About the Sound Collection
Image: Midnight Oil, 2016 Sounds of Australia inductee.
The NFSA audio collection spans over 120 years of Australian sound recordings, showcasing a wide range of subjects, genres and formats. The earliest recordings in our collection were recorded in Warrnambool, Victoria, on wax cylinders around 1896 and the most recent was probably downloaded online this morning.
Our recordings include music in just about every style, from popular music hall singers of a century ago to the latest releases. There are political speeches, poetry readings, nature recordings of birds and animals, historical events, steam trains and experimental recordings; whatever weird and wonderful things people record will be represented in our collection.
The collection includes over 124,000 unique disc recordings, around 33,000 tape recordings and 137,000 digital files. There are almost 17,000 vinyl LPs and about the same number of 7-inch singles; 19,000 78rpm shellac discs; 6,000 one-off lacquer records and 50,000 CDs. The physical sizes of the discs range from a 3.5 inch (9 cm) plastic-coated cardboard record that came with a children’s book to 20 inch (50 cm) lacquer recordings made of the proceedings of the Tasmanian Parliament.
An ongoing program of digitising fragile and at-risk physical formats has preserved almost 27,000 recordings on disc and tape. You can listen to sound recordings from the collection at Search the Collection and Sounds of Australia.
If you have sound material that you wish to offer the NFSA, please see the Collection offers page.
Download collection guide: The First Wave: Australian rock and pop recordings (1955–1963)
Download collection guide: The Sixties: Australian rock and pop recordings (1964–1969)