Exhibition celebrates 50 years since Beatlemania hit Australia


It's 50 years since Australia was rocked by the music phenomenon that was Beatlemania. Now the Fab Four are being celebrated in a Melbourne exhibition, to celebrate the anniversary of their Australian tour.

It's taken half a century but the spirit of the Beatles is back in all the mop-topped glory.

From newspaper clippings to old records and clothing, an exhibition at the Melbourne Arts Centre seeks to recapture the Beatles revolution, the Fab Four Fever of 1964 when the band spent 13 days touring Australia.

At the time there was hysteria on city streets as people were swept away by Beatlemania. Virginia Boon was 16 when the band arrived in Melbourne.

"It was an explosion in our lives when they first came, they were just so different to everything else that we'd seen."

The boys from Liverpool captured her heart, and together with her older sister Patty, the pair attended a concert.

"[It was] crazy, crazy, electric. All the girls screaming."

"Everyone tried to rush up and give Paul a great big hug, or John a great big hug."

Rock historian Glenn A. Baker says the Beatles unified Australia when they arrived.

"[They] unified us all to the level where 300,000 people in the streets of Adelaide, 250,000 people in the streets of Melbourne [were brought together]. Nothing overseas ever compared with that."

A young Malcolm Cook was the Beatles assistant tour manager - it was his first gig.

"I was there from day one - I didn't realise then that it would be history making. And there's never been anything like it."

The Melbourne Arts Centre's special collection on the Beatles is a collaborative effort between states, with contribution from fans, which brings together some of Australia's best Beatles memorabilia.

And curator Carolyn Laffan has some favourite items.

"I particularly like the handmade signs that are in the exhibition, that they've kept all this time, that they held up when the Beatles came."

The interim CEO of the Arts Centre, Ian Roberts, says this exhibition has allowed him to go back in time.

"I'm delighted this is on, because my parent's wouldn't let me have anything to do with this, 50 years ago."

The exhibition is on at the Melbourne Arts Centre until July.

Source SBS

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