The venue for the Sydney concerts
in 1965 was the old Sydney Stadium at Rushcutters Bay, just down
the road from Sydney's notorious King's Cross Area
Sydney Stadium, corner Neild Avenue and New South
Head Road, Rushcutters Bay, Photographed in 1965 by Ern
Originally roofless, Sydney
Stadium evolved in 1908 and that same year, just a few months after
opening, was the venue for the
Canadian boxer Tommy Burns'
unsuccessful defence of his world heavyweight boxing championship title
against the American negro, Jack Johnson.
|So, legends graced Sydney Stadium
from it's inception!
In 1911 a corrugated iron roof was added and
the stadium became the site of many more world
championship boxing and wrestling matches. I recall as a youngster
in the 1950's and early 60's listening to championship bouts broadcast from Sydney Stadium on the
radio in the days before TV reached us in country New South Wales,
prior to my move to Sydney.
Dave Smith vs Jerry Jerome, Sydney
Stadium 19th April,1913. (Part of Arnold Thomas Boxing
The photo above gives a good idea of
the interior layout of Sydney Stadium. Although taken in 1913, it appears
little had changed by the Sixties. When this
photo was taken it
seems that a camera was of more interest to the audience than the
proceedings in the ring. (And what a great photo for those times!)
Sydney Stadium, Aerial View. Photographed in 1968 by
This aerial photo will be of
interest to those who attended the Stadium, as it shows the exterior
layout which was not evident at ground level. The ticket office was to the left on the
street corner and you entered via a ground level tunnel like walkway into the stadium
located under the octagonal roof.
During the 1950's Sydney Stadium began to be
used for musical and stage events also, and with the advent of Rock 'n Roll
during that decade it became the host of The Big Shows initiated by
Gordon, as it was the only venue in Sydney which could hold an audience of
around 10,000 people under cover. It became a popular Sydney landmark as it hosted
a wide variety of sports and entertainment events.
Soon after The
Beatles commenced a musical revolution, artists and
groups, both local and overseas, seemed to catapult to stardom almost daily
and the stadium was
in regular use. Many people will recall the stop start journey through Sydney's
gridlocked traffic, crammed in like sardines on the old double decker buses from Central Station on their way to Sydney Stadium. Whenever there
was a show on at The Stadium, you just knew that the traffic heading up
William Street,through Kings Cross and down the hill to The Stadium would be utter
Although little, if anything, had
been done to update it over the years, Sydney Stadium was a much loved
venue and held special memories for myself and countless others. The
unlined corrugated iron walls and roof produced amazing sound effects, (though
sometimes it was hard to hear anything over the screams), and the
boxing ring in the centre of the stadium's octagon shape was converted to a stage for concerts.
A large inner circular section of the stage
partly revolved manually, both clockwise and anti-clockwise, to enable everyone to get a good view, including those
seated or standing in "The Bleachers", which were simply thick wooden
planks used for seating
in tiered sections elevated up to the rear of the stadium.
Sydney Stadium was not built for comfort.
It could be scorching hot in summer, had no
fans, or air
conditioning and no doubt was a firetrap, but "The Old Tin Shed",
as it was affectionately called, had an overdose of atmosphere, which is
sadly lacking in the modern Sydney venues which have since been built. You could really feel the excitement in the air as you entered the stadium
through its tunnel shaped entries.
A list of entertainers, movie stars
and sporting elite who performed there would read like a who's who of
those times. It almost seems that just about every
performer who made it big from the 1950's and 1960's appeared at the old
Sydney Stadium with the exception of Elvis Presley.
Sadly, a major
part of Sydney's culture and sporting and entertainment history disappeared forever when the stadium was
demolished in 1970 to make way for Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Railway. A commemorative plaque is all
that remains and the shadow of the railway overpass can be seen in the
background in the photo below.