Trucks at Mulga Downs by John Hutchinson
These rare examples of Aboriginal songs were recorded by John Hutchinson, one of Australia’s foremost field recordists, in 1959 along the north-west coastline of Australia. The recordings are an amazing snapshot of Aboriginal life in that period and range from traditional songs to newer compositions that reflect the changing dynamics of Aboriginal society through contact periods. Their significance not only lies in forging greater understanding of Indigenous Australia and its place within Australia’s history but contributes to cultural maintenance and resurgence for many Aboriginal communities in ensuring that their language songs and stories can continue to be passed on. Hutchinson died this year and the NFSA will build on his legacy by continuing to facilitate the return of these recordings to the Aboriginal communities from where the songs originated and celebrating the significance of the recordings to all.