George Assang (1927–1997) was an Australian jazz and blues singer and actor from Thursday Island, Queensland.

He performed under his own name and the stage name Vic Sabrino.

Assang was of Aboriginal, Pacific Islander and Asian descent.

As Vic Sabrino, he may have made the first Australian Rock’n’Roll recording. A single he recorded with French-born jazz artist Red Perksey and his Orchestra included a version of “Rock Around the Clock”. This single may have been recorded in 1955, some three years before Johnny O’Keefe’s recording of “Wild One” in 1958. On this week’s Phantom Dancer you’ll also hear Assang’s version of Blue Suede Shoes, recorded in 1956.

As an actor, Assang featured in TV and film. He had a major role in the TV series Barrier Reef (1971–1972), appeared in episodes of Skippy and Hunter (1968), Spyforce (1971), Boney (1972 and Number 96 (1974).

He had roles in the movies The Intruders (1969) and And Millions Will Die (1973). He was one of the voices in the animated movie Dot and the Kangaroo (1977).

He had a short-lived television series in 1958 called Vic Sabrino Sings.


Sydney Daily Telegraph, 29 July 1947

An ex-servicemen’s band refused last-night to play at a dance in Air Force House because the house committee had imposed a color ban.

The band is The Port Jackson Jazz Band (founded in 1944 with this line-up in 1947: Ray Price (guitar, banjo), Ken Flannery (trumpet), James (Jimmy) Somerville (piano), Johnny Rich (trombone), Bob Cruikshanks (clarinet), Clive Whitcombe (drums), Marie Harriett (vocals).

The band manager and organiser of the dance (Mr. Ray Price, who went on to study double bass at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, played bass in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO), then was kicked out of the SSO in 1956 amidst much publicity when the orchestra discovered his jazz activities) said last night:

“The Air Force House manager (Mr. Cox) told me this afternoon that no colored persons would be allowed on the premises.”

“Negroes have been admitted to previous dances held at Air Force House and no explanation was given for the sudden ban.”

“The band, which consists of seven ex-servicemen, all professional musicians, unanimously agreed, as a protest, not to play tonight.”

“Our band has. a regular following, including about 12 colored boys.”

“Negroes who attend our dances are mostly seamen on leave.”

“They are all ex-servicemen, and many of them were entertained inService hostels in Australia during the war.”

Mr. Cox said: “The committee ruled that no colored people would be admitted tonight and I must enforce its ruling.”

Eddie Hudson, lightweight Negro boxer, who will fight Ken Bailey at Sydney Stadium on August 11, was one of those banned.

Hudson said: “I attended the dance at Air Force House last Monday night and thoroughly enjoyed myself.”

“No drunks attend the dance, just a bunch of kids who want to have a good time.”


He first learned to play trombone in his father’s brass band. He was inspired by Miff Mole.

At 19, Frank Coughlan moved to Sydney, New South Wales. He began playing at the Bondi Casino in Will James’s dance band.

In 1924, he joined the Californians, the first jazz group to come to Australia (who you can hear in this YouTube clip below)…

He went to England in 1929, and played at the Kit Kat Club, Savoy Hotel and Claridges, recording with Fred Elizalde, Arthur Rosebery, Jack Hylton’s Band, and the New Mayfair Orchestra. He returned to Australia because of the Depression.

1n April 1936, Frank Coughlan became band director at Sydney’s newest jazz and dance club, the Trocadero.

Coughlan remained at the Trocadero until 1942 whent he was drafted into the Australian Militia for World War II. From 1942 to 1946, he was active in the Militia and Australian Imperial Force. He was promoted to sergeant in 1945. While in the military, Coughlan entertain troops.

He returned to the Trocadero in 1946 and had a residency there until the ballroom closed in 1970.


Adrian August Bussy de Saint-Romain was an Australian jazz saxophone & clarinet player, bandleader & songwriter, born in New Zealand.

He first heard live jazz in San Francisco after working his passage as a cabin boy on the “Tahiti”.
Romaine came to Australia in 1920 and worked with the orchestras of Cec Morrison & Merv Lyons.

He went to London in 1930 and worked with Herman Darewski & Jack Hylton (toured Europe with the Hylton Orchestra).

Returned to Australia in 1933 and worked with various Sydney bands, but decided to go back to London and left 2 May, 1936 where he worked with Harry Roy (including a tour to South America) but returned again to Australia in 1940.

After a short time he was appointed bandleader at the Trocadero where he stayed for over 5 years (1941-1946).

After a holiday in the U.S. (1946/47) he worked as a disc jockey at 2GB radio until the beginning of 1948 when he was appointed musical director of the State Theatre Orchestras in Melbourne & Sydney (1948-1951).

He led bands in Sydney until appointed musical director of the Jack Davey Show on Radio 2GB in 1954.