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Colin Petersen

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Colin Petersen was born in 1946 at Kingaroy Queensland. After his family moved to the Augha Flats at 23-26 Eveline St Margate, he attended Humpybong State School in 1953 and joined the school Marching Band at the age of 6 as a drummer.

A copy of the complete Humpybong School 1953-58 roll is available for free download the the following link: (Colin Petersen in on page 1 and is listed as living at Aughi Flats - Evelyn St Margate)

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His uncle, Billy, bought him a new drum kit and arranged for him to have lessons in Brisbane with Harry Lebler. Harry taught him that playing an instrument is a conversation and to listen to what the other musicians are saying. His Mum encouraged Colin to learn piano with another teacher following Harry’s lessons, however it was drumming where Colin became a protégé.

In 1955, after seeing a notice in the Courier Mail, his mother took Colin in his ‘Sunday best’ to the auditions for the film role of “Smiley” being held at the Astor Theatre on Brunswick Street. Colin was advised by the film’s Director Anthony Kimmins, to continue his career in music, because his scrap book was evidence of how well he was doing. At home, he changed into old clothes and after playing marbles under the house with his cousin, returned to the theatre on his own, dishevelled and with dirty knees. The theatre was closed however the Director spotted him in the laneway and gave him an audition on the steps. He decided there and then that Colin was his “Smiley”.

The film was released in 1956 when Colin was 9 years old, wearing the hat his mother gave him for the starring role, alongside icons Chips Rafferty and Sir Ralph Richardson.

Colin’s UK credits soon followed with 2 films with the legends of the day, “The Scamp” where his drumming proficiency was revealed (1957 with Sir Richard Attenborough),

(Rare Footage from the movie The Scamp showing Colin playing the drums with Sir Richard Attenborough)

and “A Cry from the Streets” (1958 with Max Bygraves and Dana Wilson).

In 1958, he was forced to cease acting as his mother felt it was interfering with his education. He returned as a 12 year old to Humpybong State School until August that year.

The Gibb twins were students at the same school only briefly in late September 1958 (and then OLHC School for the remaining of the 1958 year, and then to Scarborough State School in 1959) Arriving at Humpybong a few weeks after Colin had left Humpybong school.

The 1956 aerial below features the former home of Colin Petersen marked on Eveline St , and Colin lived there and attended Humpybong School for 5 years from 9th March 1953 to July 1958.

After leaving school Colin played with several bands including Steve and the Board and met Maurice Gibb who invited him to sit in on one of the Bee Gees' sessions in Sydney. He became friends with the family and ultimately played on as many as a dozen of their early Australian sides.

In 1966, Colin returned to England to pursue his acting career. Before he left Australia, he was invited by the Bee Gees to join them as their drummer if he hadn’t made any in-roads. The band was following him on the next ship armed with “Spicks and Specks”.

As soon as the Bee Gees arrived, he became their 4th official member and played on the albums Bee Gees' 1st, Horizontal, Idea, Odessa and Cucumber Castle.

He was an equal partner and the Gibb brothers regarded his musicianship as essential to their sound.

Videos featuring Colin and The Bee Gees include:

He also played drums on The Marbles debut single, "Only One Woman" and left the Bee Gees in August 1969.

He managed and produced Irish singer songwriter Jonathan Kelly’s early solo singles and the two formed a band in 1970 called, “Humpy Bong”, a two-word variation of the Margate school where Colin and the Gibb brothers had attended. They hired Tim Staffell as singer and harmonica player and appeared on BBC’s Top of the Pops with their debut single, “Don’t You Be Too Long”. "Were Alright Till Then" is the B Side

Colin has moved back to Margate and from 2019 was back on stage touring nationally with the The Best of the Bee Gees – his life had come full circle.

Window display at shop 12a in the Cominos Arcade - 133 Redcliffe Parade:

Colin Petersen is listed on the wall of the Redcliffe Wall of Fame:

A collection of portrait and information honouring the achievements of individuals who have influenced and shaped Redcliffe. The collection is in the Jetty Arcade at 139-141 Redcliffe Parade and was first shaped by local Richard Lancaster and is currently maintained by the Jetty arcade's management.

For a complete list of people who appear on the wall click on the following blog post:

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