Head and shoulders shot of John Farnham wearing a black leather jacket looking at camera with head slightly tilted.

He’s The Voice: John Farnham online exhibition celebrates Australian superstar ahead of 70th birthday


• National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) launches online-only exhibition dedicated to John Farnham’s career in music, TV, film and theatre.

• Includes rare TV moments such as Farnham being crowned King of Pop by Liberace in 1971, musical performances, interviews and other items preserved in the NFSA collection.

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has launched John Farnham: The Voice, a new online-only exhibition celebrating the only Australian artist to have a No. 1 album in five consecutive decades. The exhibition, available at https://www.nfsa.gov.au/johnfarnham, coincides with Farnham’s upcoming 70th birthday on 1 July 2019.

Debuting in 1967 with his first hit single ‘Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)’, John Farnham soon became known as Australia’s King of Pop. The 1980s delivered Farnham’s Whispering Jack, the highest selling album in Australia by an Australian artist, achieving 24x Platinum. He also holds the record for the most ARIA awards won by a solo artist. There is no aspect of entertainment where Farnham hasn’t succeeded.

‘Few Australian performers have had the stellar highs and sustained success of John Farnham, truly an Icon of Australian popular music who’s songs have helped form the fabric of our culture from the 1960s on. The National Film and Sound Archives collection is a unique cultural treasure which helps tell the story of who we were, are and will be, the items we have in our collection by John Farnham will continue to be available into the future, so people can understand the culture of the times and his place in it’ – Thosten Kaeding, NFSA Sound Curator. 

Highlights featured in the online-only exhibition include:

  • The earliest Farnham footage in the NFSA collection: an early 1968 interview in Seven’s current affairs program 7 Days.
  • The Wonderful World of Johnny Farnham, a 1970 special contrasting his suburban home life with his teenage idol persona.
  • Liberace crowning Farnham as King of Pop at the 1971 Australian Pop Music Awards.
  • A conversation with Sammy Davis Jr on The Don Lane Show, 1980.
  • Farnham’s acting roles in Division 4, Home and Away, the sitcoms Bobby Dazzler (with Sigrid Thornton) and The Last of the Australians, plus a look at his presenting and comedy skills alongside Colleen Hewitt in the variety show It’s Magic (1974).
  • Mike Willesee reporting on Farnham’s success in Germany, 1988.
  • Musical performances, TV commercials, interviews and more!
  • Curated collection 1 - https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/john-farnham-collection
  • Curated collection 2 - https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/curated/more-john-farnham
  • Blog post - https://www.nfsa.gov.au/latest/australian-music-legend-john-farnham


Interviews with NFSA Sound Curator Thorsten Kaeding and/or Exhibition Producer Mel Bondfield available. Please contact Publicity Coordinator Jemma Walsh, (02) 6248 2248, jemma.walsh@nfsa.gov.au.  


About the NFSA’s Online-Only Exhibitions

Our online exhibitions are designed to focus on Australian film, sound, TV and other icons while showcasing the breadth and depth of the NFSA collection.

Previous online exhibitions have honoured Jimmy Barnes, Annette Kellerman, Graham Kennedy, Johnny O’Keefe, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo and the films Storm Boy, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Strictly Ballroom, Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. View them at https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/online-exhibitions.