Australian Music Scene: Queensland vs Manchester

Australia’s Music Scene

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about some of the top icons of Q150 in a post called Queensland’s Hall of Fame. I covered the first three categories which were about people and institutions.

Today, I want to add a quick update on Queensland’s most influential artists, just hold on a second while I compose myself to type this…… ready…..the Bee Gees.

I was speaking with some local Aussies and mentioned my sadness at this particular result. As my sadness quickly moved to accusatory ridicule, “how could Australia unleash the Bee Gees on the world?” I was a very swiftly informed that they were actually born on the Isle of Man and they lived in Manchester for some time before they moved to Redcliffe, just a few miles north east of Brisbane.

In my view, that shifts the blame back over to the UK where I thought it had been all along. Now Manchester has produced some amazing bands over the years. In fact, I have always thought Manchester as the epicentre when it comes to producing great music. At this precise point in writing this post, my mind started to try to compile a list of famous Manchester bands.

No need, who needs a memory when we have Google? Google pointed me to this site, pride of Manchester, which lists Manchester’s top 100 bands. Whilst I don’t agree with that list, because everybody knows the best band in the world is The Fall (16th on their list), it does give a great idea of how productive Manchester has been to the music scene.

But guess who is at number 14? Yes, it’s the Bee Gees! So Queensland’s most influential artists (who were not even born in Queensland) can’t even make the top 10 in Manchester. What does that say about the music scene in Queensland?

In Defence of Queensland

In very rough figures about 3 million people live in Manchester and 4 million in Queensland. Greater Manchester is 493 square miles whereas Queensland is 670,000 square miles. If I were a 15-year-old kid growing up in Manchester, I’d buy myself a guitar and lock myself in my garage with some mates.

If I were a 15-year-old kid growing up in Queensland, I’d probably want to spend a little more of my time exploring the 5,153 miles of coastline and do a bit chillin’ on the beach.

A Miniscule Part of Queensland's Beaches

A Miniscule Part of Queensland’s Beaches

Manchester can boast all of the bands, Queensland has got all of the surfers.

Whoever compiled Queensland’s top 150 icons decided to allow the Bee Gees, born in the UK, to be eligible. The alternative was to have Powderfinger (they came 2nd) as their most influential group. Has the world heard of Powderfinger? I don’t think so, well, I hadn’t.

Yet, Queensland does have a great local music scene. It’s just that they seem to stay local, it’s not easy to become an international star when you live in Australia. That’s probably why Australians are so proud of their fellow countrymen when they make it internationally.

Yes, even the Bee Gees.

A Final Word on Rubbish?

Any of you who kept up with my trilogy on rubbish, will recall that in my first post, talking rubbish, I was a little bit miffed that my wife threw away our Brisbane City Council waste disposal vouchers. Today we got our new rates bill for the new financial year (up 6.5%) and with it my new set of vouchers for year 2009/2010.

I can now dispose of 500 kg of general waste and 500 kg of green waste, without charge, at any one of four waste transfer station locations. All I need to do is work out how to get the rubbish there.

So today, publicly, I forgive my wife for her actions a year ago. I’m the sort of guy that likes to move on.

Visa Assessment Service
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Jaysen December 15, 2009, 12:30 am |

    Th Austrailian music scene is one that over the years has produced some interesting innovative artists. From the likes of Empire of the Sun to Wolfmother, there is definitely something going on there. Not too sure about the present Manchester scene, though.

    • BobinOz December 15, 2009, 6:22 pm |

      None more innovative than Nick Cave, especially The Birthday Party years. Yes, the Aussie have something going on here. As for Manchester today, you could say it’s all gone Pete tong.

  • Barry September 3, 2009, 4:48 am |


    Only a serious music fan can tell you when they got into a band. My wife looks at me strangely when I tell her who I saw and where in any calendar month in London in the early eighties. Anyway, thanks for the reply. I took a stroll around Brisbane using the street view feature of Google Maps (amazing) and my, it’s almost unrecognisable since I was last there, a matter of days at a time in 1986 and 1987 as a backpacker.

    I remember things like the view across the river from the top of Queen Street (there seemed more of it and less cluttered by buildings…maybe I was a street or two higher?), staying in a small hostel in Roma Street and getting a McCafferty’s bus bus to Cairns from very a ropey bus terminal next to a real old fashioned blokes pub up near Wickham Street. They only served midis (sp?) which I think was the Queensland tradition, don’t know if it still is. Neither of those places exist anymore, that whole area seems to have gone under the ball and chain. That bit around and under Chinatown seems more spruced up and developed than I remember. Well, I suppose it is some twenty 22 or so years and another 900,000 people into the mix (My Lonely Planet edition of May 83 gives the population as 900,000, wow…doubled in 20 years).

    We got the visa last month, getting work shouldn’t be a problem (I’m a Psychiatric Nurse) and hope to have one sorted before I go. Only problem is selling the house and how much we’re going to have to lose. It sounds as if you got out while the market was good. Plus, Ireland is even worse off than the UK, run by muppets and their cronies in the building/banking trade. If we have to validate and come back then so be it, but I’d rather not.

    Southend? You must be a Feelgood’s fan, surely?


    • BobinOz September 3, 2009, 9:35 pm |

      20 odd years in the life of Brisbane is a very long time. I think it has long been the fastest growing city in Australia and for a short while may well have been the fastest growing city in the world. It has changed loads!

      When you say midis you may mean mids, all explained in my post about beer measures.

      No, you won’t have any problem finding work out here with your line of work. But if you are interested, a friend of mine finds job placements for people in the medical professions. I can put you in touch. And yes, we were very lucky when we sold our house. Just at exactly the right time.

      Feelgood? I was more Procol Harum and Bonzo Dog Doo-dah (Viv Stanshall spent his teenage years at Southend). That’s….until The Fall!

  • BobinOz September 2, 2009, 6:27 pm |

    Hi Barry

    It’s never too late to convert to The Fall. The fun is in the catching up! I didn’t convert until around 1994 so I was a late to the game too, being as they started in 1977. 32 years of innovation, something like 27 studio albums, 35 live albums and 39 compilations. Plus books and videos, tributes and bootlegs. And I think I’ve got them all! So come to Brisbane, I might lend you an album or two.



  • Barry O'Hagan September 2, 2009, 4:25 am |

    Strange that, here’s me looking over your website wondering what should I choose, Adelaide or Brisbane? And I’m playing The Fall on my PC as I read your comments about them. (I’m a late convert). I suppose you’d advise me to choose Brisbane and ‘Hit The North’?


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