During the decade between 1977 - 1987 many of Melbourne's underground music venues provided a much-needed home and safe-haven to the young people who considered themselves part of the emerging 'punk' scene. These venues, which offered an alternative to the large suburban 'beer barns', allowed both musicians and punters a place and space that allowed for sincerity, intimacy, individuality, non-conformity and the freedom of experimentation and creative expression that was often in opposition to those practices deemed formulaic or commercially driven. 

Underground gigs were often promoted through word-of-mouth, by hand-drawn fliers that were disseminated around town (placed under car windscreen wipers, taped on telephone poles, or stuck up in shop windows), or by announcements on community radio stations such as 3RRR or 3PBS.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and right up until 1987, a law by the Liquor Control Act meant that venues had to supply ‘supper’ with the sale of alcohol after 6pm. This law meant that all kinds of ‘food’ ranging from Strasbourg on white bread with soggy lettuce and tomato sauce, to hot chips, dim sims and BBQ shapes were served up to the hungry and unfussy punk audiences who were either too drunk or too high on drugs, such as pseudoephedrine and Mandrax, to care. 

And for many of these young punks, who were either students or unemployed, this was one of the few meals that they may have eaten all week. 

Underground venues existed on both sides of the river. In Carlton, Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and the CBD were venues such as Hearts, Martinis, The Champion Hotel, The Clifton Hill Community Music Centre, Bernhardts and the 475 Club. While in St Kilda there was Bananas, The Venue, The Seaview/Crystal Ballroom, Prince of Wales Hotel, St Kilda Inn, Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, and Grosvenor Hotel.

All of these venues gave young Melbourne punks a place to listen to the best punk bands and underground music of the day and the opportunity to *pogo or thrash it out on the dancefloor

*The pogo is a dance in which the dancers jump up and down, while remaining in the same location.

Listed below are many, if not all, of the key venues that hosted punk, post-punk and associated bands between 1977 - 1987. Detailed information was not available for every venue

MAIN MUSIC VENUES - BANANAS/ BARBARELLAS/ BE BOP AND LOO BAR/ BERNHARDTS/ BOMBAY ROCK/ BUILDERS ARMS HOTEL/ CENTRAL CLUB HOTEL/ CHAMPION HOTEL/ COMMERCIAL HOTEL/ CLIFTON HILL COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTRE/ DUKE OF EDINBURGH HOTEL/ DUKE OF YORK HOTEL/ ELECTRIC BALLROOM/ EXFORD HOTEL/ 475 CLUBGROSVENOR HOTEL/ HEARTS/ HOTEL ESPLANADE/ INFLATION/ JOHN BARLEYCORN HOTEL/ JUMP CLUB/ IVANHOE HOTEL/ KILLAYONI CLUB/ KINGSTON HOTEL/ LONDON TAVERN/ MACYS/ MARCONI BALLROOM/ MARIJUANA HOUSE/ MARKET HOTEL/ MARTINIS/ MT ERICA HOTEL/ MUSICIAN'S UNION/ NAPIER HOTEL/ OLD GREEK THEATRE/ OXFORD HOTEL/ PALAIS THEATRE/ PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL/ QUEEN’S ARMS/ RAZOR/ RICHMOND CLUB/ ST KILDA INN/ SARAH SANDS HOTEL/ STATION HOTEL/ SUBTERRAIN/ SYDENHAM HOTEL/ TELEGRAPH HOTEL/ THE PALACE/ THE QUEENS ARMS/ THE BALLROOM (SEAVIEW - CRYSTAL)/ THE CLUB/ THE TOTE HOTEL/ THE VENUE/ TIGER LOUNGEUSERS CLUB/ VENETIAN ROOM/ 

OTHER VENUES WHERE GIGS WERE HELD - COLLINGWOOD TOWN HALL/ COUNCIL OF ADULT EDUCATION/ FESTIVAL HALL/ HELLENIC CLUB/ LYNALL HALL/ ORMOND HALL/ MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY/ PRESTON INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY/ RMIT/ RICHMOND TOWN HALL/ SHED 14/ SWINBURNE COLLEGE/ THE ABERDEEN HALL/ THE FRINGE CLUB/ VICTORIAN COLLEGE OF THE ARTS/ 

BANANAS
BE BOP AND LOO BAR
BOMBAY ROCK 
CHCMC
DUKE OF EDINBURGH  HOTEL
ELECTRIC BALLROOM
GROSVENOR HOTEL
HOTEL ESPLANADE
KILLAYONI CLUB 
PALAIS THEATRE/ THE PALACE
PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL
ST KILDA INN
THE CRYSTAL BALLROOM
THE VENUE
 
Images:
  • Main Image - La Femme at the Tiger Lounge, 1978 - Source: Chane Chane
  • Background Image - Wintergarden Room, Seaview Hotel promotional material, 1978 - Source: Dolores San Miguel
  • Bananas complimentary pass, 1977 - 1979 - Source: Michael Chrystal
  • Be Bop and Loo Bar, 1978 - Source: Required
  • Clifton Hill Community Music Centre (The Organ Factory), 1976-1984 - Source: CHCMC Tapes
  • Duke of Edinburgh Hotel, c. 1987 - Source: Col Holst
  • Electric Ballroom, 1981 - Source: Required
  • Grosvenor Hotel, 1986 - Source: Fred Negro
  • Hotel Esplanade, 1984 - Photo by Joe Holzer
  • Killayoni Club, 1981 - Source: Kate Buck 
  • Palais Theatre / The Palace, 1930s - Sources: St Kilda Historical Society
  • Prince of Wales Hotel, 1950s - Source: State Library of Victoria
  • St Kilda Inn, 1984 - Source: Fred Negro
  • The Crystal Ballroom (George Hotel) 1980s, Source: Port Phillip City Collection
  • The Venue, early 1980s - Source: Port Phillip City Collection

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