Thursday, April 9, 2020  
Black Lace
    Silva Linings > Senate > Black Lace  

Silva Linings was formed in 1966 by Mac Silva, Geoff Compton and Steve Lugnan. Bob Wayne aka Awang also played with them. They played at the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs. The Silva Linings won the Battle of the Bands in 1968, at Greenmount Beach, Coolangatta. A year later they went on New Faces Channel 9. After one brief name change [Senate] they changed their name to Black Lace in 1972.

Rick Barnes joined the band in 1968 and remained with them through the name change to Senate and then on and off with Black Lace throughout the 70s.

Geoff Compton left the band in 1983, when he went back home to Tweed Heads to live.


First band:

  • Mac Silva [1942 - 1989]
  • Steve Lugnam [Gumbaynggir]
  • Geoff Compton [ - 2014]
  • Rick Barnes [Kamilaroi] [1946 - 1996]

Freddy Edgar, Big Jamie

Lead guitarists:
Junior Brennan, Andrew (Drew) Donnelly

Bass guitarists:
Arnold Williams, Ian Johnstone

Cecil Patten, Kevin McGrady, Les Colins, Bob Wayne aka Awang, Bear, ...

It is more than 20 years since the untimely loss of Mac Silva and the
disbanding of Black Lace, the fabulous and much loved band
which played for more than 20 years, with four generations of musicians.

Some of the band members are looking for film footage, and recordings.


L to R: Mac, Junior, Arnold, Andrew
    History of the band  

Mac was a very talented musician and singer and upon arriving in Sydney he started performing at the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs in George Street in the city. Mac’s band performed at the Foundation’s dances every Saturday and Sunday night. In 1966 he formed the Silva Linings band in which he was singer and drummer. The band won the Gold Coast Battle of the Sounds. After several years the band changed its name to Black Lace. Black Lace became very popular and gained a following throughout the Aboriginal communities in NSW and beyond. Blacks from everywhere would come to see Black Lace play, from Dubbo, Moreee and Northern NSW.  Read more

1975 Black Lace 500.jpg

                Black Lace at the National Aboriginal Day Ball, 1975
                Back row: Arnold Williams, Frank
                Front row: Andrew Donnelly, Cecil Patten, Kevin McGrady, Malcolm Silva 

    Silva Linings  
  photographs of Silva Linings
The families of Rick Barnes & Steve Lugnan sent in some
   of their photos. Check out the gallery below.
   Thanks to Lisa and Brentyn.

looking to find all the names
    Rick Barnes  

My dad the late Rick Barnes was an original member of Black Lace, starting with SILVA LININGS and also when they changed their name to SENATE. This is a picture of when my dad joined the band and what he looked like at that time, and my mother Rhonda. Mum said the photo was taken in March 1969. He joined the band in 1968 and remained with them through the name change to Senate and then on and off with Black Lace throughout the 70s. We lived with Geoff Compton and his then wife Dawn and their two kids Bernadette and Geoffrey Compton in 1970-71. Mum was a nurse at Rachel Forster Hospital in Redfern and met Rick when he and the band were playing at the Clifton Hotel. The Clifton Hotel was a hot spot in those days and Anthony Mundine’s dad used to watch them play often with his then wife Lyn. They had three children - Joanne, Lisa and Richard.

Senate recorded a single in the early 70s. It was a cover of ‘BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX', featuring Mac on vocals and Rick on lead guitar.

The Redfern Hotel I believe was a regular hang out for my dad and the band. My dad died of a massive heart attack on 1996 at age 50 and we miss him very much. I'm wondering if anyone has any pics with my dad in them or old recordings, in the late 60s early 70s. The single was professionally done. [Lisa Reade (Barnes)]

Music, Mac and Malabar Mansion
Tracker article by Gary Foley 2013

audioheart.gif By the time I get to Phoenix - A single was recorded in the early 1970s, when the band was called Senate, featuring Mac on vocals and Rick Barnes on lead guitar.

Rick's family would like to locate a copy, if anyone can help.

audioheart.gif Rock against racism Vol. 1 1985 2 cassette set  Melbourne Aboriginal Radio Association [Koori Radio] Concert held during Koori Week (NADOC '85) at Powerhouse Theatre, Albert Park


audioheart.gif Deaths in custody & Don't bogart that joint 1988 EMI Single 45 rpm Maya Records MRC-804

audioheart.gif Before you accuse me on ABC documentary 1989 

QUESTION: Why wasn't Black Lace on the Building bridges album made in 1988? [2 LP set / CD]

Mac Silva also on

audioheart.gif Goulburn Jail and Malabar Mansion on a single in 1988 ENS 047 [with Roger Knox]

audioheart.gif   Aboriginal prison song collection  [Koori classic Volume 4]

  • Malabar mansion
  • Lonesome jailhouse blues
  • Midnight special
  • Jailhouse rock with Vic Simms & Roger Knox who also had songs on the album.

audioheart.gif The best of Koori classics  CD 1996 Larrikin: LRF 399 - preview

  • Malabar mansion
  • Lonesome jailhouse blues

audioheart.gif tracks on  Buried country soundtrack. ABC Music 2000
1976 dance poster

    Film footage  

 0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpgc. 1975 Title No: 281343 Title: BLACK AND WHITE RAG Live performance, Sydney Opera House with Winifred Atwell. Held at the National Film and Sound Archive


0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpg In 1981, Peter Gray produced several video productions of large rock concerts in Sydney, including Rock Against Racism. He co-produced The whole world is watching and later ‘road showed’ it to remote areas in northern Australia. The films are listed here

  • Rock against racism 1 (1981) music video
  • Rock against racism 2 (1981) music video
  • The whole world is watching (1982) documentary video

Clips at the National Film and Sound Archive


Title No: 280528 Title: BAD BAD LEROY BROWN


Title No: 280531 Title: LONG AS I SEE THE LIGHT

Title No: 280521 Title: MELTING POT


Title No: 280529 Title: ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN

Title No: 280532 Title: SULTANS OF SWING


Title No: 280527 Title: WALK THE DOG


Title No: 280526 Title: [UNKNOWN SONG]


0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpg 88.9 Radio Redfern 1988 Sharon Bell / Film Australia 




Sales Office | GPO Box 3984 Sydney NSW 2001 | Australia

T 1800 213 099 or +61 2 8113 1064 F 1800 077 471 or +61 2 9357 1392

Email |

$34.50 for home use [$49.00 $89.00 $139.00 schools etc.] Plus freight: $7.00

0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpg Malabar Mansion music video was recorded at the Block in 1988. Produced by Cheryl Rose, Nick Power and Greg Hoy. Directed by Nick Power. Made with the assistance of Metro TV. Paddington. Broadcast on UHF-31 as part of the Community TV test transmissions (1987 - 1988). Link on the right >.

0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpg TO FIND - ABC doco produced by Bernard Cannon, researched by Vic Simms 1989? [54 min.]

0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpg Building bridges ABC TV 1991 [28 min.] $165 ABC checking copyright

Produced by Lorraine Mafi Williams and David Sandy. Music & voxpops

ABC Non-Theatric Sales
T 1300 650 587, email or fax 02 8333 3975
Standard: $88 per 1 hour; Individuals/Schools: $55 per 1 hour (include postage and handling)

0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpg ABC has footage of the complete Building Bridges concert. TBA

0 0 0 filmcamera50low.jpg Buried country; The story of Aboriginal country music. Film Australia 2000 [75 min.]

Includes musicians from other fields such as Black Lace, the Warumpi Band, Yothu Yindi and Us Mob.


1978 dance poster

    Tribute to Mac Silva  

This book is available at Waterloo Public Library. LOCAL HISTORY 362.849915 MAC


The Mac Silva Centre  is an oral history project of the Mac Silva Centre and Outreach, Sydney Institute of Technology, East Sydney.  Published  in Darlinghurst c1994


‘Sylvia Scott used the Rona Tranby award to tell the story of the Mac Silva Centre, a refuge for homeless Aboriginal men with alcohol related problems, by interviewing residents and staff with the aim of writing a book.  By publishing the positive achievements of this Centre, Sylvia feels that others will be encouraged to set up similar places to help people in her community.’


Mac Silva was a brilliant musician. Like his brothers, Paul and John, he died young of a heart attack in 1989. He founded a band called Black Lace, the cruelly ironic phrase that described the chains that used to be clamped around the necks of Aboriginal people. Not long before he died, he published a disc with the euphemised title for Long Bay Jail, ‘Malabar Mansion’. [Ted Kennedy]


I was in a sad and sorry state
The day they brought me through that gate.
I felt just like a bird in a great big cage.
Then they put me in a wing
Where the lifers think they're king.
If you're weak, you'll never live to see old age.

Long Bay Jail, you're doing bad -
You have made sane men go mad.
Some even took their life at different times.
But you won't do that to me,
I'll still be sane when they set me free,
And I pray to God to help me keep my mind.


    Feedback 1 September 2010  

Redfern / Fitzroy

The relationship between Redfern and Fitzroy during the late 60s, 70s and 80s was of utmost importance. Having the same vision in Aboriginal Health politically bonded a stream of "black activists" up and down the eastern coast of Australia. Soon after this "bond" expanded into Brisbane and hence the beginnings of the black power movement ( Bruce Mac and Bob Mazza invited Carribean activist Roosevelt in 1969 at AAL). Small groups of Redfern people moved to Melbourne and vise versa... Kevin Smith established the first Aboriginal Rugby team in Melbourne and players from the famous Fitzroy Stars Football Club (aussie rules) would give them a hand and play if they were "short". The most powerful National black organisation in the history of this country, NAIHO, would never have been as effective as it was if the the bond between Redfern and Fitzroy hadn't been what it was... Black Lace used to come to Melbourne and play for "special occassions" including Koori Kollij Health Worker Education Program graduation... 'Cabaret's' at Collingwood Town Hall and they would pack em to the hilt... Everyone had a personal connection with the band members because they were a part of us and came from the same 'black ghetto' as Fitzroy people...


Kelvin Onus-King

    Rock against racism  


Vol.1. Side 1.
Melbourne blacks.
We keep the ball in motion.
Hey, Joe. S tuck in Lodi.
Johnny too bad.

Side 2.
Need for freedom.
Don't bogart that joint.
Seven seas.
Racial discrimination.
Don't look back.
Wasted days wasted times 

Vol.2. Side 1.
Speaking and didgeridoo.
Our future.
Peter Gunne.
Tonight the bottle let me down.
Johnny B. Goode.
One step forward.
John Pat.
Speaking and hard times.

    See also  
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