Sunday, June 30, 2024

The Day Two Beatles Visited Tambourine Mountain

Photo owned by Carol Waldon

The day two Beatles visited Tambourine Mountain

written  by editor Gary Stubbs.

So much is known and has been written about the Fab Four, as they were known, that it is an exercise in futility to even begin to try to sum up the Tour Down Under.

 What is worth recalling, however, are some of the details of their brief stay in Brisbane and a day that two of them, Paul McCartney and George Harrison visited Tambourine Mountain. 

The original photo of Paul and George reproduced on this page is owned by Carol Waldon of Toowoomba who, as a young schoolgirl, Carol Williams, then living on the Mountain, actually met the lads at the old Eagle Heights Hotel, which some years later burnt down. Carol's older brother, John Williams, who still resides on the mountain with his wife Lindy, went to one of the Beatles concerts in Brisbane, perhaps even on the night I had the good fortune to attend.

Carol was working in a snack bar near Curtis Falls when a customer said they had just seen Paul and George, who had walked down to the Falls and were now headed for the Eagle Heights Hotel to have a meal.

With her father's permission, an excited Carol walked to the hotel and waited at the entrance next to a man who was a Marist Brother, hoping to see them when they left.

When the Beatles appeared, Carol shyly asked them for their autographs. 

"They were lovely," She recalled. "They were happy and friendly, and before I knew it. I had their autographs. The Marist Brother took their photo and later, very generously, gave me a print, which, of course, I still have in my old photo album along with their autographs."

"Paul always my favorite Beatle said we lived in a lovely place."

Speaking to Carol also clarified another point for me. I had always been under the impression that they had gone to Green Mountain in two MGBs, but after so many years, had not been able to verify this. She was able to confirm that they did indeed leave the hotel for the Gold Coast in two chauffeur driven sports cars.

 The Beatles arrived at Brisbane airport just after midnight on 29th June, where they were greeted by thousands of screaming fans. More than 200 uniformed police lined the tarmac, with 20 detectives mingling in the crowd. Six girls were treated by ambulance workers, two for hysteria, and four who fainted in the crush

 Brisbane and the other cities had never seen nor have they since anything like their concerts and the unbridled hysteria that surrounded them.

"The shrieks, the screams, the sobs, bounced off the ceiling. The girls and boys threw their arms above their heads. They bounced up and down on chairs. They sank to their knees in the aisles. It was bedlam, and judging by the upturned open mouth faces, it was pure bliss. It was the Beatles."  reported the Brisbane Telegraph newspaper.

 I can personally vouch that every word in the Telegraph story printed the morning after their second Brisbane concert and the final appearance of the eight-city tour was true.

 I should not even have been there. A cadet journalist with the Courier Mail. I went to sign the time book at the end of my shift when Robyn Smith, a pretty senior reporter, asked me if I was going to see the Beatles. No, I said, I don't have a ticket. You have one now, she said as she flicked a small piece of paper in my direction. I looked at it and realized that it was indeed a concert ticket. How come? I  sheepishly inquired. Do you want it or not? She said briskly. I sure did.

 I was later to find out that she had accrued two complimentary press tickets, but the bloke she wanted to accompany her had to work that night. Lucky me. Thanks, Robyn, wherever you are. 

Now, when they arrived in Brisbane, Paul McCartney was first to step off the plane and onto the gangway, followed by John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, then they stepped onto an awaiting tabletop truck and began a tour of the fence line to acknowledge the crowd. 

The excitement was marred by an unfortunate incident when a handful of attendees, later revealed to be university students, threw a barrage of eggs, tomatoes, orange peels, newspapers, and a cushion at the Beatles. Paul McCartney said, "We were disappointed at the egg throwing. It was so pointless".

Due to this incident, the Beatles did not make any further public appearances outside of their concert performances, except for the flying visit to Tambourine Mountain and the Gold Coast by Paul and George.

 John Lennon is reported to have said, "No more unscheduled public appearances. We have had enough eggs as long as we're in Brisbane. It's just here (the Lennonn Hotel)and the Festival Hall for us."

 The Beatles departed on the first of July from Brisbane airport with 500 screaming fans and 100 police to see them off. As the plane took off, a policeman was overheard to remark, "Well, thank goodness that's over." As the four waved finally from the aircraft steps, there were cries of, "Don't go. Don't go!" and many girls cried, reported The Telegraph.

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