Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms: Darebin Live Music Venues 1955 - 2020 Audio Tour

Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms: Darebin Live Music Venues 1955 - 2020 Audio Tour

Music has long been at the heart of the City of Darebin’s rich cultural history. The city remains home to numerous venues which have featured over 1000 jazz, cabaret, folk, pop, soul and rock gigs a year, playing a major role in making Melbourne one of the world’s best cities for live music. Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms: Darebin Live Music Venues 1955 - 2020 highlights the city’s vibrant and continuing tradition of musical performance via an immersive audio-based tour. 

The tour brings listeners to 15 key locations and reveals the songs and stories behind the city’s venues, past and present. Johnny Chester, Wilbur Wilde, Tony Pantano and others discuss the glory days of pub rock, pop and cabaret from the 1950s to the 1980s. Mick Thomas, Sofia Chapman (Vardos), Achilles Yiangoulli (The Habibis), Paige Black and others discuss the history of Rebetika and Eastern European music in Darebin as well as contemporary country, indie, punk, folk and pop venues and scenes. The early history of buildings, and the music associated with them, is described by experts from Darebin Libraries and the Cinema Record. 

By using the free downloadable Echoes app Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms can be undertaken as a guided walking tour. Alternatively it can be listened to as a series of episodes or read at home. Full transcripts are also available. For details and to access the tour visit 

Beats, Ballads and Ballrooms was commissioned for HYPERLOCAL - a new series of immersive art works that invites audiences to see Darebin differently.


Produced by Ourstories, who are made up of Iain McIntyre, Kirstyn Lindsay and Teishan Ahearne.

Kirstyn Lindsay has worked as a journalist in broadcast radio for twenty-seven years including volunteer and paid employment in community radio, ABC and SBS. Currently appointed as specialist journalist for Balit Dhumba-Strong Talk, Kirstyn is producing a weekly program for 3KND’s Treaty Engagement program. Her journey includes production for audio books, classroom services, theatre and live music and studio recording. Kirstyn has completed an Advanced Certificate in Sound Engineering, Diploma in Audio Visual Technology and Bachelor of Arts Journalism. 

Iain McIntyre has written extensively on Australian music for a variety of state, national and international publications including Australian Rolling Stone, Beat and Shindig! magazine. He is the author and editor of eight books, including Tomorrow Is Today: Australia In The Psychedelic Era and Wild About You!: The Sixties Beat Explosion in Australia and New Zealand. He has produced music programs and documentaries for community radio for more than three decades and played in a number of Melbourne bands. In 2018 he was awarded the University of Melbourne’s Dennis-Wettenhall prize for the best thesis on an aspect of Australian history.  

Teishan Ahearne is a radio producer, media trainer and librarian passionate about community history and the power of audio storytelling. Teishan produces Earth Matters, community radio’s national environmental justice program. In 2018 Teishan launched ‘The People’s History of Brunswick’, two augment-reality GPS sound walks for Moreland City Libraries. In 2019 Teishan facilitated a scoping workshop for Moreland’s LGBTQI+ community to tell their history. Teishan has worked across radio, community arts and media activism. Teishan grew-up in Preston and has been involved with gigs and shows in community spaces in Darebin.

Image Credits

Image 1: Hello Tut Tut at the Northcote Social Club

Image 2: Vardos at Open Studio

Image 3: The Danny Walsh Banned at Swamplands 

Image 4: Saatsuma at the Northcote Social Club 


All photos by Peter Cahill.

Event & ticketing details

Dates & Times

Audio Tour From 1 November

Event notes

Audio Tour

The recorded audio tour will be available online and via the Echoes app from 1 November and can be accessed for 2 years. Full details at

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