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An adventure of rediscovery for Carole

March 2, 2020

Carole Baxter is discovering some of her old haunts and creating new ones as she settles into her new home at Rushall Park in North Fitzroy. Ironically, the OCAV village is across the road from the home her mother was born in the 1920s.

Carole is a familiar face to many of Melbourne’s most respected musicians. She spent years managing bands and performers and also ran the Rainbow Hotel, an iconic Melbourne pub a few streets from where she now lives. The Rainbow was then and remains an iconic live music venue.

Born in Melbourne, Carole had been living in Queensland, and before that Sydney, when she was offered a unit at Rushall Park. She is now reacquainting herself with the landmarks and the people she once knew.

“It takes a bit of settling in and finding your place when you move to a new home. I was a bit unsure at first about moving here, but I am finding my feet now,” Carole said. “I was living in a rental place and there’s no security in that long-term. The security I have here is unbelievable.”

Some things in her familiar ‘patch’ haven’t changed. The first band she booked at the Rainbow Hotel in the early 1990s was the Paul Williamson Hammond Combo and they are still performing at the venue.

Carole is taking her time to settle in before getting involved in too many activities in the village. She participated in some of the 150th anniversary Garden Party activities and learned a lot about the village’s history along the way.

“I would like to get involved gradually and try and have an impact on the musical life of the village,” she said. “It would be good to hear more music played around the place during the day.”

It’s unlikely Carole will be able to contain her entrepreneurial spirit for too long. She loves coming up with ideas, researching the possibilities and making things happen. Aside from her long career in music promotion and management she also ran Baxter Starr’s Bazaar, a second-hand restoration place nearby.

As well as catching up with old friends and musicians Carole loves to spend time listening to all sorts of music, but especially jazz and roots music. She reads a lot and is dabbling in writing; after all, she has a trove of stories in her head about Melbourne’s music scene in the 1990s. She won’t name any favourites who she worked with in her heyday, but says the late Ross Hannaford, from the Daddy Cool band, was one of the best.

“Even though there weren’t a lot of women in music management I didn’t care and I didn’t encounter much sexism because we all had a high regard for each other and a strong sense of collaboration,” she said. “I have been a bit of a gypsy for a long time now and it’s interesting reconnecting with people after a long time and finding out what everyone is now up to.”

Josephine Katite may be a long way from Kenya, where she was born and lived until 2005 but the experience of looking after her elderly grandparents is very much with her every day in her work at Liscombe House.

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