Skip to content | Skip to document navigation

Research Guides


Sound Recordings in the National Archives


2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

While no single series of sound records relates entirely to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, relevant items are included in several general series created by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (later Corporation) and the Film Division. 

Australian Broadcasting Commission 

The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) was established under the Australian Broadcasting Commission Act 1932. The Commission was a government-controlled body, closely modelled on the British Broadcasting Commission, responsible for broadcasting music, current affairs, religious, educational and other programs. (See Australian Broadcasting Commission, Chapter 3 for a more comprehensive description.)

PROGRAM RECORDINGS, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 'SA' (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) PREFIX, 1933–70
Sydney
This series consists of 10" and 12" gramophone disc recordings of Australian Broadcasting Commission radio programs broadcast in South Australia. They include speeches, documentaries, plays and music. In 1991 preservation tape copies of the discs were made by the Sydney Office of the National Archives. Reference cassette copies are available.
Series: C1829
Quantity: 0.99 metres
Recorded by: 1933–70 Australian Broadcasting Commission, South Australia (CA 2639)
Australian Aboriginal songs, parts 3–6 (gramophone disc), by 1950 C1829, SA82
Sister Eileen – Kim Corcoran: Hostel for Aboriginal Children (gramophone disc), 1952 C1829, SA93
ACETATE RECORDINGS OF ABC AND BRITISH BROADCASTING COMMISSION (LOCALLY PRODUCED) PROGRAMS, 1945–81
Sydney
This series contains material dating back to 1932. It is effectively a 'catch-all' series for acetate recordings that do not belong to other series. It contains 78 and 331/3 rpm 10", 12" and 16" acetate gramophone recordings of ABC and BBC programs recorded from short-wave broadcasts by the ABC's Radio Archives in 1980-81. The programs cover a wide variety of subjects. The ABC programs are mostly sports and music broadcasts, and the BBC broadcasts are mostly of news events and commentaries. All the recordings have been dubbed onto tapes by the ABC's Radio Archives (see C102).
Series: C119
Quantity: 0.36 metres
Recorded by: 1945–81 Australian Broadcasting Commission, Radio Archives (CA 251)
Aboriginal music (sound recording), c.1951 C119, TA1049
ABC TRANSCRIPTION RECORDINGS, UNREGISTERED SERIES, 1950–
Sydney
This series consists of transcription recordings of ABC programs, including book readings, orchestral music and documentaries.
Series: C918
Quantity: 9 metres
Recorded by: 1950–83 Australian Broadcasting Commission (CA 251); 1983– Australian Broadcasting Corporation (CA 3589)
Groote Island Aboriginal songs, National Geographic-Australian Government expedition to Arnhem Land (sound recording), by 1950 C918, 12
Port Darwin Aboriginal songs, National Geographic-Australian Government expedition to Arnhem Land (sound recording), by 1950 C918, 13
The Oldest Australians, John Maher and Professor Mountford – school broadcast (sound recording) – Sydney, 1952 (disk 1 of 2) C918, COL980
RADIO ARCHIVES MASTER AUDIO TAPES, SUBJECT CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM, 1970–71
Sydney
This series contains material dating from the 1930s. It contains master and working tape copies of gramophone discs from the ABC's sound library. The discs are spoken word recordings and cover a wide variety of subjects. They were catalogued by a subject classification system, which was also used to control the tape copies.
Series: C102
Quantity: 46.62 metres
Recorded by: 1970–71 Australian Broadcasting Commission, Radio Archives (CA 251)
Harold Blair – talk – 'Does the white Australian expect too much of the Australian Aborigine?' (audio tape), 1956 C102, AA1
Aboriginal children – reception – Melbourne Town Hall (audio tape), 1947 C102, AA2
Albert Namatjira, interviewed by Kim Corcoran at exhibition in Alice Springs, 1952 C102, AR25
Aboriginal songs – N B Tindale introduced by Bob Lange (audio tape), 1949 C102, NAT13
Sandra Le Brun-Holmes, Aboriginal songs, music, chants, effects, etc (audio tape), 1964 C102, NAT22 part 1
Sandra Le Brun-Holmes, Aboriginal songs, music, chants, effects, etc (audio tape), 1964 C102, NAT22 part 2
Solo didgeridoo playing at Bagot Aboriginal Settlement (audio tape), 1959 C102, NAT25
RADIO ARCHIVES LIBRARY TAPES, ANNUAL MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 1973–
Sydney
This series contains material dating back to 1946. It consists of master tapes kept by the Australian Broadcasting Commission's Radio Archives of programs considered to merit permanent retention for their historical and/or artistic value. The items are arranged in a multiple number sequence in which the first number signifies the year, the second the tape size, and the third is a consecutive registration number.
Series: C100
Quantity: 666 metres
Recorded by: 1973–83 Australian Broadcasting Commission (CA 251); 1983– Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Archives (CA 6879)
Senator Neville Bonner, first Aboriginal in Parliament (audio tape), 1971 C100, 73/7/50 CUT 3
Aboriginal legends recorded by Eugene Lumber (audio tape), c1968 C100, 73/7/244
Aboriginal Echo(e)s, John Thompson (audio tape), 1972 C100, 73/7/299
Jack Davis, Aboriginal leader at the United Nations HQ, New York (audio tape), 8 October 1970 C100, 73/7/1547

Film Division, Australian News and Information Bureau

FILMS OF ABORIGINAL CULTURE, ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMS, 1965–73
Sydney
For a description of the Film Division, see Film Division, Department of Information, Chapter 3.
Series: C1164
Quantity: 39.58 metres
Recorded by: 1965–73 Film Division, Australian News and Information Bureau (CA 1670)
Desert People – Pintubi Aboriginals in the Western Desert (video cassette), 1966 C1164, FP1825
Namatjira the Painter (video cassette), 1974 C1164, FP26022 part 1
Namatjira the Painter – revised version (video cassette), 1974 C1164, FP26022 part 2

TOP OF PAGE