Sixty years on, we remember how the Beatles captivated Australia

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sixty years ago this week, The Beatles embarked on a tour that redefined popular culture in Australia.

The iconic British group spent almost three weeks in Australia and New Zealand, playing 32 concerts in eight cities.

After touching down in Sydney on June 11, 1964, the Fab Four were met with unprecedented crowds in Adelaide to start the tour.

A new book to be launched this week reveals how that memorable start to the tour almost didn’t happen.

When The Beatles touched down in Adelaide on June 12, 1964, for the first concert of their Australian tour a young fan Jan Gardner was among the first to greet them.

The 14-year-old suffered from a lung condition and her friend Jill, who worked at the airport, decided to organise a special treat to cheer her up. Standing among journalists and photographers on the tarmac at Adelaide Airport, Jan snapped around half a dozen photos of the ‘lads from Liverpool’ as they descended from the plane.

Jan’s story is one of the numerous colourful anecdotes peppered throughout When We Was Fab: Inside The Beatles Australian Tour 1964 (2024) by Greg Armstrong and Andy Neill, which recounts The Beatles’ first and only tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The new book will be launched next week as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of the ground-breaking tour.



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