Sounds of Australia Registry




A collection of sound recordings that are important to our collective memories as Australians. The recordings range from what is probably the very first sound recording ever made in Australia the sound of a man imitating chickens (1896) to political speeches, music, radio and advertising jingles.

The Registry includes events in history: Prime Minister Menzies's announcement that Australia is at war (Menzies Speech: Declaration of War, 1939), Sir Ernest Shakleton's description of his journey to the South Pole (My South Polar Expedition, 1910), Bert Hinkler's recounting of his aviation exploits (Hinkler's Message to Australia; Incidents of My Flight, 1928), Lionel Rose's bantamweight triumph in Tokyo in 1968 (Lionel Rose Wins the World Title) and Australia's return to gold medal-winning form at the 1980 Olympics (Gold Gold Gold: 4 × 100 Metres Men's Medley Relay, 1980). In Hobart in 1903, Horace Watson was recording the singing of Fanny Cochrane Smith, one of the last surviving Tasmanian Aboriginals (Fanny Cochrane Smith's Tasmanian Aboriginal Songs). (Fanny's contribution to recorded sound history is acknowledged by the NFSA's annual Cochrane Smith Award for Sound Preservation.) Other notable achievements in the recording of Indigenous culture appear in the field recordings from the late 1940s by Professor AP Elkin (Tribal Music of Australia, 1953) and Oodgeroo Noonuccal's reading of her poem We Are Going (1986), and extend through to the contemporary songs of Vic Simms (The Loner, 1973), the Warumpi Band (Jailanguru Pakarnu (Out from Jail), 1983), Yothu Yindi (Treaty, 1991), Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly (From Little Things Big Things Grow, 1991) and others. Also captured are the sounds of careers-in-the-making, the first recordings of Dame Nellie Melba (Chant Vénitien, 1904), Smoky Dawson (Smoky Dawson and the Singing Bullet, 1955) and Daddy Cool (Eagle Rock, 1971), the early efforts of pianist-composer Percy Grainger (Country Gardens, 1919), country singer Tex Morton (Wrap Me Up With My Stockwhip and Blanket, 1936), rock'n'roller Col Joye (Bye Bye Baby, 1959) and jazzman Graeme Bell (Swanston St Shamble; Two Day Jag, 1944). We hear important landmarks in the recorded history of Australian classical music, such as the Sydney Opera House Opening Concert (1973) and pieces like John Antill's Corroboree (1950), Peter Sculthorpe's Irkanda IV (1967) and Nigel Butterley's In the Head the Fire (1966), an early Australian winner of the Italia Prize for radiophonic works. The radio has always figured prominently in the lives of Australians. Radio serials like Dad and Dave from Snake Gully - Episode 1 (1937) and Theme From 'Blue Hills' (1949) sat amidst or alongside jingles like the Aeroplane Jelly Song (1938) and the Happy Little Vegemites (1959) ditty. Pick A Box continued as a radio show after it became a television show, with television episodes simulcast over the radio airwaves (Pick a Box - Episode 170, 1963). Almost every hour, on the hour, the Majestic Fanfare (1943) summoned us to the ABC News, but how many of us have heard more than 18 seconds of this familiar clarion call? As the recording business picked up in Australia from the early 1950s, the output and range of recordings increased rapidly with influences from the USA in blues, jazz, ragtime, folk and rock.

The NFSA does not usually hold the copyright for the works in its collection, so clearing the rights to use the material will be up to you.

Terms and conditions apply, and fees are charged for services according to the fee schedule published on the NFSA Website. A quote will be provided before proceeding with any services.


Advertising; Music; Radio; Songs; Sound recordings; Speeches; Sport

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2012-05-30 23:41

2011-03-11 11:44