A fan of the 1950s, Rhonda Bonner of Meerschaum Vale in her ’50s-inspired room.
A fan of the 1950s, Rhonda Bonner of Meerschaum Vale in her ’50s-inspired room. Cathy Adams

Rock lives in Lismore

A GENUINE rock 'n' roll devotee, Rhonda Bonner knows how to dress and dance in true rocker style.

She first fell in love with the music that launched itself on to the world in the 1950s when one of her cousins was crowned NSW rock 'n' roll dancing champion.

"I don't think I'm a sitting down person, who just listens to music for the sake of it - I relate to the music that I can dance to," she said.

Today she owns a massive collection of more than 200 vintage dresses and 70 vintage hats, has a "rock 'n' roll room" in her house, and dances to rock 'n' roll and rockabilly music two nights a week.

"I love the whole thing about it - it's not only the music and dancing, but the dresses and jewellery and hats - I love everything," she said. "It's pretty special to be able to wear something that's 60 or 70 years old, it shows you what the material and workmanship was like back then."

Nineteen years ago Mrs Bonner joined the Summerland Rockers, a dance club that still meets two nights a week for rock'n'roll lessons and open dancing, and met fellow rock 'n' roll fan and future husband Robert Weis. It's still going strong, with a weekly turnout of more than 100 people.

"It's a pretty big scene," Mrs Bonner said.

"You also meet a lot of fabulous people along the way, who you form lasting friendships with."

After almost 20 years in Lismore, she is satisfied that the rock 'n' roll dancing phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down.

"If we can still sustain the interest of this many people after 19 years, there's got to be a lot of people who love the era, love what it's all about, and just want to keep on dancing.

"We see people at festivals who are still dancing in their 80s ... if you can keep doing something well into your 80s then it's got to be special."



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