Man discovers 60-year-old previously unseen live film of The Beatles at a flea market in Australia

The Beatles in Australia in 1964 wearing sailor's caps
The Beatles in Australia in 1964 (Image credit: Bill Waterson / Alamy Stock Photo)

An Australian musician has picked up the flea market find of a lifetime after discovering some previously unseen footage of The Beatles performing live in Sydney in 1964.

Greg Perano, who was a founding member of legendary Australian band Hunters & Collectors, paid just $11 for a box of eight-millimetre film at a market in Sydney, only to discover that one of the boxes was inscribed with band's name and contained close-up footage of The Beatles playing live at Sydney Stadium in 1964.

"I sat down, and I went, ‘the guy's on stage. He's filming on stage'," Perano tells Australian new show A Current Affair. “It’s really good, beautiful black and white, 8mm quality. It just brought back all those memories, because it's not like a big band now playing up to the cameras.

"It's a band who look like they’re in a small club really enjoying playing. You see a band in its formative stage where they were really good live."

The footage was originally shot by Gil Wahlquist, a former music writer for the Sydney Morning Herald who died in 2012. Perano has been given the blessing of Wahlquist's family to keep the film, which includes silent footage of the band playing their early hit Love Me Do

"There was that moment where George and Paul, like everyone who watches it, goes 'woooooooo', so you know exactly what the song is," says Perano.

The Beatles' 1964 world tour included eight shows in Australia and six in New Zealand, where the then 11-year-old Perano lived. During the band's time in NZ, Perano climbed a hill in Picton, on the north end of the South Island, in the hope that he'd be able to hear the band's show in Wellington, 100km away at the south end of the North Island.

"We figured if we went up and the wind was blowing right, we might be able to hear some of the concerts," he says. "So about 12 of us went out, like girls and boys... and one minute, we thought we could hear the Beatles, but it was being played down in the town. Of course we couldn't hear them, but it was just that we knew that they were 100 kilometres away doing our show."

Never before seen footage of The Beatles live in Sydney - YouTube Never before seen footage of The Beatles live in Sydney - YouTube
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Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.