Jack Murphy’s 90th Birthday & The ACF

December 22, 2009

 Jack Murphy is a long surviving Melbourne Caller since the 1950's who developed his skills through the McGrath square dance camp. Jack had great longevity - surviving more than 50 years in square dancing. Below Jack is photographed with Jeff Seidel from South Australia, celebrating Jack’s 90th birthday.  Jack and Jeff are the sole survivors of the original Australian Callers Federation (ACF) founded in 1979.

 Jack Murphy_Jeff Seidel_ ACF Founders










            Jeff Seidel with Jack Murphy at his 90th

A Brief History of the A.C.F is given below:

 The A.C.F. was officially created in Adelaide on the 23rd September 1979. Going back a little further in time, a trio of callers, Wally Cook, Jack Murphy & Jeff Seidel were touring in North Queensland. Over the odd meat pie and occasional beer, they discussed the topics of caller programming and how things could be improved for the betterment of square dancing (for both dancers and callers) in Australia.

 A list of callers was drawn up, noting their calling quality and what they had achieved for square dancing in their state and Australia as a whole.  A short list of two callers from each state was chosen, except for Victoria, which at that time had two factions. Both factions had to be considered, in an effort to bring together all the callers of that State; consequently five callers were selected from Victoria.

 Subsequently on 23rd September 1979, Jeff Seidel (also convenor of the upcoming 21st National Square Dance Convention) took the opportunity to send out invitations (in the same way Callerlab was formed) to the selected group of Australian callers to join this new body. The founding callers were as follows:

President: Jeff Seidel     S.A

Vice-President: Tom McGrath     N.S.W.

Secretary/Treasurer: Don Muldowney* S.A. (not part of the board)

Ron Jones N.S.W

Eric Wendell* & Graham Rigby: QLD.

Les Johnson* & Steve Turner: W.A.

Fred Burn* & Graeme Whiteley: TAS

David Hooper; Ron Whyte*; Ron Mennie; Jack Murphy & Wally Cook*: VIC

Allan Frost*: S.A.

(*member now deceased)

All original members were made “Life Members”.         The name “Australian Callers Federation”, known as the A.C.F. was the suggestion of Ron Jones N.S.W.

The group decided that the 1980, 21st National Convention held in Adelaide South Australia, would be an opportune time to present to callers and dancers alike this newly formed callers body.

In its early years meetings were held twice a year, one at the National Convention and one about half way between. At the second meeting a fundraiser dance was also held. The A.C.F. also started its own newsletter / note service, then called “News & Notes”, later being renamed “Caller Link”.  Steve Turner was the first editor of this service. The Australian Callers Federation is now 25 years old, and Jeff Seidel has been a board member since its inception.


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