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Pub Rock is back! Revellers enter “The Twilight Zone” in sell out Mosman concert.

Published On: April 26, 2023

Pub rock returned to Mosman RSL last week with “The Twilight Zone” playing to a full house.


Sore heads, ringing ears, and the odd rock-and-roll earworm greeted revellers the morning after The Big Gig at Mosman RSL.

Last Saturday’s sold-out concert was testament to the talents of The Twilight Zone who seamlessly entertained 200 ticket-holders – and all those who took their time passing through the foyer – with a full-on, loud and lit concert, complete with heaving dancefloor.

While the boys could certainly pull a crowd, concert-goers fronted to honour a real legend, Afghan-Australian Mahboba Rawi OAM, and to support her not-for-profit, Mahboba’s Promise. Ms Rawi was eager to hear about the evening, and though she was unable to attend, was represented by members of the organisation, Judy Ross of North Sydney, Tor Bannon of Mosman, and Penny Gerstle of Northwood.

More than 200 local revellers danced the night away at Mosman RSL to support charity, Mahboba’s Promise.

Ms Rawi arrived in Australia, having been held in a Pakistani refugee camp for two years. Prior to her detention, the activist and campaigner for womens and children’s rights had been running from Afghanistan’s enemies since she was 15 years old.

Ever since, Mahboba Rawi has tirelessly campaigned for women and children trapped in Afghanistan by the horrors of war. While others who have fled such upheaval may believe there was nothing to be done, Ms Rawi started Hope House for Kabul’s vulnerable street children from her Sydney garage. She has allowed nothing to stand in the way of her promise to her children – from tiny babies to young teens – that she, literally “The Mother of a Thousand”, would never abandon them.

Wahidullah Waissi, Mahboba Rawi, and Dame Quentin Bryce in 2018 at Mahboba’s Promise 20th anniversary celebration. (Photo: Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan)

The most daring mission was devised on the fly as soldiers began sweeping across the country and seizing power. Using mobile phones, Ms Rawi and her lawyer son, Soroush Cina, would speak with their contacts on the ground in Kabul who would decide when an evacuation attempt might succeed. After aborted attempts, the first group of 17 staff and children were evacuated to Australia in September 2021, with a further 84 following in late 2022. :

“The past year has shown that organisations like ours – highly adaptable, rooted in the communities we serve, and committed to serve in any circumstance – are needed in Afghanistan more than ever,” Mr Cina said.

Party goers helped raise $15,000 at the Mosman RSL concert.

The ABC’s Australian Story ‘After the fall’ (3 April) is a harrowing, edge-of-seat watch, with all the elements of a French-resistance movie, only the daringness is more surreal.

With help from a team of Sydney-based human-rights lawyers and immigration specialists – just as ferociously determined – the mother and son orchestrated safe passage for so many whose futures were immediately altered.

Part of Mahboba’s vision since 2021, Ms Gerstle, a well-known humanitarian and human rights specialist, and executive manager at Mahboba’s Promise, spoke during the event of an incredible woman to whom the word ‘No’ was merely an inconvenience.

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“Mahboba is a force of nature who lets nothing stand in the way of her efforts to provide and care for the most vulnerable children and widows of Afghanistan,” Ms Gerstle said. “Neither Covid, war, nor politics have stopped her for even a day. Imagine a world with Mother Mahboba’s everywhere, given what one woman has managed to do.”

Dame Quentin Bryce, former Governor-General of Australia and Patron of the organisation, as quoted at mahbobaspromise.org, had this to say:

“Mahboba’s Promise upholds values of compassion, tolerance and peace by serving vulnerable women and children in Afghanistan. It strives to empower them to improve their quality of life. In Australia, Mahboba Rawi is a role model for inclusiveness and women’s rights. I encourage you to support the exceptional work done every day by this significant organisation.”

The Twilight Zone is led by singer Neil Ross from North Sydney.

The Twilight Zone, their devotees, and those keen to see Afghan women and girls with rights,  raised $15,000 on the night. Included was a silent auction with an arresting, original painting by band-member, Rob Rogers, which swelled coffers beautifully.

The funds will be spent on Mahboba’s always pressing projects, which provide emergency aid; empower children; educate women; build bridges through education; and promote self-sufficiency among Afghanistan’s at-risk women and children.

The band cannot be found on any gig guide. But you might catch an advertisement for the odd charity line-up, especially at Mosman RSL, where The Beatles, Rolling Stones and all the big bands, are played with gusto by a group of dedicated rockers – who will always be younger than the originals.

Three of the band members went to Knox Grammar together.

The Twilight Zone does not derive any income from their fundraising gigs, the only thing they seek to recover is the cost of the sound guy and equipment.

“The origins of the band go back to my 50th birthday,” said the lead singer, Neil Ross of North Sydney, when the mates decided to put on a show. “From there, we just decided to keep it going, typically once a year, but now and then twice a year. With two years off due to Covid 19.”

Three band members met at Knox Grammar, Wahroonga. “In year 2, to be precise,” Mr Ross said.

“Wink Read, Rob Rogers, and I have known each other for 60 years,” Mr Ross said. “I’ve known Tony Bannon [who lives in Mosman] for over 40 years, and the bass-player Jeff Sanders for over 20 years. Our regular keyboard player and vocalist, Tony McMinn has known most of us for 40 years. And, of course, our drummer, Richard Pearce. He’s been with us for six years.”

The Twilight Zone does not derive any income from their fundraising gigs.

Perhaps the band’s longevity is explained by its infrequent concerts, no touring to speak of, and the fact rehearsals are compressed into a few weeks.

“[We] just have a frantic rush,” Mr Ross explained. “[Maybe] a series of practice sessions as the concert date approaches. It’s very difficult to get all six members together, so we often practise together with three or four.”

The Twilight Zone’s ability to boost dollars for their nominated charities obviously hit a rough patch with pandemic restrictions. However, given the raging success of this long-anticipated, come-back performance, this band’s not about to go quietly.


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Head ‘Em Up: Where to play Two-Up on the Lower North Shore this Anzac Day.
Mega Photo Gallery: See how Mosman residents commemorated Anzac Day 2023.

Get The Latest News!

Don’t miss our top stories delivered FREE each Friday.

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