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The Beatles in Australia Exhibition

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
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They shook up a sleepy little town
The Beatles wave to massive crowds outside Melbourne's Southern Cross Hotel in 1964. Source: Herald Sun

I wasn't at the airport but half my year level was. But I can still remember the televised frenzy in 1964. Those mop heads in their suits unhinging teenage girls (and boys) causing them to swoon and swear undying love.

Everyone had their favourite. Mine was Paul with his sweet baby face.

More so than in any other Australian city the crowds went rampant in Melbourne. The boys stayed at the Southern Cross, and while it now demolished, in those days it was Mebourne's first and only international hotel.

There was an utter crush of frenzied crowds outside in Exhibition Street with kids even climbing nearby trees for a peek at the fab foursome. It is amazing to think that 300 000 people turned out to see they young Beatles.

George, John, Ringo and Paul at the Melbourne Town Hall during The Beatles tour of Melbourne. Source: HWT Image Library

It was so crowded that it was perilous with police coming off their motorcycles and there were diversionary tactics by the police while the Beatles entered through the back door. of the Southern Cross.

Australian-Chinese fashion designer, Jenny Kee claims, in her autobiography Big Life that she was 17 at the time.

"There was wall-to-wall security, but we pressed all the buttons in the lift until it jammed, and that's how we got onto the stairwell and met them," she said.

She had but one aim and that was to sleep with John Lennon which she successfully accomplished.

Jenny Kee at 17 - Image The Age newspaper

The Beatles in Australia exhibition tries to show why Beatlemania was more intense here than anywhere else in the world.

It goes into the planning of the 1964 tour and how it has had a lasting impact on Australian musical culture. It includes footage from old newsreels, radio shows and press clippings. The band knew how to banter when they were being interviewed and that was part of their charm.

At the exhibition you can also play a Beatles jukebox, test your knowledge in an interactive Beatles quiz and explore fans' scrapbooks.

This exhibition celebrates 50 years since the Beatles were first in Australia. It seems like only "yesterday".

This free exhibition is on at the Arts Centre Melbourne, until 1st of July 2014

Time: 10am - 5pm.

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Why? Because I believe in yesterday
When: Until 1st of July 2014
Phone: 1300 182 183.
Where: Arts Centre Melbourne, Gallery I -Arts Centre Melbourne is a couple of minutes walk from Flinders Street Station or take any tram (except tram no.1) along St Kilda Road and disembark at Arts Centre Melbourne. Stop number 14.
Cost: FREE
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