MILESAGO - Performance - Venues

Surf City

Location: Darlinghurst Rd, Kings Cross, Sydney
ca. 1962 - ?? (exact dates unknown)
Manager: John Harrigan


Surf City was Sydney's first major 'beat' music venue, and one of the biggest.

The building was originally the 5000-seat Kings Cross Theatre, built in the 1920s. It was leased by promoter and manager John Harrigan in the early 60s and converted to live music. The name came from the Jan & Dean hit, the surf-music craze being a major force when the venue opened. It became the most successful of the several Sydney venues that he operated during the '60s. In addition to Surf City, Harrigan also ran The Beach House in Elizabeth St, The Star Club and the Sunset Disco. He was also co-manager with Dennis Wong of the Hawaiian Eye and the famous Whiskey Au Go Go in William St.

From late 1963 to 1965, it was the focal point of the beat boom in Sydney and "HQ" for many leading local acts of the period including Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and their chief rivals Ray Brown & The Whispers, The Missing Links and Chris Hall & The Torquays (all of whom were managed by Harrigan).

"In a few years Surf City was no more. That grand 5000 capacity theatre at the top of the Cross, where so much had taken place, was torn down. The Kings Cross underground raliway station sits directly beneath where Surf City stood, and above it one of the greatest pieces of ill-conceived, butt-ugly, cheap architectural shit ever built. The Crest Hotel, now the Capital. Tell me money didn't change hads to make that sort of thing happen. Ask Juanita Nielsen!"
Billy Thorpe, 1998


References / Links
Billy Thorpe - Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy), Pan McMillan, 1998