Berry St, Vibes and the Sect

Mort and Phil
1967- 8 Phil  and Mort were regulars at Berry Street.

Errol Wood, Ross J Waters and Kelly, 'Little Sue', Frank Cayley, Christine Froebel,  Dave Miller and Jacquie McGarry, Judy Miller, Pete G, Gary Ross,  Big John McEwan aka 'Spottiswood Eklin', Bill  Tranchitella aka'Florence Lawrence', Tony  Robinson aka 'Merv Rabies'. Tony Fitzgerald aka 'Mort Fist' , Frank Cayley, Tony Bahles aka 'Zorba', Deidree McMasters aka Nita Mann,Twiggy, Sally Brokensha, Paul Seagraves, Leifus, Tessa and Richard, Carl, Bob Ritchie, Martin Walsh, Dutch Andy, Andy Palace, Greg 'Bear', Ned 'Nedrac' and Andy Carden, Teri Moodie, Neil Smith, Danny Groves, Michael McCormack, Mick Morphett, Vaughan Bros. Bob 'Newcastle' Hudson,  Bon Scott, Wynn Milsom, The Nutwood Rug, Warwick 'Wally Mudd' and Paul 'Doggie' Wyld, Karl Rooney.

Friday nights Sue, Di, Phil, Mort and I piled into Frank Cayley's car and took off across the bridge to Vibes. I have often wondered, just who were the young couple that arrived Friday nights and stayed behind? 

Sue  T, recollects arriving home from a gig and stepping over the floor The Nutwood Rug! 

An email arrived this week from Dave 'Sons' Miller, the male half of the 'stay at homes'! 

Little privacy was had in Berry Street, as, people tended to use the bedroom window as an egress, even though the front door was in perfectly good working order!

Lynne, Sue, Diane

Christine Froebel and Sally Brokensha

Dave Miller, Jacquie M, Judy Miller

Berry Street was a three bed-room duplex in North Sydney; bereft of carpets, minimal furniture and an empty fridge - the only thing of note was my granma's pianola. 'unaccountability' is the word that comes to mind when I recall Berry Street.

My Dad had secured the flat for me to share with my friends Sue and Diane .. 'our first real flat' .  Along with our new found freedom and rations of Vita-Weets and grated Kraft cheese came hoards of people who were 'chosen' for their particular talents and or quirks.

Frank Cayley the Beatnik was  older than us, and held a driver's license. He had been part of The Royal George crew in the olden days and played bass guitar.  Friday nights Frank provided the wheels to transport us into 'Vibes',  a dance venue in an abandoned office block near the Capital Theatre.

Occasionally, I  medicated a little too early and get side-tracked sorting through my old 45s and spent the night in the bathroom cleaning the tiles with a toothbrush! 


Frank Martin was the doorman, peering at us from behind his cubicle, he graciously accepted our $2 entrance fee (or was it $1), and two by two we flew fly up three flights of stairs, by-passing the lounge and refreshment's room to a huge expanse of dance floor, an elevated stage stood at one end.

A Chicago blues style band  The Sect were the resident band.

Mick Lester (vocals and harp), several interchanging lead guitars, including Neil Smith, Paul Baker and Kim Humphries, Mick Morphett (bass), Ross Linton (rhythm), Vaughan Bros on organ and drummers Michael McCormack and Danny Groves.

Special guests included The Nutwood Rug (a wild looking bunch of guys from California), Dr. Kandy's Third Eye and Alison MacCallum.

The area was soon packed and the ear-shattering sound of The Sect blasted covers from Paul Butterfield, John Mayall, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.

Paul and Neil hammering out Clapton's "Stepping Out" was the highlight of the night.

Cream's slightly upbeat “Steppin Out” from the BBC 1966

End of the set, I scarpered down the stairs to loll and chat on the sofas that Frank had kindly put there for my convenience .. , Lex Mesker the roadie treated us to  'underground' music over the PA: Janis Joplin's Big Brother and the Holding Company, Frank Zappa and the Mother's of Invention ("Suzie Creamcheese"), Jimi Hendrix 'Experience', John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac and Grace Slick & Jefferson Airplane. Lex took great pride in his record collection.

Straggling off to The Greenwood Tree to watch Peter Anson was our next port of call,  arriving there well after midnight we caught the last set and then headed home to Berry Street dragging half of Sydney with us. Granma's pianola, that Dad had kindly given me, was centre stage with performances by Doggie or the odd concerto by Margot. Phil, Merv and Mort often entertained us with their skits from Monty Python or The Goons, the night culminating in a free for all jam.

Saturday arvos various bands practised in the lounge room, by late afternoon we  prepared for a return trip to Vibes.  On Sundays we hosed out the flat then  lazed in the sun (until the floor dried),   in various yoga positions  .. "Hey Jude", "Light my Fire" and "MacAuthur Park" drifted from the radio.

Pete, Frank and Phil headed off to England, Sue and Danny took off for the Snowy and I moved to a flat in Bardsley Gardens with Diane and Ned. Diane later headed over to England to meet up with the boys and my grandma's pianola disappeared, those were the hazy days.


This is an early photo taken of the MNJ Sect at the Lindfield Stomp
Danny Groves-drums, Ross Linton-bass, Neil Smith-lead, Mick Lester-vocals, Liam-harp

The Valentines

Alison McCallum

"Hi Lynne, I've just checked out the new photos of The Sect and the associated blogs. The venue at Lindfield looks like the famous 'Lindfield Stomp', the first dance venue I ever went to, aged about 15. Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs was one of the first bands I saw there. To avoid confusion, the Dave Miller of the Dave Miller Set referred to here (the band Mick McCormack from The Sect joined) is not me. Regards Dave"

This week has been very eventful beginning with an email from my school pal, Sue .. we shared several flats together: Neutral Bay, Mosman, North Sydney, Paddington and Ultimo. Sue teamed up with Danny G and they took off for a gig in the Snowy I haven't seen them for over 40 years!

The M'n'J Sect at the Blue Note Unknown, Jim McCormack, Mick Lester, Mick Morphett, Mick McCormack

"Hi Lynne, Danny G is alive and well and living in Melbourne. Haven't heard about Mick Morphett or Mick Lester for years. I have attached some great photos of The Sect with Dan. After leaving The Sect, Danny played with The Climax (line-up included Nick Dunn, Dave Fookes and Frank Galea) .. they made a recording and spent quite a bit of time at the Manly Pacific .. Dan followed up with a stint in the original Jesus Christ Superstar and toured with the production .. then, some time in the Jon English Band and various others. cheers Susie."

"Hi Lynne, I haven't caught up with Mick Morphett yet but I will soon. I don't recall a lot about Jim Carter except for the period which started with Rhubarbs Cnr Barry St and Military Rd, Neutral Bay. I think it would have been 1965. It looked like a great venue when we auditioned for him, it had an upstairs area with the centre of the floor cut out so youcould see the band. I think I remember seeing Jeff St. John & the Id there. Jim loved our playing but said we looked too young, however he was opening a new Rhubarbs in about a year and to get in touch then. 

That was the Rhubarbs near the corner of Sussex and Liverpool Sts, down a little lane called Douglass St.

At the time the M 'n' J Sect consisted of Mike Lester (vocals, harm), Mick Morphett (bass), Mick McCormack (drums), Jim McCormack (guitar) and Neil Smith (guitar). We found this little 'disco' in a double garage in Brookvale, in the Waringah Mall car par, it was called The Blue Note, run by a guy called Jerry Voermans. He had about 2 people drinking coffee there at peak time so we offered him a deal .. we'd play there for half the door. Jerry looked at his 2 customers, smiled and we all shook hands. 

Note: The two people Neil referred to were none other than my cousin Cheryle & myself who happened by the gig perchance.. lynk!

The McCormacks and other partners in crime got together a poster and plastered it around all the local girls' schools and soon the place was full. The Double garage space quickly doubled again so we filled it by throwing a 'pyjama' party and leaking this to the Sunday Mirror. Next Sunday photos appeared all over Pages 1, 2 and 3 of the outrageous scene. Now you couldn't get into the Blue Note and of course Jerry wanted to re-negotiate our deal. In the end we decided to hold a band competition to decide who would replace us in the revised deal. I think Jim Kelly may have been in the replacement band and we met a guy called Steve Kipner who had a band call Steve and the Board. His father was Nat Kipner and he ran the St Clare recording studio in Hurstville. We recorded there later with Danny Groves, but without the McCormacks.

Mick Lester was Trade Commissioner to India in the mid 1980s. Cheers Neil."

NEW MANAGER FOR LWA, SOCIAL & INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH PROGRAM  "LWA recently welcomed its new People Arena Manager for the Social & Institutional Research Program, Michael Lester.

Michael can be contacted on Michael is a senior executive with skills and experience across the public and private sectors, in Australia and internationally. He has worked for the World Bank and lawyers Blake Dawson Waldron. He also held a number of positions in the NSW Government during the '90s, including in Premiers and in State Development and was a Senior Executive and Trade Commissioner in the Australian Trade Commission. This breadth of experience gives Michael a great perspective from which to manage the challenges of the program."

"Wally's Song" is teriffic! Camaraderie? is the theme for sure. The Sect were my fav. band of the time and we regularly saw them at Rhubarbs and Vibes.I even played at Vibes once. Heady stuff...I'd love to meet Danny Groves and show him my "new" drum setups. I pinched some chops from him back then, so it's only fair. If Lynne wants to pass on my number maybe it can happen. I'd do whatever it takes to help reform The Sect ...amps, gear etc...My other current muso mates who missed them would be astonished, I'd say. Regards, Keith Herbert"  

"Hello Lynne, it was Mike Lester who prompted me to look on line when he asked me about how we met and how did he meet Neil Smith. He is writing his musical memoirs at the moment and time does distort one's view. Yes, I was the Vibes DJ that played all the music in the breaks. when the Sect were on, I used to sing harmony with Mike from the back room LOL. I tried to bring new sounds and hard to get music into Vibes. It was a great place. I was introduced to Mike by Neil who I had met at a Matriculation Course. Mike and I had been best friends ever since then (1966). They were playing the Blue Note at Brookvale at the time and I did the roadie work (as I had a ute).Throughout the years, the Sect had lots of different lineups and when the McCormack brother left, Danny Groves came in on drums. I remember a 3 member horn section as well as the addition of a keyboard player. There was a rhythm guitar player in there somewhere too, other than Paul Baker and Neil Smith .. but not at the same time. I'd lit to catch up with Danny if possible .. we lost contact when the band folded. I think that he was a friend of Rodney Phillips as well and I think that they worked for the PMG or Telstra now as telephone exchange technicians. If Danny is cool to hook up, feel free to give him my email address. Mike Lester got married in 1970 and finished an engineering degree. He had lost interest in the band, from memory, and headed to Darwin to work in Water Resources. Even though Mike and I have been friends for all these years, we did go for some time without seeing each other (working overseas), but were always in contact. About 15 years ago, Mike moved back to Sydney with his family and I invited him to join a band in which I was playing guitar. That band has been together and playing as a unit and playing since then ... giggling whenever and whenever and wherever. Mike still has a BIG boice and gets a glorios harp sound as well.18 months ago, Mike and his wife relocated to New York. He often sings with a band call Small Time Leroy and they play the BB King Club in NY. We, the remaining band members have continued as a trio but, whenever Mike comes back to Sydney, however briefly, we get together and play .. gig if possible. I got an email from him last night telling me that he and his wife were flying back to Sydney and arriving Friday. Yeah, he asked could we get together again while he is here. I dont know if you remember me but I was/am very tall 6'6" and had wavy dark hair (sometimes an afro) and moustache, as we all did them. Hair now grey. Most of my friends called me Lex but I go as Alex now. If you want some pics, let me know. I have some current band pics as well regards Alex."

2009 July. Received an email from Lex Mesker (Sect's roadie)
2009 Sept. Contacted Mick Morphett/ Mick Lester/ Kim Humphries/ Danny Groves/ Neil Smith
2010 Received phone calls from Diane Williard and Frank Cayley
2011 Wayne Smith


  1. A serious record collector since 1963 (sold the lot, some 15,000 titles in 2000). Really enjoyed navigating around your great site.

    I was in the same intake as Danny Groves (drummer) at the old PMG Technician-in-Training School at St Peters-Sydney in 1965/66, next to the old brick pits and tip. Danny then lived (with his parents) at French's Forest. Often gave him a lift home, and on the very odd occassion took him to rehearsals or a gig. Group was The Morlock from memory. I think one of the other members was an ABC technician.

    Regards to Danny, you may not remember me. Greg Rogers

  2. Hi Greg, ny name is Lynne Komidar (nee Best) and I am the administrator of this blog. I am in touch with Danny regularly and will pass your email on, in fact I will ring him now .. the ABC technician you mentioned would have to be Neil Smith.
    Danny has a huugggge record collection over 3000 lps I believe, he has been back on the drums for a couple of years now.
    Thanks Greg, glad you enjoyed my site. lynne

  3. Anonymous13:31

    Hi Lynne
    I'm a long time friend of Frank Cayley's and I've lost touch with him.
    He moved back to NSW from Q'land and I haven't heard from him since.
    I did run into a mention of a gift that Frank's family gave to the Nicholson Museum so this set me wondering again what has happened to Frank.
    Anyone with a contact email address out there?

  4. Hi Lesley, pleased to hear from you. I have Frank's phone number and address. Will run it by him Monday night and get back to you. Don't think he has an email address.