Australians asked to nominate the sounds that made history

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) is asking all Australians to nominate the sound recordings that should be added to the National Registry of Recorded Sound in 2013.

Each year, ten sound recordings are added to the Registry in recognition of their cultural, historical and aesthetic significance and relevance, and how they inform or reflect life in Australia.

The Australian public nominates the sounds to be added, with final selections determined by a panel of industry experts.

“As the caretakers of the national collection of recorded sound, we want to know which recordings the Australian public thinks capture our national songs and stories for all time,” said NFSA Senior Curator Matthew Davies.

They can be music, spoken word or other sounds – popular songs, advertising jingles, famous speeches, radio broadcasts or any other recordings – as long as they are Australian and more than 10 years old.

The Registry started in 2007 and it contains more than 70 titles (the full list is available at, ranging from Australia’s biggest international stars to recordings of endangered/extinct Indigenous languages.

Previous entries include the oldest surviving Australian sound recording (1897’s The Hen Convention, by Thomas Rome), Fanny Cochrane Smith’s Tasmanian Aboriginal Songs and John Collinson’s 1927 version of Waltzing Matilda, as well as music by Dames Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland, Slim Dusty, Skyhooks, The Seekers, Men at Work, Yothu Yindi, AC/DC, and Kylie Minogue.

In 2011, Kylie tweeted “What an honour for myself, Stock, Aitken and Waterman!” when her 1987 hit I Should be So Lucky was added to the Registry. Last year, AC/DC said they were ‘honoured’ that 1975’s Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) had been included in Australia’s recording history.

The selection has not been free of controversy. For example, when the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album Tender Prey was added to the Registry, John O’Donnell (co-author of the book 100 Best Australian Albums) told News Limited that although it was “a great album”, it was not the band’s best: ''If they were looking for a record from the 1980s, I would put a lot in front of it when you don’t have Midnight Oil or Cold Chisel in the registry yet.”

The public now has the opportunity to submit their nominations and help make the National Registry of Recorded Sound the most comprehensive list of Australian sounds.

Nominations can be submitted via:

Nominations close on June 1. A list of finalists will be revealed in July, and the new additions will be announced at the end of August.


NFSA Sound Curator Matthew Davies is available for comment. To request an interview, contact David Hogan, (02) 6248 2101 or