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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    South East Melbourne

    History of Rock and roll dancing in Melbourne

    This topic has been mentioned several years ago but nothing has been recorded. After donating some dance flyers to the Rare Books collection at Monash University Library (where I work) to be preserved for future research on the popular culture of our times, I thought it was time to put something together. I plan to create a website to record the history of rock n roll dancing in Melbourne which can be added to over time. There are a couple of books written about rock n roll dancing in the 50's in America, which I have added to Monash Univ library, but nothing about Melbourne.

    So below is what I have started with and I am hoping that the rock n roll community can start contributing their memories, stories and even photos so we can keep records of the great dance scene. Maybe one day someone will be wanting to research this subject and publish a book on it.

    So if you have any information to add, for example dates, venues, details of dance schools, dance teachers, bands, DJS, festivals, fundraisers, special events, significant people etc, please write it down and email to me at

    Thanks for your help.


    History of Rock and roll dancing in Melbourne

    In 1956 the first rock 'n' roll dances were held in Melbourne at the Preston Town Hall after the release of the film The blackboard jungle, with Bill Haley and the Comets performing 'Rock Around the Clock'. Town halls all over the suburbs (and country areas) were soon filled with this new rock n roll music and style of dancing. Australians pick up moves from American service men dancing on leave, from movies of that time, from modifying Swing & Ballroom Jive and from migrants who had been dancing it in Europe.

    By the 1960’s there was a drift away from partner rock n roll dancing towards individual 'on the spot' style of dancing after the introduction of the Twist, which became the first worldwide dance craze.

    By the 1970’s disco and nightclubs became popular and the live rock n roll dance scene floundered.

    In the 1980’s the rock n roll dance scene began to gain ground over the discos and couples could be found rocking away. Dancers study old movies to learn new dance moves, including swing and jive moves. Rock n Roll dance clubs are formed and the Victorian Rock n Roll Dance Association is formed.

    In 1989 Just Rock was run by Lana Scragg and Mick Gardiner at the Bayswater Hotel, later moving to the Croydon RSL, then to a factory in Kilsyth. Also teaching were Jenny Hartskeerl, and Irene and Tom Amos.

    In 1989 the Rock n Roll News was started by Jenny Harskeerl to list all the rock n roll dance venues for people to go and dance. Jenny also started “Dance with Petticoats” business in 1989 making petticoats for hundreds, or thousands of dancers around town.
    In the 1990s there was a big choice of venues, bands and dance schools around Melbourne including local dance competitions. Adrian Spadaro was teaching rock n roll in 1991 with Chris Black and together they built up one of the biggest dance schools around.

    Gail Carl was teaching in 1991 with Juke Box Rock where Kevin and Carol Ross first learnt to dance.

    Dance venues
    – when did they open, close, how often were dances held, bands, etc.

    Alley Catz Hop ( - ) Live bands 1st Sat Lilydale, 4th Fri Polish Club Sunshine
    Buckley Park, (2015- 2017) Adrian’s dances, (2018 - ) Cool Cats
    Carrington Park ( - )
    CAV ( 2015- 2017) Adrian’s 2nd sat of the month live band. 2018 - FFF
    Camberwell Bowls ( 2015 – 2016 ) Adrians Sunday nights
    Chatham Primary,( 2016 – 2017) Fri night dances
    Clayton RSL ( - ) Fri nights live bands, sat night monthly swing / jazz
    Coburg Town Hall ( - ) Adrian, then Teresa Miletta
    Dandenong RSL ( - ) Sunday nights Rick Charles / DJ's
    Dandenong Workers Club ( - ) Fri live bands, Sunday DJ
    Daveys, Frankston ( - ) Sunday live bands
    Eddie Bandroom
    Ferntree Gully Hotel, (2005 - ) Sunday arvo live bands
    Ferntree Gully Bowls ( - )
    Flipside (2014 - ) Live band and DJ Milton video screen 2nd and 4th Fri of month
    Freccia Azzura / Keys ( 2002 - ) Wed nights Rick Charles, DJ Live bands
    Freeway Rock ( - ) Shadoogie monthly dance
    Furlan , Thornbury. ( - ) Live band and DJ 3rd Fri of month
    Georges Ringwood ( 2006 -2009 ) Rhonda and George
    Highett Bowls ( 2014 - ) DJ Ashley and live bands, Fri and Sundays
    Little Maria’s (2000 -2013) Cathies Lane, then Whitehorse Club Maria died 2015
    Lucky 13 Garage
    Mentone RSL ( - ) Fri night live bands, Wed night Top Cats dance classes
    Mitcham RSL, ( - 2014) Sunday nights live bands free entry
    Monash Hotel ( - 2012) Sat night live bands,
    Mordi Rock – Top Cats
    Moorabbin Town Hall
    Mulgrave Country Club ( - 2013) Thurs nights dance class and Rick Charles live music
    Musicland, Fawkner ( 2017 - ) Thurs nights live bands
    Northside Rock @ Heritage Epping ( - 2012) Clive Robertson 1st Fri of the month
    Pitronies, (1997 – 2001) Wed nights
    Polish Club Rowville
    Ringwood RSL ( - ) Andy Zammit dances, Fri night bands
    Ringwood Bowls ( 2016-2017) Adrians Red Hot Rockers 3rd fri of month live band
    Sly Dog Rockers Bentleigh Bowls 9 2014- 2015) Courtney Stammers and Peter Middleton
    West Coburg Bowls, ( - 2015) Adrians 1st & 2nd Fri live bands. (2015- ) DJ & Diva’s 2nd Fri
    Whitehorse, ( - 2017) Adrian’s red hot rockers wed nights dance class & DJ, Fri night live bands, Cup Eve, Anzac Day
    Waltzing Matilda (2002 – 2007), Sunday nights DJ free entry, Southside Rockers dance classes Sunday and Tues with Glenys
    Yarraville, ( - ) DJ Antony, Craft rockers Thursday nights
    Last edited by joceb; 24-10-2018 at 12:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    South East Melbourne

    Re: History of Rock and roll dancing in Melbourne

    If anyone can provide email contact details for dance teachers, bands, DJs etc both past and present that would be great, or pass on this post to them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    South East Melbourne

    Re: History of Rock and roll dancing in Melbourne

    Please forward on to anyone you know who may be able to contribute.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    South East Melbourne

    Re: History of Rock and roll dancing in Melbourne

    Who can add to this list of past and present dance teachers around the Melbourne rock n roll scene?

    Please email your additions, corrections, contributions to

    Dance teachers

    When did they start /and/or stop teaching, where did they teach, dance styles, venues, did they run dances, styles taught etc. It would be great to record a brief biography of all the dance teachers for the History project.

    Adam and Deane – That’s Rock
    Adrian Spadaro – Adrian’s Red Hot Rockers. Vic Lindy Hop, 1996-1997, Retired 2017
    Alisha ??– Alley Catz
    Andrea Beckett - Musicland
    Andy Zammitt – Andy’s Cats
    Anna ?? – Rock n Roll Rebels
    Brian and Marj Coates – Be Bop Dancers
    Brian ?? – Rhode Island Rockers
    Chris Black – Red Hot Rockers
    Clint and Jenny ?? – CJ Rockers
    Courtney Stammers – Slydog Rockers,
    Dave Dooley – Red Hot Rockers
    Debbie Krause – Red Hot Rockers, Swing Dance with Debbie
    Gail Carl – Juke Box Rock
    Gavin Preston – Red Hot Rockers
    Glenis Boyd – Southside Rockers, teaching 1980’s -
    Graham Heath – Sylvester Swingers, Top Cats, Sylvester Dance Group
    Harro ?? – Harros Hoppers
    Heather and John Jarman – Lakeside Rockers, Sale, teaching 1995 –
    Heather Siliveri - Sylvester Swingers
    Irene and Tom Amos
    Jenny Hartskeerl – Just Rock
    Jon Hannon – Red Hot Rockers, Alley Catz
    Kevin and Carol Ross – Fourmost. teaching 1996 – 2011
    Lana Scragg and Mick Gardiner – Just Rock
    Linda Smyth – Linda’s Rock n Roll
    Lou Mingaars – Top Cats
    Lynette ?? – Top Cats
    Mary ?? – T-Bird Rockers
    Miriam ?? – Flaming 50’s, Hoppers Crossing
    Nikki and Barry Slater. – Fourmost, teaching 1996 – 1998
    Pat Naokes – Red Hot Rockers, Vic Lindy Hop, 1996-97, Swing Central 2001- 2016,
    Peter Middleton – Slydog Rockers, Red Hot Rockers
    Rhonda and Jim Pollock
    Rhonda Watts – Renegade Rockers
    Sarah Jane Lenko – Sylvester Dance Group, teaching 2017 –
    Sebastian Riscica – Sebastians, teaching 1987 -
    Sue Dobson – Rockin Suzies
    Steve Octigan
    Terri Moon
    Wendy Gapper – Red Hot Rockers
    Zoe Hannon – Alley Catz

    I'm hoping there will be plenty of Vicrock members around who can provide some details so we can record the history of our dance scene.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    South East Melbourne

    Re: History of Rock and roll dancing in Melbourne

    Website dedicated to recording the history of rock n roll dancing in Melbourne is now up and live. It is not yet being picked up in google searches.

    Contributions are needed to fill in the gaps and correct any errors.

    Please email (or private message) your memories and contributions to
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