On this day, here’s some of what happened in the artistic and cultural life of the ACT region.

(Each posting is a compilation of a week’s 5 installments. On This Day is heard each weekday during Senior Memories Hour, at about 1:03pm (after the 1pm news) during Arts Café, and at about 6:04pm, after the news during the replay of Arts Café.)

Episodes: 16-20 November 2020

16 Nov: 1950 New Australian Opera Company presents Tosca, its first Canberra presentation. Harold Tichoff orchestrates it for two pianos. 1970 Canberra Rep presents Ruffian on the Stairs and The Erpingham Camp. Brutal review.
17 Nov: 1900 Queanbeyan Age reports on Old Gininderra Stores ball. Entertainments: comic songs, recitations, character sketch, whistle song… 1900 Captains Flat Ball also a great success. Fashions detailed. Juvenile ball the next day an even greater success.
18 Nov: 1870 Queanbeyan Age extols visiting photographer. The paper’s involvement with Gordon & Gotch, and that company’s history. 1940 Canberra Ladies Choir at Wesley Hall: songs and one-act play. Home-made suites to aid organ fund.
19 Nov: 1930 Canberra Music Society presents well-known and now-little-known composers e.g. Granville Bantock. 1970 Second of two productions by Sir Tyrone Guthrie presented in Canberra: Melbourne Theatre Company’s All’s Well That Ends Well, over four days.
20 Nov: 1940 Tango makes its mark on Canberra; qualified teaching from Jimmy O’Halloran. 1970 Second of two productions by Sir Tyrone Guthrie presented in Canberra: Melbourne Theatre Company’s All’s Well That Ends Well, over four days. 1970 All week Marion Club Revue presents Laura Norda Exposed at Methodist Centre. 1970 Bellringers come from near and far to ring bells at St Clement’s Church of England, Yass. 1980 Canberra Philharmonic Society begins 9-day run of Oklahoma!

Episodes: 9-13 November 2020

9 Nov: 1960 Paul Robeson gives first recital at Sydney Opera House. 1960 Postmaster-General’s Department to experiment with drive-up postbox. 1960: Wesley Players present The Passing of the Third Floor Back by Jerome K. Jerome.
10 Nov: 1960 Prime Minister Menzies introduced bill for establishment of a National Library. 1960 Opening of Artists Society of Canberra spawns plan for a Canberra water jet. New Capt. James Cook Memorial.
11 Nov: 1940 RAAF personnel attend preview of Canberra Rep’s Pygmalion at Albert Hall. Feverish preparations reported. 1960 Bermagui Tuna Festival in full swing.
12 Nov: 1940 Preparations for and staging of Canberra Rep’s Pygmalion, at Albert Hall. Glowing reviews.
13 Nov: 1940 Reviews of Pygmalion: production highly praised as likely to put Canberra on regional theatre map. Backstage arrangements detailed.

Episodes: 2-6 November 2020

2 Nov: 1940 400 attend Guilds of the Church of St. Andrew, the Highland Society, and the Burns Club Halloween Party at Albert Hall. 1960 National Librarian Harold White presents Dr Clyde Finlay with rare film, Naming of Canberra, 1913. Naming of Canberra, 1913.
3 Nov: 1960 Australian National Council of Women protests Marriage Bar. 1960 conversion of public Westbourne Woods Arboretum to private Royal Canberra Golf Club.
4 Nov: 1930 Canberra residents protest poor quality of “talkies.” 1930 Canberra’s first miniature golf course. 1970 National Capital Development Commission backs case for Black Mountain radio-and-television tower.
5 Nov: 1970 Leonard French’s “Seven Days” displayed in Civic. 1970 160 ceremonial art objects from New Guinea on display, Canberra Theatre Gallery.
6 Nov: 1970 Chinese pianist Fou Ts’ong appears with Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Janos Ferencsik (Hungarian State Symphony), ABC Concert Series, Canberra Theatre.

Episodes: 26-30 October 2020

26 Oct: 1960 Wilfrid Holland appointed conductor of Canberra Orchestral Society’s symphony orchestra. 1970 Center Cinema presents The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. 1970 Pulse Discotheque, 19 miles north on the Federal Highway.
27 Oct: 1960 Sir Richard Boyer, ABC chairman, discusses “the uses and dangers of radio and television.” 1960 Australian Goethe Society, Canberra branch, performs Friedrich Schiller’s Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love) with Prof Erwin Koch-Emmery, ANU’s Germanic languages department. 1960 Canberra Repertory presents William Congreve’s Love for Love, produced by Alan Harvey.
28 Oct: 1960 Col Joye and his Joy Boys at the RSL Memorial Hall in Queanbeyan. 1970 Canberra’s “inescapable fashion detail for the summer season”: shirring.
29 Oct: 1820 first Christian service in Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. 1960 pottery by Henri le Grand on display at the Canberra Art Club Gallery. 1960 Police Citizens Boys’ Club presents professional and amateur boxing, tag wrestling, and vaudeville acts including Smoky Dawson, Drill Hall, Turner.
30 Oct: 1960 Canberra Bachelors and Spinsters’ Committee holds General Meeting. 1960 J O’Reilly of Kingston wins Rogers “Ford” Chair Competition. 1970 Center Cinema presents Harry Hooton, a film poem for the 21st century, by Arthur & Corinne Cantrill.


Episodes: 19-23 October 2020

19 Oct: 1960 Canberra “devoid of national culture”? 1960: Canberra Choral Society perform JS Bach, Ralph Vaughan Williams… with singalong. 1970 Canberra Choral Society perform JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Why does Albert Hall stand empty?
20 Oct: 1960 Sorlie’s Travelling Vaudeville Show visits, including “Whip Strip.” 1970 Australian National Botanic Gardens officially opens.
21 Oct: 1950 Canberra Rep’s The Chiltern Hundreds with real dead animals. Whither mimesis? 1970 Melbourne Court holds hearing on Portnoy’s Complaint.
22 Oct: 1940 Choreographer Gertrud Boedenwieser‘s Viennese Ballet perform “Demon Machine” (see also), and other works. 1970 Minister for Interior Peter Nixon vows: No pokies in the ACT!
23 Oct: 1970 Margot Fonteyn begins four days at Canberra Theatre with The Australian Ballet, evading industrial action — intervention of Kalman Solymossy‘s Australian Ballet Comique not needed. 1970 Midnight Cowboy‘s first Canberra run.


Episodes: 12-16 October 2020

12 Oct: 1950 Starting government-backed television in Australia, its dangers. 1960 violinist Vladislav Jasek at Albert Hall. 1960 Sterling Primmer Quartet at Hotel Civic
13 Oct: 1960 Start of television in ACT. 1960 University students in court for “rag” about merger of Canberra University College with ANU – mock auction of student slaves.
14 Oct:1970 Resolution of copyright royalty dispute that suspended radio broadcast of Australian and British records. 1970 Postmaster General comments on introduction of colour television, and concern over content.
15 Oct: 1970 West Gate Bridge collapse. 1970 Canberra College of Advanced Education to become nation’s first to offer degrees. 1970 grant to Al Butavicius’s “The Birthday Party” dramatizing execution.
16 Oct: 1960 Nilla Pizzi and other Italian stars at Albert Hall — Grazia Fiore, Reno Salviati, Giulian Pomarenz, Sante Simeone. 1970 Arthur and Corinna Cantrill’s experimental film event at the ANU.


Episodes: 5-9 October 2020

5 Oct: 1970 first Jumbo jet arrives. 1970 Canberra School of Music to move, and history of Manuka Arts Centre. 1970 Janis Joplin dies
6 Oct: 1950 The Great Lavante visits Queanbeyan. 1970 Early Arthur Sullivan: Cox & Box
7 Oct: 1940 ACT Advisory Council vs maggies. 1960 Mikado at Albert Hall. 1960 Canberra Rep presents Krapp’s Last Tape & The Bald Prima Donna
8 Oct: 1940 A “mannequin play” at Albert Hall. 1970 Anna Russell lampoons opera at the Canberra Theatre
9 Oct: 1950 Pianist Gyorgy Sandor. 1970 Sea shanties at the Carillon; 1970 Demonstrator filming & Afternoon of Entertainment


Episodes: 28 September – 2 October 2020

28 Sept: 1960 Laurence Olivier’s Richard III ends its Starlight Theatre run. 1960 Theatre Players present Black Chiffon begins a one-week run.
29 Sept: 1960 Civic Theatre presents Oscar Wilde biopic. 1970: Canberra Rep presents Peter Nichol’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg directed by Alan Harvey.
30 Sept:  1970 King Oedipus, Tyrone Guthrie’s staging of Oedipus Rex‘s second of two nights at Canberra Theatre.
1 Oct: 1930 YWCA Pantomine’s Babes in the Woods at Albert Hall. 1960 Scale model of Canberra Lakes and Dam on view at Dept. of Works.
2 Oct: 1970 Canberra Rep begins 5-day run of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. History of director Alan Harvey.


Episodes: 21 – 25 September 2020

21 Sept: 1930 “Talkies” arrive in Canberra. 1960 Melbourne magistrate declares Charles Gorham’s Carlotta McBride obscene; Labor MP objects to state intrusion on censorship. 1970 ACT Police threaten arrest for selling Portnoy’s Complaint.
22 Sept: 1960 Tibor Rudas’s Oriental Cavalcade visits. Bio of Tibor Rudas.
23 Sept:  1940 800 attend Police Ball. 1960 Alexei Surkov, Soviet Writer, visits; will visit first Russian edition of Australian poetry. 1970 Trumpeter Kenny Ball appears at Canberra Theatre.
24 Sept: 1930 Canberra City Band performs at Manuka Oval for Relief Society. 1970 McKenna Mendelsohn Mainline, Canadian blues band, appears at Canberra Theatre. 1970 Commonwealth Film Censorship Board announces in Canberra that it had banned Myra Breckenridge and cuts to Woodstock.
25 Sept: 1970 First week of filming of political melodrama Demonstrator.


Episodes: 14 – 18 September 2020

14 Sept: 1940 British fighters battle against bombing of London; 30,000 Australian soldiers deployed to Egypt. In Canberra: Capitol Theatre screens The Mortal Storm and You Can’t Fool Your Wife. 1960 Canberra Repertory looks for tape recorder for Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape. ANU’s Bob Brissenden producing. 1970 Hundreds of Canberrans line up to buy tickets to see Dame Margot Fonteyn with The Australian Ballet.
15 Sept: 1930 At Albert Hall, Canberra Music Society hosts Czech violinist Jan Kubelik. 1950 At Albert Hall, finalists of Mobil Quest appear, including 23-year-old winner Joan Sutherland.
16 Sept: 1940 Capitol Theatre screens Frank Borzage’s explosé of Nazi cruelty The Mortal Storm plus newsreels brought by clipper: England Bombed, Libyan Ports Attacked. 1950 Civic Theatre presents Claudette Colbert and Robert Ryan in The Secret Fury which asked: “Could she kiss, and kill, and not remember?” Dance at Services Club (Pogson’s Orchestra) or Causeway Hall (Edwards Orchestra). 1960 Queanbeyan Age marks 100 years of publication. 1970 Canberra Symphony directed by Ernest Llewellyn performs at Canberra Theatre including John Antill’s “Corroboree Suite.”
17 Sept: 1970 Canberra Symphony directed by Ernest Llewellyn performs at Canberra Theatre including John Antill’s “Corroboree Suite,” music for ballet. 1970 WL Hoffmann assesses ABC Concert Series: American pianist Gary Graffman and Czech violinist Josef Suk. Johnny Farnham appears at David Jones department store, and at Chopsticks Restaurant
18 Sept: 1940 Canberra Times Social Rounds column notes: Griffith Tennis Club dance with Harry James and his orchestra; crazy whist game at Church Hall, Kingston; annual police ball at Hotel Canberra with Harry O’Brien and orchestra; YWCA musical evening to aid war effort. 1970 Don Chipp, federal minister for Customs and Excise announces introduction of R movie ratings; said censors had been cutting one in three feature films. 1970 Jimi Hendrix dies.


Episodes: 7 – 11 September 2020

7 Sept:  1940 Dance in aid of war funds at Canberra Golf Club House. 1960 Hotel Civic: fashion parade for Canberra Legacy Week. 1960 Italian-Australian Club presents film The Life of Puccini at Albert Hall, in aid of World Refugee Year. 1970 Kirov Ballet lead Natalya Makarova defects in London. Canberra police withdraw charges against T. Dalton, bookseller, provide he agree to stop selling Portnoy’s Complaint.
8 Sept: 1930 Canberra Society of Arts and Literature meets at private lounge of Hotel Canberra to read four plays. 1930 Friendly Society Council begins season of indoor games including quoits and table tennis at Friendly Society Hall, Kingston. 1960 Canberra University College holds Commonwealth Literary Fund lecture: Vincent Buckley, University of Melbourne, on “In the Shadow of Patrick White” — Christopher Koch and Randolph Stow. 1970 Manuel Lopez Ramos, Mexican-Argentinian classical guitarist at The Playhouse.
9 Sept: 19
10 Sept:  19
11 Sept: 19


Episodes: 3 – 6 September 2020