A yellow and pink tinted collage image of Nicole Kidman, Matilda the Commonwealth Games mascot kangaroo, Paul Hogan, Dame Edna Everage and Linda Burney.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/collection/hero_image08-2017/80s_header_mock_4a.jpg

1980s

1980s

Australia in the 1980s

Submerge yourself in 80s goodness with glimpses of fashion, music, technology, film, television, radio, sport and advertising from the decade.

The 1980s was all about excess: greed was good, hair was big and colours were bright. Free-to-air-television and VHS tapes were all we had to watch on TV. Charles and Diana were a dream couple, and pictures of Michael Hutchence and Kylie Minogue adorned kid’s bedrooms across the nation.

As well as Charles, Diana, Kylie and Michael, this collections stars Paul Hogan, Dame Edna Everage, Nicole Kidman, Jimmy Barnes, Sigourney Weaver, MP Linda Burney, Peter Russell-Clarke, Ken Done, David Attenborough, Dustin Hoffman, Adam Ant, Jeannie Little, Torvill and Dean and many more.

It's a Knockout!
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538279
Courtesy:
Network Ten
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'In the distance you can hear, the sound of a cheer, and the laugh and roar of a crowd. And you can feel the expectation, and the wild jubilation as the shouting the winners make are loud...' Surely a theme song that many remember - It's a Knockout! ran from 1985 to 1987 on Network Ten. The theme song continues, 'Cause it's the greatest game in town and it's the craziest fun around... It's a Knockout! That's the name. It's a Knockout! That's the game. It's a Knockout! That's the name of the game!'.

Billy J Smith and Fiona MacDonald host the brash Australian show (there are also French and English versions), always arriving on the field riding a golf buggy. Fiona is the sister of another iconic 80s show host - Jacki MacDonald from Hey Hey It's Saturday. In this excerpt, announcer Max Rowley promises 'Rough, tough but fun-filled action'. The show is pure 80s gold showing the excessive, buoyant mood of the time. It's larger than life and full of colour, computer graphics and fashion, with sexism to boot.

Each week four teams compete against each other in a range of ridiculous games, cheered on by a crowd that's also been divided up into different states. Each episode's teams are made up of Apex Club representatives from around Australia - this episode has the Hornsby Harriers from NSW, the Gippsland Gladiators from Victoria, the Noosa Heads Niads from Queensland and the York Valley Raiders from South Australia. The prize money is $1000 and pro surfer Mark Warren, accompanied by women wearing make-up and pink bathing suits, helps the teams. 

For more 1980s television, fashion, sport and music check out our 1980s curated collection.

Notes by Beth Taylor

The Edge of Heaven: Young Talent Time, 1986
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1493192
Courtesy:
Johnny Young, Clearvoice Pty Ltd.
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Year

Variety show Young Talent Time was compulsory viewing for Australian kids in the 1970s and 80s.

The series ran from 1971 to 1988 with musician host Johnny Young and his team of young performers. The kids sing covers of chart hits, dance and act in sketches echoing the US’s Mickey Mouse Club.

This episode features regular favourites Dannii Minogue, Beven Addinsall, Vince Deltito, Katie Van Ree, Lorena Novoa, Courtney Compagnino and Natalie Miller as well as Neighbours guest stars Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Geoff Paine and Kylie Flinker.

After the opening titles, featuring some very 1980s computer graphics, the performers mime to a pre-recorded cover of 'The  Edge of Heaven' by Wham!

The production values are high with different costumes and sets for every number. The musical accompaniment is tight and upbeat, performed with a full band.

The performers sing together with solos used to highlight each singer’s strengths and match the story line of the performance.

The original lyrics, which have an S&M vibe, have been amended for children's viewing. For example, instead of ‘I would chain you up / If I’d thought you’d swear’ they sing ‘I would chain you up / but I thought you’d tear’ and ‘I would wrap you up’ instead of ‘I would strap you up’.

Echoing the references in the lyrics to the devil (‘My Daddy said the devil looks a lot like you’), Dannii Minogue is dressed as the devil for the song and swings her tail provocatively.

The ‘edge of heaven’ the original song talks about is sexual, but in this sanitised version Courtney Compagnino is dressed as cupid and Natalie Miller as an angel.

The Neighbours stars pretend to play drums, guitar, harp and bass on a podium above the dance floor.

Dannii Minogue’s dancing is a stand-out. The singing is as slick as the choreography and it’s easy to forget how young the performers are as they are so professional.

Wham! was English duo George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. They were massive in Britain and abroad, including Australia, from 1982 until their break-up in 1986.

'The Edge of Heaven', written by Michael, was their farewell single and reached number 2 on the ARIA charts. It was released on the CBS label as part of their last studio album The Final.

The pair took part in the Live Aid concert in July 1985, another milestone event of the 1980s, with Michael famously singing 'Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me' accompanied by Elton John.

This is episode 86/37 and was broadcast on 18 October 1986. The performers felt like family and at the end of every show they joined Johnny Young and sang 'All My Loving' as they waved good night to the camera and viewers at home.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer's wedding
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629824
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'What a dream she looks ... there is a bride that any man would be happy to see coming down the aisle towards him', says commentator Angela Rippon as an estimated 750 million people watched Lady Diana Spencer stepping out of a glass coach at St Paul's Cathedral, London.

It was Wednesday 29 July 1981 and people all around the world stopped to watch the wedding between Diana and Prince Charles unfold in all its pageantry. Everything runs like clockwork - the wedding procession, adoring crowds, as well as the BBC's commentary and the multitude of carefully planned camera angles revealing both small details and the scale and grandeur of St Paul's Cathedral.

The music, 'Prince of Denmark's March' or 'Trumpet Voluntary' by Jeremiah Clarke, creates a joyful atmosphere as details are slowly revealed: Diana's dress, veil and tiara; her shy smiles as she walks holding the arm of her father, the Earl of Spencer. Watching as a child at the time it all appeared like a dream and today it still elicits goosebumps. Diana became the iconic princess of the 1980s and the wedding was one of the most popular programs ever broadcast. The whole wedding spectacular gave Australians a taste of the grandeur of the British Royal Family.

It's impossible now to watch this footage of 20-year-old Diana smiling and laughing without thinking of the couple's separation in 1992 and Diana's tragic death in 1997 in Paris. Commentator Tom Fleming ironically (in hindsight) describes her procession down the aisle through the congregation of 3,500 people, as the 'longest and happiest walk she will ever take'.

Diana, her bridesmaids and flower girls look like every little princess's dream. Her dress is made of ivory silk taffeta, decorated with lace, hand embroidery, sequins and 10,000 pearls, with an 8-metre train, designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel. Flouting tradition she kept her veil on throughout the ceremony, topped with a Spencer family heirloom tiara. The full skirt accentuated the tiny waist of the bodice. Big sleeves with lace flounces at the elbow were a very 1980s take on the classic princess look.

Looking on are Charles, Prince of Wales in the full dress uniform of a naval commander, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and the Queen Mother. 

This footage was from an Eyewitness News tape English Library Reel no. 0385 and comes from the BBC's feed, complete with commentary.  

Notes by Beth Taylor

Neighbours: Scott and Charlene wedding
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55134
Courtesy:
Fremantle
Year:
Year

In one of Australian television history’s biggest moments, two million Aussies and almost 20 million viewers in Britain tuned in to Episode 523 of Neighbours for the wedding of Scott Robinson and Charlene Mitchell (played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue).  

Kylie’s role as Charlene, and indeed this specific scene, launched Kylie’s international career. With Kylie’s No. 1 debut single ‘Locomotion’ released less than a month after this episode aired on Australian television on 28 July 1987, the stage was set for her rise to international stardom.

Legend has it that Kylie herself chose the unlikely soundtrack – pub rocker Angry Anderson performing the ballad ‘Suddenly’. The crashing drumbeats and raw vocal track, along with the zooms and rhythmic editing, underscore the emotion of the scene in the most 1980s way possible.

It's clear the show’s producers were aware that this scene would become a part of Australian television history and gave it the attention it deserved. They captured Kylie’s combination of cheeky girl-next-door image, and her magnetic star quality is obvious.

The scene revolves around the pair’s palpable chemistry which is evident here. The episode’s director Rod Hardy put it down to their budding behind-the-scenes romance.

The clip evokes a powerful sense of 80s style that transports us back in time. Along with the soundtrack, Kylie’s lacy OTT wedding dress, the puffy coral-coloured bridesmaid’s dresses and Jason’s mullet haircut all combine to make this a key Australian 80s cultural moment.

Many people in Australia and the UK still remember watching it.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Australian Made: INXS and Jimmy Barnes
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247893
Courtesy:
Rogue Nation Pty Ltd
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Year

This excerpt from the opening of the live concert documentary Australian Made, (Richard Lowenstein, Australia, 1987) builds anticipation for the performances to come. The opening vision is edited to the throbbing beat of INXS’ 'Melting in the Sun' - the title of the song perfectly matching vision of hot and sweaty fans trying to cool down. It will bring back memories for anyone who has ever been to an Aussie summer music festival.

We see backstage crews at work and fans bedecked in 80s band merch, building human pyramids, crowd surfing and doing a Mexican wave. Michael Hutchence, wearing his 80s trademark wardrobe of a bandana and white denim, moves seductively clutching the microphone stand. This excerpt is from the 30th Anniversary edition. The live sound is rich and powerful and the restored vision looks stunning, making it seem like 30 years was only yesterday.

The film includes behind the scenes footage and interviews with rock icons including Michael Hutchence, Chrissy Amphlett, Jimmy Barnes and Kate Ceberano. It was the only time that these iconic Australian bands were in a line-up together, and the Australian Made series of concerts was ground breaking in only featuring Aussie bands:  INXS, Jimmy Barnes, Divinyls, Models, The Saints, The Triffids, Mental as Anything (who don’t appear in the documentary) and I’m Talking. It toured Australian capital cities from December 1986 to January 1987.

For more 1980s music, hair and fashion check out our 1980s curated collection.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Kylie and Dannii: Sisters are Doin' It for Themselves
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1493192
Courtesy:
Johnny Young, Clearvoice Pty Ltd
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Year

It is delightful to see sisters Kylie and Dannii Minogue perform a cover of ‘Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves’ on the variety show Young Talent Time in 1986. 

The original song was written and performed by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart as Eurythmics with guest vocals from Aretha Franklin in 1985.  

Kylie joined Neighbours the same year this was recorded and her career was taking off, although she’d been acting since she was just 8 years old with a role in The Sullivans

Dannii was a regular on Young Talent Time from 1982 to 1988 and has gone on to have a successful career in music and television. 

Young Talent Time was compulsory viewing for Australian kids in the 1970s and 80s. The series ran from 1971 to 1988 with musician-host Johnny Young and his team of young performers. This is episode 86/37 and was broadcast on 18 October 1986.  

This is a good example of the high production values the show was known for as well as the talent and professionalism it fostered. The song itself has become something of a modern feminist anthem which makes the 1980s glamour – big hair, miniskirts, high heels, mirror ball, pink set, pyrotechnics and sequins – seem a little incongruous.

Nevertheless, the Minogue sisters harmonise beautifully and it’s interesting to see how professional and polished the pair already were back then. 

Notes by Beth Taylor

Shrimp on the barbie - Paul Hogan
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NFSA ID
512094
Courtesy:
Paul Hogan and John Cornell
Tourism Australia
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Year

Before Paul Hogan (affectionately known as Hoges) became Mick Dundee in Crocodile Dundee (Peter Faiman, Australia, 1986) he starred in a series of tourism ads designed by the Australian Tourism Commission to attract US visitors to Australia.

This ad is the most famous in the series, clocking-up an impressive amount of Aussie sightseeing in one minute by showing would-be visitors sun-soaked beaches, Uluru, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Sydney Harbour, an AFL game, a boat, restaurant and pub. 

Australian idiom such as 'fair dinkum', 'Down Under', 'G-day' and 'mate' is thrown around with calculated abandon. The most famous line, 'I'll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for ya', contains the American 'shrimp' instead of the Aussie 'prawn' and is often recalled incorrectly as 'throw another shrimp on the barbie'. The saying has become synonymous with Australia for Americans thanks to this highly successful campaign.

The ad also features actress Delvene Delaney who appeared in The Paul Hogan Show in the late 1970s and was co-presenter on the quiz show Sale of the Century from 1982 to 1986.

The ads were produced from 1983-2001 and they're all held in the NFSA collection. Here's another one with Hogan standing on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Peter Russell-Clarke
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633148
Courtesy:
Network Ten
Year:
Year

Television chef, author and artist Peter Russell-Clarke is most famous for his cooking show Come and Get It which aired on ABC television during the 1980s. Loved for his 'G-day' catch-phrase and penchant for swearing, the hirsute, neckerchief wearing chef became one of Australia's first televisions chefs. This clip is from Eyewitness News in 1981, before Come and Get It appeared. 

Here Russell-Clarke cooks Chinese dim sum for breakfast at a time when many Australians wouldn't have been familiar with Chinese cooking. Watch all the way to the end to catch his cheeky 'Shit!' when he burns his fingers.

In an interview for ABC radio in 2015 he said that he 'wrote a little script for a cooking show and I thought I’d put in a little bearded chef to do the presenting, because the fellow in front of the camera gets more money than the bloke who writes the bloody stuff'. There were about 900 episodes of Come and Get It.

Notes by Beth Taylor

The two Kylies: Kylie and Kylie Mole
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690095
Courtesy:
Network Ten
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Kylie’s ability to not take herself too seriously is exemplified beautifully in these two clips from The Comedy Company in 1989. 

In the same year as her dramatic role in the feature film The Delinquents (1989), here she tries her hand at comedy.  She works well with Mary-Anne Fahey’s gum-chewing, wise-cracking schoolgirl Kylie Mole – a beloved character from the show.  

Another clip features Kylie and Jason Donovan in bed together having a lover’s argument. It’s not clear whether they are playing themselves, their popular characters Scott and Charlene from Neighbours, or another couple entirely. 

This deliberate confusion says a lot about the ubiquity of the couple in the late 1980s and how the characters they played blended with their real-life personas and romantic relationship. 

Jason and Kylie released a wildly successful duet ‘Especially For You’ in 1988 which reached number one in the UK, Ireland, Greece and Belgium and was top 5 in Australia, New Zealand, France, Finland and Switzerland. 

It is indicative of Australian television comedy budgets that both comedy skits are performed in a single shot consisting of a tightly-framed bedroom setting with minimal production design. This is an example of the kind of frugal ingenuity key for the success of skit-based shows with low budgets. 

Kylie Minogue continually surprises her fans by popping up in unexpected places. Her guest appearances include characters in Kath and Kim and Doctor Who and even an appearance with The Wiggles

This clip comes from the current affairs piece We Should Be So Lucky, broadcast on Network Ten in 1989. 

Notes by Beth Taylor

1982 Commonwealth Games - opening ceremony
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564326
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Matilda the Kangaroo, mascot of the 1982 Commonwealth Games held in Brisbane, winks at the crowd during the opening ceremony of the games. After Matilda makes her way into the QE II Stadium (now the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre), children in kangaroo suits emerge from Matilda's massive pouch. The Australian flag and a map of Australia (minus Tasmania because it 'didn't fit') are created by over 6000 school children with coloured boards and fabric that blow about in the wind.

We see the teams from Canada, Jersey, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Vanuatu and Australia marching out while the crowd cheers. This is an excerpt from All That Glitters, 1983, The Official Film XII Commonwealth Games Brisbane 1982. Film Australia Collection © NFSA.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Australia Daze: World's oldest living culture
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43660
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An Aboriginal protest march took place on Australia’s bicentenary 26 January 1988. An Aboriginal speaker describes the invasion of Australia and the resulting problems of dispossession and poverty. She also says it is a day to celebrate the survival of Aboriginal people. Summary by Damien Parer.

The woman speaking is the Honourable Linda Burney who is an Australian politician. She was the first Aboriginal person to serve in the NSW parliament and in 2016 she became the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Australian House of Representatives, winning the federal seat of Barton.

She says '200 years ago, this country was invaded. It was invaded by people that came in and claimed this country under the lie of terra nullius. Empty land, it's not an empty land. It was a land that's been occupied since time immemorial ... this is a year of mourning but it's also a celebration of survival because we've come through a genocide that's been so vicious and so intense that it's amazing that we've survived. We're the oldest living culture in this world and we're proud of it.' 

Notes by Beth Taylor

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following program may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons
Pizza in Moonee Ponds - Dame Edna Everage
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633148
Courtesy:
Network Ten
Year:
Year

Melbourne housewife superstar Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) is invited to Moonee Ponds' centenary celebrations. Served a pizza that has been named in her honour, she exclaims 'scrummy!' and then proceeds to mime revulsion for the camera! Fans wave gladdies (gladiolus flowers) in her honour.

This story comes from a library reel of Eyewitness News stories broadcast in August 1981.

Notes by Beth Taylor

'Doing it with style' - MLC Centre ads
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272671
Courtesy:
MLC Centre
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Year

These two ads give a taste of the fashion, food, coffee, CDs, jewellery, shoes and optics available at the MLC shopping centre in the mid-1980s. Fashion includes chunky belts, spiked and coloured hair, shoulder pads, big jewellery, over-the-shoulder scarves, hooded jumpers, berets, high heels, preppy jackets, gloves, ties for women and a backless dress. The second ad also references the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats which played at the MLC's Theatre Royal from July 1985 to 1987.

The MLC Centre, designed by architect Harry Seidler in the modernist style, opened in 1977 at 19-29 Martin Place, Sydney.

Notes by Beth Taylor

David Attenborough - The Mike Walsh Show
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NFSA ID
1278232
Courtesy:
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
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Year

Mike Walsh interviews beloved broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough about his television series and book, Life on Earth. When Walsh says that the amount of time that's condensed into the series is incomprehensible Attenborough says 'if you take the time from the beginning of life as we know it from fossils to now and call that a year, then one day is ten million years. Fish don't appear until some time in October and man appears about quarter past 12 on December 31st.' Attenborough says he was interested in animals as a child, as all children are, and that he just never grew out of it.

Episode 0080 of The Mike Walsh Show was broadcast on 2 June 1980.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Toni and Guy hair
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NFSA ID
1244459
Courtesy:
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
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Year

Hairdressers Bruno and Anthony Mascolo are interviewed on The Mike Walsh Show in 1981. They are the younger brothers of Toni and Guy Mascolo, who began their hairdressing business Toni&Guy in London in 1963. Today, Toni&Guy has hundreds of salons around the world, including in Australia. 

Here models show the latest in 80s hair, make-up and clothing fashion. Walsh remarks that 'it looks as if they've stuck their fingers in electric light sockets' and the live studio audience shriek and laugh in disbelief at some of the styles.

Bruno says that they are interested in romantic styles. There's a lot of volume and wave, a hairstyle that features a bow made out of hair, another that looks like a hat and the pièce de résistance is a hairstyle where the hair has been sprayed gold and made into a helmet shape. They also discuss Princess Diana's hair.

Episode 1157 of The Mike Walsh Show was broadcast on 23 September 1981.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Ken Done
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483140
Courtesy:
Network Ten
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Year

Artist Ken Done talks about feeling proud when he sees someone wearing his work and annoyed when he sees 'bad, crass and boring' copies. At the height of his popularity, he has four stores, 40 staff, a warehouse and a gallery. 

Ann Sanders (who went on to host Sydney's Seven News) presents this 1987 profile for Eyewitness News.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Bicentenary 1988
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47413
Courtesy:
Network Ten
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Year

These iconic images of Bicentenary celebrations and protests on Sydney Harbour beautifully evoke memories of the day, including the tall ships and pleasure craft dotting the harbour and shores and headlands full of people. This news story also alludes to existing tensions between pride, mourning, excitement, anger and hope evident on the 200th anniversary of Captain Arthur Phillip raising the flag of Great Britain in Port Jackson. Set to evocative snippets of 'Waltzing Matilda' and 'Advance Australia Fair', this piece was broadcast on Ten News on Australia Day, 26 January 1988.

The 1988 Australian of the Year, John Farnham says tearfully, 'We are right to instil national pride in our children. But please, let's make our national pride encompass humanity', referring to the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. We hear a tiny snippet of Farnham's song 'Pressure Down', used to identify Farnham and echo footage of Survival Day protestsPrince Charles remarks in his speech, 'There is no point now in trying to gloss over the circumstances in which the country, of which you are rightly proud, began. Indeed, to face those facts is a necessary part of realising just how proud you should be.'

News editor Craig Reynolds has captured the heightened emotions of the day effectively. Familiar sights from the year of the Bicentenary include tall ships, Australian flags, Aboriginal flags, a blimp, Sydney Harbour, green and gold balloons and fireworks. 

Notes by Beth Taylor

Sigourney Weaver - Ghostbusters - The Mike Walsh Show
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1201632
Courtesy:
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
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Mike Walsh interviews Sigourney Weaver about her role as Dana Barrett in Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, USA, 1984). She talks about the laughs (and tickles) that came as part of working with Bill Murray (Dr Peter Venkman).

Episode 4191 of The Mike Walsh Show was broadcast on 6 November 1984.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Sydney Monorail opening
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NFSA ID
803129
Courtesy:
Seven Network
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News reader Richard Zachariah introduces a Seven Nightly News story about the opening of the Sydney monorail on 21 July 1988.

Reporter Steve Barnes says that while some protested for it to go away, others were excited to be amongst the first to experience the 12-minute round trip. 

The monorail eventually closed in 2013.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Hark the Herald Fairies Shout: Gay Liberation Quire interview
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NFSA ID
1170599
Courtesy:
2SER 107.3
Paul van Reyk
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An interview with members of the Gay Liberation Quire broadcast as part of Gaywave's Stonewall Special in 1981. Featuring the quire's songs 'Hark the Herald Fairies Shout' and 'God Help You Merry Dykes and Poofs'. The quire had their debut performance, singing satirical versions of Christmas carols and other popular songs, at Belmore Park as 1000 people assembled for the Stonewall March on 27 June 1981.

Image of Neil Fitzgerald and Phil Stevenson at the launch of 'Hormones or Jeans', the Gay Liberation Quire EP, 1983. Photograph by Paul van Reyk from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (www.alga.org.au).

Notes by Beth Taylor

Starstruck: Body and Soul
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NFSA ID
34987
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Year

Jackie (Jo Kennedy) returns home as a celebrity, having made the news as a tightrope walker, in a stunt set up by her cousin Angus (Ross O’Donovan). She entertains the bar at the Harbour View Hotel with a song, 'Body and Soul', accompanied by her new friends, a band called The Wombats. Their smitten guitarist Robbie (Ned Lander) dances on the bar with her.

Note the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Luna Park iconography in the pub decor. This song was one of the most popular on the soundtrack. The Harbour View Hotel was a real Sydney pub, and remains so in a spectacular location in The Rocks. Summary by Paul Byrnes.

This film was digitally restored and preserved as part of the NFSA Restores program.

Adam Ant – The Mike Walsh Show
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NFSA ID
1244459
Courtesy:
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
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Year

The fabulous Jeanne Little, dressed up to the nines in a white wig and dress, interviews English post-punk, new wave musician Adam Ant of Adam and the Ants. Their single 'Antmusic', released in 1980, had topped the Australian charts.

In a departure from many of Little's segments where she is the interview subject, here she is the interviewer. Jeanne and Adam Ant talk about fashion and she asks if it's true that he sometimes doesn't wear 'underclothes'. Jeanne asks dramatically how can Britain be saved, and he says that the recent royal wedding of Charles and Diana showed how England could come together.

Excerpt from The Mike Walsh Show: Episode 1157 broadcast on 23 September 1981.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Australiana by Austen Tayshus
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NFSA ID
612074
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Year

'Me mate Boomer rang. Said he was having a few people round for a barbie. Said he might cook a burra or two. I said, "Sounds great. Will Walla be there?". He said, "Yeah, and Vegie might come too". So I said to the wife, "Do you wanna go, Anna?" and she said, "I'll go if Din goes."

Austen Tayshus performs the hugely successful 'Australiana' sketch written for him by Billy Birmingham (also known as cricket comedy act The Twelfth Man). This spoken word performance was recorded live with an appreciative audience at the Comedy Store in Sydney in 1983, giving it a raw, immediate feel. Only available on 12" vinyl, it went to number one on the Australian charts and stayed there for eight weeks. 

The humour relies on the audience's knowledge of Australian place names, flora, fauna, events and icons, such as Vegemite which he references by saying 'Vegie might come too'. It's a great example of dry Australian humour and the linguistic tendency in Australian English for shortening names e.g. 'Will Walla be there?'

This excerpt comes from a re-release of the single in 2003 to mark the 20th anniversary of the original release by EMI Music.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Postpak Rap
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Matt Quartermaine from the comedy duo the Empty Pockets features in this Australia Post television commercial (TVC) promoting the use of Postpaks instead of ordinary wrapping paper for packaging postage parcels. When the boss asks a younger office worker (Quartermaine) to wrap a parcel, he is delivered Australia’s Post’s message – 'Don’t wrap it. Postpak it’. With rap music still new to Australian popular culture at the time, this commercial was very successful. The choice of comedian Quartermaine in the lead shows that the self-consciously daggy rap and accompanying dance moves were made to be funny and this ad is a great example of self-deprecating Australian humour. A veritable time capsule, it features 1980s technology such as floppy discs, a ghetto blaster, old computers and Telecom telephones.

NAA title number: C4189, 1053203.

Notes by Adrienne Parr

Beyond 2000 - Episode 152: Robot mannequins
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Year

Amanda Keller reports from Japan where a robot mannequin with the body type of a typical Japanese woman might yet replace the store dummy with long legs and long arms, the look that is much admired in Western Europe. Summary by Janet Bell.

Get With IT The Information Technology Challenge
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NFSA ID
5803
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Year

Information technology (IT) and computer systems were presenting challenges and opportunities in the 1980s. The documentary reviews the very early days of computer technology reaching into everyday life and the start of what would become the world wide web. This excerpt shows a man installing electronic directories in France with the prophetic voice-over saying, 'It's being installed to replace the telephone book, but in the future it can be linked to electronic mail, computerised shopping, electronic banking and a host of other computerised information networks. The prediction is that mass-computerisation will take hold and become as indispensable to society as electricity.'

The documentary shows applications for the latest technology such as working from home via computer, buying flights or checking the stock market using video text and producing electronic music on the Fairlight synthesiser. Other developments include reading programs for kids, mechanised factories, robots, reading devices for the blind, computer aided design (CAD), telecomputers that chase up debts, and computer games. Barry Jones talks about the information revolution and how technology will affect the workforce and society as a whole. Get With IT also broaches the possibility of computer fraud and discusses how technology has brought about new policing and legal challenges.

Get With IT The Information Technology Challenge, 1982, Film Australia Collection © NFSA. You can view the whole film on NFSA's YouTube Channel.

Notes by Beth Taylor

Ice skating duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean hold umbrellas over themselves with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/08-2017/torvill_and_dean_bridge.jpg
Torvill and Dean
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NFSA ID
355033
Year:
Year

Ice skating duo Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean were sports superstars in Australia, and around the world, in the 1980s. In 1984 the pair were on tour with the Russian Olympic team and were mobbed everywhere they went by excited fans. 

The tour was in the same year as their gold medal win at the Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games, where their Paso Doble and Bolero performances scored unprecedented perfect 6s from the judges. Here they pose from the forecourt the Sydney Opera House with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.

In the era before digital photography, this publicity image would have been taken on photographic film. There is no mistaking that this photograph is taken in the 1980s judging from the fashion the pair wear. Dean wears a Ken Done jumper with one of his distinctive paintings of Sydney Harbour and a pair of dark denim jeans. Torvill teams fawn overalls with a striped shirt and white court shoes.

Notes by Beth Taylor

BMX Bandits: 'That's life, pal'
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
571105
Year:
Year

A clip from the cult classic BMX Bandits. It features a 15 year-old Nicole Kidman in one of her first major screen roles. The chase continues, this time on foot and BMX bike, with the goons in pursuit of Judy (Nicole Kidman), Goose (James Lugton) and PJ (Angelo D’Angelo). The friends skillfully run rings around Whitey (David Argue) and Moustache (John Ley) as they navigate a suburban shopping centre (shot at Warringah Mall on Sydney's Northern Beaches) complete with water fountain, a pile of mattresses, an electrician on a ladder, bookshop display, busy pizza restaurant and an escalator. Summary by Tammy Burnstock.

First Impressions
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
1445328
Year:
Year

Issues for refugee children growing up in Australia in 1984. This short film looks at prejudice and Australians through the eyes of young Vietnamese children recently arrived in Australia. It is based around excerpts from school compositions and poems and was produced for use in classrooms as a video teaching aid.

First Impressions, 1984, Film Australia Collection © NFSA. Buy a copy at the NFSA shop.

Mad Max 2: Shell shock
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
5175
Year:
Year

Max (Mel Gibson) and the Feral Kid (Emil Minty) are alone now on the tanker. All their support crew have been killed defending it. One of the attackers has his metal claws stuck in Max’s shoulder. Max’s shells have spilled onto the bonnet of the Mack truck; he sends the Feral Kid out to retrieve them. Wez (Vernon Wells), the indestructible assailant, makes a surprise appearance. Summary by Paul Byrnes.

WARNING: This clip contains violence
Down Under by Men At Work
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
337398
Year:
Year

Men at Work sing about travelling the world and what it means to come 'from a land down under’.

Summary by Martin Ford

Sony Sports Walkman and Sony CD Walkman (Discman)
https://www.nfsa.gov.au/sites/default/files/09-2016/walkman.jpg
Sony Sports Walkman WM-FS191 and Sony CD Walkman (Discman)
Year:
Year

Yellow sports Walkman and Discman. The Discman says on it ;'AVLS (Automatic Volume Limiter System) Groove CD Compact Player'.

Walkman is a Sony brand trade name, and dates back to 1978 when the first Walkman was manufactured in Japan.

Approximate dimensions of Walkman: 120 x 100 x 50 mm. Approximate dimensions of Discman: 160 x 120 x 30 mm.

Made in Japan, circa 1980s.

Canberra Raiders - 1989 Grand Final Winners
NFSA-ID:
NFSA ID
50457
Courtesy:
Southern Cross Austereo
Year:
Year

In September 1989 Rugby League's Winfield Cup and JJ Giltinan Shield were won by a team outside of Sydney for the first time ever.  

And so began a party in Canberra and Queanbeyan that lasted well into the following day. As this clip shows, thousands of Raiders fans turned out to welcome their heroes home and cheered them on along the parade route from Queanbeyan to Canberra ending in a reception in Civic Square. Although some of the players – and the Winfield Cup – arrived a little worse for wear, John McIntyre explains why coach Tim Sheens was a no-show.

This clip is an excerpt of Ten News, Canberra from 25 September 1989. Presenter Geoff Hiscock introduces the lead story reported by Peter Chapman and Greg Robson. The bulletin celebrated the Raiders’ win by featuring a Raiders rosette on all graphics and lower-screen presenter supers. This title is part of the NFSA’s Television News collection and has been digitally preserved.

Notes by Adam Blackshaw