An Exotic History in Australia

American touring ensembles were responsible for bringing vaudeville-style theatre Down Under, and the popularity of Shakespearean plays and opera performances increased.

The gold rushes of the 1850s brought a growth in population to Australia, and there was a growing demand for entertainment. However due to the disruptions of World War 1, the first decade of the 20th century saw fewer actors and travelling troupes being imported to Australia, and shows relied on local performers to fill the void.

On a nationwide tour in 1937, a Chicago-based revue called The Marcus Show featured ‘bare-breasted showgirls’, and by 1938 bare breasts were a staple feature in virtually every revue at Tivoli Theatres. By the mid 1940s, artistic nudity was regularly presented to audiences of variety theatres in Australia’s capital cities. Female performers draped the top half of their bodies in sheer fabric that left little to the imagination. As part of the British Commonwealth, Australia’s isolation was not out of reach of beaurocratic morality, and just like the Minsky and Windmill girls, topless performers had to remain stock-still during their time on the stage.

Producers George Wallace Junior and Laurie Smith collaborated to open a change-weekly variety show in Brisbane, Queensland, at the tiny Guild Theatre in Adelaide Street, before transferring to the Theatre Royal in Elizabeth Street. The two men were faced with competition from Will Mahoney’s vaudeville on the south bank of the Brisbane River.

Wallace and Smith’s revue comprised of an all-male, ex-army performance company called the Kangaroos. After a few weeks of business, attendance began to decline at an alarming rate, and so a ballet was added to the line-up of acts, followed later by showgirls.

The new Royal Showgirls performed on stage wearing bikinis, mini-skirts and shorts, baring midriffs, arms and legs. These girls were the saving grace of the show.

On October 1954, entrepreneur Harry Wren brought Gypsy Rose-Lee to Australia. Several showgirls from Sydney joined the famous stripper on stage. Unlike the international star, the Sydney girls appeared on stage already nude. Harry Wren enlivened his vaudeville shows with vivacious and beautiful chorus girls, and a few discreetly placed nude models.

Advertisements in the press boasted “Australia’s Most Beautiful Blondes! Brunettes! Redheads! FABULOUS-GORGEOUS-NUDES!” Exotic displays featured striptease, fan dance and bathing shows, influenced by the cultures of the Middle East, Paris and Brazil.

One notable performer used the name ‘Vanessa the Undresser’. Another young woman’s bubble bath act at the 1956 Melbourne Show attracted some unwanted attention from authorities.

In 1959, police action was taken against Wren’s advertising, which contained near-nude showgirls in the unrestricted public view of the foyer of Adelaide’s Theatre Royal. The objection was not that there were nudes in the show, but that the photographs of near-nudity were visible from the street.

Erotic performances drew audiences in theatre restaurants in Melbourne and in the nightclubs of Kings Cross in Sydney, where choreographers carried on the Tivoli traditions of showgirl revues. Glamorous dance routines were standard in Sydney’s nightspots during the 1960s, such as Sammy Lee’s Latin Quarter, the Pigalle, Pink Pussycat and Pink Panther clubs.

The late 1960s was a boom time for nightlife in Sydney’s Kings Cross, when the Vietnam War brought many American servicemen to Sydney on R&R. Most of the work available for professional dancers was in go-go bars, and in Australia’s conservatism past, many performers wished to hide their alternative identity from their families and communities.

In the late sixties and early seventies, Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley was the equivalent of Sydney’s Kings Cross, harbouring illegal gambling, underground strip clubs and prostitution, all of which existed because of police corruption that was finally uncovered by the Fitzgerald Inquiry, leading to the collapse of the Bjelke-Petersen government.

In the 1960s and 70s societies all around the world were undergoing a sexual revolution, and saw a steep rise in the number of strip clubs being established. Despite public protest, strict city regulations, frequent raids and shut downs, the institution survived. During the 1970s and 80s, almost all strip clubs featured poles on stage to accommodate dancing.

The late 1990s saw the birth of pole fitness as an exercise practice, as well as the first instructional DVDs along with the creation of competitive pole dancing.

From the Far East to the West, from ancient ritual to modern-day table dancing, striptease continues to enchant audiences around the world, providing a pathway to financial independence.

Sexy Womanh hold hands and fingers on legs in fishnet stocking posing

Pre-order Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two TODAY!






Stripping in the age of the Me Too movement

New book gives insight into the stripping industry in Australia

Sexy Womanh hold hands and fingers on legs in fishnet stocking posing

At a time when women’s rights are being highlighted daily in the media, Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two offers a comprehensive insight into the stripping industry, allowing readers to make up their own minds about whether it is liberating or degrading to women, and the relevance of stripping in modern-day society.

The book is a fictionalized account of one young woman’s real experiences working in gentlemen’s clubs in Brisbane and Melbourne, and will launch worldwide on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook on July 20th. Click HERE to pre-order your copy!

The book is the third and final installment in the Paid To Dance series, which explores exotic entertainment from its origins to its modern day evolution.

Three years after daringly stepping into the world of stripping, Asha Graham has left The Runway, the club that made her an exotic dancer, to make a fresh start at rival venue Mademoiselle’s. Here she is faced with a whole new set of challenges, including an interstate adventure to Melbourne’s glamorous strip club scene. Asha’s personal and professional lives collide in unexpected ways, in the lead-up to the grand finale of her stripping adventure.

Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two is a creative nonfiction book aimed at women aged 18-35.

Signed paperback copies are also available for delivery Australia wide. You can request your copy by contacting me the CONTACT page.

You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two is published by CreateSpace

ISBN: 978-1987542233

Published: 20/07/2018

Available online at




Happy International Nurse’s Day (For Yesterday)

Saturday 12th of May was International Nurses Day, celebrating the contribution that nurses make to societies around the world. Organised annually by the International Council of Nurses, the date has a very strong significance, being the birthday of perhaps the world’s most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale.

I had been wanting to create a special post dedicated to this worldwide celebration of caregivers, but with Mother’s Day promotions and life in general, unfortunately time got away from me. So here it is, belated as it may be.

I have chosen to honour this occasion with an excerpt from my debut novel, The Wilted Rose.

The Wilted Rose tells the story of Sarah Ross, an ambitious young woman who aspires to a career in nursing amidst a strict religious upbringing. From a dairy farm in Maleny to the bustling city of Brisbane, The Wilted Rose follows Sarahʼs journey from an A grade student to a career woman of the 1950s, and the challenges she faces balancing her passion for nursing with the traditional path of marriage and children.

The Wilted Rose

The Wilted Rose


Standing a few feet from the letterbox on the street corner, in her hands Sarah held a plain white envelope. People hurried all around her, and cars roared by in both directions.

“Is this right”, Sarah wondered. “Was it really God speaking to me or my own selfish voice in my head?”

Her legs felt like concrete as she stepped forward. Her heart pounding in her chest, she reached up to the slot, but quickly pulled her hand back.

“What if I was wrong? Should I really be doing this?”

The letterbox was just an ordinary object, yet it was the gateway to her dreams. The everyday utility on the corner of a busy city street was the borderline, tearing her heart between her mother’s wishes and her own heartfelt desires. She had never disobeyed either of her parents in her entire life.

She reached forward again and opened the lid, and with a deep breath she released her fingers and the letter slipped inside. In that split moment, she felt the eyes of the world upon her. She knew that if her application was accepted, the dynamics of their family life would change forever.

She turned and walked back up the hill toward the bookstore, and a new excitement rushed through her body. Her steps became bolder. She pulled her shoulders back and held her head high. She could taste her dream; she felt strong, content, and wanted to dance and scream with exhilaration.

The Wilted Rose is available WORLDWIDE in paperback and Kindle ebook

Click HERE

“An excellant young talent who really places you in the scene of the story…’- Cynthea Wellings, Ausmed Publications

“A look back in time at the affect of mental illness on a caring family.” Debra Cottrell, Carers Queensland