Monday, September 21, 2015

Dancing at the Palais

from w
In a few weeks time I'm running a Writing Memoirs group for Seniors Week/Month and part of that will involve looking at photos of the past to trigger memory, such as this article about the Palais where all the young people used go dancing.
To see the pictures go to

Picture the Past: Dancing the night away at Geelong’s 1960s live music venues

·         PETER BEGG
·         SEPTEMBER 21, 2015 3:26PM
Square dancing at the Palais Royal. Picture: Argus Collection
GEELONG’s  Palais theatre on Moorabool St hill was one of the city’s few live music ven­ues in the 1960s. Some would remember such names as singers Barry Crocker, Frankie Davidson and John Newman (not the footballer) who got their start there.But among the acts to appear at the Palais back then were the Allen Brothers, featuring none other than The Boy From Oz Peter Allen, whose life was also the subject of a miniseries Not the Boy Next Door which concluded on Sunday night on Channel 7.
Singer Peter Allen with his partner Chris Bell.
The Allen Brothers comprised Allen and his offsider Chris Bell, and they appeared back in the days when brothers Don and Laurie Slack ran the Palais. The Slacks sold it in 1972.
The Palais Royal opened its doors in 1926 and some of the materials used in its construction came from the former Joy Ark dance hall which was built out over Corio Bay at Eastern Beach. The parquetry dance floor was said to have been one of the biggest in Australia.
The Palais was also used as a cinema, but its boom years were from the 1940s to the 1970s.
During World War II it attracted many Australian and American servicemen stat­ioned here and dances were held four nights a week.
The late ’40s was the era of the big bands, and the Palais was the place to go in Geelong to hear bands playing covers of the big names such as Glenn Miller.
The Max Taylor Big Band played at the Palais in the early 1960s, as did the Levis, who formed in 1962.
Later came Grasshopper with Greg Bee on guitar and vocals.

These days the parquetry holds tables lined up for bingo sessions, although there are plans to redevelop it into an entertainment complex with a theatre and function centre.


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