War & Peace Nightclub Parramatta
War & Peace Nightclub Parramatta was an iconic live music venue of the seventies and eighties and was probably the first real nightclub that I ever went to as a fresh-faced 17
The first hurdle was getting in the door. First up because I was under-age and secondly there was a strange ritual question asked at the door, “Do you intend to partake of a meal tonight Sir?”, and I gave the wrong answer. Back in those days there was some pretty whacky liquor licensing laws and somehow you could get around it by claiming to be a “Restaurant that sold a few drinks” so the meal was compulsory whether you ate it or not. Anyway my mate who had been there before stepped in and explained that I would love a meal and we were in.
The first memories I have of the place is that it was dark & dingy and you could get spirits for about $1.20. I walked up to the bar and I didn’t have a clue what to ask for. This was all a bit sophisticated for me. Luckily they had a drink menu and I spotted something that looked familiar, Bacardi & Coke for $1.20. The other one that sticks in my mind is the “Mexican Missile” which had Tequila and Vodka in it. Tops!
I wish I could tell you some great story about how I saw Cold Chisel there that night but alas, the main attraction that night was a soapy star. Due to the fact that the drinks were $1.20 and I’d had about $25 worth by the time the band came on I don’t remember the guy’s name but he was in Young Doctors.
Eventually I did see some great bands at War & Peace. Names like Dee Minor & The Dischords, Birds Of Prey, The Lonely Hearts and if memory serves me correct, Midnight Oil. What are your memories of War & Peace? I’d love to hear your stories of the place and what bands you saw in the comments section below.
Here’s few selected Gigs at War & Peace
|02/10/76||Skyhooks||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|26/04/78||Jeff St John||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|05/11/80||Mad Gorilla||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|28/01/82||Heaven||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|+ Peculiar Clerk, The Lonely Hearts|
|27/01/83||Dee Minor and The Dischords||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|+ The Lonely Hearts & Two Bob Watch|
|08/07/83||Radio On||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|10/07/83||Mario Milo Band||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|12/07/83||Birds Of Prey||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|13/07/83||La Bouche||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|14/07/83||Hoodoo Gurus||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|Admission: 99c. + Dropbears + Machinations|
|14/07/83||Drop Bears||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|+ Machinations + Hoodoo Gurus|
|16/07/83||Pat Drummond||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|19/07/83||Birds Of Prey||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|20/07/83||La Bouche||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|21/07/83||Total Fire Band||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|Admission: 99c. + Cyril B. Bunter + Prophecy|
|19/08/83||Black Haven||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|20/08/83||Peculiar Clerk||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|21/08/83||Mario Milo Band||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|23/08/83||Birds Of Prey||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|24/08/83||La Bouche||Parramatta||War and Peace|
|Admission: $1. + Mustard Club|
For even more gigs check the War & Peace page in our database
The ole war and peace eh…I saw Geeza there in 80-81 and there was a bit of trouble about the loudness of the band with management and they were turned them down to something resembling a jumbo jet engine from 20 feet.Any way they stormed off stage then returned to play a song off their album “street Life” called “too much goin on here” with singer Terry Halliday looking daggers at the management everytime he sang the chorus.The meal thing was the same at the Bondi Lifesaver, seems silly now, like who was checking whether you bought a meal or not before you had 10 schooners.
Hi was War & Peace in front of the now Westfeild with the funnt round roof Thanks
No… The bar in front of Westfields Parramatta was called the West Tower Tavern, it was a round building.
War & Peace was right down the other end of Church Street just past Victoria road intersection. I think it was on the corner of Ross street.
Nup,it was up in North Parramatta
I played in a band called Outline and we played at The War & Peace many times, usually to a pretty packed house. The most memorable gig was the night I got electrocuted on stage….for real…. There was a short in the lighting system and in the second last song of the gig – strangely called “Notice Me” – I reached up with the mic in my hand, covered in sweat and grabbed the in-house lighting bar that ran across the top of the stage front, and zap, I copped the full force. Sam Zagami, our lighting guy for years was actually on a short break from a tour with Ice House and came along that night – his brother Steve was our FOH engineer. He was standing side of stage and when this happened, he looked up and decided that something wasn’t right and yanked the mic cable out of my hand which broke the circuit and I collapsed. I owe my life to Sam…..he saved my arse. He told me later that I often did some fairly frantic things on-stage but this didn’t look right. ears later I was used as a lesson in the re-training of staff at Jands for power. Dave, the head tech was actually at the gig and saw it happen…..there you go….the old War & Peace…..
For a few years in the 70’s my wife & I were living in a unit @ Nth. Parramatta & we went to War & Peace this night to see/hear ” Air Supply” ( If my memory serves me right) . They weren’t on,I think they were on there way to the USA for bigger & better things, so we got “DRAGON” instead,& that was great ..We now live on the Gold Coast Qld. Now ,December 2013 we have tickets to see Air Supply @ Jupiters Casino.With a bit of luck they will turn up this time..
War and Peace (WAP) Thursday night 3 bands for a $. The Hitmen, The Reels, The Numbers, Dee Minor and a bit out of the usual the Bushwackers and even Tiny Tim played there and many many more.
The flashing dance floor. The red velourish seats. And a party pie and chips at midnight always tasted good. And a long walk home.
Just thought I’d add some more gigs played at the War & Peace
15/4/1982: War & Peace Hotel Supporting the Hitmen
29/4/1982: War & Peace Hotel Supporting Jon English
19/8/1982: War & Peace Hotel Supporting Tiny Tim with Spy Vs Spy
4/11/1982: War & Peace Hotel with Dropbears and Young Homebuyers
16/12/1982: War & Peace Hotel with Dropbears
24/2/1983: War & Peace Hotel with Non Stop Dancers
5/5/1983: War & Peace with Matt Taylor
1/9/1983: War & Peace with Hoodoo Gurus and Soft Toys
Thanks so much for those dates Mark, what band was it? I’ll get them added into the database.
Sorry… I forgot to mention the band…. it was the Allniters
Legend! Thanks so much.
Wow, hearing all this brings back the memories. I worked on the door for 3 years back through the early to mid 80’s. What a time we had. They were Good old days.
Hi peter ☺ did you grow up in dundas valley ?
I grew up in the Valley. Cox Crescent. Went to St Bernadette’s and then Macquarie Boys.
Sorry Vicki. I only just saw this post. Yes I did grow up in Dundas Valley.
Hey Vicki. Are you still around on this site.
Ol warries, loved the place, would go there most nights during the week and our local Parramatta band Parole played there many a Friday night…I loved the place as there was so much variety in the people, rockers, westies, punks in the corner, sharpies, footballers, and Pat benatar look alikes…Hedly was the manager at the time and I would be drinking double op rum with coke, schooner glass no ice and the music was great,,,loved the heavy metal nights in particular with heaven and such. Many a wild story from there and many from that band room. Great to see you get this site up. A lo of people remember WAP from the day. I have an old flyer which contains our band and others playing there over the week I can send you if you want. regards, Spider.
Thanks Paul. I’d love to see that flyer if you get a chance. 🙂
all good Mark, how do I get it through to you, send me an email if you like and ill send it through there.
Great venue especially Thursday nights which were 3 bands for 99cents. INxs were one of the bands I saw on a Thursday night and years later I was telling some Americans how I saw INXS for 33 cents. Street Level and Ward 13 played there a lot. I remember once standing near the hot dog man and getting nearly pissed on by some groupie with her big ass hanging out of the band room upstairs! She did say sorry but seemed qite proud of herself. Probably a grandmother these days.
I was a regular at War and Peace in the mid seventies – if I remember rightly The Angels were regulars there early in their career.
I had one funny incident – I rocked up wearing jeans and white cricket shoes ( no spikes ) and the guy on the door told me no white sport shoes were allowed. I went round the corner and took my black socks off and put them over my shoes and went back to the door – the bouncer pissed himself laughing and let me in – no way would that happen these days – happy memories.
I’m comment 3 on the list. I can not see any listing or other comments about DRAGON -Mark Hunter. Mark,can you check this out for me ? ;- Bob c.
Me and my mates used to get up there pretty regularly for the 3 bands for 99c Thursday nights.
It was usually packed and the ceiling was painted black with tiny globe lights to imitate a sky.
It was a great band venue and even one Christmas eve they had Izzy Dye throwing frozen chickens into the audience, I caught one.
Izzy used to be one of the first late night infomercial people on TV.
Saw some massive bands like INXS, Tatts and many more up there at the WAP.
Should bring it back….lmao
Richard Clapton, woulda been late 70s 🙂
War and Peace. I used to go there heaps. Sometimes after gigs or to see a band or 3. I lived close by and would always try to catch Heaven there. Sad to hear Alan Fryer passing recently and a bit further back, Kelly and Mick.
Yes! The Band Room. Enough said!
There was a girl pretty regular there… “Eva” I think her name was. Beautiful… Everybody stopped when she went in the dance floor. Only photo I had of War and Peace was of her… Till my wife chucked it! Anyone remember her? Great memories.
First time I saw INXS there… Great memories. Some big nights! Or was that mornings?
Wow, hearing all this brings back the memories. I worked on the door for 3 years back in the early to mid 80’s. What a time we had. They were good old days.
Peter it was a great time for sure. One of my Favourite Venues! I never had much trouble . Great fun and made some great friends.
Not sure if you remember the girl I mentioned in my post but always wondered what happened. Last saw her on my Buck’s night at a nearby venue?
Lots of great bands getting their first shots at the industry happened there. Awesome!
Caz was her name. PJ may back that up ?
Antion was the owner btw
Yes that’s right Shaun. Caz did work there and Anton was the owner.
Hi Shaun was that message for me? Caz? I mentioned a girl Eva with long brown hair, and drop dead gorgeous. Not sure she worked there?
Any band or staff remember Caz?
Yes Shaun. I worked with can in the early 80’s.
Hi Shaun, its Jennifer, I think we dated, you were a punk, you came to my house, we saw the models, I worked at WAP behind the bar.
PJ – is that you mate? I worked with you on the door for a couple of years with Ian Riley, Richard Chinzani, crazy days.
Hey Bill. How are you. Always wondered how you were. Yes it was a crazy and fun place.
Bill. Are you on face book.
Or send your email and we can have a chat.
Hey Bill. How can I get a better contact email from you.
Do you Remember me?
I started behind the bar in 76 and ended up Managed one night a week. Left WAP and went into the fitness industry for 25 years.
Take a look at the fb group War & Peace Niteclub Parramatta, I’ve posted lots of pics – & looking for more.
Hope you are well.
I remember for a while WAP was real Saturday Night Fever type of a place. Thankfully the live bands grew in popularity and pushed the disco crowd to the side. Also remember WAP had very strict dress rules, then towards the final few years the dress rules became very relaxed. Great place to see a band.
Hi mark ☺ i too went to wap a lot. Late 70s early 80s I remember seeing finch. Moving pictures . Kevin borich. Jimmy and the boys. And carlotta with her drag show ☺
My mother worked there in the 70s as a bar manager i think. Name was Dianne.
Is great to hear stories about this place
Hey Craig. I was the bar manger in 78 & 79. What was your mum’s maiden name?
I was a regular Saturday Nighter in the 70’s. That was peak Saturday Night Fever era. I even remember going on a Tuesday night to SNF dance lessons. Sadly I also remember going to a charity night that Anita Cobby was hosting. Memories……
was always first on the dance floor at war and peace watching the Angles
I was a dedicated disco girl… My partner worked on the door in 1978… Trevor Chillingworth and our friend John Unis and of cause George the cook. Songs like disco inferno and lets not forget the golden oldies from Grease… Wow!! If only we could turn back time if only for a day.???
That’s pretty cool. My Dad Barrie Elbourn worked there in the early 80’s and so did my mum.
We are trying to find a Bruce Moir who also worked there around this time.
If you have any info it would be much appreciated. My email is email@example.com
Worked with Mary and Barrie…went to their wedding.Most of the staff did.Returned to NZ in 1983. Deb Patterson…known then as Debbie Clark.Please pass my regards to mum and dad for me.
Juanita, hi. Jacque was the cook. I, George, was the bar manager. John is my good mate and I see Trevor occasionally.
What was your partner’s name?
I have made 2 comments before relating to seeing DRAGON , Mark Hunter at WAP in the 70s, but I’ve not seen a reply . Did I really see them at WAP or did they never perform there ? ?
Hi Bob, I don’t have any specific information to say whether they did or didn’t but I’d be very surprised if they didn’t. I’ll keep looking. 🙂
Hi Mark i used to live next door to the resident WAP dj Richard Drake Brockman my mate and i used to help clean the place the morning after gigs some of the things we used to find on the floor were amazing. do you or any of your followers have any info on the dj Richard drake brockman
DJ was Holger Brockman…worked at 2JJ and did voice over for the then Austero Radio Network….he also does voice over for the ARN….and Radio Today….he is still around
The DJ was not Holger Brockman ! it was my ex boyfriend Richard Drake Brockman you are sadly wrong.
I personally dated Richard Drake he died sadly in the 90’s what do you know of Richard ? feel free to email me .. he was one of the loves of my life
I saw dragon at stallions early 80s
Does anyone know of a Karen Penn or a Michael (Mick) King that used to frequent the War and Peace back in ’78’? I am desperately trying to find my father Mick and this is where they met. Any help is greatly appreciated! Been searching forever 🙁
Hi, I was going to suggest looking on Facebook. A few Karen Penn’s but appears only one probably the right age and lives in Canberra. Did Karen marry? Is Mick King a Muscian. There is a Mick King on Facebook who is a musio, actually a couple from that time that may have come from the area. Good Luck
I was looking for a girl Eva from that time.
I did know a Jeff King from that time he lived in Ermington and we all went to the WAP……
Was he a short guy?
Saw the Great Man Billy Thorpe there and even had the pleasure of meeting him and the Aztecs as they came strolling across from the Royal Oak It cost a lot to see him there but was so worth it Saw same band a few other places but non as good as the gig there
Mad gorilla were great thought we saw zarzoff brothers too. Used to get liquored up at parramatta leagues then stumble up there most weekends
Seen many bands there….misex were a standout….and the family hotel at Rydalmere….the local inn at West Ryde hosted some of the best rock acts on the planet…..midnight oil….skyhooks …Aust crawl….radiators and too many to list
DJ was Holger Brockman…worked at 2JJ and did voice over for the then Austero Radio Network….he also does voice over for the ARN….and Radio Today….he is still around……PS Midnight oil played at the WAP in 1977…I have a picture any suggests on how to upload to this site??
The DJ was not Holger Brockman it was Richard Drake Brockman my ex boyfriend !
I was in a band called the Aviators that played at WAP often in the 80’s.
You have 1 listing for us in the gig list but we were regulars around the time that Tiny Tim played there. Great place to play and we never saw any of the trouble that people talk about. One of the better sounding rooms that we played at.
I worked at WAP , Tues – Friday early 80s for 3 years behind the bar with Angela, Caz, Punkannella, Gayle, Denise, Debbie, Jennifer, Anton the owner, Greg & Marie-Ann in the kitchen, Richard W DJ Tuesdays & Sharon DJ other days, Birds of Prey favourite band, married the guitarist.
Hi Jennifer. I certainly was around there in the Early 80’s. I guess my curiosity is whether a girl called Eva. Not sure she ever worked there but was a regular. Stunning brunette that was hard to forget. Last saw her at Stallions Nov 85. At least some memory works. Miss the old War and Peace. Awesome venue.
I worked ‘security’ at W&P and later when it became Images. Once we had Billy Thorpe (Most People I Know Think That I’m crazy) playing and the manager told us to make everyone sit down. Just ignored that request.
You know we were living the best decades in Australian music history and at the time we didn’t realise it.
Hi Jennifer….I was the Debbie that you mentioned.It was a great time in AustraIia music history.We never knew it then but it was such great time. Basically got paid to work hard and have fun.It had it’s moments,as I’m sure that you have collection of your own interesting stories.as do I. I remember Linda the DJ and her friend Rebecca.Punkabellas real name was Annette.Caz was a kiwi whose name was Carol…she lived in Hornby.I remember when Barrie and Mary got married we were all invited. John the head of security..orginally worked in the London night scene.Interesting character…used to work for the Crae brothers.Also Anton Domin the French owner. Plus the security guys…PJ…I remember him,Kiwi…a Maori guy.Paul(another kiwi).Barrie who met and married Mary.Lots of memories…great place to be in ones early 20s.
Hello Deborah. Its PJ. How are you. Long time no hear. Yes W&P was a great place to be back then. Lots of music and fun people. Great bar staff. Here is my email. We can chat further if you like. firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember going there in 1977. Had just come over from NZ to live. Had never seen anything like it, like a scene out of Sat night Fever. Went there with Wendy and Sue Hayes from Carlingford . The question re are you having a meal was the same at the West Tower Tavern at Parra. Good times!
I was a member of “The War & Peace Band” That opened and played at this venue Monday to Thursday back in 1976 (I Have live recordings from the venue) Then we played in Newcastle Fri day & Sat at the other venue that Warwick Miller owned – “The Castle Grape & Grill” Steel St Newcastle
Band members were
Sam Rafraf – Drums / Vocals
Ian Nash – Guitar / Vocals
Peter De Jong – Guitar / Vocals
Peter Grant – Bass / Vocals
Still have the original War and Peace stickers
Did you play soccer for
I worked as a bouncer at War and Peace in the early/mid 70’s. and again some years later.
When I first started it was a bloodbath every night, on average 12 fights we would fight them into the back where there was a lift that we had keyed off, you smacked them into the lift pushed the button and the want down to the loading dock, no way back up.
Behind the bar there was 2 rectangle mop buckets full of icey slush that we would stick our hands in to keep the swelling down .
On weekend 3 of us worked and there was 1,300 packed in, when we got rid of the bad element and stopped the brawls the numbers dropped to 900 a night, 400 were coming just to watch the fights .
We cleaned the place up and it got voted No1 nightclub for Sydney, we even had a miss Australia contest held there….classy.
We had a American DJ from New York called Mike T for several months and Donny Sutherland use to do gigs as well, he was better.
A couple of international bands I remember….The Drifters and then The Platters both from USA and then there was Norman Gunston that was chased out of the building with the crowd demanding their money back.
I met a lot of good people working there and it taught me a lot.
I was a 15-16 yr old dressed like John Travolta back in the 70s when WAP was a scene from Saturday Night Fever. The lift existed and I’m not sure about the bucket of ice but it wouldn’t surprise me. My girl cousins were the flavour of the day and I remember Donny Sutherland DJing. I was there the night Midnight Oil played the first time and they bombed something chronic. It was a great place.. The Rads.. the light up dance floor.. on LSD.. whoa.. back in the very early days they had dance offs and there was this dude.. King I think?.. he was the John Travolta of Parramatta!! Of all the club’s I ever went to I never had any issues at WAP.. Westover Tavern though.. that was another story..lol
I thought it was a dump, walked in and Kevin Borich was playing and if memory serves me you passed the PA stack as you walked in, only went there once and that was enough.
My friend Debbie and I were there every Saturday night from around 1979, when we were 18, to early 80s. We would start the night at Parra Leagues and then when the disco closed at 12 we would kick on at War & Peace (usually driving over quite drunk) and frequently ordered jugs of delicious Sangria. I do remember the Saturday Night Fever vibe and the flashing lights on the dance floor! Loved it! Such a great place for us, so safe and cheap. We were lucky we never saw any fights and always had the best time, dancing to the great song list! Those were the days. We are both grandmothers now lol!
I DJ,D there on Sunday night’s untill they went punk Sid Fisher played there and his groupies smashed up the place though before that it was a great venue bands like Milford sound, Zarsoff brothers, Gold rush, Jailbait, We had a pa time when we had international DJs from Studio 54 Mike T and Annie.They brought the disco scene to sydney,The joint was packed. I could write more about this I need to go to work. Ian Oh PS like to hear your feed back. Ian
Fantastic memories of WAP. I pretty much grew up there. Great bands – three for 99c on Thursday nights, I was there the night INXS played, standing up front arm’s length from Hutchence. All those other great regular bands – Outline, Birds Of Prey, Zarsoff Bros, Avion, Allniters, Iggy And The Boys etc. So many of them. My mates and I were such regulars there we used to stay past closing time on Thursday nights for after-hour drinks. I used to start work at 7am in the city but I often didn’t make it on Fridays. I’d get home at 5 or 6am and if I went to sleep I was in a coma. I remember when Richard Wilkins was DJ-ing at WAP in his early days in Australia. We used to drive him mad with requests for Chisel songs. WAP had a great layout – you could just keep doing laps checking out the women. Some great memories of drunken, raunchy nights – most of which I can’t remember!
War & Peace & The Westower Tavern were the two places to go in Parramatta in the late 1970’s & early 1980’s. War & Peace was heavily into disco in the 1970’s complete with raised coloured light dance floor. Very popular with the Italians in their 3 piece suits (John Travolta anyone?). As live bands replaced the disco scene in the early 1980’s War & Peace changed to a more Aussie scene, complete with Millers (gold or silver threaded) shirts, Lee jeans & desert boots for attire. Some great live bands appeared there…. too many to mention. Both were great places to meet a girl…. met mine at the Westower Tavern on Jan 1st 1981 & we’re still married… I got lucky. So many great memories of both places & a lot of dancing, drinking & knockbacks too. All part of the rights of passage & the fun of being youthful. Wouldn’t swap those memories for the world. All now gone in the passage of time. Nostalgia is a double edged sword. Sometimes would be nice to live it all again!
I’m going to do a “What happened to…about the WAP. Only can find info from the FB group and this page. Does anyone know the owners/managers name and when he opened it? I cant find any photos of what the WAP looked like from the outside…I know it was operating from 78 to 1986 and have the info from the FB pages etc but there is nothing online to give me more info on its history. Was it at 410 Church St, Parramatta on the corner of Ross ? Opposite the Oak. The internet /historical pages are hopeless. Its like it never existed. Cheers
Yes the old War & Peace was a great venue, was like my local and I saw many bands there over the years, interesting contrast of known Disco and band venue, I used to find it amusing when a typical 70s-80s Disco head would turn up dressed in their Disco gear and a kick ass rock band would be on,
99cent entry and that got you a plate of chips as well, some of the bands that I remember playing at the War & Peace were Renee Geyer, Bo Diddley, The Angels, Kevin Borich, The Cyril B Bunter Band and the list goes on
The War & Peace did re open in the mid 90s briefly and Billy Thorpe played, I went to that gig and WOW he put on a great show, to me that was a fitting end and last time I ever walked into the WAP, this article is a great little walk down memory lane for me