Biography

Birth date: 17 March 1949
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Paddington
Service number: 9991810 - Vietnam, 1962-1975

Patricia Amphlett, a popular Australian singer of the 1960s, was born in Paddington, Sydney on 17 March 1949. Amphlett began her singing career early, having appeared on the talent show, Opportunity knocks, at the age of 13. After that she became a regular performer at surf club dances on Sydney's southern beaches.

She picked up a weekly gig at Bronte Surf Club, backed by a band called the Statesmen. During one of these performances Amphlett was spotted by an EMI Records talent scout, was given an audition and then a contract. Her first single for the label, He's my blonde headed stompie wompie real gone surfer boy was released on 7 November 1963. By the following January it had risen to number two in the Top 40 charts, only kept from the number one position by the Beatles' I wanna hold your hand.

Amphlett left school three months before her 15th birthday to focus on her singing career. She released further singles over the following two years, scoring a number of hits, making regular appearances on shows like Bandstand and Sing, sing, sing, and winning the Best Australian Female Vocalist award in 1965. By 1966 she was among Australia's most popular performers. Having made one of several attempts to drop the 'Little' from her name, Pattie became, at 17, the youngest Australian entertainer to perform in Vietnam. She was performing at the Australian base at Nui Dat on the night of the Long Tan battle. Some soldiers recall having heard snatches of music as they headed out on patrol in the hours before the fight.

During the latter part of the 1960s, Amphlett won a number of music awards. In 1972 she participated in the now famous Labor Party It's time advertising campaign for the federal election held that year. The following year she married Keith Jacobsen, a fellow musician. During the 1970s, Amphlett performed on the club circuit and was a regular guest on television's long running Midday show.

Amphlett has continued her musical career, performed in her own shows, hosted various charity and corporate events and given many concerts overseas. In addition to performing, she has also taught music and singing. Among her students was Nikki Webster who achieved fame for her role in the opening ceremony for the Sydney Olympics. More recently, Amphlett has taught at a number of Sydney high schools.

In addition to her music career, Amphlett served on the Council of the Australian War Memorial between 1995 and 1998, and as the National President of Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. She has also been on the Federal Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and was vice-president of Actors' Equity. In 2000 the Sydney Morning Herald included her on a list of the 'century's most loved faces', and she was included in a 1998 issue of Australian stamps featuring Australian bands.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Film

Col Joye concert in Vietnam DPR/TV/422

In Vietnam, Sydney entertainers Col Joye and the Joy Boys and singer Little Pattie, toured the Australian Task Force area on an armoured personnel carrier before giving shows for troops. They stopped to watch an air strike on the foothills of a nearby mountain. Smoke rises as bombs pound Viet Cong...

F03783

[Australian Reinforcement Unit and 2 RAR Vietnam 1967-1968] / John Taylor

Australian Reinforcement Unit (ARU) & 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) in South Vietnam 1967-68. Scenes include: Australian Reinforcement Unit's lines, Luscombe Airfield, Christmas show featuring Lucky Star, Lorae Desmond and Little Pattie. ARU troops escort food to Ap Sui Nghe...

F03458

Patricia (Little Pattie) Thompson as an entertainer interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end'

Civilian Entertainer. NSW Concert Party 2/66 16 August 1966 to 25 August 1966. Scene 18, Take 1: Went to Vietnam as part of Col Joye Show. Describes being young, naïve 17 year old and particularly enjoyed rides in helicopters. Talks about day of Battle of Long Tan on 18 August, 1966; scheduled...

F10648

Denis Stanley Gibbons as a photojournalist for John Fairfax & Sons and UPI interviewed by Greg Swanborough for 'The sharp end'

Photo Journalist with John Fairfax and Sons Ltd, January 1966 to October 1968. Photo Journalist with U.P.I, November 1968 to November 1970. Scene 8, Take 1: Describes having no restriction of movement and seating being set aside for journalists to accompany troops. More journalists went with...

F10663

Photograph

FOR/66/0714/VN

Australian singer Little Pattie and the band, Col Joye and the Joye Boys, perform for soldiers of Headquarters Australian Force Vietnam, in the Free World Military building. They comprised the third Government sponsored entertainment group to visit Vietnam.

FOR/66/0714/VN

SMT/66/0198/EC

Victoria Barracks, NSW. 28 July 1966. Little Patti, 17, the youngest, and at 4ft 10in, the tiniest entertainer to visit troops in Borneo and South Vietnam, gets a steadying hand from Col Joye while being innoculated by a medical officer at Victoria Barracks. Little Patti (Patricia Amphlett) of East...

SMT/66/0198/EC

SMT/66/0199/EC

Victoria Barracks, NSW. 28 July 1966. Col Joye and Little Patti, 17, receive identity passes in preparation for a tour of Borneo and South Vietnam as members of the third Government sponsored entertainment group. Handing out the passes is Major Tom Willington, Officer Commanding the Eastern Command...

SMT/66/0199/EC

SMT/66/0431/EC

Australia. November 1966. Major General J. W. Harrison, General Officer Commanding Eastern Command, receives a film of `Bandstand' from television personality, Brian Henderson (left). At right, Little Pattie and Col Joye lend support. The 1200ft film of Bandstand items is destined for Vietnam to...

SMT/66/0431/EC

P02283.004

The Sydney entertainer Patricia Amphlett (later Thompson), who performed as "Little Pattie", singing a song on the back of a US Army semi-trailer being used as a makeshift stage. Ms Amphlett accompanied Col Joye and the "Joyboys". This concert party had previously visited Australian troops in...

P02283.004

P02283.001

The Sydney entertainer Patricia Amphlett (later Thompson), who performed as "Little Pattie", singing a song on the back of a US Army semi-trailer being used as a makeshift stage, accompanied Col Joye and the "Joyboys". This concert party had previously visited Australian troops in Malaysia in March...

P02283.001

P02283.006

The Sydney enterainer Patricia Amphlett (later Thompson), who performed as "Little Pattie" singing to an audience of Australian soldiers at the Bokah Music Bowl, a temporary stage with a parachute as a shade canopy. Ms Amphlett accompanied Col Joye and his band the "Joyboys" on this and a later...

P02283.006

P02283.002

The Sydney entertainer Patricia Amphlett (later Thompson), who performed as "Little Pattie", sitting on sandbags in front of the stage with 26541 Private (Pte) Vincent George Borrett of Perth. Pte Borrett joined 6 Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) as a reinforcement on 18 August 1966...

P02283.002

P02283.003

The Sydney entertainer Patricia Amphlett (later Thompson), who performed as "Little Pattie" and accompanied Col Joye and the "Joyboys" concert party that toured Australian troops in Vietnam and Malaysia in March. This photograph was probably taken in the early evening of 17 August as D Company, 6...

P02283.003

Heraldry

Baseball style cap : Little Pattie, Australian entertainer Vietnam

Dark blue cotton twill baseball style cap, now mostly faded to light brown. The front of the crown, which is reinforced inside the black cotton lining with a band of clear plastic, is embroidered in white cotton, 'VIETNAM SPECIAL SERVICES ENTERTAINER 1966'. The crown is constructed from six...

REL45524

Timeline

Date of birth 1949-03-17 Paddington, NSW.
Other 1962 At the age of thirteen appeared as a singer on the television talent show Opportunity Knocks.
Other 1963-11-07 Her first singer with the EMI record label was released, and quickly rose to number two on the records charts.
Other 1965 Won Best Australian Female Vocalist award.
Other 1966-08-16 - 1966-08-25 Amphlett was the youngest Australian to entertain troops in Vietnam.
Other 1966-08-18 Amphlett performed at Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat. During the concert the Battle of Long Tan had begun just a few kilometres southeast of the base. For her own safety, Amphlett was evacuated by helicopter. In the following days Amphlett spent time visiting the wounded in hospital. 18 Australians died and 24 were wounded at Long Tan.
Date of honour or award 1994 Received Vietnam Logistics and Support Medal in recognition of her services in support of the Australian Armed Forces in operations in Vietnam.
Other 1995 - 1998 Member of the Australian War Memorial Council.
Date of honour or award 2003-06-09 Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). Received for services to the entertainment industry through the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and Actors Equity.