Elvis Presley is in the Australian Hills thanks to former Yellow Wiggle and Dural resident Greg Page who has bought Presley’s story and treasures to Stockland Baulkham Hills. The exhibition opened today (April 7) and runs until April 29. It was, perhaps, a little known fact that Presley was an incredibly generous man, having come from a very poor background.
Page said he wanted the exhibition to highlight Presley’s tremendous generosity and that is why all proceeds from the gold coin entry will go to the Salvation Army’s Disaster Relief appeal. “Elvis would walk down the main street with his manager and give his manager a roll of $100 bills,” Page said.
“He would tell his manager to give people a $100 bill. In those days, that would be worth a fortune. “Much is said about Elvis, particularly in his last year, but little is known about his generosity and that’s what this is all about.”
Presley’s generosity is matched by Page who is known for giving back to the community himself. Page started collecting all things Elvis quite by accident six years ago when the Wiggles were touring America and had a day off in Memphis.
He was 5 the day Presley died in 1977 and loved Presley’s music but had never thought of collecting memorabilia. “We had day off in Memphis and everyone was going to tour Graceland,” Page said.
“They said ‘come on, we have to do it’. I though ‘yeah’ but went and that was it. I was interested in his music before but did not know the story of the man. “That visit changed my life.”
Page started his collection by buying a cheque signed by Presley in a Gold Coast memorabilia shop. Six years later, there are thousands of items but a pride and joy is the 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II which Page has owned for a year after buying it from a private collector. The Lincoln is now owned by Graceland and will return to America in January to join the other Presley cars at his home. “It is the car Elvis drove Priscilla home in when they married,” Page said.
“It is also the car he drove Natalie Wood in when they dated and the car he drove to the barracks when he registered for the Army.” The exhibition has been endorsed by the Estate of Elvis Presley and Elvis Presley Enterprises - a fact Page is proud of - and he hopes to take the exhibition elsewhere after Stockland Baulkham Hills.
“I picked Stockland Baulkham Hills because I am a Hills resident and have shopped here since it opened in 1979,” he said. Marketing manager Mark Galbraith encouraged everyone to check out the exhibition. “We are very excited that Greg has picked Stockland Baulkham Hills to stage the exhibition,” he said.
The Salvation Army’s corporate and major gifts co-ordinator Randy Wood said proceeds would help flood, earthquake and tsunami victims. “Elvis was a very generous man and this is a very generous thing for Greg to do for us,” Mr Wood said.
PICTURE: This white 1956 Lincoln is the eye catcher of the exhibition. The car will return to Graceland next year.