preston are all well-known teachers in the rock’n‘roll scene who were encouraged or mentored by Adrian. Adrian went on to run his successful Red Hot Rockers dance classes and social dances, working with many people over the years. Some people, like Little Maria, Debbie, Angelo and Jonathon, helped him run his dances, and then went on to run their own successful dances.


Did you know that a few years ago, there was an event held at the Victorian Championships called the Fast Foot event? This was lightning fast, and tested the survival skills of the best! Adrian was crazy enough to enter this event with yours truly! Not only did we win, but Adrian literally finished that event lying on the floor! This was either a testament to his great attitude to try everything at least once!! … or sheer stupidity on both our parts!!


Adrian has continued to run classes and social dances all over Melbourne for many years, currently holding classes in Surrey Hills, Coburg, and Forest Hill, making sure dancers have somewhere to go, and bands have somewhere to play. Over a period of 25 years, Adrian has taught thousands of people to dance, not only rock’n’roll, but also swing, jive, salsa, cha-cha, westcoast and line dancing. He has enabled thousands of people to enjoy a love of dancing, and has encouraged people from many walks of life to get up on the dance floor, and have fun!


Some of Adrian’s greatest achievements:


1. Running workshops in regional areas to introduce four-step Rock’n’Roll, Westcoast, Lindy and other styles, and providing the instructors with teaching videos and notes to help them teach four-step rock’n’roll.

2. Organising the first Lindy Hop workshops in Melbourne, with his partner, Chris Black.

3. Being able to bring enjoyment to so many people, demonstrated by the size of his dance classes on Wednesdays, with over 200 people attending.

4. Starting the first Rock’n’Roll dances at Coburg Town Hall, and the Whitehorse Club, and holding other dances at the Furlan Club, Glen Eira Town Hall, West Coburg Bowls, and many other venues.

Ladies and gentlemen, the VRRDA is honoured to induct Adrian Spadaro into the 2017 Hall of Fame.

Annette Niven VRRDA Secretary



Anne Truex (Hooked on Rock) - Hall of Fame 2018


The VRRDA established the Victorian Rock’n’Roll Dance Hall of Fame to recognise those special people who have made a notable contribution to Rock’n’Roll dancing over a significant period of time.


Anne Truex has been involved in promoting rock’n’roll in one form or another for many years. She began attending dance classes in 1994 held by Jeff Beck in Traralgon, learning both rock’n’roll and ballroom, and was hooked from the first minute. Anne was asked to take on Jeff’s classes for 8 months following a car accident, and then asked to permanently take the classes.


Anne also began attending Lakeside Rockers classes taught by John and Heather Jarman in Sale. In 1996, Anne opened her own dance classes in Traralgon. She created a newsletter, and the club Latrobe Rockers was established.


Anne decided in 2002 to run dance classes independently, and started teaching under the name of ‘Hooked On Rock’ in Traralgon. Peter Field helped teach the classes. Her friend Dale Holloway helped Anne with classes, naming the dance group and designing the logo.


Anne has also taught lessons in Morwell, Boolarra, Tyres, Churchill, Traralgon South and Sale, and has successfully reached out to the smaller communities in her area.


Anne has run Hooked on Rock classes and social dances for many years. She has also organised demonstrations at many community events, entertaining crowds at school fairs and community festivals, elderly citizens homes, hospitals, and business functions.


Linda Smyth - Hall of Fame 2019

Linda's Rock n Roll, Ringwood North


Linda has been involved in Rock’n’roll for 30 years. She went to her first dance lesson in 1989 and loved it. She soon had people from the dance class coming back to her house for a cuppa and dancing in her lounge room. This grew into the first Linda’s Rockers dance class at Olinda Creek Hotel in Lilydale on a Monday night. For Linda’s first class, she arrived on the Monday night (this was when hotels used to be closed on Mondays), carrying a small cassette tape recorder (remember those?), with about 20 songs, no cash tin, and no microphone. To her surprise, she had over 40 people, and it grew each week…and then it was time to get a bigger hall.


Over the years she has taught thousands to dance. Linda has also judged competitions at Rock House, Mordy Rock, Coburg, Bendigo, and some for the VRRDA. Linda also taught at Mooroolbark Seniors for a year as a community service, and has often helped charities such as McDonald House, Olivia Newton-John’s Cancer Centre, Wandin CFA, and Diabetes Australia, by holding fund-raising dances, or performing dance demonstrations. Linda’s aim has always been to look after the up and coming Rock’n’Rollers. Her Beginners have been, and still are, the most important to her. Last year, she introduced a massive 350 NEW Beginners to Rock’n’Roll (as she has done in most recent years).


Linda has continued to run her dance classes twice a week over the past year, from the side-lines, through the support of her many students, following her knee surgery and spine fracture. That shows true dedication as a teacher.




Bill and Maree Oldham - Hall of Fame 2019


Bill and Maree are founding members of the Bendigo Rockin’ 50’s Rock & Roll Club, and are fondly considered to be the heart of the club. They have helped teach thousands of people to dance at their weekly dance lessons. They have also had a lot of fun over the years participating in Dance Demos for local sports clubs, aged care homes, and church clubs, as well as dancing on floats in Bendigo’s Easter festival and in the Australia Day Rock’n’Roll show that the club has performed for Rotary for the past 25 years.


Through their leadership and involvement, the Rockin’ 50s Rock & Roll Club have held numerous Rock’n’Roll dance classes, and provided regular dance lessons to many eager learners of all ages over a period of 30 years.  Bill was Club President of the Rockin’ 50’s for a period of 9 years, including the last 4 years from 2015-2018. Between them, Bill and Maree have held key committee positions for many years, including Vice President, Treasurer, Committee Assistant, and 10 years as Ticket Officer