Back in 1959, according to Colin Nichol, Australia was still waiting for 1955. “Everything that happened in Australia happened a bit after everywhere else,” he explained. “Everything that happens in Sydney, even if it happens after everything else, well, it happens even later in Perth.”

And, back then, what was happening was rock and roll. As a radio announcer in Perth, Colin was a real-deal superstar DJ. “When I started in radio, we were still playing 78s, you know, the old bakelite records,” he said. “We were getting the message about rock and roll and the teen revolution. It started, of course, in 1955 with Elvis Presley and Bill Hayley, but I don’t think the implications of it really came through to us until just at the time I found myself in the middle of it.”

That year, Coca-Cola asked Colin to host the local chapter of its international marketing initiative, the Hi-Fi Club. Hi-Fi wasn’t merely an advertising campaign; it was a genuine youth phenomenon that saw millions of teenagers sign up to attend dances, watch bands and, well, hang out with one another. Coke provided DJs with rolls of fresh 45s – referred to as “donuts” in the trade – as well as prizes and collectables.

The strategy made Perth’s chapter, headed by Colin, extraordinarily popular. Up to 1500 kids turned up for any given show. “The Hi-Fi Club became an entity in itself; it was huge,” Colin recalled. “Before the Hi Fi Club there were dances, but not rock and roll dances, and not in the numbers that were discussing here now. This was the big thing.”

By identifying with the American rock and roll ‘revolution,’ the Hi-Fi Club helped solidify an unprecedented kind of personality: the teenager. “In Western Australia, we were pretty tied up. You lived at home and you did as your parents told you largely,” recalled Colin. “The Hi-Fi Club provided a situation which allowed the teenagers to let their hair down a bit, gave them a release from the strictures of society at the time. I have no idea how many marriages - or relationships of whatever kind - were generated then.”

But even while teenagers were negotiating new ways of thinking and behaving, Colin points out that the revolutionary image presented by Brando and Dean was, ultimately, a myth. “It was pretty innocent at the time,” he admits. “I think the talk about rebellion is sometimes more in the cinemas than it was in real life. Thats not to say it didnt happen in degrees. But I dont think you could say that the youngsters who turned up at these dances were full of anger and angst. They werent shouting down with the establishment.”

Ultimately, Colin explained, it was really about the music. “The lyrics werent much. It was all bubblegum, light-hearted pop. You know, bouncy-bouncy,” he said.  “But it was all a case of getting up and dancing.”

Perhaps some things never change.