Adelaide needs a music museum to help celebrate SA’s precious popular culture history
LAST week, family and friends of the late, great Chrissy Amphlett gathered in a little street in Melbourne to unveil a laneway in her honour.
For Melbourne, Amphlett Lane is just the latest tribute in a city that has already moved to recognise the contribution of arts and music pioneers, living and dead, such as Barry Humphries and AC/DC.
Elsewhere in Australia, rock fans can wrap an arm around a bronze Bon Scott in Fremantle or take a happy snap with Slim Dusty in Tamworth.
These towns and cities may have taken their lead from places like New York — a city fiercely proud and protective of its own — a pride manifest in landmarks such as Joey Ramone Place, Diana Ross Playground, Miles Davies Way and Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys) Park.
Jimmy Barnes performing as the support act for the Rolling Stones at the Adelaide Oval last year. Photo: News Corp. Australia
You can overdo this kind of thing, but places like New York (and Melbourne, through its honorary laneways) teach us that, more than just a place to live, a city can also be an attitude, a philosophy, a lifestyle and a state of mind. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker.
Adelaide has been good at celebrating the heroic deeds of its sporting greats — see the Victor Richardson Gates, the various stands and statues at Adelaide Oval, Sir Donald Bradman Drive (although, even that accolade is 14 years old now).
But, sadly, shamefully, the same can’t be said for the actors, artists, writers and musicians who have done our city proud and on the national and international stage — and there are many.
Why is SA’s towering contribution to Aussie music being so systematically ignored?
Where, for starters, is our own tribute to Bon Scott in Adelaide, a city, arguably, with as big a claim to the AC/DC frontman (and the band) as Melbourne and Perth?
Why can I wander down King William but can’t amble down The Angels Avenue, kick around in Paul Kelly Court, bowl down Jimmy Barnes Boulevard or stroll down Sia Street?
And where, I ask you, Adelaide, is SA’s Music Hall of Fame?
Where is it physically, I mean. Because in case, like me, you missed the memo, we have one.
And it is quietly doing some excellent work.
The Hall of Fame was launched in March, 2014 by Music SA and the Adelaide Music Collective, a bunch of local artists keen to celebrate recognise SA’s music pioneers and support the next crop of bands and singers looking to hit the big time.
It was radio legend David ‘‘Daisy’’ Day’s idea and is run as a series of annual concert events that have so far seen the induction of 31 artists, including Redgum singer John Schumann, blues legend Chris Finnen, Swanee, Glen Shorrock and guitar hero Orianthi.
Day personally donated 40 years of local music memorabilia to the HOF, including a test pressing of Australia’s unofficial national anthem, Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh, an original mixing desk from 5AD, posters, magazines, press clippings and more — much of which is on display now at the State Library as part of the exhibition ‘‘Yesterday’s Heroes’’.
It’s a decent start but surely we can do better than a one-off, four-week exhibition, which I might add could have been more widely publicised.
I think Adelaide needs a home for a permanent collection of this precious history.
If not as a stand-alone institution, then part of a broader museum of popular culture celebrating the life and times of every great South Australian, from Bob Hake and Andy Thomas to Terrance Tao and Colin Thiele.
It would be a tourism success story and a source of inspiration for a state that right now could use a bit.
All we need is a place to put it; on Bon Scott Street, perhaps.
The Yesterday’s Heroes Exhibition is on at the State Library of South Australia until March 22. David Day will also conduct his ‘‘Up Close & Personal’’ Q & A sessions with local music pioneers from Rose Tattoo, The Angles, Red Gum, The Twilights and Master’s Apprentices. Details slsa.sa.gov.au
Greg Barila is The Advertiser’s social media editor.
This article was first published in The Advertiser, The City magazine and on advertiser.com.au