Current owner of Lilla’s Cafe in Yankalilla, Ron Tremaine, was one of the main players in enticing The Beatles to play at Adelaide’s Centennial Hall.YANKALILLA – Adelaide, 1964: a phenomenon known as ‘Beatlemania’ is rife amongst the population.
Current owner of Lilla’s Cafe in Yankalilla, Ron Tremaine, was 24, and one of the main players in enticing The Beatles to play at Adelaide’s Centennial Hall.
The band was coming to Australia as part of its first world tour, but the South Australian capital had been left off the tour list.
Adelaide radio personality Bob Francis started a petition to bring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and tonsillitis-stricken Ringo Starr’s stand-in, Jimmie Nicol, to the city.
He was hoping for 3000 signatures, which was surpassed by 77,000.
The Beatles (however, for the Adelaide Tour, Ringo Starr was replaced by Jimmie Nicol).
This is where Ron came in; he travelled to Melbourne with the petition in hand to visit tour organiser, Kenn Brodziak.
Once there, Ron realised it would be an uphill battle to convince Mr Brodziak to allocate concerts to Adelaide.
Mr Brodziak had four ‘spare’ concerts, and had 7000-seat venues in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to use them in.
“All Adelaide could offer was a 3000-seat capacity,” Ron said.
“He wasn’t going to send them to Adelaide, because of the money.”
Ron spent two days at Mr Brodziak’s office, trying to convince him, but was informed that it couldn’t be done.
Undeterred, Ron resorted to family links with South Australian Department store, John Martins.
“I’d rung my father-in-law, the late Tom Morris in Adelaide, who worked at John Martins,” he said.
“I explained to the predicament we had and asked whether he would consider approaching Ian Hayward, the boss of John Martins.”
Mr Hayward was keen on the idea, and said he’d put up money – a deposit of 28,000 pounds – to secure The Beatles’ Adelaide concerts.
The deposit was used to strike a deal with Mr Brodziak. As part of the deal, he would take the gross of the four concerts, and John Martins would foot the bills for accommodation, marketing, staffing Centennial Hall and setting up a booking office.
It paid off.
The Beatles were met with the largest reception they’d ever come across; a 300,000-strong crowd which brought Adelaide’s central business district to a standstill.
Ron, who stayed in a hotel with Adelaide television personality Ernie Sigley near the band, was allowed to closely shadow the three-day visit.
He rode on the back of a roofless car with the band as they passed through the crowds to the infamous balcony appearance at Adelaide Town Hall. A photograph of Ron in the car with the band appeared in The Australian Women’s Weekly.
“It was happy hysteria,” Ron said.
“It was 300,000 people who were besotted with the fact The Beatles were there.
“It had been a huge build up.”
Ron said nothing had surpassed the band’s ecstatic reception in Adelaide, “not even a royal tour”.
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