Cloudland History

Cloudland Ballroom

Cloudland, originally called “Luna Park”, was constructed in 1939-40, and opened in 1940, along with an “alpine railway” constructed to take patrons up the hill to the venue.The rollercoaster at Luna Park was destroyed before the fair grounds were opened.When Cloudland was re-opened after the war, the name Luna Park was dropped and the building was thenceforth known as Cloudland Ballroom. The funicular was dismantled in 1967 and the area was turned into a car park.

alpine railway

Cloudland "alpine" railway

”Cloudland Dance Hall” at the time,  builders declared, “With its private alcoves, upholstered seating, dressing rooms, and perfect ventilation… the ballroom will be the finest of its kind in Australia”. It was no exaggeration, and Cloudland was without doubt one of the best dance and concert venues in the country. The venue was a classic World War II structure. Inside it had hard timber floors, decorative columns, sweeping curtains, domed skylights and chandeliers. Cloudland also had an upper circle of tiered seating which overlooked the floor and stage.

On a commanding hilltop site in the Bowen Hills above Brisbane, Cloudland’s distinctive parabolic laminated roof arch, nearly 18 meters high, was visible for miles, and was illuminated at night. Inside, as the photo clearly shows, it was famed for elegant decoration and its sprung dance floor, reputed to be the best in Australia. Cloudland was significant as a landmark, and as a place where generations of Brisbane residents went for entertainment

As a pop/rock music venue, it hosted thousands of dances and concerts in the 50s, 60s and 70s, including some quite famous events. Cloudland hosted three of the six concerts performed by rock’n’roll legend Buddy Holly on his only Australian tour in February 1958. In the seventies, ballroom dancing became unpopular and “filthy rock concerts” were the only thing to adorn Cloudland’s floor

Cloudland was also used as an exam venue by the University of Queensland.



school children sitting for their final exams in the Cloudland Ballroom in 1964

school children sitting for their final exams in the Cloudland Ballroom in 1964

Despite strenuous public calls for its preservation, the building was demolished overnight on 7 November 1982 by the Deen Brothers, a ‘no-questions-asked’ outfit favored by the state government and Brisbane City Council for such controversial demolition jobs. Midnight Oil, who had played at Cloudland many times, immortalized the demolition in their song Dreamworld “Cloudland into Dreamworld Falls. Sun comes up and we all learn, those wheels must turn” (from the Diesel and Dust LP).



FROM the air ... remains of Brisbane's Cloudland Ballroom which was demolished without a permit in the early hours of the morning of December 17, 1982

FROM the air ... remains of Brisbane's Cloudland Ballroom which was demolished without a permit in the early hours of the morning of December 17, 1982

Courier Mail Newspaper Monday 8th November 1982

Marie & Trevor at Cloudland CLOUDLAND LUNA PARK BALLROOM - 1956Marie actually met her husband to be Trevor at ‘Cloudland’ Ballroom in 1956. (Pictured above) In 1997, they couldn’t keep away from their beginnings and purchased one of the penthouse’s in ‘Cumulus’ The residential complex built on the Cloudland grounds, having done the full circle so to speak… Ironically, the first night of their honeymoon was spent at the Bellevue Hotel - demolished by the Dean Brothers (now Marriott) as was ‘Cloudland’ Ballroom.Cloudland entrance


moment in time music movement and the post war spirit is captured at a ballroom dancing festival in 1952 at cloudland


ballroom dancing festival in 1952 at cloudland


Wiki Cloudland to learn more about our history

Pictures from the National Library

Brisbane stories of Cloudland

Little Piece of Cloudland

by Francesca Berger

Cloudland during WW2

by Peter Dunn

(Song Lyrics) by Tim Kelly 2002

Well I was just fourteen
Innocent and a little green
But from innocence we all must fall
Me, I landed on a sprung dance floor
The whole room was swaying
And the Sports were playing
“Strangers on a Train”
I learnt to stand
In a place called Cloudland

They’d catch a tram from Adelaide Street
And with their brothel creepers on the seat
They’d head for the blue-lit arch
And try to sneak their gin passed
And they were always letting
“Golden Wedding”
carry them away
Billo Smith led the band
Every night at Cloudland

We Rise, We fall
We used to have a ball
She was too pretty
For such an ugly city
Unsound, unseen
Thanks to the brothers Deen
I lost my thrill
Up on Cintra Hill

Well they came at four a.m.
So nobody could bother them
No not even City Hall
Could stop that wrecking Ball
And all they left behind
Was an empty skyline
Oh and the memories
Town houses now stand
In this place called Cloudland


  1. Love the lyrics to Tim Kelly’s song ‘A Place called Cloudland’. Have not heard of this before – but would love to listen to the music if possible.

    Keep up the good work Tony!

  2. So much enjoyed your ‘history of Cloudland’ where I spent most of my leisure time – Wednesday nights (modern) Thursday nights – Mater 60/40 – then Saturday nights – mostly jive – to say nothing of the Balls thoughout the winter months – also it was used as a flea market in the early eighties…

    Many thanks….Tony

  3. Hello.

    Just a quick response to Therese. You can hear a recording of ‘A Place Called Cloudland’ at http://www.myspace.com/gifthorsemusic.


    • Hello Tim,
      I had a great stay at Cloudland during my 15-day vacation in Queensland recently. I would really love to hear this song, but couldn’t find it online though. I am a travel writer, and I think it may be significant for my next book. Thanks:)

    • I searched, but it’s not at that site now.

  4. Oh how lovely – a section on the history of Cloudland. Photographs are now all that is left after this piece of Brisbane history was ILLEGALLY demolished . Greed in action. thanks for the trip down memory lane…

  5. In 1982 I worked for a company called Stewart & Co (Private Investigations). The afternoon before Cloudland was demolished my then boss Henry Stewart-Koster asked me to go with him to check something out. This was quite unusual but I was always up for an adventure. He didn’t tell me where we were goingand was quite secretive. We drove up the rear lane to the top of Cloudland Hill and around to the front entrance. It was quite eerie – there was no-one there. It didn’t occur to me that it was about to be demolished and if I had any idea of it I would have called the media. Unfortunately we didn’t get out of the car to have a walk around – all I remember is the sign that said TAXIS TO THE REAR. He then dropped me off at the train station some cryptic comment about it all making sense by Monday. The next morning I woke up to read of the demolition in the Courier Mail and he was right – our little trip on the previous afternoon did make sense.

    Tracey Dunnett (McDougall)

  6. Great song & lyrics.

    Really fascinating (and a bit sad) this whole Cloudland story..

    Anyone have any scans of newspaper articles of the time? Who love to read the paper articles on this, on the days after the demolishion.

    Cheers… JB

    • John
      Go to Trove on line and read the old newspapers


  7. I’ve got some photocopies of the Courier Mail articles. I can scan them and send them on, if anyone’s interested.

  8. Not the best quality, stills from an old movie camera.. but good all the same..


  9. Thank you all for the lovely memories of my “other home” – Cloudland. I was involved in Ballroom dancing with the studio of Dick & Noela Orchard for many years and spent almost all my free nights at Cloudland in the early 50’s. Many nights my cousin and I walked home when we missed the last tram to kedron. Never had any fears – what a lovely era. One of the members of band, the late great Eric Hall who played alto sax and clarinet worked with me in the Insurance Industry and brought the dancers to the edge of the stage when he and Harry Lebler played the Golden Wedding – what a band with Billo Smith and Nessie – ah!! those certainly were the days.

    • Hi I am absolutely delighted to know of a website for Cloudland. My mother is 87 this year and she loved Cloudland. She has told me of the very special times she had there in the early 50’s. Her name then was Mary Carley. I wonder if anyone out there remembers her?

  10. My father was also in insurance and went to many balls at Cloudland. Our conversations regarding Billo Smith etc inspired the second verse of my song.

  11. Cloudland was the beacon crown of Brisbane and glowed at night like a lighthouse from the past.
    I find Brisbane such an ugly city now, a limp copycat of countless others.
    We have nothing anymore we can say is originally ours, all our picture palaces are gone, majestic buildings being plundered, without a thought of (so called) heritage listing.
    I think the destruction of Cloudland and most of Brisbane was criminal and the sad thing is I’m sure I’m not alone in that thought.

    • I have to agree with you Tony. I just wish in hindsight that i had had enough common sense to take photographs of all of these buildings. So much of Brisbane has changed since when I was a teenager in the seventies.

  12. I was so sad when they illegally demolished Cloudland. My Mum and Dad met and danced at Cloudland. My Mum dragged me Ballroom Dancing the year the icon died, and I only wish that I had the opportunity to dance in that beautiful building.
    Mum and Dad speak of it with such fondness. I totally love Ballroom Dancing now and have been competing for years. I also danced at Dick & Noela Orchards where I started competition dancing.
    I agree with you Tony, Brisbane doesn’t seem to be a big fan of Heritage – just demolitian for the future.
    I know they have to move forward but truly, a place like Cloudland holds more memories for more people than Prime Real Estate ventures.

    I would love a copy of the photo of everyone dancing from 1952 if someone could tell me where that one came from?.

    Wish we all had the money to build another one just the same !

  13. Yes It was terrrible what happened to Cloudland. My mum passed away this Easter and going through the photos there was a few they had taken at Cloudland on their hoonymoon. It brought back some wonderful memories for my dad which he told us about. It was very special place for both of them.

  14. I have memories of Cloudland and the fabulos girls that had a lot of class, the days when us young blokes could actually dance with and close to a girl. Now the guys have no romance , just a case of will you or won’t you. No respect and todays girls too fast for the likes of me.


  15. I think it will be a very sad time for residents when all the specatular views disappear behind a wall of Skyscapers 25 storeys high.

    Those beautiful views gone forever.

    No wonder I have been seeing a flurry of selling activity at Cloudland recently.

    Click to access cloudland.pdf

  16. Unfortunately John, no-one can own a view. There are a lot of residents here who will still retain their great views, due to the size of the complex and the different angles.

    I’m a long-term resident and do not intend to sell as we are in a great location, close to the city and public transport. We are lucky to live in a community such as ours, and to have a website like this to share with those of you who have visited here in its former glory days of ballroom dancing.

  17. Interesting stuff. Obviously the memory lives on. I worked at Cloudland playing sax & clarinet from 1947 until 56.
    People still remember, in their mind, the ‘good ole’ days. I think, because they were young.

    • I’ve heard a great deal about you. My parents used to go to balls at Cloudland during your era. I mentioned you in my song (see above). My father says about ‘Golden Wedding’ as a highlight of night.

    • Hi Did you know my mother Mary Jean Carley nee Rose? I have some photos of her at Cloudland. I wish I could transport her back to the beautiful days that she loved so much when she danced.

    • Hello Billo

      I read with interest that you played sax and clarinet at Cloudland from 1947 to 1956. My father Ken Caves (also played sax and clarinet) played with the Billy Romaine’s Brisbane Luna Park Band (which I believed played at Cloudland). I have two photographs of the orchestra from my father’s collection.

      Did you know this group, or in particular my father? Could you help me out with an approximate date for when my father would have been playing at Cloudland with Billy Romaine?

      With thanks
      Cheryl Ryan

      • Hi Cheryl Ryan – please contact me. I am compiling a list of musicians/ bands singers who made the music at Cloudland from its inception to about 1970. Photographs would be great too. I was a principal vocalist there in the Ivan Dayman era.
        Hume Merriel.

      • have some photographs of the sounds of seven at Cloudland if there is any interest

      • Sound of Seven photos please

  18. During the 70’s, my entire familly would often go up to Cloudlands on a Saturday nignt. We would dress up in our long dresses and my brothers would wear good shirt and long pants.

    We would dance the night away to the music of two popular bands – Sounds of Seven, and Seasons of the Witch. One band provided music for The Gypsy Tap, Pride of Erin, The Progressive Barn Dance, and other such dances. The other band would play more modern music to jive to.

    It was a magical time. The large ‘disco’ ball that revolved from the ceiling and the soft ‘ultra-violet’ lights created a wonderful atmosphere for a fun evening.

    My entire family (parents included) would go home at the end of the night feeling very contented with the evening as there had been music and dancing to satisfy all ages.

    Happy memories indeed!

    Margaret Stevenson

  19. Could you please tell me if there in a book about the Cloudland Ball Room. Also where I can purchase it. Thank yolu Sylvia Ross

    • Did you ever find out where to get a book on Cloudlands? Would also love to give a copy to my parents-in-law who often used to visit there.

      This would be greatly appreciated.


      • There is now a wonderful book written called “Queen of the Dancehalls: Cloudland Ballroom in Brisbane 1939-82” Can be purchased directly from the author Dr. James Lergessner 34083908/0422664558.

    • The first book about Cloudland is now available “Queen of the Dancehalls: Cloudland Ballroom in Brisbane, 1939-82”. It’s a brilliant book and I purchased it from the author Dr. James Lergessner (34083908/0422664558). Kerri

      • Kerri – how do I contact James Lergessner please?
        Mim Adamson

    • I have written the first book on Cloudland.
      It is the only one.
      Jim 3408 3908

      • My two sisters and I (The Cookies) sang at Cloudland in the mid sixties with The Sounds of Seven and Warren Cox, and occasionally with Merriel Hume. Such lovely days.
        Wendy Reece (Cook).

  20. I have many very happy memories of balls at Cloudland in the late fifties, and especially of Harry Lebler on the drums playing Golden Wedding. Does anyone know if there was ever a recording made of Harry’s drum work on this? We are celebrating our golden wedding later this year, and I’d really love to play a CD of this at our party.

  21. I am working on painting a picture of the beautiful old Cloudland, my father was voted `Jive King of Cloudland` Colin Giese`. Mum said it was hard to get a dance with him as he was so fabulous at the Jive ladies were lined up. I am sad we no longer have this building, if it were in Melbourne, it would have been preserved Im sure. Is there any construction company willing to recreate the grand old ballroom? If you have any photos to help my research I would appreciate a copy. Many thanks Kerrith

    • Kerrith, I played in one of the Cloudland bands (Jim Diamond and the Lancers) in 1965 and have some photos I would share if you care to contact me. Cheers, David

      • David – could you include me in your list of people to contact – I am compiling a list of musicians who worked at Cloudland from its inception to about 1970. Can you help?
        Hume Merriel

      • Dear David Could I please get a copy of our photos of Jim Diamond and the Lancers? Jim Lergessner 48 Rickman Pde. Woorim LD 4507 / 3408 3908 / 0422 664 558

  22. My main memories of Cloudland were seeing local and international band like Madness, The Cure and I think maybe The Clash, amongst others. Very good time on that sprung dancefloor!
    I was in London by the time Cloudland was savagely demolished. I wasn’t too surprised to hear about it though but very saddened and maddened by the Joh government of the time, for its lack of both vision and empathy.

    BTW Tim, couldn’t find the song on your myspace site 😦

    I’m working on a visual art project recalled some Brissy places and would very much appreciate images of Cloudland, inside, outside or portrait/figures in and around the site!

    Grazie L

  23. i always remember the back of cloudland where we parked our car on the dirt track and after the dance(sometimes during it) invite any girL we managed to win for a drink in the car NO ALCOHOL ALLOWED IN CLOUDLAND. Naturally the drink was lemonade although it didnt taste like lemonade. The progressive barn dance was one dance all the guys liked (i wonder why).Joh Bjelkie was very good at knocking things down. Bellvue was another one.

  24. I would have liked to see cloudland and i was 10 years old when it was demolished but it should have been heratige listed another building that should be heratige listed is the movie theaghter the regent in the queen street mall in Brisbane and not just the entrence it should be the whole building thats what i don’t like about brisbane and there are to interstred of nocking down old buildings for offices or home apartments and when i goto Hobart one thing i like is they keep there old buildings and they restore them and some of them are offices. Brisbane city councul and the Queensland state goverment have a lot of explaining to do to allow this to happen and if this happened in europe and there would be a lot of explaining to do and here in Australia it should be the same and brisbane has enough hi rise buildings and Festival Hall in Brisbane cbd is another exanple for hi rise apartments.

  25. […] One particular theatre in Brisbane which was very classy was the Regent Theatre, which is still there though it has been modified into a multi-plex model. It was built in 1929 and its décor is quite amazing. This is what Wikipedia has to say about it: The Regent’s entrance foyer is on the narrow Queen Street site, and the auditorium was constructed on the broader site in Elizabeth Street. The original interior decoration was a mixture of Spanish Gothic and Romanesque. The mezzanine foyer contains a white marble staircase, made from Queensland marble, along with vaulted cathedral ceilings. A total of 2,600 patrons were able to be seated in air-conditioned comfort. However my illusions have just been shattered as googling for further information I have just learned that this theatre is now closed, to be destroyed for a 38 storey office block. Really Brisbane has never learned to preserve its heritage…we have absolute disregard for our unique icons, whether it’s the iron-laceworked Bellevue or the historic dancehall (and exam venue) Cloudland!  […]

  26. My parents performed together in the music group The Sounds of Seven at Cloudland (John Lye on drums, Jeanette Burke vocals) so it was nice to come here and read stories of people who were there and enjoyed a place I heard so much about, but I never saw as I was born after it was demolished.
    If anyone has any photos of the Sounds of Seven could you please contact me via e-mail as I would love to see old photos of my parents back in the day 🙂

  27. You all need to take a trip to Toowoomba to see a magnificent Theatre.
    The Empire – it has the most amazing story behind it about fire and flood in it’s history. I lived in Toowoomba for ten years and loved getting dressed up for Opera’s and Ballet to attend one of the most beautiful Regional Theatre’s in Australia.
    Sure you may sit beside someone in jeans, but when I go to the Theatre I dressed in respect of the performers. Often they hold Black Tie events and they are truly “Cloudland Quality”, with true old fashion values. Surely some wealthy entrepenaur can see the Value in re-building Cloudland Ballroom in it’s full glory on a hill somewhere in Brissy?.

  28. Hi I’m a private collector of rock ‘n roll memorabilia and I would dearly love to get hold of anything related to the Buddy Holly performances held at Cloudland in 1958 – programs, photos, tickets, stories – anything! I would be happy to pay a reasonable price for any of the above – I can be contacted by email at renekling@gmail.com or by phone on 0421314984.
    Rene Kling

  29. My uncle Jim Rix used to play Sax and clarinet in the band Wonderful memories of a great place and good music. 4KQ used to cross to Cloudland every Saturday night and I would listen glued to our old “His masters Voice” radio.

  30. My Aunt and Uncle lived in a railway house above Bowen Hills station, I used to look at Cloudland at night, unfortunately I didn’t ever get to go to it, my parents spent a bit of time there as well, the same thing happened here in Tamworth with the Capitol Theatre, middle of the night demolishing job 😦

  31. I was devastated when Cloudland was demolished, I used to go to the
    60’s nights on Friday nights, before it was torn down.I went with 3
    friends, the men were mostly decent too! ‘Cloudland’ was a Brisbane
    Icon that should have been preserved as part of our Heritage and not
    torn down. I was in tears when I heard what had happened. I’d love to
    get a book,(if there was one printed), about the history of ‘Cloudland’.
    By: Ally on 27th January, 2012.

    • My book on Cloudland will be out soon! Jim 34083908/0422664558…..Jim

      • Would love to know is the book is available on the net or in Brisbane book stores… Anne

      • Dear Anne My book about Cloudland is available in commercial outlets and from me. Jim Lergessner 3408 3908/ 0422 664 558

    • Yes the author is me Jim Lergessner3408 3908

  32. I only ever went there twice; once for a university exam and later for a concert by Ian Dury and the Blockheads! That was a bit of a crazy experience, given a really hot night (we are talking about Brisbane here). I also remember the remnants of the funicular still in place in the late 1960’s and hearing a lot of reminiscences about Cloudland’s glory days. It was all a bit faded and rundown as I recall it, but a wonderful fragment of a part of Australia’s history and popular culture that has now vanished. Along with the Regent Theatre and the Bellevue hotel we have lost something rather special. Sadly most of what made Brisbane very distinctive and strangely delightful is now gone (and of course, the trams).

    • Yes you are right. The original building was magnificent. The domed shell spectacular. The white steps leading into the shell, the cloakroom and the dance floor were incredible! The shell stage housed the orchestra and would revolve so that one orchestra was on whilst another band or group were setting up and getting ready to take over on the reverse side. This was the way that all ages of clientele were provided for. One orchestra off – the next on by revolution. There was music for everyone’s tastes and it was non-stop. The sound acoustics were good too. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the management team (Ivor Damon & Naomi Butler) told me when I asked that Cloudland’s Management team had gained estimates of how much the building would cost to repair and same estimates were unfeasible . Better offers were received for the real estate value from developers. The floor needed re-springing. The upstairs gallery had to be redone if it were to survive. The wood up there was rotten and in a bad state and I saw this for myself. The balcony would have had to be redone totally. The stairs up and down to the gallery that overlooked the ballroom also required attention and at one point were closed off to stop people hurting themselves. The magnificent stairway into the dome also needed attention and the wet and damp of rain were a problem on the ceiling and roofing which had also led to the demise of the dance floor. The whole venue had a climbing vehicle driveway that also went into a small tunnel at almost the top. It was very narrow and thin bitumen, and hard for two vehicles to pass in opposite directions. The view from up there was spectacular! There was a large carpark in the grounds on the far side but way down low. There wasn’t enough room to rebuild access ways to accommodate the rising number of patron cars either. People walked up the hill from Bowen Hills Railway Station but did not like doing so due to the steep incline. They preferred to drive but there’d be grid lock with the parking. When it rained mud was a terrible problem. I’d perform sometimes with the Teddy Wallace Cloudland Ballroom Orchestra on Saturday nights. Week after week, for almost a decade I’d also just go dancing…but dancing there was dolled up to the nines…and wonderful. Long gloves for your ball dress at one point as well and the ladies came in beautiful wraps.There was a dress code – of ball gowns and suits/ties for the men…however as the smaller bands took over due to cost, this dress code was relaxed and became more smart casual. There was a small canteen on the dance floor (served non-alcoholic refreshment and light sandwich affair) and part of the floor would be sectioned off for people to sit on the benches. I sat ever so many a university exam degree paper in the venue in the daytime there as well. It was one of the few venue’s that could accommodate ever so many students – 500 or so in a sitting. The vegetation, trees, shrubs on this Cloudland hill were lovely, well manicured and lush too. That ballroom was just one in a million, but due to no forthcoming money from any source, was sacrificed. The paint on the dome too was peeling…but my…my…what a magnificent building in was in it’s hay day!

  33. Brisbane is unbelievable,,,,at the same time when Europe was rebuilding its historical buildings..to their past splendour,after the War,even right up to the 1990’s, Brisbane was doing the opposite,destroying its historical buildings,and on a rather large scale.
    If you can ever get to view like 35mm color slides of Brisbane from the 1950’s/60’s especially landcape views, you can really gauge the large loss of not only the beautiful Cloudland,,but almost 100’s of other structures like halls,office buildings,pubs and the like,in and around Brisbane…..

  34. Great place for an evening of romance although there wasn’t much of that one night in October 1970 when a typical Brisbane storm sent torrents of water through the roof and onto the sprung floor. The Sounds of Seven kept playing of course although the lead singer suggested to the dancers that they should stay away from the ‘deep end’. After the storm had finished there were no trains or buses and taxis were in short supply so quite a few people had to walk home.

  35. I saw the Queensland Ballet dance ‘Cloudland’ last night at Maryborough. It was wonderful and one of the best ballets I have ever seen. The most poignient moment was when the bulldozers came in to demolish. I would love to hear the music of Tim Kelly’s song ;APlace called Cloudland’.I can’t find it online.

    • I saw that too and I agree that the moment when they started up the bulldozers tugged at my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I was brought up in Brisbane and went to Cloudland on many an occasion, made my debut there as many did, met a few beaus there as many did, yes lots of memories and all pulled down for the sake of real estate, oh well can’t go back but greatt o see the ballet revisiting history..

  36. My father, Ken Caves, played saxophone and clarinet in the Billy Romaine Brisbane Luna Park Band. His great friend Clyde Collins was also in the band playing the piano. I have two photos of this Band (one listing every member) and I would be happy to send these photos online to anyone who might be interested. I remember my Mother and Father saying what a beautiful place Cloudland was and how it looked out all over Brisbane.

    Cheryl Ryan (nee Caves)


  38. Hi Merrick

    The newspaper clipping photo I have from my Dad’s memorabilia lists Carl Wintle as the drummer. If you send me your email address I am happy to send you the two photos I have of the Billy Romain Brisbane Luna Park Band.
    The one thing I would really like to know is what dates my father was playing at Cloudland.

    Best wishes
    Cheryl Ryan

    • Dear Cheryl It would have been 1947+ for the Billy Romaine Orch. Would love the 2 photos of his group.
      Jim Lergessner 48 Rickman Pde. Woorim QLD 4507 / 3408 3908 / 0422 664 558

  39. I agree with Katherine, Brisbane has lost a lot of it’s Majestic landmarks. These buildings should have been ‘Heritage Listed’, not torn down, like they were of little value.Yes,’Cloudland’ was a Beacon over a lot of ‘Brisbane’. I had many good times there. i went to the Friday night 1960’s themed nights, which were held in the early 1980’s, before ‘Cloudland’ was torn down. I still feel sad when I think about ‘Cloudland’.

  40. I could not agree more, the rug has been torn out from under us.
    We are no longer Australians ,we are Globals, and when will they realise that we as human beings are the most Demanding and Destructive thing on this Planet yet there is no Restrictions on our Breeding so Sad.
    Merrick McCallum one of Harry Leblers Drum Students.

  41. Dick and Noela Orchard taught many of the regular Cloudland dancers over the years. We are celebrating 60years of Orchard’s Dance Studio this year with a social dance on the 5th October. Noela and Joanne Orchard will be special guests. Please contact Rebecca Beardsley on 0422 967 267 or bec_pete@hotmail.com if you require more details.

    • I was at orchard studio for many years my name is eric nichollsi am still in contact with kevin Tyson and rob attison and jani wonder whowould liis still alive from 1963 to1973 approx. coudland every sat night would like to talk to some old do755246181ancers

  42. my grandads name is Edward Francis (eddy) and his wife was Ilene Mogan (til) /Ilene Francis, my grandad (ed) was quite handsome and all the girls used to flock 2 the stage and give him heaps of attention n my nan (Ilene)would get angry til they were married then she would sit close to the stage and show all the girls her wedding ring..lol they must have had so much fun I can’t wait to find out some more about who they were back then..


  44. I only went to Cloudland once a year and that was for the Lifesavers ball held annually. North and south coast clubs used to book alcoves and decorate them with there club colours. Although in those days most club members lived in Brisbane a few of the local coasters used to make the trip to be there on the night. It was a full formal affair and the girls all dressed and looked beautiful. It was a major event on the surf club calender and the obligatory photo with the Cloudland logo had to be taken, I still have them. Sadly Cloudland and the Lifesavers ball no longer exist Good memories.

  45. Enquiring on if anyone has any pictures of “The Highmarks” playing at Cloudland, Brisbane. As my Father in-law was in the band and his birthday is coming up. Would love to do a memory board for him.

    • Hi – my name is Merriel Hume. I worked with the Hi-marks but I do not have any photographs of us. I’m wondering if you could put me in touch with your father-in-law as I am trying to collate the names (with photos) of all the musicians who made the music at Cloudland. I shall draw your request to the attention of some other musicians I am in contact with who may have a photograph they can share with you.
      My email address is below.
      Merriel Hume
      Vocalist at Cloudland from beginning of the Ivan Dayman era until late 1960s.

      • Hi, my name is Alli,my Dad played in a dance band at Cloudland,from about 1960,he was the drummer The band members are still alive at ages 84,83 and 94.I have a photo of the band.He met my mum there.The band also played at the Ritz.Only took Dad last week to catch up with his band members.

      • Hi My name is Dennis Geraghty. In early 70’s my band’s vocalist, Kevin Smith, left to work at Cloudland in the Sounds of Seven. Would you have his whereabouts by chance.

    • S craig – will you please contact me via email. I have located a photo of one line of musicians in the Hi-marks but I need to know the name of the person you are seeking. The group changed personnel quite often – depending on who was available.
      Hume Merriel

      • Hume Merriel could you please email me as Im new to this

      • HI – I am compiling a record of the people who made the music at Cloudland – not the famous personalities or bands that were brought there – but the musicians and singers who provided all the music for all the occasions from it’s inception to about 1980.

        I was one of the principal vocalists at Cloudland for many years and sang with the Hi-Marks, The Sounds of Seven, The Big Bands and other ensembles.

        I would like to be put in touch with anyone who is interested in helping me put this record together. So many of the key people are dead and so little has been done to preserve this enormous contribution to the social history of Cloudland and the city of Brisbane.

        Thank you Merriel Hume

  46. Hello Merriel

    I received your email and I would be happy to forward the photos and information I have of my father, Ken Caves, who played saxophone and clarinet with Billy Romaine’s Luna Park Band. Clive Collins played the piano with that band. Please let me know how I can contact you and attach the photos to your email address.
    Best wishes
    Cheryl Ryan

    • Hello Merriel

      I have an article from the magazine ‘Music Maker’ April 1940, about the Billy Romaine’s Luna Park Band. My father Ken Caves played saxophone in this band and he and my mother used to tell me how beautiful Cloudland was and about the wonderful views from the top. I would like to send the article to you for your archives, please let me know the best email address to send to.
      With best wishes, Cheryl Ryan

  47. Harry Lebler that wonderful Drum Player any photos ?I have some of him but not at Cloudland. He used to play there and some of his drum students would sit along side of him on stage. Isnt this stuff Great nostalgia.Merrick McCallum

  48. I wish I had a recording of Harry Lebler and his band playing Golden Wedding. I remember in the late fifties at balls at Cloudland when they started to play this everyone stopped dancing, crowded around the stage and bounced on that wonderful sprung floor in time to the drum beat. Great memories 🙂

  49. The Crowd Roared, Margaret thank you Merrick McCallum

  50. The book “Queen of the Dancehalls: Cloudland Ballroom in Brisbane 1939 – 1982” by Dr James Lergessner is a wonderful read. The cover is a picture painted by Kerrith Giese of her Mum and Dad (“The Jive King”)

  51. Hi Kerri Ross, Where May I get a copy of that book? cliff@cert.com.au

  52. Many are not aware BUT…Accomplished Qld Symphony Orchestra Proms Conductor – late 1960’s /famed jazz musician – Teddy Wallace (Edward William Wallace) (1931-2008) late of the Gap, was the Leader of the ‘Cloudland Big Band’ (The Cloudland Ballroom Orchestra) around the late 1960’s/ 1970’s/ well before the venue was demolished by the Jo Bjelke-Petersen Liberal Government in the December of 1982 in favour of a multi condo real-estate development.

    Teddy Wallace’s Cloudland Ballroom Orchestra (late 60’s/70’s) with its own unique ballroom sound, was caught in what I call the change of period music. Elvis; the Shadows; the Hollies; the Stones and pop artists of the mid 50’s to 70’s had all brought in an era of mini-skirts; non-touch dancing to pumping beats – replacing the elegance of the ballroom and its formal long gowns, progressive barn dances and the splendour of chandeliers and tea room. Ivor Damon who managed the Cloudland ballroom saw this change in global music trend. He was faced with venue viability and managing operating costs. Top orchestras of 30 pieces were becoming costly – no longer affordable for the price of a dance floor ticket. People were also resisting formals as the new age of short skirts, demand for rock bands and less formal attire came in. Cloudland was barely breaking even.

    The Cloudland wood multi-level gallery that surrounded the dance floor and the orchestra stage built in the dance era of the 40’s was – literally by the 1970’s falling apart. ( I saw it myself! The wooded gallery was shot and needed replacing. I was told the floor too was shot…’cos in 1970 there was a deluge and part of the roof collapsed – the water went all over the sprung wood dance floor damaging it.) To save the ballroom’s continuity Ivor reduced Teddy Wallace’s Cloudland Big Band full- time resident Orchestra to a short season for a number of years, and then the rest of the time he put in other smaller bands of mostly up to six people (costing less) hoping that this measure would save Cloudland’s economical viability. The tea and canteen services were superseded and replaced with pre-packaged readily available snacks. The Sounds of Seven and other (less costly) smaller bands were engaged to complement the (costly) Teddy Wallace’s Cloudland Big Band that now appeared only for a season. The University of Queensland days when five hundred or so were admitted to a course but only 20% or so passed/graduated. Same generated revenue – all to keep the venue afloat. Sadly the venue didn’t survive. The top musicians, not being able to maintain regular full time Saturday night work also, soon became unavailable for the season, as the smaller bands took over. Eventually most dispersed to a plethora of other employing venues whilst the rock bands of four or five took over.

    In 1973 I was crowned ‘Miss Cloudland Ballroom’. I went on to represent the ballroom in the Warana Pageant and later Miss Australia Quests and appeared later that year with Johnny O’Keefe in the parade in his car. Nio Butler, Ivor’s relative, by this time had taken over the management of the Cloudland Ballroom from Damon. She looked after me and introduced me to the Resident Orchestra since I had won the State Vocal competition at the Ritz. Teddy Wallace’s Cloudland Big Band was the resident orchestra and as I was then singing with the Brian King Big Band elsewhere, I was invited to sing with them usually for three spots in a night. The idea was to feature the band; not expose the singers. Some of the musicians that I remember performing with the Teddy Wallace Cloudland Ballroom Orchestra were: Vern Thompson (piano); Rick Farback (piano, when Vern wasn’t available); Brian King – when both of the others weren’t unavailable.. Others included: Ces (Cecil) Shaw (clarinet); Gordon Fleming (trumpet) (deceased); Johnny Morris (at times) of the Australian Academy of Music, when available…and so forth. There were many others but it’s a long time ago and I simply cannot recall their names.

    Once the ballroom was demolished many of the top musicians then went on from there in the early 1980’s (after the bulldozing of Cloudland) to form what became the 4IP Radio Station Big Band (Musical Director – Teddy Wallace). The band backed me several times whilst in the entertainment industry as I then worked for the Westfield Shopping Centre, Radio 4KQ, and the Ray White Real Estate network. e.g. Boonaroo Parks Real Estate Promotions at the Gold Coast.

    Colour Radio 4IP, several years later, also made decisions to no longer retain an expensive orchestra, and many of the same players then joined the Alan Brown (trombonist) Big Band and later still many of the same musicians with a few changes formed the the ABC Orchestra since the ABC were the only people that could afford to fund and feature such a large show band. It was made up of all the top names in the business. Alan Brown (trombonist) led the orchestra and Teddy Wallace, was the Musical Director. The ABC Big Band included Wallace- sectional leader on alto sax / flute/piccolo/clarinet; Len Austin – baritone sax/woodwinds; Dr Roy Thompson (soprano sax); Mick Morgan (Baritone/Soprano sax). [These four formed the world renown Queensland Saxophone Quartet in the 1980’s performing classical and more popular works.] Michael Monnigan (drums); Vic Cerrizzo (trumpet); Irving Arnott (trumpet); Alan Brown (trombone) were also part of the ABC Big Band. http://www.elizabethwallacepopmusicuk.com
    Album ‘ Choo-Choo Me Home’ (2012) with the Glen Miller Orchestra UK and the South London Jazz Orchestra.

  53. WOW Elizabeth what a life you had,What a story, what a thrill to perform with such Talented people.I am one of Harry Leblers Drum Player Students and I have so many of Harrys Manuscripts that I teach with to keep this wonderful Era Alive. You were certainly blessed by God. Merrick McCallum.

    • Thank you Merrick. I accidentally found your reply on the net across the globe, so am leaving a note, although belated. I remember the Harry Lebler Drum Corps vividly, as did Teddy. Teddy was also the Musical Director of the famed Northern Command Band and prior to that was with the RAF Central Band in Melbourne. (Hence we know well and appreciate Military & Drum Corps Bands.) (The Harry Lebler Drum Corps was also playing the same bill once or twice with us, that I remember.) I was Teddy Wallace’s 2nd wife and we were together 16.5 years; and married for 11 years, which in Showbiz/Musician Time with its marriage volatility is actually a very long time. Our time together was unique and special and incredible in the world of music. I was after all a singer and musicians daughter with a brother in the symphony. A lot of people are not aware of same, but Teddy also was the Conductor of the 1966 ABC’s Prom Concert (Classical) Series and was officially the oboist and saxophonist with same. (A Symphony Orchestra though does not have much call for a Saxophonist, and Teddy played 2 Sopranos – with 2 kinds with different fingering systems; Tenor; Baritone & Bass Baritone and doubled skilfully on flute, piccolo and clarinet.)

      The era of grand big band music, long ball gowns and ballroom dancing was certainly a wonderful spectacular one and as you can tell from what is written above, I came aboard when the Big Bands were became upset that the operating costs of Big Bands were decimating them since few could afford to hire them. Unfortunately what happened was their demise. E.g. A 29 piece Big Band would cost 6K to hire for a night. A 3 bedroom house in a modest suburb by comparison would cost 21K at the time. So you can see promulgating Big Bands was an expensive undertaking…but you are right…the experience was astounding.

      During this era, Teddy Wallace (never Ted) was always looking for his own unique sound. He’d say he was born too late (1931) to be in the Glenn Miller set and too early for anything that came after. He used to say he was born out of his time. Like Glenn Miller, he kept looking to find his own unique sound, and told me that the closest he came to achieving same was when he had his own Teddy Wallace Cloudland Ballroom Orchestra. His idea was to feature the Woodwind Section – the clarinet for the lead…much like Tommy Dorsey and then the saxophones along the lines of Zoot Simms. This he said would create the unique sound that he wanted. His sound was not to be led by trombone as was Glenn Miller’s Orchestra that others were copying. He’d scribble manuscript into the night and then I’d copy out all the parts for the band by hand on our huge desk in our music studio. (it’s actually brilliant training for song writing and composition!) He was brilliant in the band’s rendition of ‘The Golden Wedding’ where he featured playing the clarinet solo….however after that when the Big Band Era fell apart, he never got another chance to implement the unique sound that he was working on. (R.I.P)

  54. Hi Merrick,
    You can see Len Austin mentioned by Elizabeth (a couple of inches above this)..I am looking forward to October…

    • Yes Stan. Lennie Austin was Teddy Wallace’s best friend. They worked together in an out of the Big Bands (under assorted Big Band names depending on who was hiring.) They both were in the Woodwinds and later taught High School Music for the Education Department…though for different areas and schools.

  55. Walking down memory lane this Easter Saturday afternoon, reminiscing over many years, finally writing my memoirs, brought to mind the wonderful times at Cloudland with the orchestra in their white jackets, the myriad of ballrooms flying over the balcony rails… as Publicity Officer for the Mater Younger Set, raising money for the new Mater hospital, spent many, many hours organizing events and also enjoying hours of dancing. Now almost 50 years in Canada the memories are still vivant. Could write much more!

  56. Please Check!!
    Correction no ballrooms flying over the balcony…. should read Balloons….

  57. The cloudland book is available in bookstores or from me…jimmygl@bigpond.com or 07 3408 3908/ 0422 664 558

    • Jimmy I can get my daughter to get the book from you. She lives in Southport I will be coming out sometime this year maybe not till September. I will get Teresa to call you.
      Thanks for the response.

  58. As someone who wasn’t even thought of when this place was demolished it saddens me to see this. Brisbane seems to have a history of destroying its history.

    • Yes Ben. It was the Jo Bjelke-Petersen government. Buildings such as the Bellevue and Cloudland were demolished in the night whilst people were sleeping…so by the time the people woke and found out what had happened…the buildings were sadly already gone. Rubble …. And nobody could do a thing about it.

      • Elizabeth

        Those two buildings were great memorials and even it would have been expensive to maintain them in their original style, it would have been an attractive site for not only residents of Brisbane but for tourists to view that type of construction and to recall the wonderful memories of both of those location…. I certainly remember the great times at the Bellevue and also Cloudland… I am sure that our children and many others would have thoroughly enjoyed celebrations at locations… I remember the times when with my friends took the tram up the slope, the great band, and the many functions at the Bellevue…I am planning a trip to Brisbane again in a month and will envisage the Ballroom where now the condominiums are!!


  59. Great to get your comment…. I am headed off to Australia in June… will catch up on some historic places of the times when I was there.

    I send another comment but I did not see it recorded.


  60. Is there a book I can buy about cloudland my brother met his now wife at cloudland1971

    • DEAR JAN Call me on 0422 664 558 to get a copy…. Jim

  61. You can get the very first Cloudland book from me! Jim 0422 664 558

  62. Hi, is their anyone that can confirm or deny the nick name “The Cloudland Stomp” ? If so please email me at sorren2011@gmail.com Im trying to piece together some rumors that a dance style used now may have started back at cloudland in the 70’s due to the bouncy floor boards : P

  63. Travelled up from the Gold Coast a number of times, saw The Clash there (still burned into the memory), also Echo & The Bunnymen, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, The Stray Cats, and UB40 (their first tour, when they had the fire, and the crowd really put that sprung dance floor to work!). Still angry!!!

  64. Has anyone else noted here that there are two very different dates quoted as the demolition date for Cloudland.. Paragraph 6 says demolition occurred on 7 November however the caption of the photograph underneath it gives date 17 December… could editor of this page resolve and clarify this? Perhaps the photo was taken on 17 December, weeks after demolition was done on 7 November…?

  65. It was Nov. 7 of 1982

  66. does anyone remember a brisbane group from 1967 , the bill a bong brass band one single on sunshine

  67. Cheryl I would LoVe it.
    Merrick McCallum
    168 Fitzroy St
    Grafton. 2460. nsw

  68. Can you tell me how do I attach photos to this website? Alternatively if you send me your email address I can send direct to you. I have quite a few photos of the band at Cloudland, as well as the Music Maker article. My email is bondi-two@bigpond.com
    Regards, Cheryl

  69. Dear Cheryl Would it be too much of an imposition to send me the same info. as Merrick? I am the author of the first and only book re Cloudland.
    Jim Lergessner 48 Rickman Pde. Woorim QLD 4507/ 3408 3908/ 0422 664 558

  70. Hello Jim, I am only too happy to send you the article from the Music Maker and also the photos I have from my Dad’s collection, however, I am travelling in our caravan now and can only send these by email. If you can give me your email address, I will send these to you today.
    With best wishes, Cheryl

  71. Dear Cheryl My email address to send the photos to is: jimmygl@bigpond.com Thank You
    Jim 3408 3908 / 0422 664 558

  72. Dear Cheryl
    Many thanks.
    My email address is jimmygl@bigpond.com.
    Kind Regards
    Jim 3408 3908

  73. Seems like no one remembers the late 50s when Frankie Thorn (an American) and his Big Band ( about 8-10 strong) provided the music. They did ‘Golden Wedding’ and other swing greats, but their signature tune was ‘Leave Us Leap’. Still gets my blood tingling. Possibly, Harry Lebler was the drummer. I remember the sax player used to get tanked by the interval and band members either side propped him up, but he still played well. I was one of Jack Busteed`s jivers confined to the floor at the left of the entrance. Jive comps produced showoffs like Kevvie Byers who went on to an entertainment career on the Gold Coast. Think it was Wednesday nights as Thursdays and Saturday nights were restricted to solely ballroom dancing.

  74. Thank you for the article and photos. My maternal grandmother owned the photographic studio in Cloudland during the 50s, and would’ve taken the portrait photo you’ve posted here. My mother is in the centre of the photo of the 1952 dance, which was taken by my father. This was the year of their engagement, and some years before I was born.

    I only recently found out that he took that photograph, and wondered where I would be able to get a copy of the original. Do you know? Thank you…

  75. What happened to your grandmother`s photos, Cindy?

  76. What happened to the land after it got demolished? Did they leave it empty until they built these apartments or did they build something else and then replaced it with these apartments later on?

    What happened to the developers after they got the building demolished without approval? A slap on the wrist?

    • The owner Peter Kurtz was find so were the Deen Brothers. Peter always was a developer and so it was sold eventually but nothing happened until the Cloudland Apartments were built.

      • Hi
        I played drums in Darcy Kelly’s band at Cloudland in the late 1960’s. Loved the revolving stage and it’s acoustics.
        Reg Braun. (Still very busy playing jazz gigs at 76)

      • Yes Reg…DARCY KELLY did indeed have his own band at Cloudland and you were a very exacting drummer! Darcy was a brilliant musician, one of the greatest! His name must not be forgotten and that is why I add this reply (all the way from London). Darcy had a property at Mt Nebo, as did Teddy Wallace & I, (not very far neighbors) and Darcy would often help me rehearse in his spare time / accompanying me on guitar, solo, so I’d be ready for the ballroom and club circuit gigs. (He would work out the best keys for me to tackle a song suiting my voice, and then back me.) He was brilliant and played flamenco style making an ordinary pop song sound fabulous. He was so gifted. He had accompanied all the greats from all over the world in his lifetime. He always had time to help and accompany singers he felt had great promise and he helped me in my early days. After a while, it became difficult for Darcy to keep traveling down the mountain to Cloudland to perform on a regular basis – so a more relaxed mountain life took over as he grew old with grace in the 80’s. He appeared as a session musician in the Big Band scene when available; and would often play/jam with all the city’s top musicians at the Adventurer’s Club (Kangaroo Point) (Annie St.) when not on a gig or busy with Big Bill artists elsewhere. DARCY KELLY must be remembered. (R.I.P.)

  77. Hi my grandmother recently passed away and my grandad is really wanting a photo of the outside veranda over the toilets. This is where he proposed to her and means a lot to him.

    Thank you

  78. Enter Cloudland Recreated for your viewing pleasure. Great job by Marcus and Kyle


  79. Cloudland Recreated for your viewing pleasure. Great work by Marcus and Kyle


  80. Cloudland and the people of Brisbane were not given the consideration to which they was duly owed.

    Those historical terrorists who killed so much of Brisbane’s legacy have gotten away, scot-free, and are now either dead or hiding in luxury.

    Although I was a child at the time of Cloudland’s demolition, I was in awe of its structure in the late 1970s when our mother took us to the fairs which were held there on week-end mornings.

    Clearly, the building needed care. In most other cities around the globe it would have rightfully been maintained. Much of Brisbane’s history was sadly trashed by Joh Bjelke-Petersen and the Deen brothers. Philistines apparently weren’t so uncivilised as they are sometimes thought to be.

    Instead of thinking of those persons as Philistines, we ought to remember them for their mendacious money-grubbing, disrespectful deceit. Perhaps diminutives such as #BPD or #DeenBerjerky would be more appropriately updated terms.

    Cloudland, Albert Street Theatre, George Street Theatre, Regent Theatre, Bellevue Hotel…they are all lost because of stupid greed.

    This kind of destruction will no longer be tolerated or possible in a digital age, thankfully.

  81. Hi to all lovers of the old ballroom, I like so many people have some very fond memories of times spent at Cloudland. So much so that when I heard of it’s destruction that fateful morning I rushed up to the site. I was working at Albion at the time so I was fairly close, and I was there in a matter of moments. There were a few other like minded people there, all of us going through the ruins searching for some kind of artefact, or souvenir as a keepsake.( I would add that we all appeared on the news that night, where they called us vultures, picking through Cloudland’s bones, which I thought was a bit rude of them.) Security were stopping everyone and made them leave whatever they had found behind, so I went to the supervisor’s site office and threw myself on his mercy. It worked, as he allowed me to place the large metal sign ‘Cloudland entrance’ (8ft. long, and 18ins. wide) in his office, to be collected when the ‘ heat ‘died down, in a couple of weeks. This I did, and it’s been hanging proudly in my garage ever since. Only close friends knew of the sign, but after talking to Jim Lergessner, I have decided to share this story with other lovers of Cloudland.

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