My father was a single dad who started a childrens’ play centre one Christmas holidays (’71) for local ‘latch key kids’ around North Ryde. My dad campaigned for single father pension legislation, which was non-existent in the late ’60s. He also brought kids from Ultimo, Erskineville and Redfern to the play centre at North Ryde. We had a 1945 double decker bus from ’73-’78 approx. He got the play centre house with the assistance of the Macquarie University student union. It was a very radical place, there was body painting, a water slide, big forts and music. Someone painted the words ‘Children’s Free Embassy’ on one of the forts and that became the name of the group for about 7 years, until it was changed to The Teenage Roadshow. Conservative North Ryde was not ready for the play centre, after the 6 week summer at the play centre we never got the house back. But my father ran the program for approximately 25 years until it finished in 1997.

The tours initially started by dad (and other volunteers) taking bunches of Aboriginal and white kids out a week at a time to Stradbroke Island, Snowy Mountains, the very first Aquarius festival at Nimbin and out to mid and western NSW. Over time dad started bringing artists, musicians, and dancers on tour so that the local communities we visited could be engaged in the program. We ended up touring to south-western Queensland and the Gulf country, all through the NT, and through the Kimberleys. The touring made me realise that although my own childhood was tough (to say the least) we saw extremes in many of the remote communities that we visited and performed concerts for. This was an incredible childhood with many amazing experiences for myself, as well as countless young people who also got the opportunity to tour as young artists and crew. We toured many young bands including: No Fixed Address, The Black Lace, a Malaysian band from Crows Nest Boys High called The Azmen, INXS, Spy Vs. Spy (before they were named Spy Vs. Spy), the Ebon Korrines, and many more. We also toured with some well-known visual artists including Roy Churcher, Paul Farmer, Robert Slingsby, Martin King, and others.


dust (dominant scent), earth, oranges, paint, hot chips.


Rebecca Weaver