When I was a little girl (how many good stories start that way?) I remember Mum and Dad were always going out to "meetings". These meetings seemed to take place usually on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, and Mum and Dad were always dressed up to the nines whenever they went to these "meetings". I had no idea what went on at a so called "meeting", but it sure as heck looked pretty flamboyant and glamorous......one day, when I was old enough, I wanted to go to "meetings" too......
Now that I am older, and maybe just a tad wiser, I have come to realise that Mum and Dad were usually on their way to a dance in Cohuna, leaving us in the wonderful care of Nanna and Pop or Ma and Pa (both of whom lived 5-10mins down the country road - lucky for my Mum and Dad !)
Now, to the ordinary observer, Cohuna was nothing more than a service center for the local agricultural industry, a cute little riverside town of maybe around 1300 people in the 60's and 70's. But every week it would miraculously come alive with a dance in the local town hall - part of a country Victorian circuit for up and coming names in the emerging rock and roll scene at the time. 700-800 people would flood into the hall to hear soon to be famous names such as John Farnham, The Bee Gees, Ian Turpie, Normie Rowe, Rob EG, and Denise Drysdale to name but a small few, all supported by local band The Lonely Ones (Click on the montage above to see the famous artists performing at Cohuna and the songs that were best known for).
I live in Cohuna today, and although the hey day of the Cohuna dance scene is a memory, it is a very vibrant one. Cohuna holds the prestigious honour of being the most well attended dance scene outside of Melbourne, at the time, and it has left a rich heritage of music lovers in the area. Special thanks should go to Geoff and Betty Thompson as part of the team that put these dances together way back when........
Having recently complete a thesis focused on the elements that create a thriving rural township, I can say that investment in celebration is one strong area Cohuna needs to latch onto - particularly in this realm where the history is so distinctive and unique. This wonderful Australian Rock n Roll history really does set Cohuna apart from other little agricultural service centres and cute villages. This is something that is completely their own.
As a stepping stone, some locals and I have launched a facebook page - do head over and check it out, and please 'like' if you are interested in this piece of popular cultural history. Who knows where it may just lead to.....maybe someday we will see vibrant dances happening for up and coming rockabilly/blues/roots music making the boards of the town hall floor shake again !
To find out more about these artists and their performance at Cohuna, Like the Facebook Page and keep updated !