Elvis Presley - The Australian Press, August 16, 1977

By: David Troedson
Source: Elvis Australia
January 7, 2004

The News of Elvis Presley's death, reached a Australia at approximately 7.30 am Local time on the 17th of August, too late for the morning newspapers.

Today in Australia, the biggest selling paper is Melbourne's Herald-Sun, Published every morning. But in 1977 we had the Sun in the morning and the Herald in the afternoon. Which had four additions, during the afternoon. The paper had just increased in price from eight to ten cents.

The Melbourne Herald being one of Australia's few afternoon papers, printed the first headlines and filled the Front Pages of it's four editions on the 17th with the news. The other headline sharing the front page was PETROL PRICE RISE THIS WEEK and used a bigger font. The story related to the previous nights Federal budget and in particular, the news of a hefty rise in the price of petrol.

One-Hour Battle Fails ... 'King' Elvis Dies
The Herald, Melbourne, Aug 17 MEMPHIS Tennessee AAP.

Elvis Presley's road manager battled desperately today to save the singers life. Ambulance men and a hospital casualty team continued efforts to revive him ....

They failed, at 3.30pm, Presley's Doctor pronounced the king of rock 'n roll dead. The words coming from American Journalists, who in their rush to put out the story, showed their ignorance with statements like - 'He went into semi retirement in the late 60's ... He later returned to sell-out concerts at Madison Square Garden, and 'When he allowed himself to be inducted into the army on March 24, 1958...'

Fat, 42 And Fazed - The Tragedy of Elvis Presley which ended yesterday
The Sun - Melbourne, August 18

'He couldn't sing anymore', 'His stage appearances were a joke because his stomach bulged over his gold lame, sequined suits' 'Presley's movie career ended in 1969 after about 60 films, all with roughly the same plot' From John Fraser - New York

Fans Fight To Peer At Elvis
The Herald - Melbourne, August 18

Memphis Tennessee, Wed. - More than 75,000 distraught mourners, sobbing and fainting battled to see the body of Elvis Presley today... Naturally the words again coming from America. But this time the front page was devoted 100 % to Elvis. In WASHINGTON President Carter issued a statement on the death of the king of rock 'n roll. 'He was a symbol of the vitality, rebelinos and good humor of the United States', President Carter said. (The White House however, did not declare a day of national mourning, as suggested by thousands of phone callers.) By the weekend, the Australian press had managed to but their own words into print. By now realizing the mood of the public and changed to a more positive approach. An example of both is in the following article.

Presley Fans Buy Big
The Age - Melbourne, Saturday, August 20

Melbourne ... she ain't nothin' but a town agog. The death of Elvis Presley, the 'King' of Rock, left most people all shook up rather than crying all the time. City record shops reported the greatest surge in buying of Elvis' records for many years, and they swamped Elvis' label, RCA, with demands for more stocks.

Coincidentally, RCA Australia had nominated August as Elvis Presley Month and supplied stores with extra records. But by evening, much was bought up.

Shop assistants said the buyers ranged from teenagers to people in their 80's, and it was the day's dominating topic of conversation. At Allans Music in Collins Street (Melbourne City) one window was redecorated by 9.15am with Elvis records and a big portrait poster, all draped with a black ribbon.

Radio got into the act from the moment the news teleprinter announced the shock tragedy just before 7.30am, The Green Guide has full details. The Green Guide is still today a Radio and Television guide.

Fittingly, the news was preceded by a four-snap bell-ringing accolade which is usually reserved for the deaths of presidents or monarchs. Stan Rofe, Melbourne's 40-year old 'daddy' of the DJ's, 'heard it over the air' at the breakfast table ... and stopped eating there an then. 'I just felt I didn't want to go to work, but then I thought they would need me to help do a tribute', he said. Rolf ran the Elvis Presley Hour from 1957-68, first on 3KZ, and then on 3UZ, and sees his life as being intertwined with Presley's. Presley started me in rock 'n roll. He was an inspiration. Without Presley, I don't think I ever would have been, a disk jockey and radio might have been very different today', Rofe said. Original Article by Paul Heinrichs.

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