Australasia News: State Funeral For Olivia Newton-John, Big Names Join Always Live; New Name, Builder For Christchurch Stadium


State Funeral For Olivia Newton-John

Dame Olivia Newton-John is to be buried at her California ranch but her former hometown
of Melbourne will hold a state funeral, described by Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews as
“more of a concert than a funeral.”

2 Aus ONJ
AUSTRALIA MOURNS: Olivia Newton-John, shown here during the annual Wellness Walk and Research Run on Sept. 26, 2018, in Melbourne, will have a state funeral in that city. She died Aug. 8 in Southern California after a long battle with breast cancer. (Scott Barbour / Getty Images)

The date and venue are to be decided but it will cover her music, films and charities, with John Travolta and Barry Gibb expected to appear.

On the night of her Aug. 8 death, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Arts Centre Melbourne and Flinders Street Station were lit in pink to acknowledge her work with breast cancer research through the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne.

The New South Wales parliament also acknowledged her passing, along with others in a two-week period: Judith Durham of folk-rock outfit The Seekers and First Nations singer-songwriter Archie Roach, who sang of the trauma of being part of the Stolen Generation.

Big Names Join Always Live Lineup

Dua Lipa, Nick Cave, Crowded House, Yothu Yindi, Sampa The Great, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Big Thief are the latest globally-known names to join Victoria’s Always Live lineup.

It’s an initiative by the late Michael Gudinski to take acts, booked through Frontier Touring, into regional areas to revive their economies. Victoria’s government is injecting $14 million (US$9.97 million).

The 2022 series, which kicked off earlier this year with Foo Fighters doing a one-off in a Geelong stadium to 25,000, takes in 90 shows over October, November and December.

Two-thirds of the artists are Australian, and include rappers Briggs and Baker Boy, rock bands The Black Sorrows and Teskey Brothers, and singer-songwriters Wendy Matthews, Tash Sultana, Jessica Mauboy and Kate Ceberano.

Dua Lipa, here Nov. 5-12 for five “Future Nostalgia” arena shows with Live Nation, plays to 250 fans at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre. In contrast, Billy Joel plays at the 100,024-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground; two shows by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis at picturesque Hanging Rock could draw 34,000; Crowded House to 10,000 at Gateway Lakes festival, and Ellis-Bextor to a few hundred in the gardens of the National Gallery of Victoria.


New Name, Builder For Christchurch Stadium

The NZ$653 million (US$421.5 million) Canterbury Multi-Use Arena has a new name: Te Kaha is short for Te Kaharoa, “enduring strength” in the native Maori language.

At the same time, Brisbane-headquartered, Belgium-owned BESIX Watpac won the pitch to be lead builder, working with architects Warren and Mahoney and global stadium designers Populous and Mott Macdonald.

The company built Suncorp Stadium Brisbane; Queensland Country Bank Stadium Townsville and Cubs Super Stadium Gold Coast; the world’s tallest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa in Dubai; and the Ferrari World indoor theme park, also in the United Arab Emirates.

Te Kaha Stadium, one of two in the world with a fully enclosed roof and natural grass playing field, will have a concert capacity of 36,000 in arena mode and 13,590 in a cut-down mode.