Industry [M-R]

Venues, Businesses, Community Groups and Industry Opportunities

All entries are for the Armidale district unless otherwise noted.

MADGWICK HALL, UNE

(1965 – )

Madgwick Hall was built  in 1965, well before the Union Courtyard complex (behind which it is now situated) and subsequently catered for most student entertainment activities. It had become necessary to build the hall as the university by 1958 had grown to more than 500 internal and 800 external students. The hall later served as an alternative to the Arts Theatre during the late 1960s and early to mid-1970s and for more than three decades was used as an examination hall. Although musical performances have continued to be held there (more often classical or acoustic music), it was largely superseded in 1973 by the much larger Great Hall (now Lazenby Hall) and later by the UNE Bistro.

One of the best known Australian performers to play Madqwick Hall during the 1970s was Ross Ryan (best known for his hit “I am Pegasus”). Ryan’s support act was the Boorolong Bush Band (10 June 1978). Ryan returned to the University two years later and played the same venue (30 April 1980). Jeannie Lewis (left) is also believed to have played Madgwick Hall on at least two occasions – the first in 1974 with Margaret Roadknight (ca. Apr/May) and again in 1976 with Ward and Johnson (21 Mar.) Other performers known to have play the venue include Melbourne-based progressive/fusion outfit McKenzie Theory (25 Ap. 1974); US singer/songwriter Jesse Winchester (22 Sept. 1975); and classical guitarist/folk performer Claude Akire (14 Aug. 1976).

Madgwick Hall was also used on occasions for university entertainments and events. In 1973, for example, the Socialist Action Movement (S.A.M.) organised the People’s Incredible Folk Rock Concert. Featuring an array of local groups and musicians the concert was held on 12 October. Key organisers of the event were Adrian Shackley and Rod Noble.

Source: Jenny Crew, “UNE Union.” Afterthoughts 7.2. Oct. (1999), p. 6. Images:  Top photo by Clay Djubal (2010) • Jeannie Lewis/Ward and Johnson advertisement, Neucleus 17 Mar. (1976), p. 17 • People’s Folk Rock Concert advertisement, Neucleus 9 Oct. (1973), p. 12 • Ross Ryan advertisement, Neucleus 31 May (1978), p. 8.

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MOORE PARK INN

A 20 room boutique motel on quiet rural acreage, the Moore Park Inn estate also comprises a National Trust Homestead and Chapel in addition to conference and function facilities.

In the mid to late-1970s the motel’s English owners, Gordon and Margaret Bedson were convinced by their adopted son Dave to put on Sunday evening music sessions in the function room. Dave Bedson particularly liked local band Kelsey, and hence the members of the band played a large role in the sessions. The set-up, similar to the Galloping Grape, usually involved a small combo engaged for the night with other musicians sitting in and either playing set songs or jamming. Brian Moore recalls that the Moore Park Inn had a sophisticated atmosphere and an excellent cocktail bar, which made it quite different to all the venues in town. He also notes that many of the musicians would go out there to unwind with their long-suffering partners to listen to quiet music, and that as a consequence more affairs were probably ignited there than at any other gigs.

The Sunday evening sessions were eventually phased out by the Bedfords, who put the Moore Park Inn up for sale in 1978. Rod Clay, who ran the kitchen during the period it was up for sale recalls that the motel was purchased by Michael and Ken Wilson, owners of the New England Hotel.

Sources: Clay Djubal (2010) • Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010) • Moore Park Inn website. Image: courtesy of Moore Park Inn.com.

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NEUCLEUS

(1947-2006)

Neucleus was a student newspaper produced by University of New England Students’ Association. It had begun in 1947 with the subtitle, ‘Journal of the students of New England University College Armidale.’ From 1953  it became the University of New England’s flagship student newspaper. Over the years it typically comprised articles releavnt to student life and politics on the campus, along with both national and international issues of contemporary concern. Neucleus regularly featured poetry, short stories, cartoons etc from students as well as music, theatre and other reviews. From 1979 onwards Neucleus also featured a yearly literary supplement called Kangaroo.

Reviews and interviews relating to touring bands included an interview by UNE Cultural Activities Coordinator Rod Gillet with Jo Camerileri from Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons (15 Mar. 1978). Necleus also sometimes featured photo spreads of Union Courtyard concerts – including, for example, Matt Taylor, Sidewinder, Stiletto (1978) and the Whittle Family Singers (1979).

While Neucleus was not a strong supporter of local bands and performers it did feature semi-regular to regular gig listings – depending on the editorial committee in any particular year(s). The late 1970s (under editor Stephen Broadbent), for example, saw this increased while editors Robert Lovas and Tony Johnson in the early 1980s reduced the number articles and advertisements relating to the Armidale music industry. One local band to be given coverage was punk band The Inmates in 1978. A two page spread comprising an interview and photographs by David Povey was published in the 27 October 1978 issue.

Source: Neucleus (1970-1980). Image: 2005 Neucleus cover courtesy of the University of New England Students’ Association.

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NEWELL’S MUSIC CENTRE

Prior to the mid-1970s Newell’s Music Centre was the leading establishment in Armidale catering for musicians and music students. Founded in Beardy Street  (it later became part of the Armidale Mall), Newell’s operated as both a music store and teaching centre, with several small rooms situated out the back for students to use for music lessons. Given Armidale’s strong art music culture and the large number of schools in the town, Newell’s market until that time was largely classical, and in this respect the management had a respectable range of orchestral instruments on display. The store also stocked a large range of scores and classical records. While it is unclear at this stage who owned Newell’s in the early 1970s, local pianist Charles Henderson, a Jehovah’s Witness elder, managed the store around that time. It is perhaps of little surprise that several of the Centre’s music teachers employed during Henderson’s tenure (including woodwind musician Carl Josse) were also Witnesses. Another manager of the centre during the mid-1970s was Neil Spence (ca. 1975/76).

The rise in interest in popular music did not go completely unnoticed by management, though, and by mid decade the store began to stock a limited number of ‘rock’ and ‘pop’ style instruments, including drums and electric guitars. Bost of these were cheap brands, however. Rod Clay, who worked for a brief time at Newell’s in 1975 as a shop assistant, bought his first musical instrument (a set of drums) from the Centre. The set cost about $150 (from memory). The owner at that time was Robert Bradley, who was well-known around Australia for the fleet of Armstrong-Sidley motor cars he owned. Clay further recalls that Bradley, who knew next to nothing about contemporary music, agreed with his proposal to put all the ‘old’ 45 rpm EPs (extended play) and singles in a clearance bin and was also told to mark each item at the most suitable price. This he did, and without the boss knowing he then bought about 30 to 40 of the best items at up to 90% discount. Bradley seemed well-pleased that the ‘old’ stock had been cleared to make room for more current releases. Those records, which Clay still has in his collection, include original releases by Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Deep Purple, Cream, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Monkees and Led Zeppelin.

Sometime around the early 1980s Robert Bradley sold Newell’s Music Centre to local musician Graham Moffatt. By this time the local industry had expanded quite remarkable and Newell’s was facing stiff competition from the newer music outlets like Lane’s Music Store and Treble Clef. In order to match the more contemporary-looking Lane’s store he hired another local music identity Brian ‘Lanky’ Moore to help manage the day to day operations. Moore had only recently returned from Sydney (where he had been playing in The Chooks). Newell’s eventually ran into difficulties in the mid to late-1980s when Moffatt took a punt on being the local distributor for a electronic music equipment brand (including keyboards). The brand failed to compete with the new midi-driven technology of that time, however, and Moffat was left with a deal that he couldn’t get out of.

Sources: Clay Djubal (2010) • Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010).

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NEW ENGLAND HOTEL

aka The Newie

(1857- )

Established in1857, the New England Hotel has been one of Armidale’s most popular pubs for much of that time. Although centrally situated at the western end of the city’s Mall, the pub nevertheless  had a long tradition as working class establishment. One of the Newie’s great claims to fame is its association with Peter Allen in the mid-late 1950s. The then eleven-year old (known by his birth name Peter Woolnough) began entertaining customers in the hotel’s Ladies Lounge with his piano-playing, singing and dancing. Allen later went on to become an internationally-acclaimed entertainer and hit songwriter.

Between late 1977 and early 1978 the hotel was extensively redeveloped by its new owners the Wilson brothers. The new look included a large bistro (where patrons could cook their own steaks in return for a free glass of beer or wine), walls filled with historical artifacts from the region and an upstairs entertainment venue. The Newie also successfully competed with the Railway Hotel for the university market to eventually claim the mantle of the most popular student pub. While both establishments went head to head with regular advertisements in the UNE student magazine Neucleus, the new-look Newie had an environment that was much more attractive and comfortable for the female students (and the boys naturally followed).

3D at the Newie (1983)

The hotel’s entertainment policy initially focused on an upstairs disco on Friday and Saturday nights (as an alternative to the Imperial Hotel’s live band policy), with regular ‘unplugged’ acts downstairs during the week. By the mid-1980s, with the disco phenomenon having subsided, the management began booking live bands – including nationally touring acts like The Radiators.

The 'Newie' 1978
Source: Clay Djubal (2009) • Neucleus (1977-1980). Images: Top photo courtesy of Flikr (online)† • Advertisement from Neucleus 13 Sept. 1978, p. 23 • 3D photo from Picasaweb (online)† • Black and white photo from Neucleus 15 Mar. (1978), p. 22† .

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O’CONNOR CATHOLIC COLLEGE

(Formerly De La Salle College and St Ursula’s College)

O’Connor Catholic College is a co-educational high school (years 7 to 12)  and a systemic school in the Diocese of Armidale. The school was established in 1975 following the amalgamation of two of Armidale’s longest operating – St Ursula’s College (est. 1882) and De La Salle College (est. 1906). The school, which is situated on the site of the former De La Salle College, takes its name from Bishop O’Connor,  who looked after the Diocese of Armidale between 1904 and 1930.  De La Salle’s amalgamation with St Ursula’s was forced on the De La Salle Brothers when they realised in 1974 that a shortage of brothers combined with the increased financial strain would bring about the College’s closure. As this meant that there would be no Catholic secondary schooling available to boys in Armidale, it was decided to establish a co-educational Catholic High School. The staff from each of the former colleges combined to staff the newly formed high school and the administration was shared by Ursulines and De la Salle Brothers until 1994. Ursulines continued to teach in the school until 1998, thus making a continuous contribution to Catholic secondary schooling in Armidale for 116 years.

During the early 1970s De La Salle College produced several school rock bands, the members of which later went on to play an influential role in helping develop the local music industry. Two of the earliest groups were Purple Haze and Manic Depression (both named after Jimi Hendrix Songs). These two bands began playing in 1970 and the following year several members from both bands joined together to form Shane.   Another band to form at the school was Void (ca. 1973-74).

Shane
Sources: Catholic Schools Office – Armidale (online) • Brian Moore (interview, Aug. 2010). Image: Shane photo courtesy of Brian Moore.

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OLD ROCKVALE PUB

Old Rockvale Pub (Sept. 1973)

While known as the Old Rockvale Pub, this building’s entry in the Northern Tablelands’ Music Industry Archive is not as a venue but through the association of several prominent bands of the 1970s and 1980s. Situated at Rockvale, some 35 kilometres north-east of Armidale between the equally isolated communities of Thalgarrah and Lindhurst, the “Pub’s”  cheap rent and distance from other houses saw it become popular as a commune for hippies and university students. During these years it was therefore often used for music jams, rehearsals, and even the occasional gig.

The pub’s history dates back to the Rockvale mining boom which lasted between ca. 1900 and 1932. Prospectors had begun working the district by the early 1870s, with the Comet Mine and Phoenix Gold Mine being among the first to be established.  By the mid-1890s geologists had determined that silver ore would be found in the Rockvale vicinity, and several small mines subsequently started up during that decade. The first actual discovery led to the opening of the Ruby Silver Mine 1897 (it was still operating in the early 1970s). The Silver Spur Mine opened in 1908, and in 1923 the Rockvale Arsenic Mine began its five years of operations. The district’s biggest mine, the Tulloch Silver Mine was established in 1916 and recovered enough arsenopyrite ruby silver ore to make it a going concern. Situated  some three kilometres north of the Ruby Silver Mine and not far from the intersection of the Rockvale and Lindhurst roads, the Tulloch Mine continued its operations until the price of silver dropped markedly in 1932. It was re-opened briefly in the 1970s by J.W. Connolly and again in the late 1980s by the operators of the nearby Hillgrove Gold Mine.

Possibly built around the turn of the century, the ‘Pub’ was initially situated near the Wollomombi River and served as a drinking establishment for the miners and Rockvale community, with the ‘Pub’ holding its liquor license until 1916. The building was later moved to its current site where it was used primarily as a residence. It eventually fell into disrepair which made it cheap to rent, and hence popular for young people desiring a commune life-style. The earliest people identified as living at the Old Rockvale Pub were students from the University of New England, many of whom were associated with the Socialist Action Movement (S.A.M.). Rod Noble, who co-founded the Armidale People’s Bush Band while living there in 1973 (and later co-founded the Armidale Bush Band), recalls in correspondence (Jan. 2010):

We paid $5 a week in rent… It had numerous rooms but some were missing too many floor boards thus necessitating us to confine ourselves to the safe ones. The pub had only one water tap (cold water) which often froze in winter. It had an old wood stove which [during the winter months] was kept going almost as continuously as was a billy of tea. There were up to six of us at any time in that pub, about equal numbers of males and females, and about 20 other fellow commune dwellers in surrounding huts and old farm houses. The pub toilet was the usual story – a hole in the ground with a precarious plank perched above it.

Noble further recalls that music was very much a part of the life-style, with both impromptu and planned ‘events’ happening on a frequent basis.

The next resident identified with the Old Pub was Darrell Mitchell (aka Dirty Dan) who lived there from around 1975 to 1979 with any number of other people. Jon Anderson recalls that he began his association with the ‘Pub’ as a sixteen year old, jamming with other musicians on the front porch. While music was very much a part of the social life of the Rockvale community, Anderson acknowledges that the  most important lifestyle factor was the drugs. In 1978 several of the residents were members of Armidale’s premiere punk band, The Inmates. Original guitarist David Morris records that the band used the place for all its rehearsals. Several other bands are believed to have formed during the late 1970s  through members who were associated in some way with the place.

Interestingly, the ‘Pub’ was sold in 1979 to We Help Ourselves (W.H.O), an ultra strict government-funded drug rehabilitation organisation. Sometimes housing as many as forty addicts, the centre offered a last resort to some individuals who otherwise might have been sent to Grafton Gaol. Little improvements were made to the building, however, making it an option that some saw as less favourable than goal. Jon Anderson notes that some of the people who’d previously lived at the ‘Pub’ actually ended up there as part of their rehabilitation process. WHO continued operating the centre until sometime around 1982.

Shoot the DJ (II) rehearsing at the Pub in 1986

In 1985 Anderson purchased the property from a man named Pope, who bought the place as a weekend retreat from WHO. A member of the bands Crash Landing (1982) and Shoot the DJ (1983), and later Helga and the Blitzkrieg (1985-87), Anderson also operated his PA business, Wattamega Sound from there. In addition to being a rehearsal space during the years Anderson owned the ‘Pub,’ it was also occasionally used for gigs. In January 1986, for example, Shoot the DJ and Helga and the Blitzkrieg did a warm-up show for invited guests prior to their combined Northern NSW Coastal tour.  Anderson sold the property in 2002.

Sources:  Jon Anderson (telephone interview, Apr. 2010) • L. McClatchie and G.C. Sylvester.  The Tullock Silver Mine, Rockvale, Northern New South Wales. N.S.W. Dept. of Mines (1970) • David Morris (telephone interview, Jan. 2010) • Rod Noble (telephone interview 2009, correspondence Jan./Apr. 2010).   Image: Old Rockvale Pub photo courtesy of Rod Noble •  Shoot the DJ photo courtesy of Clay Djubal.

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PUDDLEDOCK HALL

Situated in the Parish of Springmount at 973 Puddledock Road, some 17 kilometres from the Armidale town centre (and 10 km from the New England Highway at Tilbuster), the Puddledock Hall was built in 1945 after the local Progress Association committed itself to providing a school and social centre for the community.  Herbert Maguire donated the land fronting the Puddledock Road and Don Shand of Woodville donated the timber from trees on his property.  A sizeable building, it was designed with a small school room and vestibule, facing the north, while the hall itself  has  a fireplace and a stage.

The first teachers at the school were  in turn Miss M. Whitely,  Miss Edith Fulthorpe and Mr Henry Pole-Soppitt, who remained there until 1955. Kerosene lights  and local musicians (including at least one concertina player) made social gatherings possible. When electricity became available in the late 1950s the school room was used as a kitchen/supper room. Electricity also helped increase the hall’s social activities. The school was eventually closed down in the 1960s when a bus service made it possible to send local children to  Armidale. The hall has since been used for primarily for family occasions, private hirings, card parties and in recent years (2000s) as a play group centre for pre-schoolers. One annual social event with a long tradition at the hall is the local Christmas party and barbeque.

The Puddledock Hall was a popular venue for Armidale-based bands and community organisations during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Although acoustically poor and located well outside the Armidale city limits, the hall’s low hire cost and capacity for high volume entertainment saw it utilised for numerous fund-raising events. Almost always BYO events, patrons were also invariably asked to bring a plate of food. The hall also served as a useful out of town ‘try-out venue’ for new bands and parties. Some of the community groups to hire the hall and book local bands as the entertainment included the New England Unemployed Workers’ Union, the Women’s Refuge (aka Women’s Shelter) and S.A.M.  Band’s known to have played at the hall include Crash Landing and Shoot the DJ.

Organisations and bands from outside the Puddledock community were banned from using the hall in early 1983 following an attempt by several drunk patrons to set fire to it during the latter stages of an Unemployed Workers’ Union gig (headlined by Shoot the DJ). Although the organisers put out the fire before it could do much damage and later paid for the repairs, the small Puddledock community had had enough of Armidale’s drunken louts and ‘druggies,’ and subsequently limited its use to locals only. The use of these these ‘out-of-town’ halls was by then becoming less attractive to organisers, bands and patrons, however, due to the introduction of Random Breath Testing in New South Wales in December the previous year.

In 1999 responsibility for the hall  was transferred to the Dumaresqu Shire Council in response to changes in the local demographic and the community’s expectations. A committee of Puddledock locals still manages the hall’s activities, though, and it continues to be a valuable community asset in the twenty-first century. Records  relating to the Puddledock Community (including the hall) are held by the University of New England’s Heritage Centre (Newling Campus).

Source: Clay Djubal (2009) • Jean Cooper (correspondence, Oct. 2010) . Image: Clay Djubal.

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RADIO UNE

aka RUNE, 2UNE FM and Tune! FM

(1970 – )

Set up in 1970, Radio UNE (or RUNE as it later became known) was the first radio station to operate on an Australian university campus. With only the conservative commercial station 2AD available at that time, students had to hope for good conditions at night to pick up the alternative station 2JJ (later Triple J). RUNE’s inception dates back to 1968 when a group of five students called the UNE Radio Committee presented a prerecorded, half hour radio show each week on Armidale’s local commercial station, 2AD. With the support of Professor Neville Fletcher of the UNE Physics Department approached the then Postmaster-General’s Department and presented the idea of establishing a service similar to the university campuses in the United States. In January 1969 the Postmaster-General agreed to license a ‘closed-loop’ system with micro-transmitters located in each of the eight residential colleges on campus, as well as the academic precinct and the Claude Street flats (situated adjacent to Duval College) .

After overcoming technical and operational hurdles, Radio UNE began test transmissions on 1630 kHz on the AM band in March 1970. The station was officially opened at 7pm on 27 April that year, with a pre-recorded message from the Vice Chancellor, Professor Zelman Cowen who oversaw the license  application. Richard “Swinging Dick” Mutton, Station Manager, introduced the first music track, Harry Nilsson’s Everybody’s Talking. The station initially only broadcast during the university year.  In mid-1978 RUNE and community station 2ARM FM joined forces for a period of time to broadcast all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

2UNE Logo (ca. 1986)

Interference problems and frustration with the low powered transmission system led the station to experiment with alternative (and sometimes illegal) transmission methods. At times the station could be heard as as far away as Uralla and Guyra. Ultimately the station was granted a licence on the FM band in 1986 and began transmission 0n 106.9 as 2UNE-FM and later as TUNE! FM.

While very few local bands during the late 1970s and early 1980s were able to provide their own original recordings for the station it nevertheless proved itself as a valuable resource by providing free advertising for gigs. As an alternative to 2AD, and even 2ARM FM, the station provided access to a  wide variety of music styles that students would otherwise not have had the chance to play or hear.  RUNE and 2ARM FM were, however, closely aligned for a number of years following the establishment of the community radio station in 1976. This association dates back to the original broadcasting license for 2ARM FM, which had been granted to Radio UNE Co-Operative Ltd (see 2 ARM FM entry for further details).

Sources:  Mike Blanch. “Radio UNE” Neucleus 22 June (1975), p.12 and “Radio UNE + FM” Neucleus 15 Sept. (1975), p. 4 • Phil Carrick. ‘Radio’s Future: SRC Tuned Out” Neucleus 8 Aug. (1979), pp. 1, 3 •  Rickie Hovitt (letter). “Radio UNE – Communication Breakdown” Neucleus 29 Oct. (1974), p. 15)  • “Radio UNE: Has it a Future?” Neucleus 29 Oct. (1974), p. 14)  • “Radio UNE/FM Co-Op” Neucleus 21 Oct. (1975), pp. 12-13 • “Radio UNE/FM Co-Op.” Neucleus 21 Oct. (1975), pp. 12-13 • “RUNE.” Neucleus 8 June (1977), p. 12. • Alan Williams. “FM Extended” Neucleus 14 June (1978), p.4.  Images: Black and white advertisement, Neucleus 23 July (1970), p. 8 • Logo image courtesy of the University of New England Students’ Association.

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Copyright for this image has either not been ascertained or we have been unable to locate the owner. If you are the legal copyright owner and want the image removed please contact this website. To see HGWT and the NTMIA’s copyright statement go to the “About the Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive” page.

Northern Tablelands Music Industry Archive

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