sapphire coast wild beach scene

Archived News



February 2012


Damian Barbeler Composition is 'making a noise'

22nd February, 2012
Bill Brown has made a beautiful short film through the ABC about Damian Barbeler's new work that Four Winds has commissioned for their 2012 festival. You can see it:

Separate to the Bill Brown film, AMC (Australian Music Centre) have posted the transcript of an interview with Damian on their website. The interviewer is Julian Yu.

damian barbeler with Cliff Wallis and Sayaka Mihara
damian barbeler with Cliff Wallis and Sayaka Mihara outside their Wallagoot home.

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seagull at the Murrah Hall

Genevieve responds in words to her experience of sailing on the Seagull

“We met each day at dawn and dusk, hauling ourselves and the boat down to the jetty. Sometimes The Seagull and its passengers wore burnished halos like something out of fourteenth century Italy, other times, the silvery mist of classic fairytales.” read more

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Four Winds Sound Shell Progress Blog

New Sound Shell Progress page online

Join us at our new Sound Shell Progress 'blog' page as we regularly post still and animated time lapse images. See it

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New Bill Brown Documentary about Madam Pat

Madam Pat Thompson's destiny as a singer began on the stage of the 1920s Melbourne Tivoli, but was then thwarted by the Great Depression, family tragedy, war, and then family life as itinerant bush workers. She returned to professional music in her 50s after losing her husband in a tragic accident, and was then coaxed back on to the stage by David Bates, who formed a band around her and who would then go on to establish the Famous Spiegeltent where Pat was always billed as the Grand Madame of The Famous Spiegeltent.

As a singer Pat Thompson is compared with the great singers whose strength of heart and soul create a rare, powerful, and passionate bond with their audience. Her musical career spanned a history of musical styles, performers, and venues from the Melbourne Tivoli in the 1920s to the Edinburgh Festival and Parisian jazz cellars in the 1980s to her last performance, at 84, in the 'Famous Spiegeltent' in 2008.

madam pat thompson

She was a self-educated child of the Great Depression, with a spirit forged by a loving family, music, poverty, loss, humour, and soul. Throughout her life she was a dedicated activist for social justice and a peaceful society; and a dedicated wife and mother who with her husband Jim travelled the Australian bush. She was known for her influential spirit and wisdom that comes from great age and a life spanning music, political activism, and literature, all expressed with great insight by a loving and compassionate soul.

Pat Thompson spent many years in Bermagui before moving to Canberra to be closer to family. It was from her home in Bermagui that she returned to the stage for the third act of her remarkable life.

In this film, over cups of tea and the occasional scotch, Pat speaks openly about the events that shaped her life, and features archival performance footage together with coverage of her farewell Spiegeltent performance in Melbourne, 2008.

Her oldest friend Ella Banbery fills in the details of those remarkable days during the Great Depression; band members David Bates, Tony King, Graham Walker, Jiri Kripac, Bob Porter, and John Curlsey tell the stories from the road; and Barbara Blackman reflects upon their close friendship, and insights into Pat's spirit.

Performing with her Orkestra, Pat Thompson closed the 2002 Four Winds to a triple standing ovation.

The screening of this film at the 2012 Four Winds is an opportunity to spend some with, to celebrate, and to farewell the much loved Madam Pat Thompson.

David Bates: "In 25 years with Pat the strike rate of the band is absolutely flawless, of making that emotional connection with people. Its a great emotional journey as anyone would testify who has come into the orbit of Pat Thompson."

Tony King took up bass just to be around Pat Thompson, who he describes as 'the most inspirational person I've ever met.

Author and close friend Barbara Blackman describes Pat Thompson as 'a blues mamma whose spirit comes smoking out of her chimney of a voice.'

Pat Thompson's Edinburgh Festival performances received reviews such as:

"Pat Thompson is a phenomenon. Hers is a performance straight from the soul", The Scotsman.

"The seventy two year old singer received three proposals of marriage, a less decent proposal to spend a night of cramped passion in a British Rail sleeper train to London, and thirty four bottles of malt whiskey."

"Irresistible, irrepressible and addictive; should not be missed," BBC Radio 2.

"74 year old Pat Thompson filled the Spiegeltent with a huge presence. There is a great, sleazy grandeur here of the old blues shouters, as well as a hilarious, unpretentious semi-pastiche," The Guardian

Pat Thompson passed away at home in Canberra on 26 July 2011.

To read more, go to this page on the ABC Local website:


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