The Billy Thorpe memorial plaque at Diggers Rest overlooking the site of the legendary Sunbury Music Festival has been stolen.
The plaque was dedicated to Thorpe who headlined the music festival based on Woodstock at George Duncan’s farm in the early 70s.
Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs played at the first Sunbury in 1972 and recorded the amazing ‘Aztecs Live At Sunbury’ album from their set. It is estimated about 35,000 people attended the first Sunbury. The ticket price was $6 for three days, $5 for two days or $1 for one day. (They appeared to have stuffed up that one-day ticket price).
Year one also featured Blackfeather, Chain, Max Merritt, The La De Das, MacKenzie Theory, Greg Quill, Phil Manning, Wendy Saddington, Taman Shud, Wild Cherries and Carson.
Thorpe was back again in 1973 with Johnny O’Keefe, Spectrum, The Flying Circus, Coloured Balls, Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, Band of Light, Bakery and Dutch Tilders also on the bill. Ticket prices were now $8 for three days, $7 for two and $5 for one. (They did their maths on year two on the one-day ticket price).
In the third year, the festival was MC’d by Paul Hogan a decade before Crocodile Dundee. The usual suspects played as well as Sid Rumpo, Madder Lake, Glenn Cardier and Matt Taylor solo away from Chain.
In 1974, Queen became the first international act to added to the line-up. They were booed off stage. The festival also welcomed first timers Daddy Cool, The Dingoes. Ross Ryan, Mississippi (who would evolve to become Little River Band) and this new unknown band called Skyhooks.
The final Sunbury was in 1975. Deep Purple were on this bill. AC/DC were scheduled to play but didn’t. Renee Geyer, Linda George, Jim Keays, Buster Brown (featuring Angry Anderson before Ros Tattoo), Kush, Sherbet and Ariel were on this bill as were The Keystone Angels who would later become The Angels. Ticket prices were now $20 for the three days.
Billy Thorpe died on February 28, 2007. The plaque was installed in late 2007 at the end of Duncan’s Lane in the Holden Fauna Reserve.
If you have any information on the stolen plaque please call the Victoria Police. If you are the bastard who stole it, do the right thing and give it back.