The National Film and Sound Archive’s (NFSA) mission is simple: collect and preserve significant audio and visual items for sharing now and into the future. From rare Tasmanian tiger footage to Hugo Weaving’s iconic Priscilla flip-flop dress and the world’s first feature film, Charles Tait’s The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906) – to date, they’ve amassed more than 2.8 million artefacts. The sound collection alone includes over 124,000 disc recordings, 33,000 tapes, 137,000 digital files, 17,000 vinyl LPs, 50,000 CDs… you get the picture. And by the sheer force of this unique collection’s size and inherent quality, it’s a true encapsulation of the sounds of our diverse national experiences.
Building the people’s archive.
The overarching curatorial principles are broad, to say the least. Basically, the goal is to amass a historical record of Australian audio and visual creative and technical achievement. And via the Nominate a Sound initiative we can all contribute. Every year, ten new sounds are added to the Sounds of Australia collection as a result of public nominations. Any recorded Australian audio is eligible, so long as it’s no more than ten years old. So far, public additions range from historic speeches to animal field recordings, radio jingles to anthropological studies. But it’s the songs that perhaps most vividly capture in our memories feelings of nostalgia for time and place. In this playlist we present a sampler of the NFSA-approved songs of the past century that help to make us, us.
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