The St Kilda Inn was established in 1853 as the Hare and Hounds and renamed the Court House Hotel in 1861 and the Prince Charles Hotel in 1948. It was a popular sporting venue and attracted some notorious underworld figures such as ‘Pretty Dulcie’ or ‘The Angel of Death’.

The Helter Skelter Club: 

In 1984, at the height of the hardcore punk movement, the then owner of the St Kilda Inn advertised for talent at his pub. Paul Elliott, who was also coordinating the ‘Gong Show’ at The Venue, put his hand up to undertake the task. The owner, who just happened to be a Beatles fan, had placed a plaque on the door to the band room that said, ‘The John Lennon Room’, so Elliott decided to come up with something that would tie in with the Beatles theme, and thus the ‘Helter Skelter Club’ was born.

With a bank of 9 B&W TVs stacked up on scaffolding, and a borrowed camera, Elliott would put on bands 7 nights a weekfilming the bands as they played and playing it live back through the bank of TV’s. On other occasions there was a ‘Polyester Night’ with ‘scratch and sniff’ cards - a corresponding number would flash on the TV screen for the audience to smell – it generally started with a rose and ended up with dog turd.

Elliott already had a reputation for dealing acid (he used to have a line of people outside his Prince of Wales office during the Thursday Crawl’s), and since money was tight from the meagre door takings, he ended paying many of the bands in acid. This led to the following lyrics by Fred Negro’s band The Fuck Fucks:

 “Have you never dropped acid at the Helter Skelter Club or had a blue at the St Kilda Inn?”

Sometime in 1985 the Maori publican, who hated the bands that played and the crowd that came to see them, had put his girlfriend’s head through the glass door on the night that TISM was meant to play. After that incident the owner asked Elliott to leave, which he did and took his list of bands to the Grosvenor Hotel on Brighton Road.

Over a 12-18 month period The Helter Skelter club attracted a great line-up of local and interstate punk and post-punk bands including The Triffids, Orchestra of Skin and Bone, Wet Taxis, Zimmermen, Huxton Creepers, I Spit on Your Gravy, Tombstone Hands, Gas Babies, Murder Murder Suicide, The Bodies, The Tribe, Depression, Psychotic Maniacs, Permanent Damage, Grong Grong, Shower Scene From Psycho, Corpse Grinders, Perdition, Vicious Circle, M-16, Radio Birdman, Painters and Dockers, Honeymoon in Green, The Wet Ones, Civil Dissident, Olympic Sideburns, The Mess, and many more… 

Click on the PDF below to read memories about the Helter Skelter Club by people who were there...
The Helter Skelter Club.pdf The Helter Skelter Club.pdf
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Flier artwork by Fred Negro
Images:
  • Main Image - Helter Skelter Club flier, 1984 - Source: Fred Negro
  • Background Image - Helter Skelter Club flier, 1984 - Source: Fred Negro
  • St Kilda Inn (Helter Skelter Club) fliers - Source: Fred Negro. Flier artwork by Fred Negro
Quotes:
  • Paul Elliott - Source: Punk Journey
Videos:
  • Civil Dissident, live at the Helter Skelter Club, 1984 - Source: YouTube
Websites: