Use our collection guides to explore Australian history and the nation’s audio-visual heritage.
Australian radio series (1930s–1970s)
The NFSA holds over 1500 Australian radio serials dating back to the 1930s, as well as one-hour plays and variety extravaganzas from the heyday of radio. Some listings include dates of broadcast, program summaries, cast members, writers and producers.
Charles Chauvel (1897–1959), producer, director, writer and actor successfully made the transition from silent films to talkies. The NFSA’s Chauvel Collection includes the groundbreaking film Jedda (1955), as well as documentaries, shorts, television series and oral history interviews with colleagues and family.
The Cold War
An extensive listing of radio broadcasts, newsreels, television series, documentaries and dramatisations of the growing tensions between East and West after the Second World War. Collection listings cover: anti-communist action in Malaya (1948–1960); the Korean War (1950–1953); the 1954 Petrov Affair; the Soviet presence in Hungary; and the Vietnam War (1962–1975).
The First Wave: Australian rock and pop recordings (1955–1963)
Browse popular music recordings made in Australia or by Australians overseas during the pre-Beatles era. Among the newsreel and television footage are episodes of Six O’Clock Rock and The Johnny O’Keefe Show. Artists include Georgia Lee; Little Pattie; Tony Mercer; Johnny O’Keefe; The Thunderbirds; Diana Trask; and Ernie Sigley.
The 1967 referendum
The landmark 1967 federal referendum achieved an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote to remove two discriminatory references to Indigenous Australians from the Australian Constitution. This guide includes newsreels, jingles, advertisements, news coverage and interviews with key figures such as Faith Bandler, Bill Onus and Doug Nicholls from the Aborigines Advancement League. Photograph: courtesy Indigenous Newslines.
Oral history: moving image recordings – film, television, radio and music
This listing from the NFSA’s Oral History Program includes film and video interviews with members of the Australian sound and screen industries. Included are in-depth interviews with performers, filmmakers, projectionists, recording engineers and producers such as comedians Wendy Harmer and Paul Hogan; actress Ruth Cracknell; pioneer filmmaker Raymond Longford; and film producer Patricia Lovell.
Oral history sound recordings – film
A guide to sound recordings that capture the lives and careers of individuals from Australia’s film industry such as directors, actors, musicians, sound engineers, editors, writers and producers. Interviewees include: directors Gillian Armstrong, David Bradbury and Phil Noyce; actor and director Charles (Bud) Tingwell; and actress Judy Davis.
Oral history sound recordings – music
Audio interviews with singers, musicians, composers, teachers, broadcasters, sound recordists, promotors and distributors. Interviewees include: country and western musician Smoky Dawson; jazz performer Kerrie Biddell; and singer-songwriter James Reyne.
Oral history sound recordings – radio
A guide to sound recordings of interviews with radio industry specialists, including broadcasters, actors, producers, writers, directors and radio network managers. Interviewees include: Gwen Meredith, writer of the popular radio serial Blue Hills; actress and singer Queenie Ashton; and Alan McGilvray, Australian cricketer and sports commentator.
Oral History – television
Learn more about sound recordings of interviews with individuals and organisations from the Australian television industry. Interviewees include: pioneering television producer Hector Crawford; entertainer Lorrae Desmond; actor and comedian Graham Kennedy; broadcaster Mike Walsh; and scriptwriter Tony Morphett.
Recordings by Australian Indigenous artists (1899–1998)
Explore commercially issued sound recordings of traditional and non-traditional music by Indigenous artists, spanning a century. This guide lists holdings of both the NFSA and the Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Artists include: Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach; Georgia Lee; Jimmy Little; Vic Simms; Warumpi Band and No Fixed Address.
The Sixties: Australian rock and pop recordings (1964–1969)
The sequel to ‘The First Wave: Australian rock and pop recordings (1955–1963)’ collection guide charts Australian and New Zealand artists who changed the face of the local and international music scene. Included are listings for Peter Allen; Doug Ashdown; the Bee Gees; the Easybeats; Olivia Newton-John; and Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs.