La Trobe’s live music legacy

La Trobe alumnus Spiro Espositos recalls the trail-blazing bands that visited La Trobe in the late 1970s. He is pictured with some of the posters he kept from his student days.

For Spiro Espositos, attending La Trobe University in the 70s meant much more than earning a degree. While he treasures the Bachelor of Economics he received, he says his time at La Trobe also instilled in him a lifelong love of music and culture.

Arriving at the Bundoora Campus as the first in his family to attend university, Spiro said he soon learnt to make the most of the experiences he was offered.

“I discovered there was much more to university than I had thought,” Spiro says. “Becoming involved in the university radio station was when I knew I had found my passion.”

Spiro shared his favourite memories of La Trobe as part of the University’s Share Your Story competition. His entry won the major prize – a trip to Hong Kong as part of World La Trobe Week celebrations.

Below is his winning submission.

Spiro’s La Trobe story

After high school, I was grateful to La Trobe University for accepting me into the Bachelor of Economics course in 1977.

I was determined to work hard, complete my course as quickly as possible, and get the hell out in order to join the workforce. Now, although I finished my course within the three years, the period between 1977 and 1980, when I graduated, were some of the best years of my life!

1977 saw the rise of punk and new wave music, and, boy, was I in my element! I couldn’t believe the lunchtime concerts and Union nights. The gig organisers were obviously on the same wavelength as me, as some of the most iconic bands of the era, and bands that would become iconic, played at La Trobe.

Listen to these names: Ramones, The Stranglers, INXS, The Angels, The Sports, Jo Jo Zep & the Falcons, Skyhooks, Dave Warner from the Suburbs, and I’ve probably missed a lot more big names. Even Radio Birdman played a lunchtime gig in Union Hall, and I think my friend and I were the only ones there! Most of the student population were still in hippie mode at the time, as they preferred Ross (My Name Means Horse) Ryan!

In 1979 I joined Radio 3LT, the campus radio station. I met some great blokes there such as Sal and John, and others, whose names escape me. I was fortunate enough to have a prime lunchtime slot for one hour. Most shows were only around half an hour. I did my best to introduce the ‘new music’ to the masses at La Trobe. I also recall going into the studios at 3CR and recording a show for them. What heady days!

After graduating in 1980, it wasn’t long that I found a job at the Gas and Fuel Corporation, in a graduate intake program. I stayed in the gas industry for 32 years, and I’m forever grateful for La Trobe University for instilling pride, loyalty, independence, and the meaning of teamwork into my work ethos.

Happy Birthday La Trobe University!

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