Thursday, June 19, 2014

Paul Sydney birthday celebration

Last year I posted about Paul McCartney's 22nd birthday party in Sydney Australia.    I do not want to just re-peat what I wrote last year, but I can't let this 50th anniversary of the birthday party pass without mentioning it with all of the Australia information that I have been posting lately.   So I found some information from stories some of the girls who were winners of the party had to share years after the fact.

One strange thing, that I will not post because I find it just too gross, is that The Beatles in Australia Exhibit has on their facebook page a photo of piece of Paul's birthday cake that has been saved for the past 50 years!    One of the girls that was invited to the party gave the cake slice to a friend who saved it all of these years.     I am all for collecting strange Beatles memorabilia, but I would have eaten that cake in 1964.

The idea to hold a contest for Paul's birthday party came from Betty Stewart.  Ms. Stewart, who is 98 years old today, is still talking about her Beatles connection today.   She was the person who assisted the Beatles when they were in Sydney.   Here is how she told the story in 1994, "Going to the airport on their first trip (in Sydney), Paul said, 'I'll be 22 next Thursday' -- which was in 7 or 8 days.  He said, 'I'd like a party.'  And so I said 'We can have a competition so we can have a few girls there.'  So I picked on newspaper. While the Beatles were in Adelaide and Melbourne, Betty was busy putting together a party for Paul.

The contestants had to  be between the ages of 16-22 and write a 50 word essay on  "Why I would Like to be a Guest at a Beatles Birthday Party."   There were 10,000 entries and the finalists had to attend an interview at the hotel before a panel of judges who included Derek Taylor, Irish comedian Dave Allen, editor of the Sunday Mirror Hugh Bingham and Leicester Warburton and Blanch d’Alpuget, also from the Sunday Mirror.   I have a photo of Blanch posted with the first trip to Sydney press conference.  She recalls one particular father of a contestant trying to bribe her with jewelry so that his daughter would win a spot at the party.   The bribe did not work, and the girl's name was removed from the list of possible winners.

The Beatles with Betty Stewart

"I won because I was able to tell a clever white lie and I think it appealed to the judges.  I said I used to play with Paul as a child in Liverpool and I like to see if remembers me now as I am today.  In fact, I had never been to Liverpool.  I liked Paul McCartney.  He's the one I remember dancing with a great deal of the night.  I can say Paul is a very good dancer."
--Delphine Doorerill (from the video The Beatles Downunder from 1994)

Paul with Delphine (the blond girl next to him clapping) at the party

 Jenny Lamb, another one of the contestants does not recall how she got into the party.  She says this in a 2002 interview with ABC Newcastle, "They didn't want to have it go crazy, so they decided to get some sensible people who weren't going to go loco - I don't know how I got in there - so a few of us were chosen," she says.  "I was about 17 years old, so I was pretty naive, but the party was fairly relaxed," Jenny recalls. "(It was) just like a drinks party, where you could mingle and chat with the Beatles."I particularly remember talking with George - I really liked him - he was just a gentle guy and a bit more down to earth."

Paul with  Glennys Smith, Caroline Styles, Claire Hogben and Jenny Lamb

One girl who went to the party was Carmel Stratton, who later became a Playboy bunny.   In researching this article, I sadly learned that Carmel has passed away.    I am sure she had some great stories about Paul's birthday party.   

Carmel Stratton is between John and Paul in this photo

Another person that was at the party, and who did not win the contest is the Australian pop singer, "Little" Pattie.    She was only 14 years old at the time.  She remembers this about the party,

"The Beatles seemed to me to be pretty nice people. They weren't party animals, they just wanted
 to talk. I remember at one stage sitting with all four of them and unintentionally monopolising a lot of their time".

And a few more photos just for fun
Carolyn Keirs feeds John a piece of birthday cake

Paul with all of the contest winners

1 comment:

  1. My father actually has a piece of this birthday cake also. For years he has wanted to either sell it or pass it onto a collector for a private collection or exhibit. I am trying to find the Facebook post you mentioned. I can’t believe there are others who kept a piece too! can you direct me to where you found it? My email is