All posts by Leigh-Anne Wrighter

The Animals Live in Wollongong | Centro CBD

Iconic rhythm, blues and rock band, The Animals, are heading to Wollongong with their legendary lyrics for a live gig at Centro CBD on Thursday, 18 May 2017.

With music as relevant today as it was in the 1960’s, The Animals have provided anthems for generations with hit songs such as ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place‘, ‘The House of the Rising Sun‘, ‘It’s My Life‘ and ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood‘.

Formed in 1962 and 1963 in Newcastle Upon Tyne in England, The Animals were part of the legendary ‘British Invasion’ and entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

With great success in Australia with 9 Top 50 hits, we can’t wait to see them in the Gong.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Drummer John Steel had a chat with us and we soon discovered his still a cheeky English lad.

You went to art school as a teenager, and have previously described yourself as a ‘dropout’. Were you a bit of a rebel back in the day?

John: Yeah, I think so. The art school thing was the way to avoid doing a proper job I think. I did have a bit of an artisic streak but I was a terrible academic.

That first day at art school was when I met Eric Burdon and that was the first stirring of The Animals.  Eric and I discovered that we had the same taste in music, movies and all kinds of stuff and next thing you know we formed a band.

What was it like to be part of the  famous ‘British Invasion’ into America?

John: It was a really exciting time. Everything was a new experience. Suddenly we went from being fans of the music to playing it.

We were five working class Geordie lads from the North West of England.  In those days that wasn’t a common thing in America.

All of a sudden it was these crazy kids from England charging over to America and having a great time. It was the first time we were able to stand and say this is our music. It was thrilling to be able to do that.

Who were your musical influences?

John: Great rock n rollers like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, early Elvis, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, there were so many great ones.

We started to delve down deeper and found where it all came from which was the blues with people like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins. There were some fantastic blues artists which had been playing some amazing music without being recognised really.

‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place’ was an anthem to the US Armed Forces during the Vietnam War and continues to be an anthem to this day. Why do you think it is still relevant today?

John: Over the years it has developed into a universal anthem for just anyone who wants to make a change or go in a different direction.

Everyone has a moment in their lives where they think i’ve gotta get out of this place. It’s a perfect song for those kinds of situations.

You have previously described the success of ‘House of the Rising Sun’ as life changing.

John: It was a number one hit record all over the world. It opened doors everywhere for us. It was the song that put The Animals on the map.

The Animals music has withstood the test of time with new generations of fans.  How does that make you feel?

John: It’s astonishing. It always gives me a lot of pleasure to see. When we are playing in a foreign country there are always kids in the front rows singing the songs and they know them better than I do.

We really have the great fortune to have some dark songs about real life rather than middle of the road kind of pop songs. These songs seem to have an effect on any generation.

You have an amazing list of hit music to reference. How do you go about putting a set list together?

John: Our set list is never the same. We always play the hits but we have such a large catalogue of material that we just shuffle them around.

We’re not a cabaret act, we’re a rock n roll band. We like to keep things fresh. It’s great to play songs we haven’t played in donkey years and it’s great to get the audiences’ reaction.

The band members have changed over the years. What keeps you performing with The Animals?

John: It’s love of the music, enjoying the travelling and performing in front of an audience that gives you great feedback. There’s nothing like getting a standing ovation at the end of your show.

We always close with ‘Land of the Rising Sun‘ and it never fails to get people on their feet so it’s always the last number that we play. I’m such a lucky fellow to just be able to do that for a living.

Original members John Steel and Mick Gallagher along with Danny Handley and Scott Whitely will bring The Animals live to Centro CBD (28 Stewart St, Wollongong) on Thursday, 18 May 2017.


Dinner (main meal) and show – $99.00
Show only – $65.00










Anzac Day Services in Wollongong

ANZAC Day Services and commemorations will take place throughout the Illawarra on Tuesday, 25 April 2017.

 ANZAC Day – Tuesday 25 April 2017

Wollongong City Anzac Day Dawn Service
Wollongong Cenotaph, MacCabe Park.
March forming outside City Diggers to Cenotaph.
4.45am for 5am service.

For more information, call Wollongong RSL Sub Branch (02) 4225 9818.

Wollongong Anzac Day City March
The march commences 10am at lower Crown Street Mall, turning right into Kembla Street, then right into Burelli Street, past the cenotaph in MacCabe Park. Disperses into MacCabe Park after Pioneer Hall. Official service will commence at Wollongong Town Hall at 11am.

For more information, call Wollongong RSL Sub Branch (02) 4225 9818.

Corrimal RSL Dawn Service
March from Corrimal RSL to the Memorial at Anzac Grove off Railway Street for service, and return to RSL. March starts 5.30am, service at 5.45am.

For more information, call John Simpson 0403 928 506.

Helensburgh RSL
5.45am dawn service at Charles Harper Memorial Park. Followed by breakfast at Helensburgh Tradies and / or The Centennial Hotel.

For more information, call Michael Ali, Helensburgh RSL 0418 974 074.

Coledale RSL Dawn Service
Meet at Coledale Newsagency at 5.50am for march to Coledale RSL. 6am service, followed by breakfast at the club for gold coin donation.

For more information, call Coledale RSL (Mary Quirk) on (02) 4267 1873.

Austinmer / Thirroul RSL Sub Branch
March from car park adjacent to Austinmer Surf Club to Austinmer War Memorial, followed by breakfast at Thirroul Bowling Club. 5.45am for 6am service.

For more information, call Tony Starling 0425 212 428.

Austinmer / Thirroul RSL Sub Branch
6am dawn service at William Woodward Park, Thirroul. Breakfast at Thirroul Bowling Club.

For more information, call Tony Starling 0425 212 428.

Dapto RSL Club
6am dawn service at Memorial at Dapto Railway Station.

For more information, call Mick Johnston (02) 4261 2733

Woonona-Bulli RSL Club
March from IGA car park at Woonona to the cenotaph at Woonona-Bulli RSL Club.
5.45 for 6am service.

For more information, call Woonona-Bulli RSL (02) 4284 1577.

Port Kembla RSL Club
6am small service only.

For more information call David Roberts (02) 4261 1311.

8am parade commences from Lake Illawarra Hotel car park, to Club Windang for service.

For more information, contact Club Windang (02) 4296 4044.

Stanwell Tops
10am service at the Stanwell Tops Memorial park, followed by refreshments.

For more information, call Lions Club of Helensburgh, Christine Keane 0425 200 979.

Dapto Bowling Club
Sunset service at 5.30pm.

For more information call Dapto Bowling Club (02) 4261 1160.

Further information regarding Anzac Day events can be found at

2UP in and around Wollongong

Note: Event details are subject to change without notice. Please check/confirm details with individual venues prior to attendance.

Balgownie Hotel
2UP from 1pm
Outside Can Bar and BBQ specials

The Builders Club
Two Up starts at 12pm in the Auditorium
Cafe Hennessy on Church open all day
Platform 61 will have an ANZAC Day menu available for Lunch and dinner.

Central Hotel Shellharbour
Cantina breakfast menu will be available from 6am
From 11am the Events Centre will transform into a 2UP arena.

Kembla Heights Bowling and Recreation Club
Proceeds to Mt Kembla & City Coast Motorcycles Illawarra Convoy Lead Bike Team.

Mount Kembla Village Hotel
Hotel opens at 10am.
2UP in the Bunker from midday.
Australian food all day. BBQ in the Beer Garden.
Courtesy busy from 5pm.

North Gong Hotel
2UP from midday
Live entertainment from 5pm
Fundraising with all proceeds donated to Soldier On

Thirroul Bowling, Leagues & Recreation Club
Breakfast at 6.30am
2UP from 1pm – 5pm

Towradgi Beach Hotel & Waves
Massive 2UP Arena in the Beer Garden from 12pm.
All minors must be accompanied by THEIR parent or legal guardian.

Towradgi Park Bowls & Recreation Club
Morning service from 8am followed by breakfast
2UP from 2pm

Unanderra Hotel
2UP from 12pm
Food platters
Footy games on the big screen from 3pm

Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club
March – 9.45am
Service at Club Cenotaph – 10am
2UP 12pm-4pm in Club Auditorium

Warilla Sporties
Two up from 1pm – 4pm
Club open from 10am – 10pm
Bistro open for lunch and dinner

School Holidays in Wollongong | Easter 2017

The first of the school holidays for 2017 in Wollongong have arrived with a bucketload of super fun activities to suit all interests and budgets.

Early Start Discovery Space

Building 21, Ring Road
UOW Wollongong Campus

Dates: 11 April – 23 April

From catapults, kites and cars, to coding your parent we offer both free and paid programs to help keep the creative juices flowing and the idle hands at work these April holidays. We’ll also be celebrating Easter with lots of fun activities such as Easter Hat making and an Easter Egg Hunt and even a glimpse of the Easter Bunny!

The fun begins Tuesday 11 April running till Sunday 23 April. (Closed Mondays & over the Easter break).

Fun-damentals School Holiday Program

Linday Park Primary School
Thames St, Wollongong

Dates: 10 April – 24 April

Each day your child will participate in several sports including; Soccer, Hockey, Cricket, AFL, Touch Football, OzTag, Baseball/Softball and Basketball.

There are also loads of fun activities such as laser tag, arts and crafts, painting, Lego, poster making, dancing, plus much more.

Open from 8.00am – 6.00pm daily.
1st child $50 – discounts apply for siblings.
Child Care Benefit and Rebate available.

Contact Daniel Morris on 0423661911

Choose Your Own Adventure

338 Cemetery Road, Helensburgh

Dates: 10 – 12 April

Let the kids have a mountain of fun these school holidays when they choose their own adventure at Burgh.

The kids can pick from Commando Kids or Creative Circus Camp with full and half days available.

Can’t choose what to do? Yes, the kids can do both!

Suitable for ages 5 – 14 years.

Full day: $60 (10am – 3pm)
Half day: $40 (10am – 1pm)
Optional $5 lunch per day
Optional early drop off at 9am – $5 extra per day

Give the Burgh a call today on 4294 1282 or book online at

Big Fat Smile | Fun Club School Holiday Fun

13 Fun Club locations through the Illawarra

Dates: 10 April – 21 April

With 13 FUN CLUB school holiday locations and loads of different activities scheduled for each day, the kids won’t be bored these school holidays!

Have a blast on excursions like Luna Park, Bowling, Trampoline Parks, Go Karting and even the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Our centre days are packed full of fun with activities like creative arts, discos, laser tag, Easter celebrations and so much more!

Costs are applicable for the child care benefit and the 50% government rebate.

For information and to enrol, visit our website


Novotel Wollongong Northbeach
2 – 14 Cliff Road, Nth Wollongong

Date: 11 April 2017

Hop on over to Novotel Wollongong Northbeach to enjoy a delicious selection of Easter treats, face painting, games, arts & crafts and MORE with the Easter bunny and friends.

Children $37.00
Adults $20.00 including barista coffee

More Fun!

10 April 2017

ArtSpace School Holiday Program
98 Railway St, Corrimal
10 – 21 April

Choose Your Own Adventure at Burgh
Cemetery Rd, Helensburgh
10 – 12 April

Little Leonardo’s Art Studio
George Street, Warilla
10 – 20 April

Merrigong Creativity Camp
Wollongong Town Hall
10 – 13 April

Titans Sports Academy Clinics
Collegians Sports Centre
10 – 13 April

Giant Garden Bugs
Wollongong Botanic Garden
10 – 13 April
10am + 1pm daily

T-Rex on Tour
Shellharbour City Centre
Until 25 April

Meet a Real Bunny + Friends
Warrawong Plaza
10 April – 15 April

The Early Start Discovery Space brings “Rig-a-majig”
Upper Crown Street Mall – look for the shipping container
9 April – 11 April
11am to 2pm

Mr Men and Little Miss Meet and Greets
Roaming in Gateway Building (near Dymocks), Crown St Mall
10 April – 13 April
Between 11am & 2pm

11 April 2017

Code It Yourself Club
Various locations

Diary of a Wombat
Illawarra Performing Arts Centre

Easter Virtual Reality
Warrawong Plaza
11 April – 13 April

Wollongong’s Science Centre & Planetarium brings “A Taste of Science”
Upper Crown St Mall – look for the shipping container
11am – 2pm

Design a Tote 
Stockland Corrimal (near Dan Murphy’s)
11am – 2pm

Chalk Paint for Kids
The Wild Flower Studio, Kiama

12 April 2017

Yoga Workshop
355 Princes Hwy, Woonona

DIY Podcast
Austinmer Scout Hall

Reiki for Children
Wollongong Harbour

Easter Hat Creation
Stockland Corrimal (near Dan Murphy’s)
11am – 2pm

Lavender Lily School Holiday Show
Thirroul Dance Academy

13 April 2017

Paul Capsis – Addicted to Nightlife
The Arts Precinct
Ages 16+

A Taste of Science – FREE
Upper Crown St Mall
11am – 2pm

Free Kids Disco
Dapto Leagues Club

Kids in the Kitchen
Stockland Corrimal (near Dan Murphy’s)
11am – 2pm

School Holiday Camp
Fire Phoenix Martial Arts, Corrimal
9am – 3pm

14 April 2017

Chopper’s Republic of Anzakistan
The Arts Precinct
Ages 16+

Kiama Makers + Growers Market
Jumping castle, facepainter, plaster painting, icecream van, side show Balloon Bust and Knock em Down for the kids
9am – 2pm

15 April 2017

Easter Family Fun Day
Wollongong Botanic Garden

Easter Show 2017
Towradgi Beach Hotel

Easter Fun for Kids
Crown St Mall
11am – 2pm

16 April 2017

Easter Sunday Lunch/Dinner
Windjammers Restaurant

17 April 2017

Circus Workshops
Crown St Mall
17 – 20 April
11am – 2pm daily

Petting Zoo
Crown St Mall
17 – 20 April
11am – 2pm daily

18 April 2017

Flower Crown Workshop
The Wildflower Studio, Kiama

Kids in the Kitchen
11am-1pm daily
Warrawong Plaza

19 April 2017

Peter Combe in Bellyflop in a Pizza
The Arts Precinct

Health & Fitness Basketball Camp
URAC Sports Hub
Ages 12-18yrs

Kids in the Kitchen
11am-1pm daily
Warrawong Plaza

20 April 2017

Justine Clark Sings!
The Arts Precinct

Frank Woodley – I, Woodley
The Arts Precinct
Ages 16+

FREE Paw Patrol Stage Shows
Warrawong Plaza
20 – 24 April

Reiki for Children
Wollongong Harbour

21 April 2017

Children are Stinky
The Arts Precinct

Garden Storytime
Wollongong Botanic Garden
11am – 12pm

School Holiday Hangout
Wollongong Salvos

Super Wrestling Heroes Kids Disco
Dapto Leagues Club

22 April 2017

Pokemon Scavenger Hunt for Starlight Children’s Foundation
MacCabe Park

Make a Hand Surf Plane
Illawarra Workwork School
Ages 15+  accompanied by adult

23 April 2017

Mt Keira Summit Park Sunday Sounds
10am – 12pm

Kids Eat Free

Conditions may apply. Offers may not be available on public holidays. Please check with individual venues prior to attending.

Blu Oranage
Monday – Friday

Towradgi Beach Hotel
Sunday night from 5pm

Casablanca Restaurant on Crown
Only available Sunday, 23 April

The Meatery
Kid eats free from 12-5pm Monday – Friday from Monday 10th –  Friday 21st April

Bally Hotel
Sunday lunch and dinner

Steelers Seafood and Grill
Offer available Sunday 5pm – 7.30pm

If you run an activity for kids in or around Wollongong during the school holidays and would like us to add you to our list simply email you details to





The Port Kembla Billy Cart Derby

It’s the largest billy cart derby in Australia and it holds greater meaning and significance than just competing for a prize.

With a history that goes back to 1940, the Port Kembla Billy Cart Derby has long been a favourite for those that race the four-wheeled packages of hopes, dreams and ambitions down historic Wentworth Street.

The Derby pulls together parents, grandparents, carers, children and the community to create an event that combines sportsmanship, co-operation and fair play.

Just ask local brothers Ian and Barry Prior.  With an abundance of fond memories spanning decades, including a long family history of competing and cheering each other on, they simply described their time involved in the Billy Cart Derby as ‘the time of your life‘.

Ian (left) and Barry Pryor with their prized billy carts

This year the Port Kembla Billy Cart Derby will create an Australian All-American National Championship which will allow Australia to now have a gravity racing champion representing Australia at Akron, Ohio to compete against other nations at the World Championships.

Avid supporters of the Derby, Ian recalls his time at the All-American Soap Box Derby in Acron Ohio.

You were treated like royalty. They make kids feel 10 feet tall. It was a magic fortnight and the highlighted of my life“.

Ian and his team came 8th out of 60 international competitors. In a separate race in 1994, Ian and his team were placed 3rd in the world at Columbus Ohio.

All-American Soap Box Derby track in Acron Ohio

With a passion for passing on the excitement and thrill of the race, Ian’s son Tony Prior won the Junior Special Section at the Port Kembla Derby in his cart Flying High in 1983 at the age of 15. It was only the third time Tony had raced in the cart.

Tony went on to win the Derby in the bicentennial year in 1988.

With a passion for billy cart racing, the Prior boys remain enthusiastic for the future of the Port Kembla Billy Cart Derby.

Keen to encourage a new generation of competitors, the brothers work eagerly on much-loved billy carts in their backyard and continue to support local kids to enter.

Reminiscing back to the days of using pram wheels and working a solid 12 months on a billy cart every day, the boys describe billy cart racing as a ‘challenge in a friendly competition‘.

Don’t miss this opportunity of a lifetime!

Register today


Everyone aged 7 and above are welcome to enter the race.

Registrations for the Port Kembla Billy Cart Derby close on 13 May 2017.

The Derby runs on Saturday, 27 May 2017 from 8:00am to 3:00pm along Wentworth Street, Port Kembla and includes nine divisions.

All American Soap Box Class

Division – AAA – All American Soap Box Case (7- 13 yrs)
Division – BBB – All American Soap Box Stock 9- 18 yrs)
Division – CCC – All American Soap Box Masters (10- 20 yrs)

Spitfire Class

Division – AA – Junior Spirfire (7- 10 yrs)
Division – BB – Junior Spirfire (11- 16 yrs)

Soap Box Class

Division – A –  Junior  (7- 10 yrs)
Division – B –  Junior (11-16 yrs)
Division – C –  Adult  (17 yrs and over)

Super Cart Class

Division – D – Super Cart Junior Special  (12 -16 yrs)
Division – F – Open Senior  (17 yrs & over)
Division – G – Industrial & Commercial (17 yrs & over)

Weird & Wacky Class

Division – E –  Weird & Wacky  (12 yrs and over)

Elton John and His Band Live at WIN Stadium

Music legend and world renowned international artist Sir Elton John and His Band will bring their ‘Once in a Lifetime Tour‘ to WIN Stadium on Sunday, 24 September 2017 from 5.30pm.

The music icon will perform some of his greatest hits beach-side right here in Wollongong!

This will be Sir Elton’s ONLY NSW show and his first time playing in Wollongong.

This is an all ages event.


General Ticket Sales: 14 March 2017 via