Harlem Nights The Secret History of Australia’s Jazz Age

Castle Hill Library, Thursday 11 August 6.30pm- 7.30pm | Tickets $8.20pp

Join author and historian, Deirdre O’Connell, as she tells the untold story of Australia’s Jazz Age.

The 1920s were a time of wonder and flux, when Australians sensed a world growing smaller, turning faster-and, for some, skittering off balance.

American movies, music and dance brought together what racial lines kept apart. African American jazz represented the type of modernism that cosmopolitan Australians craved and the champions of White Australia feared.

Enter the jazz band Sonny Clay’s Colored Idea. Snuck in under the wire by an astute promoter, the Harlem-style revue broke from the usual blackface minstrel fare, delivering sophisticated, liberating rhythms.

The story of their Australian tour is a tale of conspiracy — a secret plan to kick out and keep out ‘undesirable’ expressions of modernism, music and race. In this talk, Deirdre will bring into focus a vibrant cast of characters from Australia’s Jazz Age.

Bookings essential online | Suitable for Adults
The evening will conclude with book sales and signing.

Go to australias-jazz-age-tickets-371972388427 to reserve an eBook copy of Harlem nights.

Deirdre O’Connell is a historian, teacher and author of The Ballad of Blind Tom. She has a background in environmental journalism and music documentary and lives in the Blue Mountains on Gundungurra and Darug land.

Jazz Age