Written by: Regina Seipp, photo credits: Regina Seipp.
Translation: Marion Adriaensen / GSI
Original title

t was back in 2001 when I began planning another Australian holiday. First the idea was to travel together with some friends however they finally decided to spend their holidays in New Zealand. I decided to go to Australia after all. First thing to do was to convince my boss that I needed at least 3 ½ weeks for my journey. I also wanted to include some days Sydney before I’d start an organized tour along the East Coast.

Finally my boss agreed and I was overjoyed to find out I was able again to travel to my beloved Australia again. It’s not only my dreamland because of its nature and the climate but also because of some people. I’d been looking for these particular people for quite some time yet. The search in fact began back in 1989 with a photo of the Gibb Brothers and their former colleagues Colin Petersen and Vince Melouney. When I saw this photo I decided I just wanted to find out what had become of these two men. I first tried to find out through some of the fan clubs, without any luck. These people didn’t want to tell anything like often the case is I’m afraid), or they really didn’t know anything. There is no person registration office like we know this to check and ask for people you are looking for, I decided to ask embassies, The Red Cross and other institutions in Australia. All of them were very helpful. One day I got the tip to try and ask around in the music business. So I did and see what happened, after a search of 5 years, I received a very kind letter from Joanne Petersen, Colin’s wife. She let me know now that after I’d found her she’d send through all my letters to Colin and Vince. So I started writing like crazy but from the other site I heard very little but when I did it was always very kind. Vince however didn’t respond. 

By the end of 1999 I first traveled to Australia and of course also visited the address of Joanne. Such a pity: nobody home! Back in Germany a bad time started when I lost my mother and I decided to write Joanne about my mothers death. She answered me in a very kind letter and also told me she and Colin were divorced and now she lived somewhere else. Since then our correspondence became more frequently and above all I also received a card from Vince on October 2 – 2001. Now I had made up my mind. I would at least pay a visit to Joanne next time I’d be Down Under again. I gave her my schedule and she answered, oh my.. She wasn’t even in Australia by that time at all while she then would be in America and England visiting her relatives. I was very sad but shortly before my trip to Australia started I received a small card from Joanne in which she asked me to call her from Sydney, she would stay in Australia. Great!! Now my trip could start. It all began with a great flight from while I took care of an older lady which the Quantas Crew liked a lot and therefore I got several nice gifts: 1 make up bag from First Class, a casual suit with Quantas logo and a bottle of Champagne. Now I had quite some extra luggage and I was rather happy to have arrived in Sydney finally. The next day I immediately took the phone while being rather nervous and got Joanne on the other end right away. She was very friendly. It was a pity but I couldn’t yet mention a time and place to meet as I first needed to join my travel group. Well, it wasn’t a problem at all I just had to phone her one more. At that point I just asked her if it would be possible at all to meet Colin while I’m in Sydney now. At Joanne gave me his phone number and told me to just phone him and she would already leave a message behind for him as well. I had to wait until the evening and then I took the phone again. And suddenly I was with Colin Petersen on the phone I couldn’t believe it. We arranged to meet each other in a suburb of Sydney on a Sunday afternoon.

Of course I was much too early at the meeting point. Colin arrived about 10 minutes after the time he’d actually be there. First I was scared a bit because he didn’t look quite well and not shaved etc. He didn’t seem to be a rich and famous musician anymore but he was very kind. He told me a lot about the old days with The Bee Gees and was very proud to be able to speak with an enthusiastic fan. At the moment he’s working at a radio station and he’s writing a book about his life as a film star when he was still a child and of course about him being the drummer of The Bee Gees. I think he loved his period of being a Bee Gee. He told very enthusiastic about all the crazy fans and their behaviour. A thing he still remembers very well was the arrival in Hamburg in 1968 when all the names of the group were written in flowers at the airport. Now he soon hopes to find someone who gives him the possibility to release his book and to support him financially with that project. We’ve talked together for about 1 ½ hours and I enjoyed it very much. He paid my orange juice and of course I had to give him some photos made by a kind waitress. Then I also gave him the champagne bottle I’d received from Quantas. Of course I’d to ask about Vince as well. Colin thought it was best to phone Vince. And Colin would first send Vince a message and later on give me the mobile phone number of Vince, that easy!!. That evening I couldn’t reach Colin anymore but I succeeded the next day when I first thanked him again for the nice meeting and then he gave me the number to reach Vince.

That Tuesday my organized trip started and first of all I told my travel guide Manuela that I had to meet up with some people on the road. Manuela was very kind and gave me her mobile phone number what I then could give to Joanne to make it easier to plan another meeting. I would love to meet Vince as well and talk to him. It all went so easy and smoothly until now it looked like routine but when I got Vince on the phone and he called me ‘Hey Retschina’ that was again a dream. He has a voice sounding much like Barry’s. He was very much interested is how I was doing, where I was at the moment and what my touring plans were. I thought my trip would bring me back to Sydney at the end but that wasn’t the case. Such a pity cause now it wasn’t possible to meet with Vince as well but on the other hand we had 5 nice phone talks together during my stay Down Under and once he even called me on the mobile of Manuela while we were driving in the bus. However I still was looking forward to my meeting with Joanne. A meeting which first wouldn’t be possible at all because Joanne had to work. One evening Joanne talked things over with Manuela to find out the right meeting point and time and finally it was settled and we met. Joanne was wonderful and very kind. She told me about her sons and that she and Colin were still good friends. At the end of my journey I phoned with her once more to thanks her for all she’d done and arranged for me. This journey I’ll keep in my memory for ever and specially with the hope of getting a chance to meet Vince next year in Germany.

Love Regina.
Colin married his Joanne
The Bee Gees with standing left Colin Petersen