A state memorial service will be held for Olivia Newton-John in Melbourne later this month, honouring the singer and actress six months after her death last year.
The memorial will be held inside Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on February 26, and is being planned in close consultation with representatives from the Newton-John family.
The service will include tributes from family and friends of Newton-John’s, as well as a musical performance by Delta Goodrem. The memorial will be free but will be ticketed in line with Hamer Hall’s capacity. Members of the public can register to attend the service from midday next Friday (February 10). More information can be found here.
Though born in Cambridge, England in 1948, Newton-John moved with her family to Melbourne in early 1954, when she was five years old. The city is where she first found a passion for performing, and in 1965, won a talent contest on the TV program Sing, Sing Sing, moving to London a year later after winning a trip to Britain as part of her prize.
Newton-John’s activism also centred around Melbourne – following her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1992, she raised research funds and promoted cancer awareness. In 2012, she partnered with Austin Health in Melbourne to establish the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre, offering treatment, education, training and research.
“Dame Olivia Newton-John was an inspiration to many around the world – her work in cancer research and treatment saved lives and changed lives and her music was the soundtrack to a generation,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement.
“We know Victorians are eager to celebrate the life of a driving force in medical research and an icon of film and music, with a service befitting her international acclaim.”
Newton-John died in August 2022, aged 73, following her lengthy battle with cancer. Tributes poured in from her contemporaries like Kylie Minogue, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Dionne Warwick and Newton-John’s Grease co-star John Travolta. Others who paid tribute to Newton-John included her husband John Easterling, ABBA, Mariah Carey and Rebel Wilson.
Coldplay were joined by Natalie Imbruglia doing a show the band played at Wembley Stadium to perform Grease‘s ‘Summer Nights’. Meanwhile, The Chicks, Harry Styles and Pink all paid tribute to Newton-John by covering the Grease song ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’ during separate concerts.
At the 2022 ARIA Awards, Newton-John was remembered with a medley performance led by Imburglia, with Tones and I serving as its musical director.