The Beatles in Brisbane (and how I was *kinda* there)

A few weeks ago a friend of mine — little Jess — found this picture taken on June 30, 1964. It was taken during The Beatles concert at Brisbane’s Festival Hall.

It was on display in the lobby at “Festival Towers” — the ugly hi-rise apartments built over the ashes of Brisbane’s Festival Hall.


And the reason she sent me this pic was not cause I am a huge Beatles fan — it was because that dude above looks just like me. Quite impossibly. It is quite disturbing. He has the look in his eyes of funny-amazement, (plus the eyes are just about the right distance apart), the epic sharp nose, the flared ears, and he even has (seemingly very RED HAIR) composed just like I might have down at various points in my existance.

He is even dressed how I might have done that at the age he seems to be (16-18?) — just a refrained-but-somewhat-decorated collared shirt hopefully hidden by a non-discript black jacket.

Over my life I have never really ever seen anyone with even a tenth of my resemblance. Once upon a time when Facebook did that thing about posting a pic of a celebrity who looks like you in your profile pic — I was completely lost. It might just be my imagination — but I think I look quite unique. My mum and dad don’t look like me — apart from my mum’s gingerness. There is no chance you would pick my sister as my sister. I think my dada looked a bit like me when he was a super-kid, but definitely no more. In saying all that I am not complaining.

Here is a pic of me at 16.5, maybe roughly the age of that doppleganger-dude above. (I was posing for pics in our backyard before our Year 10 semi-formal).



Here is a (slightly-later) pic of me (and mum) when i was still sub-17:


BELOW: Here is another pic from the John Oxley Library. This time a different angle of my doppleganger back in ’64. This time he doesn’t look quite as real as me, but it is still a bit creepy. There’s a bit too much teeth in his smile. But everything else is so very “me”. All those girls are going nuts, I’m just smiling and enjoying the experience.



If I could dissect the photo above just a little more. And I am just imagining stuff here.

“That is his sister next to him. He had to chaperone her.”


I am old enough to have seen some shows at Festival Hall. Each and every time I was so fucking aware that The Beatles had played on that stage. You guys might not have an idea how big of a Beatles fan I was/am. See I think I was a bigger fan in my youth. Both my parents had Beatles bios in their bookcases. Mum had the Hunter Davies “official bio”. Dad had “The Love You Make” by Peter Brown et al. In retrospect that was the opposite of what I would expect of those two — but that is another story.

I went to only two shows at Festival Hall — one was Custard/Regurgitator/Powderfinger (the EasyCheese festival) and the second was Beck (supported by Custard).

Less than a year later it was derelict. About 2 years after that it was being demolished.

Here is a John Oxley Museum pic of the building in it’s beautiful integrity.



When I got my current job, our building was BANG next-door to Festival Hall. (96 Albert Street would rise only 5 stories above and mostly fill the space at the left of this pic above). But within a year they started pulling down that amazing venue. I must have lamented this fact in the office cause Ros randomly said she was at the Beatles show in 1964. Ros was our oldest worker and she is still working at our office! It was pretty amazing knowing someone who had seen the Beatles in the FLESH!


So when Festival Hall was demolished Ros went next door and talked to the Rosenlund crew who were ripping apart this historic building. Ros had kept her ticket from back in 1964. And so she secured the exact seat she sat in during that amazing concert from epic destruction. AMAZING. I think this is actually a story they should put on TV but you get to hear it here first.

Inspired by Ros’ dedication I got Ros to grab a few bricks from the decay and these bricks are still with me. I am not exactly sure which ones they are — but at least three of those Festival Hall foundations make up this path beside our house I recently made:



So yeah — the ABC documentary is about to start!

It is so funny but the Beatles stayed at “Lennon’s” in Brisbane! Am I the only one that thinks that is hilarious?

Lennon’s is still around and just got a face-lift. I took a picture (below) of the hotel mid transition:


Anyway — the Beatles came to Brisbane — how fucking cool is that? EPIC.


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