The Quiet Ones Book

The Quiet Ones

Skyhooks, AC/DC and Me

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In this intriguing memoir, author Wendy Smith shares the story of her close connection with legendary Australian bands Skyhooks and AC/DC in the very early stages of their careers.

From making concert banners with Angus Young at the iconic AC/DC Lansdowne Road house in St Kilda to hanging out with the band at the infamous Freeway Gardens Motel, Wendy and her three teenage school friends – dubbed ‘The Quiet Ones’ by Skyhooks frontman Graeme (Shirley) Strachan – enjoyed unparalleled access to the band-members for nearly two years  

Underpinned by the meticulous detail captured in the diary she kept during the period, Wendy’s story also documents teenage life in suburban Melbourne in the mid-70s, and the Sharpie/surfie dichotomy, and the rise of the band era at grass-roots venues like the Chelsea Town Hall.

This is a unique take on a well-documented subject. Here you’ll find (almost) no sex, (almost) no drugs … but heaps of rock and roll.

The Quiet Ones, by Wendy Smith

Review by Ricky Onsman

I really enjoyed this memoir about a group of Melbourne girls who became friends – not groupies – with Skyhooks and AC/DC in the mid ’70s, before those bands became really big.

Wendy Smith has drawn on her diary entries from 1974 and 1975, supplemented with the reminiscences of the friends who she’s remained close to in the intervening 50 years, to sketch out how these girls became fans and friends with two iconic Australian rock and roll bands.
Being of a similar age, I strongly identified with the zeitgeist and lifestyle Smith describes: high school, Countdown, local bands, buying records, the clothes, Kodak cameras …
The difference for Smith and her friends is that they were there at the taping of the first Countdown shows, backstage at concerts, on the bus with the boys in the bands, and in their dressing rooms.
She’s completely convincing that nothing untoward ever happened, and that these guys were polite, protective, and caring toward these 15 and 16 year old female fans. It’s only toward the end of the book, as the bands find success and the adulation that came with it, that the expected rock’n’roll madness starts to appear, and that – along with the end of their high school days – is the cue for the friendships to fade.
All the members of Skyhooks and AC/DC are well drawn characters, along with a supporting cast of roadies (hi, Tana!), other pop stars, sharpies & hippies, and parents more tolerant than mine ever were.

Melbourne plays a starring role, as the girls traipse from suburb to suburb to see their idols in action.
I have to add, the book itself is superbly produced. Self-published, it is high quality throughout, from the paper to the print, the photograph reproductions, the layout, and the editing. It is rare that I encounter any book where I don’t find a single typo.

Even the cover is beautiful, meaningful, and clever. The more you look, the more you see.
And Smith’s writing is extremely engaging: it’s not easy to be warm, funny, and articulate about being a band-obsessed, naive and self-deprecating teenager. The Quiet Ones is beautifully paced, and the structure of short diary entries followed by expansive elaborations of them holds up well throughout.

Thoroughly enjoyable, and highly recommended.

about me

Hello and welcome to my page. My name is Wendy Smith and I am the author of The Quiet Ones: Skyhooks, AC/DC and me. This is my first memoir which was written by me with (thankfully!) a lot of support and encouragement from my friends.

I lived in suburban Melbourne as a child in the 60s and a teenager in the 70s. It was during my teenage years that I kept a diary which documented my days at High School as well as my love of going out to see live bands with a close group of school friends. Navigating the course of growing up, periods, boobs and boyfriends, trying to get an education and making sure that I was in the right group of friends was never meant to be easy. Music however became our bond. It was such an amazing time and we saw so many great bands but Skyhooks and AC/DC very quickly became our favourites. Along with my diary entries, I also had a camera and took many photos of these two bands in particular.

It seems to be the right time for these photos to be seen, and the stories to be told, so for historical reasons as well as the nostalgia I wrote this memoir. I have chosen, what I think, are the most memorable of them. Together as a small group of girls we watched music in Australia evolve from dances and festivals to concerts and pub rock, taking the fashions and trends along for the ride with them. It was a time of great freedom and loads of fun.

Now in my sixties, retired, and living a quiet life in the beautiful rolling green hills of South Gippsland with my partner and many pets, music is still very important to me and not a day goes by without it. I do get to see artists perform whenever I can but rarely venture as far as Melbourne these days. I hope you enjoy my book.

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Bendigo Bank –

Wendy Smith –

BSB 633-000 –

Account No. 210269254

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thanks Wendy

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