A treasure found at a flea market: for $11 discovered an unreleased recording of The Beatles’ 1964 concert in Sydney

Author Benedetta Baldin - 24.6.2024

A musician from Australia has acquired the incredible treasure from a flea market, having come across never-before-seen footage of The Beatles performing live in Sydney in 1964. Legendary Australian band Hunters & Collectors’ founding member Greg Perano paid a mere $11 for an eight-millimetre film box at a Sydney market, only to find out later that one of the boxes had The Beatles‘ live 1964 performance at Sydney Stadium in close-up. The box was branded with the band’s name.

I sat down, and I went, ‘The guy’s on stage. He’s filming on stage.’ It’s really good, beautiful black and white, 8mm quality. It just brought back all those memories, because it’s not like a big band now playing up to the cameras. It’s a band who look like they’re in a small club really enjoying playing. You see a band in its formative stage where they were really good live. There was that moment where George and Paul, like everyone who watches it, goes ‘woooooooo’, so you know exactly what the song is.

Gil Wahlquist, a veteran music writer for the Sydney Morning Herald who passed away in 2012, took the original footage. Wahlquist’s family has granted Perano permission to preserve the film, which has quiet clips of the group performing their early hit song “Love Me Do“. During their 1964 world tour, The Beatles performed eight shows in Australia and six in New Zealand, home of 11-year-old Perano. In an attempt to catch a glimpse of the band performing in Wellington, which is located 100km to the south of the North Island, Perano scaled a hill in Picton, on the northern tip of the South Island, during their stay in New Zealand.

We figured if we went up and the wind was blowing right, we might be able to hear some of the concerts. So about 12 of us went out, like girls and boys… and one minute, we thought we could hear the Beatles, but it was being played down in the town. Of course we couldn’t hear them, but it was just that we knew that they were 100 kilometres away doing our show.