Acquisition Highlights

Lights, camera, culture! What we collected in 2023

The NFSA collection is dynamic, diverse and often surprising, spanning everything from television to TikTok, vintage to video, polyester film to podcast.

In 2023, our curators introduced 61,000 items. Amidst these highlights, you'll discover moments both grand and intimate: defining news, sports and cultural events, personal stories, and the experiments that add spice to Australia’s cumulative creativity.

As our collection grows and evolves, we’re able to preserve a richer portrait of our nation that represents all Australians – connecting past, present, and future through audiovisual media.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the content featured on this page may contain images and/or audio of deceased persons.

New directions

Embracing TikTok videos and delving into mobile games, our collection is now Extremely Online. Encounter a witty tarot reader, explore the Daintree from your desktop, put your word skills to the test, and hear from the best minds in gaming.

Gondwana is a multi-sensory VR installation condensing 100 years of climate data into a single day.

It transports users into an interactive digital version of the Daintree Rainforest, displaying different possible futures for the forest based on climate projections up to the year 2090.

The installation screened at SXSW, Sundance Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival and CPH:DOX in Copenhagen. Creators Ben Joseph Andrews and Emma Roberts spent five months researching the project while off-grid in the World Heritage-listed Daintree.

View a demo of Gondwana

Gubbins is the inaugural game by Melbourne-based indie developer Studio Folly, developed with support from Screen Australia. 

The puzzle game is described as 'Solitaire meets Scrabble'. Players use tiles to construct words that can be helped (or messed up) by mischievous cartoon characters known as Gubbins. 

Released on iOS and Android, Gubbins is representative of the growing popularity of mobile gaming over the last two decades. 

See Gubbins in action

SIFTER’s Lightmap podcast explores what goes into making a video game as told by the creative teams making games and the journalists and academics writing about gaming culture. 

In 2023, the podcast highlighted guests like Ben Ward and Tim Malony, respectively the creative director and producer behind Dros (2023). It also featured composer River Boy (Narayana Johnsson), who produced a soundtrack for Cult of the Lamb (2022) with everything from vocal sampling to bansuri; and the Fuzzy Ghost team, whose latest game, Janet DeMornay is a Slumlord (and a witch) (2024), explores found family and the perils of renting.

Listen to a snippet about the game Janet DeMornay is a Slumlord (and a witch) from episode 212 of Lightmap

Monumental sport moments

In 2023, the NFSA documented a year of sports firsts. The Matildas shattered records, Sylvia Nulpinditj made history, and Annette Kellerman returned to the spotlight. 

Australian explorations

Our curators celebrate and document narratives from every nook of the nation, championing communities, cultures, and landscapes in a rich tapestry of Australian stories.

Series two of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia podcast From the Embers revisits towns impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. 

The series gives voice to the people affected by the disaster and records the resilience of communities as they rebuild and face the added hardships of floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hear an excerpt from episode 1 of From The Embers 2: Phoenix

Travelogue of Eastern States provides a fascinating glimpse into late 1920s Australia.

Digitised from the original tinted 35mm nitrate reel, stunning colours were discovered upon scanning, bringing vibrancy to the moving images featuring iconic Australian city and landscapes scenes.

It begins with views of a sparsely populated Canberra, a sharp contrast to scenes of a busy Sydney Harbour, Bondi Beach and Melbourne's St Kilda Road. The travelogue shows the Illawarra coastline from the tops of Bulli as well as the wonders of the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves, giving an insight into technology and places of interest at the time.

Watch Travelogue of Eastern States, c1929

3ZZZ began broadcasting in Melbourne in 1989 and is regarded as Australia’s largest multicultural community radio station. 

With 120 programs on its weekly schedule, 3ZZZ broadcasts in many languages. It is also the first community radio station to be added to the NFSA’s off-air radio capture program, with more to come. 

This clip includes extracts from 3ZZZ

Gaming evolutions

The NFSA's video game collection continues to expand rapidly as the institution continues to evolve in response to trends in multimedia, interactive and new media production and consumption in the 21st century.

8-bit wonderland

Released in 1983, Horace Goes Skiing is the second instalment of the Horace series created by William Tang for Beam Software. 

Reminiscent of the arcade game Frogger, the player must safely move Horace across a busy road to hire skis before hitting the slopes and navigating a ski course. 

Horace Goes Skiing was released for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Dragon 32.

Artwork for a video game showing drawings of monster trucks crossing a bridge over some water.

Visualising 1980s gaming

Graphic artist Russel Comte designed some of Australia’s most recognisable games of the 1980s and 1990s. This collection of original art includes drawings of Gino’s pool hall from the Mugsy sequel, Mugsy’s Revenge (1986), concept art for the boxing game Sgt Slaughter’s Mat Wars (1989) and hand-drawn maps for the monster truck racing game Bigfoot (1990).

Artwork for a video game showing drawings of a map and a monster truck.

This image features one of Russel Comte's hand-drawn maps for the monster truck racing game Bigfoot (1990), created for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Comte’s imaginings - coded into pixels and played on the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and NES - are emblematic of the era of 8-bit gaming.

View the entire drawing

Computer generated caricature of TV presenter Steve Vizard.

Multimedia marvels of Amiga

These software 'demos' were produced for the Amiga computer by the Australian demo group Decay in 1990, and feature Steve Vizard and Derryn Hinch in an unofficial capacity, screen-captured from their TV programs at the time. 'Demos' were audiovisual demonstrations of the multimedia capabilities of a computer in the form of a computer program. Rival groups made up of artists, coders, and musicians competed to produce the best demos that could push the limits of a computer. In the pre-web era, these demos were distributed on floppy disks (either swapped in person or sent in the mail) or downloaded (very slowly) by dialling into a bulletin board.

Watch the Amiga Steve Vizard demo

Steampunk-inspired gameplay 

Dros (2023) is an adventure platformer inspired by 1980s dark fantasy films, with nods to steampunk and anime aesthetics. 

In the game, the player switches between a little slimy creature and her human shell to solve puzzles and explore a world corrupted by Alchemy. 

That steampunk-inspired world consists of 40 crafted stages to explore. EmergeWorlds, the Brisbane-based developers, envisaged each Dros stage like a modelled diorama set. 

Dros received funding from the Screen Australia Games: Expansion Pack program.

Rows of video game covers laid out on a table.

Australian games: the early years 

The late Darryll Reynolds had a prolific career as an independent video game and software developer, creating illustrated text adventure games such as King Solomon’s Mines (1983), The Secret of Bastow Manor (1983) and Thermonuclearwargames (1984).

This collection of Reynolds’ material includes software and accompanying documentation such as working notes and diagrams on gameplay design, printed computer code, and organisational papers, which give insight into the first two decades of the video games industry in Australia.

Personal stories

Adding new films, TV, shorts, and web series in 2023, NFSA showcases distinct Australian voices that are resonating globally. 

Created by and starring Aussie husband-and-wife team Patrick Brammall and Harriet Dyer, Colin from Accounts has become a fan favourite thanks to its awkward (and at times relatable!) romantic comedy. 

Now renewed for a second season, Colin from Accounts has streamed in the US and UK and won the 2023 Logie Awards for Most Outstanding Actress, Actor and Comedy Program.

Watch a clip from the first episode of Colin from Accounts featuring Patrick Brammall, Harriet Dyer and Annie Maynard

Made from a semi-autobiographical script by writer-director Noor Niasari, the Australian feature film Shayda (2023) tells the story of an Iranian immigrant (Zar Amir Ebrahimi) finding refuge from domestic violence in a suburban Melbourne women’s shelter. 

Executive-produced by Cate Blanchett, Shayda premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and opened the Melbourne International Film Festival. Niasari was nominated for Best First-Time Feature Director at the Directors Guild of America awards. 

Watch a clip from Shayda featuring Zar Amir Ebrahimi and Leah Purcell

This web series combines queer sexual health education with a rom-com storyline. 

When Saffie (Gemma Bird Matheson) discovers she has herpes, she reaches out to Bek (Kasia Vickery), the one-night stand who ghosted her ­– and the only person she’s ever slept with.

Created by Matheson and Vickery, the series premiered at the Mardi Gras Film Festival in 2023 and is hosted by Wear It Purple. Matheson also wrote for and appeared in the web series The Housemate (2017) and TV series The PM's Daughter (2022). 

Watch a clip from Me and Her(pes)

Warning: this clip contains sexual references

Iconic sounds

Our curators continue to collect significant sound recordings covering all genres and eras. Other additions to the collection come through valuable partnerships and donations. 

Kylie's pop-dance revival

The Mushroom Group is Australia’s largest independent music company. It contains several music labels focusing on various genres, including Bloodlines, Ivy League and Liberation Records. Over the last three years, the NFSA has collected all releases relating to Australian artists under the Mushroom banner.

Kylie Minogue's 'Padam Padam' (2023) was the lead single from her 16th studio album, Tension (2023). It became her first UK Top 10 and Australian Top 20 single in more than 10 years and won the inaugural award for Best Pop Dance Recording at the 66th Grammy Awards and Best Pop Release at the ARIA Awards.

Album cover featuring a photo of musician Dan Sultan looking upwards.

Mushroom Records masterpieces 

‘Chance to Lose Control’ is taken from Dan Sultan’s 5th album, Dan Sultan (2023). A proud Arrernte Gurindji man, the award-winning singer-songwriter, said the song is about finding peace with yourself.

Other Mushroom Group artists whose music was collected through this partnership include Archie Roach, the Teskey Brothers, DMA’s, Confidence Man, the Rubens and Maina Doe.

Poster for a band called The Vamps

Rocking against tradition

The Vamps broke the mould by becoming Australia’s first all-female rock band in April 1965.

This audio documentary by Holly Alexander features interviews with band founder and guitarist Margaret Britt and bassist Joy Carroll.

Learn more about the Vamps and listen to the audio documentary The Vamps: Australia's First All-Female Rock Band (2022)

New-old discoveries

In 2023, rare gems surfaced ­– a 1920s newsreel, an extensive century-old glass slide collection, and a selection of magazine ads spotlighting Australia's video games' global successes.

Marketing Aussie games

Beam Software and Melbourne House developed and published many of Australia’s iconic early video games. Pulled from the pages of international computer game magazines, such as the UK publication ZZAP!64, these advertisements show the reach and popularity of Australian games like The Hobbit (1982) and The Way of the Exploding Fist (1985).

The image above shows part of an advertisement for Judge Dredd. Follow this link to view more. 

Old audio visual equipment laid out on a table.

Magic lanterns and glass slides

The Reverend Percy Edwards Visual Archive is an extensive collection of glass slides, equipment and manuscripts that has been in the Edwards family for six generations. 

The magic lantern pictured above, manufactured in London by W Watson and Sons, projected glass slides and is considered a forerunner of the film projector. Philanthropist Fred Grimwade gifted a magic lantern to Percy Edwards in 1898. 


A glass slide with an image of a young woman holding a candle and smiling. The words 'GOOD NIGHT' are written on the slide.

This glass slide is from a series titled 'Farewell to Old England'. 

The Rev. Percy Edwards Visual Archive was donated to the NFSA by the Edwards Family of Melbourne.

Behind the scenes

The NFSA’s oral history program continues to capture the personal recollections of key people in Australia’s audiovisual industry. Among the oral histories recorded recently were animation pioneer Antoinette Starkiewicz and award-winning filmmaker Jessica Douglas-Henry.

More to explore

While you're here, revisit some of the rare, remarkable and diverse items were added to the NFSA collection in 2022, 2021 and 2020