Note: the author of this article is involved in Amphlett Lane.
On Tuesday night, the usually stuffy Council Meeting Room at Town Hall rang out with Divinyls puns as councillors unanimously voted in favour of Amphlett Lane taking the place of Corporation Lane 1639. It was a moment we – the campaigners – had been waiting for since July last year.
I read a statement from Chrissy’s husband, Charley Drayton, and her cousin, Patricia ‘Little Pattie’ Amphlett. Sally Bruen read another statement on behalf of Jessica Adams, who began the laneway petition that gathered over 7,000 signatures, but who is currently in the UK. When we finished, the councillors were all smiles. A cheer went up when the laneway was approved.
“Well done… It must have been a real Pleasure and Pain,” noted Councillor Richard Foster. He was quickly admonished by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for bad punning, but Doyle then left his chair to offer us his congratulations and support. Councillor Rohan Leppart, who had been supportive of the campaign from day one, made a moving speech. Councillors Ken Ong and Stephen Mayne also spoke warmly for the record.
So why a tribute to Chrissy Amphlett in Melbourne?
Chrissy’s story is one that takes in Geelong, Sydney and the world, but her ties to this most rock’n’roll of cities are strong.
She was both baptised and had her wake at the Collins Street Baptist Church. She loved the theatre district that her new lane, off Little Bourke Street, lies in. She had played Judy Garland in The Boy From Oz at Princess Theatre (where she also signed her marriage certificate to husband Charley Drayton) and the Divinyls had, of course, played the Palace back when it was the Metro.
In the statement I read on behalf of Charley Drayton and Patricia Amphlett, the pair said “Chrissy has a very strong connection to this block for many reasons” and remembered Chrissy’s love of the European, the Park Hyatt and shops. Amphlett Lane also leads up to the stage door of the Palace as it stands, and Chrissy’s family felt strongly that the First Lady of Rock would want to make a statement about the future of this historical rock’n’roll venue.
Venues are torn down. Cassettes break, posters fade, T-shirts fall apart. Chrissy’s lane is a way of preserving our memories. You can read the full story behind it at the Australian Music Museum Project website, which is itself a campaign to preserve Australian rock’n’roll history forever.
Some fans have visited the laneway already! These chalk murals look great until we can get the real sign and mural in place, which will be nearer the end of the year.