On December 23, 1976, Santa may have had his travel plans locked in, but his upcoming visit to Warrnambool was going to be an anti-climax.
You see, the young and hip folk of Warrnambool had already received the best Christmas present they could wish for.
They discovered this unique gift not under the Christmas tree, but in the pages of The Standard entertainment section.
There, in black and white, was an advertisement that broke the news AC/DC was coming to Warrnambool.
The show was part of AC/DC's A Giant Dose of Rock & Roll national tour, which had been managed by the famed duo of Ray Evans and Michael Gudinski.
These two men had founded Mushroom Records, and were riding the crest of a wave where Australian content was taking the music industry by storm.
Bands like The Little River Band, The Bee Gees and Air Supply were landing some big hits in the lucrative USA market.
At home, the Australian charts were being dominated by home-grown acts like The Angels, Skyhooks and Sherbert.
While all these acts were putting Australia on the map, it was AC/DC who were the kings of the jungle.
Bon Scott was the lead singer - he had a wicked voice, a commanding stage presence and a reputation as a rock and roll bad boy the equal of any.
By his side, with a guitar in his hand, was a young man called Angus Young.
This lad was a wizard with six strings in his hand, he played hard rock and roll like nobody had before him. On stage, he was dressed as a schoolboy, but the noise that came from his guitar was as far from angelic as could be. It was raw, it was loud, it was Australian, and it was magnificent.
Behind Scott and Young were a band of musicians who knew just what they had to do. They laid down a base that was the foundation to some of the greatest rock songs ever played.
By the time AC/DC's Warrnambool gig had been announced, the band had a string of massive hit singles including High Voltage, TNT, It's A Long Way To The Top, Jailbreak and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
But this was no fly-by-night pop band who fluked a few top 10 hits - this was a band with serious substance.
By the end of 1976, they had released four studio albums - that as well as the hit singles, included killer album tracks such as Rock and Roll Singer, The Jack, Livewire, Ain't No Fun, Big Balls and Ride On.
Make no mistake, one of the biggest, and best bands in the world were coming to Warrnambool to play.
The advertisement in the newspaper had the gig listed as January 12, 1977.
Tickets were available from Kris Kerr's record store in Liebig Street, with the show to start at 8.15pm.
Support was from an act simply called Stars.
The venue for the gig was to be The Palais in Koroit Street.
The Palais had been built in 1869 by the Independent Order of Oddfellows, and by the middle of the 20th century the venue had become one of the most popular dance halls in the state.
By the end of 1976, the dances were losing their lustre, with The Palais now owned by Warrnambool City Council.
The AC/DC gig was shaping as just the tonic for the lagging popularity of the iconic venue.
But as they say, the best laid plans...
The A Giant Dose of Rock & Roll tour was to be a historic one.
While Scott met an untimely demise, a death caused by acute alcohol poisoning, that tragic event did not happen until 1980.
But the Giant Dose of Rock & Roll was to be the last time AC/DC toured Australia with Scott as its lead singer.
It appeared Warrnambool held a leading role in ensuring one of Australia's greatest bands refused to play on home soil for four years.
In fact, a decision by Warrnambool City Council had been cited as the reason AC/DC had not only made the call to not play nationally, but indeed had seriously considered abandoning Australia and setting up home in England.
This all went down in late December 1976 and early January 1977.
The explosive Young had decided he would add another string to his bow, with theatrics to go along with his guitar playing.
While touring overseas, he had developed an intriguing little habit of dropping his trousers while on stage.
On his return home, it soon became clear 1976/77 Australia was not as liberal as fans in Europe.
Young's desire to let his strides hit the floor was causing some outrage, especially in the regional areas of the tour.
And it was the humble little city of Warrnambool that was having its opinion on Young's actions heard the loudest.
The Warrnambool City Council made the decision to call the concert off, citing Young's daring stage move as the reason.
But there was a knight in shining armour for south-west AC/DC fans, with the Portland town council offering its civic hall to host the show.
This came with a bond of $500 and an increased police presence at the show.
It was to be a triumphant visit from the world famous rockers, with Portland town clerk Mr B. Crago telling The Standard it was a quiet affair and "a good night out for the kids."
Portland police said "that other than the extremely loud music" all went well, with no trouble recorded.
So Warrnambool had missed the boat.
While AC/DC had played at pubs in Warrnambool and Port Fairy before, these shows were in their formative years, not when they had earnt their stripes as bona fide rockstars.
But perhaps Warrnambool's councillors had unwittingly created a piece of history that would forever link the city with Australia's greatest ever band.
If AC/DC had played, and Angus had or hadn't behaved, it would have been just another date on an old tour poster, and some misty-eyed memories for those who went along.
But now, Warrnambool is part of rock and roll folklore, the country town that almost caused Bon and his boys to abandon Australian stages and the country itself.
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