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Whyalla's king of rock 'n' roll turns suburban home into Elvis Presley museum

A man with slicked back hair showing off an arm tattoo of Elvis Presley surrounded by Elvis memorabilia.
Peter Bleeze's home is a shrine to everything Elvis.

ABC North and West: Michael Dulaney

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When Peter Bleeze moved to Whyalla six years ago, he had so much Elvis memorabilia that nearly every space of his home — the walls, floors and now even ceilings — has been taken over by the king of rock 'n' roll.

The house is a testament to the ubiquity of Elvis's face and his likeness: there are Elvis dream catchers, flannels, toothbrushes, toothpick holders, shower curtains, salt and pepper shakers and bowling balls.

There is even an Elvis toilet seat.

"There's no Elvis product they don't make," Mr Bleeze joked.

He has 97 Elvis clocks, so stepping inside his house on the hour is to be treated to a chorus of Cadillac cuckoos and Elvis-themed chimes ringing through the house.

There is so much Elvis merchandise that even the kitchen stove is covered.

So how does Mr Bleeze cook his dinner?

"I microwave," he said. "But I've even got an Elvis sticker on the microwave."

Opening the Elvis museum

After six years of living in Whyalla, South Australia, Mr Bleeze decided to open his home to visitors and offer guided tours of his collection, which he now calls the Elvis Presley Museum Whyalla.

The tour is a chance for him to show off some of the thousand pieces in his collection and share anecdotes for each item, as well as dip into his exhaustive knowledge of everything Elvis.

That Elvis shower curtain? It is a rare item — the only authorised Elvis-themed shower curtain in the world.

Mr Breeze's blue suede shoes were bought from Lansky Bros, the same shop Elvis used.

A man with brown hair and a black shirt standing inside the driver's-side door of a gold Cadillac.
Mr Breeze is often seen driving his 1961 gold Cadillac around the streets of Whyalla.

ABC North and West: Michael Dulaney

But the pride and joy of his collection is a two-door 1961 Cadillac, painted in the same gold colour as Elvis's prized car.

"I just love driving it — they don't make seats like that anymore.

"I don't buy things to just sit in the shed."

Identity linked with the king

Being known around town as such a devoted fan, Mr Breeze's face and name have become inextricably linked with Elvis.

"I bet if we went to 10 people in Whyalla, they wouldn't even know my real name," he said.

"But wherever I go they say 'How are you going, Elvis?'"

His fandom has given Mr Breeze a connection with people from across the world, but also a little closer to home.

This is apparent in a corner of the guest bedroom, which is kept as a memorial to a local Elvis fan who died a few months after visiting Mr Breeze's museum.

"When the family came down for the funeral they said 'Why don't we give Mum's memorabilia to the last place she had pleasure at?' which was here," he said.

"They came marching up my drive with all this memorabilia that she owned. So I made up that corner especially for them."

A man in a black Elvis Presley shirt dusting off a shelf of Elvis memorabilia.
Even the kitchen at Mr Bleeze's house is full of Elvis memorabilia.

ABC North and West: Michael Dulaney

Obsession started at young age

Mr Breeze's obsession with the king of rock 'n' roll began at the age of 10, when he was introduced to the star by a babysitter who would play Elvis 45s on his portable record player.

He said it had always been Elvis's voice and stylistic range that kept him coming back for more.

"Every time I heard Elvis on the radio I'd turn it up," Mr Breeze said.

Inspirations from Elvis crept into everything he did, including the Adelaide gym he owned for 20 years, called the Graceland Fitness Centre.

"Each room was named," he said.

A hallway full of Elvis memorabilia.
An Elvis cut-out greets you when you enter the hallway in Peter Bleeze's home.

ABC North and West: Michael Dulaney

"The gym side was Heartbreak Hotel, because it's hard in there. The swimming pool and the wet area was called Blue Hawaii room, and the aerobics room was called Blue Suede Shoes room."

The gym also had a front gate designed by one of Mr Breeze's customers that mimicked those at the entry of the real Graceland estate in Memphis, Tennessee.

Mr Breeze counts his only visit to Graceland as one of the best things he has done in his life.

Coming face to face with the real Graceland gates, which part every day to give access to Elvis's grave, is one of his strongest memories.

"Because I opened and shut the same gate for 20 years, that's where I lost it," he said.

"I had to walk off by myself. It was very emotional for me. I never even got to the grave.

A heart that's true

Very few people have the sort of devotion that encourages Mr Breeze to welcome people into his home to look through his possessions.

He said he got plenty of motivation from sharing his love for Elvis with the world, and also trying to recruit new fans.

"A lot of people say they don't like Elvis, but if you went into their house and looked at their record collection or their CD collection, they'd have one on Elvis, without a question," he said.

"I try and convince them by the end of the tour."

A grey cat lying on a bed surrounded by Elvis Presley memorabilia.
Even Mr Breeze's cat Rambo is a fan of Elvis Presley.

ABC North and West: Michael Dulaney

Although space inside the Whyalla house is dwindling, Mr Breeze is always looking for new items to buy with the gold coin donations for entry to the museum.

And even though seemingly every product has been made with Elvis's face, Mr Breeze thought there were some products that would be beyond the pale.

"I've got an Elvis toilet roll holder, but I'd hate to think they'd put him on the toilet paper," he said.

"That wouldn't go down too flash. I don't think they'd be game enough to try, anyway.

"Although they do it with politicians, and it sells."