2016 at the NFSA

What did we collect in 2016?
 Adam Blackshaw

Highlights from the year include rare footage of The Beatles and the Paralympic Games; 42,000  files of new music releases by Australian signed and independent artists and 400 newly-pressed vinyl records; analogue tapes from Australia's oldest commercial radio station; a 16mm master copy of the very first episode of Young Talent Time; costumes from a famous television clown; and oral histories from leading figures in the film, sound and broadcast industries.



A Christmas Message to the Commonwealth by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1952. NFSA title: 306505.

A Christmas message to the Commonwealth, 1952 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. NFSA title: 306505.


This year we collected recordings made on shellac discs that included speeches by King Edward VII and King George, as well as the first Christmas message by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. It was recorded only six months after she was named Queen, and six months before her coronation.

Jack Grimsley created the theme music for TV shows Wheel of Fortune and Sale of the Century. We acquired 89 audio reels featuring jingles and TV soundtracks including those for clients such as Qantas, Pan-Am, Ultra Brite, Sanitarium, Peter Stuyvesant, Union Carbide, Castrol, Victa Mower and others. 

We acquired 377 newly pressed vinyl records from Zenith, Australia's only dedicated record pressing facility in Victoria, and 633 items from the Folk Federation of South Australia including live performances on VHS, CD and cassette tape.

We received one of our largest acquisitions ever: approximately 42,500 digital files from AMRAP. The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project distributes 'radio-ready' promotional copies of new music releases by Australian signed and independent artists to all licensed community radio stations in Australia.

The NFSA also continued collecting and archiving music, mainly independent artists, through Bandcamp. We accession approximately 20 albums each month with 190 albums acquired in this financial year alone.



The Legend of Ben Hall (trailer), 2016. NFSA title: 1482967


This year we received the earliest collection of any known Paralympic footage, from amateur filmmaker Don Worley. It covers events from the 1972 World Games for the Disabled in Heidelberg to the Seoul Paralympics in 1988. Another highlight was the remarkable, never-before-seen 1965 clip of The Beatles donated by production designer Melinda Doring and filmed by her mother, dancer and make-up artist Dawn Swane.

We also collected 8mm home movies from the Leslie Family Collection. The Leslie family ran Karratha Station in Western Australia from 1929 to 1966. There is footage of sheep mustering in the late 1930s, cyclone damage in the 1940s, the British atomic test at Montebello Island in 1952, the development of mining infrastructure in the 1960s and revealing scenes of rural life. In addition, we received rare home movie from 1928 of pioneer aviator Bert Hinkler filmed by members of his family. These films were in a very poor condition and have been carefully restored and preserved.

We continue to collect recent Australian film productions, like The Legend of Ben Hall (2016), Monsieur Mayonnaise (2016) and Jasper Jones (2016), and the work of emerging and independent filmmakers like Antony Webb (short film The Fan, 2016). We also received retrospective 35mm prints of Japanese Story (2003), Candy (2006), Somersault (2004) and The Sapphires (2012). This year's digital film acquisitions included unencrypted Digital Cinema Packages from film distributors Roadshow and e-One for contemporary and classic titles like Charlie’s Country (2014), The Castle (1997) and Strictly Ballroom (1992).


Documents and artefacts


Among the artefacts we acquired this year were a Yamaha C1 music computer from composer Bruce Smeaton, used to make demo recordings for film scores, and a test press recording of his soundtrack to The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) which was never released. Director Phil Noyce donated production files, stills and publicity for Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) and his international productions Sliver (1993), The Saint (1997) and The Quiet American (2002).

Amongst a collection donated to the NFSA by Jenny Lovell, the daughter of producer and TV personality Pat Lovell, were some hand-drawn greeting cards by Norman Hetherington. Norman created and voiced Mr Squiggle and worked with 'Miss Pat' on the children's program for 15 years, and these cards from the 1960s and '70s feature the Mr Squiggle characters. Hal Turner's daughter donated photographs, scrapbooks, albums, costumes, merchandise and personal effects related to her father's career as Bobo the Clown, a beloved children’s television character from the 1960s.

Also pictured in the gallery below are merchandise from the children's television program, Shirl's Neighbourhood (1979-83); Toni Collette's costume from the feature film, About a Boy (2002); and reference material from producer Damien Parer for the Gillian Armstrong's acclaimed documentary Women He's Undressed (2015), about Australian Oscar-winning costume designer Orry-Kelly.


2UE Radio Archives: Duracell High Moon advertisement and competition, 1969 (possibly featuring the voice of Bob Rodgers). NFSA title: 1475274. Courtesy Macquarie Media Limited (2UE).


Among the radio items collected this year were a large number of analogue audio tapes from Australia's oldest commercial radio station, 2UE. These programs date from the 1960s to the 1980s and include news, sport, interviews, advertisements and weekly highlights.

We also collected a 1947 interview about opal mining which has musical instruments and notes inscribed into the vinyl. The NFSA already had films produced by the Australian News and Information Bureau, but this recording demonstrates that the department also made sound recordings for radio broadcast. 

We collected the Community Radio Network National Features and Documentary Series spanning 2014 and 2015. Since 2014 the community radio sector has provided an opportunity for trainees to make documentaries under the guidance of mentors. Some of the programs have explored Australian audiovisual history such as, ‘Fairlight: How Australia Changed the Sound of Music’ and  ‘Australian Radio Pioneer’, about Charles Maclurcan. These programs are made available for broadcast through the Community Radio Network and reflect the current interest in long-form radio productions covering a variety of topics.



Port Arthur commemoration, 2016. Courtesy WIN News (Tasmania). NFSA title: 1473475


For our 'Newscaf' news and current affairs program, we acquired special broadcasts of the 10th anniversary of the Beaconsfield Mine rescue and the 20th anniversary of the Port Arthur Massacre.

In 2016 we collected the only surviving black-and-white 16mm master copy of the very first episode of Young Talent Time (1971). The show launched the careers of Australian performers like Jamie Redfern, Debbie Byrne, Tina Arena and Dannii Minogue.

Jungle donated masters and key documentation for No Activity (2015), the first commission produced for a streaming service in Australia. The first season of No Activity screened in late 2015 on STAN and the show was subsequently nominated for several Logie Awards in 2016.

As part of the continual efforts by the NFSA to preserve significant programming screened across community television networks, Channel 31 donated a further collection of digital masters for more than 1300 episodes of shows, including Antenna Award-winning programs from 2015.


Oral history

Margaret Pomeranz oral history excerpt, 2016. NFSA title:1466135


In her Oral History interview, film critic and NFSA Ambassador Margaret Pomeranz discussed her introduction to the film industry, the development and success of The Movie Show and her battles against film censorship.

Also recording their Oral History interviews this years were: writer-director Donald Crombie, who made documentaries for the Commonwealth Film Unit and Film Australia before directing features like Caddie (1976) and The Killing of Angel Street (1981); Athol Guy, bass player and singer with The Seekers; director, screenwriter and producer Jocelyn Moorhouse (Proof, 1991 and The Dressmaker, 2015) who recalled her childhood in New Guinea and then meeting husband and collaborator PJ Hogan at film school; and musician Les Gock, who experienced fame in the 1970s as guitarist for glam rock band Hush, before building a successful career as a composer of film and TV soundtracks.