Tag Archives: What’s On in Wollongong

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.

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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










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

Visit portkemblabillycartderby.com.au

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)