“Most people I know, think that I’m craaazeeeee…” chanted Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs. 35,000 people joined in, filling the natural amphitheatre at Diggers Rest with thumping rock refrains. This was a legendary moment at the Sunbury Pop Festival.
‘Sunbury’ (also dubbed ‘Our Woodstock’) was held on Australia Day long weekend between 1972 and 1974. It attracted the best in Aussie pub-rock including Chain, Spectrum, Renee Geyer, Daddy Cool, Skyhooks and Johnny O’Keefe.
In 1974 UK Glam-rock band Queen headlined, but failed to impress. “Aussie rock had come into its own, so when Queen appeared in their satin clothes they were booed off stage,” remembers ‘Aztecs’ drummer, Gil Matthews.
Festival property owner, George Duncan, felt the first ‘Sunbury’ marked an important turning point for Australian youth: “We were being drafted to war, and young people showed up to say, ‘hey we are being slaughtered over in Vietnam and you don’t want to know about us’. Well you’ll hear us now.”
As with Woodstock, topless females were common. “Paul Hogan came on stage with a topless girl and asked, ‘This girl is lost, can anyone help her?’ and every man yelled that they could.”
– Tim Lambert, festival attendee.
(Caroline Chisholm Gold Shelter – Diggers Rest)