Right next door to Bananas was The Venue. Formerly named Earl's Court Ballroom, it was once a classic parquetry-floored dance hall that had its named changed from The Lyric to Earl's Court in 1932. It would sometimes host films and nightclubs as the Palm GroveSergios and the The Taxi Club. In the early 1980s, under the management of Joe Gaultieri, it was converted into a huge two-stage music venue where major bands like Dead Kennedys, The Angels, The Saints, INXS, Hunters & Collectors, Uncanny Xmen, Split Enz, Kids in the Kitchen, Tina Turner, Mental as Anything, The Cult, Style Council, The Human League and Models performed to crowds of over 2,000Local punk and post-punk bands including Beargarden, Dorian Gray, Sacred Cowboys, The Editions and Little Murders also played there.

St Kilda artist, musician and cultural icon Fred Negro began doing the handbill graphics for The Venue at the request of Joe Gaultieri in 1983.

The Gong Show: 

Paul Elliott’s Gong Show became a Monday fixture at The Venue in October 1983 after moving from Macy’s in South Yarra. Borrowing the idea from a TV show of the same name, The Gong Show was basically an avant-garde arthouse night that consisted of a couple of bands and bizarre or stupid acts that would get ‘gonged’ by a judge if deemed unfit for viewing. Each week was different as Paul came up with a variety of ideas as to how to entertain and keep the audience. 

Finding acts wasn’t hard either.  Paul just put ads in the paper calling for people to come and perform. They didn’t get paid, but they could get up and do whatever they wanted. Having no budget and giving what little money he made to the bands, Paul soon discovered that putting the events on once a week was a bit too much and on 9th April 1984 the last gong was sounded. Some of the Gong Show highlights included Fred Negro, The Butcher of Brighton, Anthony Morgan, Tiny Tim and Big Rod Walloper. I Spit on your Gravy, Painters and Dockers, Spring Plains (Pre-Cosmic Psychos), Tombstone Hands and TISM also played some early gigs as part of this show.

Click HERE for a list of gigs at The Venue.

Click on the PDF below to read memories about The Venue by people who were there...
The Venue.pdf The Venue.pdf
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Click on any image below to view
Flier artwork by Fred Negro
Click on any image below to view
Flier artwork by Fred Negro
  • Main Image - Tina Turner promotional material, 1982 - Source: Fred Negro
  • Background Image - Gong Show flier, 1983 - Source: Paul Elliott
  • The Venue, 1979 - 1983 - Sources: St Kilda Historical Society, Port Phillip City Collection, Paul Elliott, Fred Negro, Chris Pinsent
  • Joe Gaultieri, Fred Negro - Source: St Kilda Music Walking Tours