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Media release: NFSA celebrates ‘Golden Days’ of radio

Published Tuesday 12 December 2023

 

The latest instalment in the National Film and Sound Archive’s (NFSA) Radio 100 digital exhibition surfaces gems from Australian radio’s ‘Golden Days’ (1920s to 1960s), including excerpts from the first broadcast of the Australian Parliament and the first episode of Dad and Dave from Snake Gully, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at early cricket broadcasting with Charles Moses.

Golden Days celebrates the explosion of entertainment content on the air in the early twentieth century, from rapid-fire cricket coverage – with sound effects imitated in the studio – to the birth of popular serial Dad and Dave from Snake Gully and the ‘Farewell to Australia’ radio special featuring Sir Laurence and Lady Olivier.

The second of five chapters charting Australia’s relationship with radio, Golden Days unearths a 1946 visit from Santa to Anthony Horden’s Department Store in Sydney. The clip features three children tackling the hot-button question: ‘What would you like for Christmas?’ 

Golden Days also explores the rise of radio as a trusted source of information. Examples include Sydney Always on the Air – 2UW’s pioneering 24-hour news, education and entertainment service – and the first radio broadcast of the Australian Parliament on 8 May 1945, in which Acting Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced the end of the Second World War in Europe.

‘From the 1930s and 40s, radio really found its place as a companion to our lives,’ said NFSA Senior Curator Thorsten Kaeding. ‘From radio series to talent shows, from sports to breaking news, radio took centre stage in Australia's cultural landscape.’

The launch of Golden Days builds on last month’s release of New Waves – the first instalment in the Radio 100 digital exhibition – which explored Australian radio’s origin story and its journey from military technology to broad-based cultural medium.

Further chapters comprise:

JAN
5

Chapter 3 
Youthquake

1950s – 1980s

Radio’s role in the invention of youth culture

JAN
22

Chapter 4 
All the Voices

1970s – now

Radio as a vital medium for First Nations, LGBTQIA+ and multilingual voices

FEB
11

Chapter 5
Let’s Get Digital

1990s – now

Digital disruption, tech convergence and radio’s rebirth as audio culture

 

  • Radio 100 is available at nfsa.gov.au/radio100 
     
  • Audiences are invited to share their radio memories at nfsa.gov.au/RadioMemories, such as hearing major news, remembering a particular station or host, responding to a jingle, a specific program, or a song that haunted the airwaves for a summer.

Images, audio and vision available here on Dropbox.

Media enquiries and interview requests: 
Louise Alley | Communications Manager | 0422 348 652 | comms@nfsa.gov.au