Established in 2007, the Sounds of Australia is the NFSA’s selection of sound recordings with cultural, historical and aesthetic significance and relevance, which inform or reflect life in Australia.

 

Nominate a sound

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

Not sure what to nominate? Take a look below at the complete list of more than 100 sounds.

They can be popular songs, advertising jingles, famous speeches, radio broadcasts, or any other sound recordings – as long as they’re Australian and more than 10 years old.

Nominations for 2021 are now closed. Nominate now for 2022.

 

The complete Sounds of Australia list

1890s
1896 – The Hen Convention, Thomas Rome
1898 – The Recordings of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, Alfred Cort Haddon and others
1898 – They Always Follow Me, Syria Lamonte
1899 – Fanny Cochrane Smith’s Tasmanian Aboriginal Songs, Horace Watson

1900-1919
1901-1902 – Cylinder Recordings from Central AustraliaSpencer and Gillen and Aboriginal communities 
1904 – Chant Vénitien, Nellie Melba

Percy Grainger writing at a desk

Country Gardens, 1919. Percy Grainger

c1905 – Caro Mio Ben, Ada Crossley
1907 – The Black Watch, Percy Herford
1907 – Starlight, Hamilton Hill
1910 – My South Polar Expedition, Ernest Shackleton
1910 – Sweet Spirit Hear My Prayer, Marie Narelle
1912 – When Father Papered the Parlour, Billy Williams
1913 – Hold Your Hand Out Naughty Boy, Florrie Forde
1914 – Message Recorded at Mena Camp, Cairo, Second Lieutenant Henry Miller Lanser
1915 – The Landing of the Australian Troops in Egypt, Zonophone
1919 – Country Gardens, Percy Grainger

1920s
1921 – Love Will Find a Way, Gladys Moncrieff
1924 – London Recordings, Newcastle Steelworks Band

Colourful illustration of Roy Rene as Mo McCackie

The Sailors, 1927. Stiffy and Mo

1926Freshie ; After the Dawn, Sydney Simpson and his Wentworth Café Orchestra
1926 – Speech at the Opening of the Columbia Graphophone Company Australian Factory, Admiral Sir Dudley De Chair KCB MVO
1927 – The Sailors, Stiffy & Mo
1927 – Waltzing Matilda, John Collinson
1927–1932 Sydney Recordings, Queenie and David Kaili
1928 – Hinkler’s Message to Australia ; Incidents of My Flight, Bert Hinkler
1928 – Twilight of the Gods (Die Götterdämmerung), Florence Austral

1930s
1930 – The 1930 Australian XI: Winners of the Ashes
1930 – Our Don Bradman, Len Maurice

Aeroplane Jelly advertisement showing musical notes and a boy's face.

Aeroplane Jelly song, 1938. Joy King

1931 – Along the Road to Gundagai, Peter Dawson
1933 – Etude de concert in F minor and Etude de concert in A flat major, Eileen Joyce
1936 – Wrap Me Up In My Stockwhip and Blanket, Tex Morton
1936–40 – Yes, What?, 5AD, Rex Dawe and cast
1937 – Dad and Dave from Snake Gully (Radio Series), George Edward Players
1937 – Life Without Love, Frank Coughlan’s Trocadero Orchestra
1938 – The Aeroplane Jelly Song, Joy King
1939 – Give A Little Credit to Your Dad ; Lonesome For Your Mother Dear, Buddy Williams
1939 – Menzies Speech: Declaration of War, Prime Minister Hon. Robert Menzies

1940s
1940–58 – Australia's Amateur Hour, AWA
1941 – Concert in a Cave at Tobruk, Chester Wilmot, ABC Field Unit

Advertisement for Australia's Amateur Hour with portrait photo of Terry Dear.

Australia's Amateur Hour, 1940–58. AWA

1941 – Curtin Speech: Japan Enters Second World War, Prime Minister Hon. John Curtin
1941 – The Melbourne Cup, Ken Howard, sports commentator
1941–72 – Argonauts Row, Harold Williams
1943 – Dame Enid Lyons: Maiden Speech, Dame Enid Lyons
1943 Senator Dorothy Tangney: Maiden Speech, Dorothy Tangney
1943 – The Majestic Fanfare (ABC radio news theme), Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
1944 – Swanston St Shamble ; Two Day Jag, Graeme Bell
1944 onwards – Grace Gibson Productions’ radio serials, various artists
1948–1962 – Pick A Box, Bob Dyer
1949 – Theme from Blue Hills, New Century Orchestra

1950s
1950 – Corroboree, Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Binny Lum surrounded by all the members of The Beatles

Binny Lum Collection, 1955–1967

1950 – Maranoa Lullaby, Harold Blair
1952 – I'm the Sheik of Scrubby Creek, Chad Morgan
1953 – Sam Griffiths, Jack Luscombe
1953 – Tribal Music of Australia, AP Elkin
1954 – Happy Little Vegemites, Betty Parker, Stephen Parker, Julia Parker and Linda Marcy
1955 – Prestophone Mastertape, Olive and Eva
1955 – The Adventure of the Singing Bullet, Smoky Dawson
1955–1967 – Binny Lum Collection, Binny Lum and interviewees
1956 – The Man from Snowy River, Leonard Teale

Col Joye holding his guitar being led away by two men in white jackets and black bow ties.

Bye Bye Baby, 1959. Col Joye

1956 – Olympic Games, Melbourne 1956: Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony, Official Souvenir Recording
1957 – A Pub With No Beer, Slim Dusty
1958 – My Country, Dorothea Mackellar
1959 – Aboriginal Recordings, John Hutchinson
1959 – Bye Bye Baby, Col Joye
1959 – Come Closer to Me, Pilita Corrales

1960s
1960 – The Art of the Prima Donna, Dame Joan Sutherland

Joan Sutherland wearing a green top and white gloves.

The Art of the Prima Donna, 1960. Dame Joan Sutherland

1960 – She’s My Baby, Johnny O’Keefe
1961 – Nausicaa: Opera in Three Acts, Peggy Glanville-Hicks
1962 – Georgia Lee Sings the Blues Down Under, Georgia Lee
1962 – I Remember You, Frank Ifield
1962 – I’ve Been Everywhere, Lucky Starr
1962 – 'Louie the Fly' Mortein jingle, Neil Williams and Ross Higgins
1963 – Arnhem Land Popular Classics: Aboriginal Dance Songs with Didjeridu Accompaniment, David Blanasi, Djoli Laiwanga and others

Album cover with a portrait of Georgia Lee and the text 'sings the blues down under'.

Georgia Lee Sings the Blues Down Under, 1962. Georgia Lee

1963 – Bombora, The Atlantics
1963 – Royal Telephone, Jimmy Little
1963–1997 – The Luise Hercus Collection, AIATSIS Audiovisual Archive
1964 – I’ll Never Find Another You, The Seekers
1964 – The Land Where the Crow Flies Backwards, Dougie Young
1966 – Friday On My Mind, The Easybeats
1966 – In the Head the Fire, Nigel Butterley
1966 – Patrol from Da Nang, Tim Bowden
1966 – Play School Theme (There's a Bear in There), Various performers

Black and white image of a cartoon fly.

Louie the Fly Mortein jingle, 1962. Neil Williams and Ross Higgins

1967 – Fireworks and The Orgasmic Opus, Dr Val Stephen
1967 – Irkanda IV, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
1968 – Bird and Animal Calls of Australia, Harold J Pollock
1968 – Lionel Rose Wins the World Title, Ron Casey
1968 – Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Eric Jupp
1969 – The Real Thing, Russell Morris

1970s
1971 – And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, Eric Bogle

Overhead photo of a destroyed house.

Cyclone Tracy, Darwin, 1974

1971 – Because I Love You, The Master’s Apprentices 
1971 – Eagle Rock, Daddy Cool
1971 – Just the Beginning, Don Burrows Quartet
1972 – I Am Woman, Helen Reddy
1972 – It’s Time, Alison McCallum
1972 – Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy), Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs
1972 – A Track Winding Back ; True British Spunk, Barry Humphries and Dick Bentley
1973 – The Loner, Vic Simms

Colourful album cover form Skyhooks showing an illustration of the band walking away from an airplane.

Living in the 70s, 1974. Skyhooks

1973 – Opening Concert Sydney Opera House, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Birgit Nilsson
1974 – Cyclone Tracy, Darwin
1974 – Living in the 70s, Skyhooks
1975 – It’s A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll), AC/DC
1975 – 'Kerr’s cur’ speech, Gough Whitlam
1976 – Girls in Our Town, Margret RoadKnight
1976 – (I’m) Stranded, The Saints
1977 – Love is in the Air, John Paul Young

Gough Whitlam on the steps of Parliament House speaking into media microphones.

'Kerr’s cur’ speech, 1975. Gough Whitlam

1978 – C'mon Aussie C'mon, The Mojo Singers
1978 – Khe Sanh, Cold Chisel
1978 – You’re the One That I Want, Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta
1979 – Up There Cazaly, The Two-Man Band
1979–89 – Sampling Sounds, Fairlight CMI

1980s
1980 – The 4×100 Medley Relay Final at the Moscow Olympics, Norman May

The six members of No Fixed Address crowded together.

We Have Survived, 1981. No Fixed Address

1980 – I Still Call Australia Home, Peter Allen
1981 – Boys in Town, Divinyls
1981 – Brand New Day (Milliya Rumarra), Kuckles
1981 – Down Under, Men at Work
1981 – Improvisation in Acoustic Chambers, Ros Bandt
1981 – We Have Survived, No Fixed Address
1982 – Don't Change, INXS
1982 – Great Southern Land, ICEHOUSE
1982
 Power and the Passion, Midnight Oil

The five members of Midnight Oil with Peter Garrett at the front.

Power and the Passion, 1982. Midnight Oil

1982  Solid Rock, Goanna
1983 – Cattle and Cane, The Go-Betweens
1983 – I Was Only 19 (A Walk in the Light Green), Redgum
1983 – Jailanguru Pakarnu, The Warumpi Band
1985 – Like Wow, Wipeout, Hoodoo Gurus
1985 – Sounds of Then (This is Australia), GANGgajang
1986 – True Blue, John Williamson
1986 – We Are Going, Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker)
1986 – You’re the Voice, John Farnham    

Kylie Minogue next to the text 'Kylie: I should be so lucky'

I Should Be So Lucky, 1987. Kylie Minogue

1986–2008 – This Sporting Life, Roy and HG
1987 – I Should Be So Lucky, Kylie Minogue
1987 – Rebetika Songs, Apodimi Compania
1987 – Recording of a Superb Lyrebird at Healesville, Victoria, Greg Wignell
1987 – Voss, Richard Meale
1988 – Tender Prey, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

1990s
1990 – Dingo, Vicki Powys

Photo of a dingo

Dingo, 1990. Vicki Powys

1990 – Took the Children Away, Archie Roach
1991 – Treaty, Yothu Yindi
1992 – Antarctica: Suite for Guitar and Orchestra, Nigel Westlake 
1992 – Redfern Address, Paul Keating
1992–2008 – Songlines: Songs of the East Australian Humpback Whales, Mark Franklin (The Oceania Project)
1993 – Alive and Brilliant, Deborah Conway
1993 – From Little Things (Big Things Grow), Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody
1993–2014 – Deadly Sounds, Vibe Australia

Photo of the members of Silverchair

Tomorrow, 1994. Silverchair

1994 – Tomorrow, Silverchair
1995 – Island Home, Christine Anu
1995 – LSD, djhmc
1995–98 – Martin/Molloy, Tony Martin and Mick Molloy
1997 – Truly Madly Deeply, Savage Garden
1998 – Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga Big Red Car, The Wiggles
1999 – These Days, Powderfinger

2000
2001 – Aether, The Necks
2001 – Not Pretty Enough, Kasey Chambers
2003 – Nosebleed Section, Hilltop Hoods
2005 – Wild Swans, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
2008 – Gurrumul, Gurrumul