Elvis’ gold connection to city
Thursday, 10th January, 2013
By Craig Brealey
Real Elvis Presley fans will know that he owned a gold Cadillac, but does anyone in Broken Hill remember that splendid vehicle coming to town?
Well, yes they do. Terry Trezise, for one, said he went to look at the amazing 23-foot long stretch limo about five times when it went on display inside the old Masonic Club in November, 1968.
Terry, who has just turned 70 years old, is a pioneer of rock n’ roll in Broken Hill. He started playing the drums at 15 and hasn’t been out of a job since.
He also has a collection of Elvis memorabilia from way back although he admits it doesn’t give him the same thrill as it used to.
“The kid’s gone out of me a bit,” he said, but at the time he was not going to miss seeing The King’s famed golden chariot when it rolled into the Silver City.
“It was painted in gold lacquer, diamond dust and fish scales,” Terry told the BDT yesterday.
“I remember it quite well. The fish scales gave it a blue and purple hue.”
And if the outside was something to behold, the interior was a revelation, he said.
It was worth $75,000 in 1968 and contained $10,000 worth of gold equipment, including a bar with an ice-maker and refrigerator, as well as a custom-made lounge, TV, telephone and more.
“In the back there was an electric shoe polisher, and even a record player that could play 45s and 33 rpm records,” said Terry.
“In the US everything runs on 110 volts but in Australia it’s 240 so they had a 110 volt generator to run all the bits and pieces.”
The Cadillac was brought to Broken Hill by The Benevolent Society, Australia’s oldest charity.
The city was one of 40 stops on the charity’s fundraising tour which raised about $150,000 - the equivalent of about $1 million in today’s money - for The Benevolent Society and other charities.
“The car drew phenomenal crowds. It was seen by more than 400,000 people in more than 40 Australian cities and towns,” according to the charity’s CEO Anne Hollonds.
“Perhaps because Elvis himself never visited Australia and this tour was the only time this Cadillac left the USA,” Ms Hollonds said.
Following the tour, the charity made Elvis a Life Governor of The Benevolent Society.
Ms Hollonds said the charity was still supporting the community “by helping vulnerable children and families, older people, carers, people living with mental illness, people affected by adoption and more.”
She said she would like people such as Terry Trezise to share their Benevolent Society memories.
“The Benevolent Society is celebrating our 200th anniversary in May. Our story is really the story of the many lives we’ve touched and we’re appealing to the public to contribute their memories,” Ms Hollonds said.
“We’ve already made a collection of historical photographs, stories and documents that paint a picture of the changing face of the Australians who’ve supported us and those we’ve supported over the past 200 years available online and we’d love to add to it.”
If you have a photo or image to add to the charity’s collection, or a story to tell, visit www.benevolent.org.au