The Beatles in Australia

MA PHOTOIn June 1964, Australia was captivated by the talent, the songs and the charm of The Beatles during their first and only concert tour to our shores.  Relive the excitement of these heady times in a new exhibition The Beatles in Australia at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Developed by the Powerhouse Museum and Arts Centre Melbourne to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the tour, the exhibition explores the story of the Fab Four’s thirteen days ‘down under’ and the tour’s lasting impact on Australian music and popular culture.

“While The Beatles’ career has been documented in great detail, the story of their tour to Australia is less well known. The eruption of Beatlemania here was more intense than anywhere in the world,” said Powerhouse Museum curator Peter Cox.

“This country had never witnessed such displays of adulation by screaming teenagers. When the Australian promoter Kenn Brodziak negotiated the tour, The Beatles were not well known.”

“By the time they arrived, they were the biggest musical act in the world. Their records sounded fresh, young and different and their music and style had a huge influence on teenagers in Australia.”

The tour was a major Australian event of the 1960s and ignited an exciting period in music and culture. From 1964 the pace of social change accelerated, not just in music, clothing and hairstyles, but in social attitudes, as young people demanded greater freedom in all areas of their lives.

The Beatles in Australia exhibition will present the sights and sounds of Beatlemania — the arrivals, the press conferences, the concerts and the screaming fans – through newsreel footage, television reports, radio coverage, fan letters, magazines and press clippings.

Rarely seen objects from museums, fans and collectors will also be displayed including a suit worn by John Lennon, on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

“Documents drawn from the Kenn Brodziak Collection housed at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Performing Arts Collection will provide visitors with a rare glimpse into the intense planning undertaken in the days and weeks leading up to The Beatles’ arrival in Australia,” said Arts Centre Melbourne curator Carolyn Laffan.

These exhilarating times, which live on in the memories of those who lined up for tickets, waited at the airports, gathered outside the hotels and screamed inside the concert halls, will be recreated for all to enjoy.

Visitors can test their Beatles knowledge in an interactive quiz, listen to their music on a jukebox, hear interviews with tour participants, explore fans’ scrapbooks and record their own impressions of Beatlemania.

The Beatles in Australia exhibition will be presented at Arts Centre Melbourne from 8 March to 1 July 2014. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: courtesy of Arts Centre Melbourne