Sunday 8 September 2019

From the Archives - Singabout Nights in the 50s, 60s & 70s

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Singabout nights were concert nights with invited artists & were held several times a year. They raised funds for the production of Singabout magazine.

Early guests from Frank Maher -
Silvia Salisbury, originally accompanied by Chris Kempster and later by her husband Tom who taught himself guitar as Chris was not always available;
Coral & George Dasey, father & daughter songwriters

Denis Kevans, a reciter only in those days.

Newsletter 1(1) Oct 1955   No mention of a Singabout night. The deadline for the first issue of the Club's new magazine, Singabout was 30th November 1955, with publication expected in the first week of January 1956.

Newsletter, 1(2), Dec 1955

Review of the First Singabout Night, a 3 hour program on a very wet night starting with dancing to Building Workers danceband. Next Singabout night will be 11th February 1956.

Singabout 1(1), January 1956, p.5.
Newsletters from January 1956 to June 1957 are missing
Newsletter 3(1), 1957

Three more Singabout nights - Sat 28th June, Sat 5th October, Sat 7th Dec with a picnic on the following Sunday. Building Workers Hall, 535 George St,

Newsletter - 1959 Annual list
Singabout Night!! Saturday January 20th - new Venue Winns Cafeteria, next to Exchange Hotel. Special Old Timers night featuring many of the singers & musicians who gave us dances & songs.

(Winns was in Oxford St Darlinghurst near Hyde Park, the Exchange Hotel is unchanged, but
Winns Cafeteria & their Department Store on the opposite side of the street were long ago replaced by multi-storied buildings.) Door takings of £1/12/6 for the 7/3/1959 Singabout was banked on 21st March.

Singabout, 4(1), 1960, Review of June 1959 Singabout night


Newsletter June 1961

Sydney Singabout Sat 20th May report by Alan Scott. Members present included Herb Gimbert, Jan James, Connie Jones, Jim Garvey & Stan Gibson. Next Singabout in August

Newsletter Oct 1961

The September Singabout night turned into a 7th birthday night with 7 cakes (not candles)

Newsletter, April 1962

Singabout night - first of the year was Sat 7th April, included a contingent from the Irish National Association who taught some dances. Next Singabout Sat 26th May.

Two Posters from red Minutes book - May 1957 & July 1967 (BMC archives)

3 posters from the Jamie Carlin collection - 1960, 1963, 1969




1.  Singabout Night at BWIU. left to right -
Wilma Bolton, Frank Maher with money tin, & Ann Maher in shawl - 1975 or later (Maher collection)
2. Frank Maher & Declan Affley, 1975 or later. 
Edinburgh Castle Folk Club - I started it when the Elizabeth FC closed. I ran it for a couple of years then I handed it over to Len Neary.  I had a strict policy of traditional music only (I was a tyrant!) and the place was full every Saturday night. (email, Warren Fahey 6 Oct 2022) 
One night, back in the days when pubs shut at 10pm, members of the Edinburgh Castle Folk Club arrived at the Singabout night to continue drinking & singing, & to eat BMC's lovely supper.  
Frank is telling Declan that he & Colleen Burke can come in without paying as they are performers, but everyone else pays - 60 cents! The folkies grumbled but paid & when the evening ended, they left all their empties behind, & were never allowed in again! (source - conversation with Frank, photo Maher Collection)

3.  BWIU hall, early 70s, centre couple Frank & Anne Maher, Warren Fahey with back to camera (Warren, email 6 Oct 2022) others unidentified 
(Maher Collection)

4.  Alex Bowker, Singabout night, BWIU hall (BMC archives)
5.  caption: BWIU - Building 38, 1971. Warren Fahey seated, watching dancers (email, 6 Oct 2022)  (error in caption? Building 38 is part of Sydney Tech College, Ultimo  (Bob Bolton photo)
Poster from May 1974 Newslettter

Poster from September 1974 Newletter

6.  Singabout night, 1975, Eric Bolton (banjo), Jamie Carlin (English concertina), Frank Maher (lagerphone), Barry Collerson (banjo), Ken Greenhalgh (flute), unknown at back, Brian Loughlin (lagerphone), Graham McDonald (mandolin), John Dengate (whistle) (Bob Bolton photo)

7.   same even
(Bob Bolton photo) 

Poster from March 1975 newsletter

8.  77062702 - Singabout night at BWIU hall, 27th June, 1977 - Michael Goodsell, Ted Shields, Eric
Eisler (Bob Bolton photo)

9.  77062707 - Ralph Pride, Jamie Carlin, Barry Collerson, Ray "Skippy" Goninon  (Bob Bolton photo)

10. 77062708 - the
original line up of Sydney Coves - John Knyvett (whistle), Bruce Stephens (Banjo) John Said (Guitar), Dave Johnson on bush bass, thanks to Dave Johnson for band name & membership.    (Bob Bolton photo)

11. 77062710 - Irish Dancers
, seated children - left to right, Meredith Carlin, a Collison daughter in cream,  Kirrily Carlin (identification by Ann Maher)    (Bob Bolton photo)

12.   77062711 - Silvia & Tom Salisbury
(Bob Bolton photo)

13. 77062712 - Ralph Pride, Jamie Carlin, John Poleson,

Ray"Skippy" Goninon (Bob Bolton photo) 

14. 77062718 - John Dengate (Bob Bolton photo)

5. Caption on envelope which held 8 photos, 7 were identified as BWIU hall. It is likely there were originally more photos in the envelope. Caption on back of photo 59A-27 gives the date of the BWIU Singabout as 20/09/1970.

16.  Bob's stamp

17.  20/9/1970 - 59A-24, John Dengate, Alex Bowker, Jim Buchannan VFMC, Dale Dengate, BWI
(Bob Bolton photo)

18. 20/9/1970 - 59A-27, Eric Bolton, John Dengate, Alex Bowker, Jim Buchannan VFMC, Dale Dengate, BWIU (Bob Bolton photo) 
19.  caption on 59-A27 20/9/1970. Concert Party provides backing for Jim Buchanan of Melbourne at a Singabout (concert)
L. to R. Eric Bolton (Guitar), John Dengate (Guitar), (Partly Obscured) Alex Bowker (Button Accordion), Jim Buchannan, Dale Dengate (Bones) (Bob Bolton photo)

20. 20/9/1970 -   106-13BB-John & Dale Dengate - BWIU (Bob Bolton photo)

21.20/9/1970 -   106-17, Dave Small, Ken Greenhalgh, John Dengate, Eric Bolton, Jamie Carlin, Noel Ricketts - BWIU (Bob Bolton photo)

22. 20/9/1970 -  106-20, Dave Small, Ken Greenhalgh, Eric Bolton, Silvia & Tom Salisbury, Alan Scott - BWIU  (Bob Bolton photo)

23.  unknown date -  A20 - John Dengate waiting in the wings, Singabout night, BWIU (Bob Bolton photo)

24. 20/9/1970 -  106-32 -  Dave Small, with unknown child behind piano.   (Bob Bolton photo)




  1. Thats not Jacko Kevans.

  2. Thanks, Guest, I've checked the photos & Dave Small is now properly identified.