The Whitlams

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The Whitlams
The Whitlams in 1992: Tim Freedman, Andy Lewis and Stevie Plunder (left to right)
Background information
Origin Sydney, Australia
Genres Indie rock, piano rock, jazz (early)
Years active 1992–present
Labels Phantom Records
Black Yak Records
Warner Music Australia
Members Tim Freedman
Jak Housden
Warwick Hornby
Terepai Richmond
Past members See Former members

The Whitlams are a rock band based in Sydney. The original band consisted of Tim Freedman, Stevie Plunder and Andy Lewis.

The Whitlams formed in 1992 in Newtown, and began their career performing acoustically on Saturday afternoons at the Sandringham Hotel in King Street, Newtown.

Although the band line-up has changed numerous times, the current group has remained unchanged since 2001, consisting of Tim Freedman on piano and vocals, Jak Housden on guitar, Warwick Hornby on bass guitar and Terepai Richmond on drums.


Formation and early years (1992–1995)[edit]

The Whitlams were formed in late 1992 when a former Penguin on Safari and a former Plunderer crossed paths at the annual independent music festival the Big Day Out. While missing Nirvana perform inside the arena, the two musicians lamented the local music scene and decided to form a musical alliance, and The Whitlams were born. The initial band members were Tim Freedman, Stevie Plunder and Andy Lewis (also ex-The Plunderers). Being without a drummer, the band developed their songs acoustically on Saturday afternoons at the Sandringham Hotel in King Street, Newtown, an inner west suburb of Sydney, Australia. This line-up produced two albums, Introducing the Whitlams and Undeniably the Whitlams.

Eternal Nightcap and Love This City (1996–2000)[edit]

At the same time that the band was enjoying the success of their single "I Make Hamburgers" (1996) founding member Stevie Plunder was found dead on Australia Day, 1996, from what was believed to be an act of suicide. After a break of several months, Tim Freedman reformed the band with several new members. After several more months, there was another line-up change and this is when the process of starting to record the album Eternal Nightcap began. This album sold over 200,000 units and in 1998 won the band ARIA awards for Best Independent Album, Song of the Year and Best Group. This last award was presented by the band's namesake Gough Whitlam. "No Aphrodisiac", a single from this album, made it to number one in the 1997 Triple J Hottest 100.

Several of the band's songs were played during the 2000 Sydney Olympics as examples of Australian pop culture (for example, "Sydney 2000 Olympic Theme", a b-side from the "I Make Hamburgers" single that was reworked as "You Gotta Love This City" on Love This City—an ironic choice, as the song's protagonist commits suicide by jumping in the Harbour at the end of the song, disgusted at the city's crass pursuit of money: It dawns on him / The horror / We got the Olympic Games).

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During the band's Canadian tour in April 2000 supporting Blue Rodeo, the band received word that founding member, Andy Lewis, had committed suicide back in Australia. Andy had been battling a gambling addiction for a long time prior to his death. While no direct links between his gambling and suicide have been proven it's well known and understood to have contributed to his state of mind.

The single "Blow Up the Pokies" had been co-written by Freedman with Greta Gertler not long before Lewis' death as a statement on the destruction he saw in Lewis' life due to his gambling, and was awaiting release as a single at the time. Freedman soon after wrote "The Curse Stops Here", describing being the 'last one' from the original line-up of the band, and voicing his determination to survive. "The Curse Stops Here" was included as a B-side track on the "Blow Up the Pokies" single.

A month after Lewis' death a benefit concert was held at the Metro club in Sydney to raise money for his wife and child. The event was hosted by Paul McDermott, Mikey Robins and Steve Abbott (The Sandman), and performers included Max Sharam, and The Gadflys (another band Lewis performed with).

Torch the Moon and Little Cloud (2001–2006)[edit]

Torch The Moon (2002), the band's next album, received moderate success, with the singles "Fall For You" (AUS#21), "Best Work" (AUS#35), "Royal in the Afternoon" and "Don't Believe Anymore". Another song from the album which received a fair amount of airplay was "I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy's Song)", which was used on the Australian TV series Love Is a Four Letter Word (2001). The Michael Buble song "Just Haven't Met You Yet" (2009) is almost identical, musically, to "I Will Not Go Quietly".

A double-album titled Little Cloud (loosely referred to also as Little Cloud and The Apples Eye) was released on 19 March 2006 in Australia. Several songs received considerable airplay, including "I Was Alive". Three of the songs on the album have been released as radio-only singles, with a fourth, "Beautiful as You", released as a CD single. The album was followed up with almost non-stop touring around Australia, including performances at political and university events.

The band made the news in 2006 when, for political reasons, the members refused to perform to troops in Iraq.[1]

The Whitlams and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (2007)[edit]

The band performed a short orchestral tour in late 2007, performing shows with the Sydney Symphony, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and The Queensland Orchestra.[2]

In 2008 The Whitlams released a free CD in The Sunday Telegraph (1 June) and The Australian (26 July) of their live performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Truth, Beauty and a Picture of You (2008–2009)[edit]

The Whitlams released a 'Best of' compilation album titled "Truth, Beauty and a Picture of You" on 2 August 2008. As part of the promotion for the release, and the subsequent tour, the Whitlams performed on a number of TV programs including Nine's "Footy Show (NRL)" and Seven's "Sunrise" and "The Morning Show".

The Whitlams performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2009 to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the release of their breakthrough album Eternal Nightcap.

Australian Idle (2011–present)[edit]

The Whitlams are currently on hiatus. On 11 November 2011 (the anniversary of Gough Whitlam's dismissal), Tim Freedman released a new album titled Australian Idle, featuring a new band named The Idle. They did however perform an outdoor concert with West Australian artist Jason Ayres [3] in March 2015 at the Mundaring Weir Hotel [4] [5][6]


The Whitlams discography
Studio albums 6
Live albums 2
Compilation albums 1
Singles 18
Video albums 1

The discography of The Whitlams consists of six studio albums, two live albums, one compilation album, and eighteen singles.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
(Sales thresholds)
1993 Introducing The Whitlams
1994 Undeniably The Whitlams
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: Phantom Records / Black Yak Records
  • Format: CD
1997 Eternal Nightcap
  • Released: 1997
  • Label: Phantom Records / Black Yak Records
  • Format: CD
14 AUS: 4× Platinum
1999 Love This City
  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Black Yak Records / Warner
  • Format:
3 AUS: 2× Platinum
2002 Torch the Moon
  • Released: 2002
  • Label: Black Yak Records / Warner
  • Format: CD
1 AUS: Platinum
2006 Little Cloud
  • Released: 2006
  • Label: Black Yak Records / Warner
  • Format: CD
4 AUS: Gold

Live albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
(Sales thresholds)
1993 Stupor Ego
2008 The Whitlams & The Sydney Symphony Live in Concert
  • Released: 1 June 2008
  • Label: Black Yak Records / Warner
  • Format: CD

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications
(Sales thresholds)
2008 Truth, Beauty and a Picture of You
  • Released: 2 August 2008
  • Label: Black Yak Records / Warner
  • Format: CD
3 Gold[7]


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
1995 "Met My Match"/"Following My Own Tracks" Undeniably the Whitlams
"I Make Hamburgers"
1997 "You Sound Like Louis Burdett" Eternal Nightcap
1998 "Melbourne" 70
"No Aphrodisiac" 59 47
"No Aphrodisiac – The Remixes"
1999 "Women in Uniform" Non-album single
"Thank You (for Loving Me at My Worst)" 63 Love This City
2000 "Blow Up the Pokies" 21
"Made Me Hard" 75
2002 "Fall for You" 21 Torch the Moon
"Best Work" 35
2003 "Royal in the Afternoon" 66
"Don't Believe Anymore" 47
2007 "Beautiful as You" 40 Little Cloud
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.



Year Title Certifications
2004 The Whitlams Years 1993–2004
  • Released:
  • Label: Warner
  • Format: DVD
  • AUS: Gold

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director
1993 "Gough"
1995 "Following My Own Tracks"
1998 "No Aphrodisiac"
1999 "Chunky Chunky Air Guitar"
"Thank You (for Loving Me at My Worst)"
2000 "Blow Up the Pokies"
2001 "Made Me Hard"
"I Will Not Go Quietly (Duffy's Song)"
2002 "Fall for You"
"Best Work"
2003 "Royal in the Afternoon"
"Don't Believe Anymore"
2006 "I Was Alive"
"Fondness Makes the Heart Grow Absent"

Awards and nominations[edit]



  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Song of the Year ("No Aphrodisiac")
  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Best Independent Release (Eternal Nightcap)
  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Best Group


  • 2006 ARIA Awards, Best Adult Contemporary Album for Little Cloud
  • 2002 ARIA Awards, Best Pop Release for Torch The Moon
  • 2002 ARIA Awards, Producer of the Year for Torch The Moon
  • 2002 ARIA Awards, Engineer of the Year for Torch The Moon
  • 2002 ARIA Awards, Best Cover Art for Torch The Moon
  • 2000 ARIA Awards, Producer of the Year for Love This City
  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Album of the Year for Eternal Nightcap
  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Single of the Year for "No Aphrodisiac"
  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Best Pop Release for Eternal Nightcap
  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Producer of the Year for Eternal Nightcap
  • 1998 ARIA Awards, Engineer of the Year for Eternal Nightcap

Triple J[edit]

Triple J Hottest 100[9]
Year Title Position
1997 "No Aphrodisiac" 1
1998 "Buy Now Pay Later (Charlie No. 2)" 37
"Melbourne" 43
"Charlie No. 3" 56
1999 "Chunky Chunky Air Guitar" 38
"Thank You (for Loving Me at My Worst)" 54
2000 "Thank You (for Loving Me at My Worst)" 37
2001 "Duffy's Song (I Will Not Go Quietly)" 42
2002 "Fall For You" 40
Triple J Hottest 100 of All Time (1998)
Title Position
"No Aphrodisiac" 36
"You Sound Like Louis Burdett" 43

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Tim Freedman – piano, vocals (1991–present)
  • Warwick Hornby – bass (1999–present)
  • Terepai Richmond – drums (1999–present)
  • Jak Housden – guitar (2001–present)

Former members[edit]

  • Stevie Plunder – guitar, vocals (1991–1996)
  • Andy Lewis – bass (1991–1994, 1996)
  • Stu Eadie – drums (1993–1994)
  • Michael Vidale – bass (1994–1996, 1996–1997)
  • Louis Burdett – drums (1994–1995)
  • Hanuman Daas – drums (1995)
  • Michael Richards – drums (1995–1996)
  • Oscar Briz – guitar (1996)
  • Tim Hall – guitar (1996–1997)
  • Bill Heckenberg – drums (1996–1999)
  • Chris Abrahams – organ (1996–1998)
  • Ben Fink – guitar (1997–2001)
  • Cottco Lovett – bass (1997–1998)
  • Clayton Doley – organ (1998–1999)
  • Alex Hewitson – bass (1999)
  • Mike Gubb – organ (1999–2002)



  1. ^,20867,20467600-29277,00.html[dead link]
  2. ^ - stale link
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ - stale link
  6. ^ Tim Freedman's Facebook page
  7. ^ "ARIA Charts". ARIA. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  8. ^ "ARIA Awards: History: Winners by Artist". ARIA. 
  9. ^ "Hottest 100 : History". Triple J. 

External links[edit]