In February 1973 the Rolling Stones returned to Australia for the first time since 1966 as part of their Pacific tour. It had looked like the band would not be allowed into the country because of prior drug convictions but the Department of Immigration relented and approved entry visas for all band members. There were a few drug-related incidents but all told the tour was remarkably trouble-free. The only major disturbance took place during a concert at Adelaide’s Memorial Drive Park, when some of the 5,000 fans clashed with police and 21 arrests were made. Immigration Minister Al Grassby defended the band and his decision to allow them to visit. He said ‘The Stones are an excellent example to Australian youth. I told them I was putting my faith in them and hoped they would do the right thing. I have no regrets that I let them in. Yes, I went out on a limb to give them visas - to give a man a bad name and hang him is immoral and un-Australian.’ The band performed in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney, treating Melbourne and Sydney audiences to two concerts each.
The 1973 tour is legendary for those lucky enough to be there. For those who weren’t, an ABC camera crew followed the band and reporter Jeune Pritchard established an excellent rapport with the stars. First broadcast on the popular music show GTK, ‘The Rolling Stones in Australia’ is one of the ABC archive’s golden assets. It shows the Stones in their heyday and offers a glimpse of Australian youth culture of the time.