Bon Scott Letters Exhibition

bon scott letter
[a letter sent by Bon Scott to his old friend Mary Renshaw…]

As well as meeting a whole bunch of fans, the Bon Scott Blog took me on some pretty special missions. For instance, I accompanied curator Katie Dyer when she met some of Bon’s oldest friends. In tandem with the Bon Scott Project exhibition at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Katie has put together an exhibition of letters written by Bon during the 1970s – apparently the first time anyone has assembled together a collection of this size!

Here’s a short spiel written by Katie about the show:

The Bon Scott Letters exhibition presents for the first time letters, cards and notes written by Bon to his family, friends and lovers between 1973 through to the last Christmas cards he wrote before his untimely death in February 1980. These letters reflect not only his personal relationships and experience but the attitudes of the time, providing direct insight into Bon’s candour, cheekiness and ambition as he chased his dream of rock ‘n’ roll stardom. Revealing his natural writing and story telling ability, the letters gathered here demonstrate his loyalty and thoughtfulness along with his bawdiness and self-deprecating humour.

Katie and I travelled to Melbourne to see James Young from Cherry Rock, who purchased at auction a set of letters written by Bon for his ex-wife Irene.

In St Kilda, we were privileged to drink tea with Mary Renshaw, a fashion designer, and Bon’s bosom buddy, who used to make outfits for Bon.

And in Warburton, we had lunch with Gabby and Darcy. Darcy was a roadie for the Valentines (one of the bands Bon played in before AC/DC), and their family home was always a secret source of domestic bliss for Bon-the-vagabond.

It needs to be said that although some of Bon’s letters have been bought and sold, they embody a cultural and personal heritage that literally cannot be valued in monetary terms.

James, Mary, Gabby and Darcy all showed us great hospitality and respect. Without their trust and belief in the Bon Scott Project, the letters exhibition would still be a great concept, but nothing more.

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