Sounds of Australia, National Sound and Film Archives.

The 2011 ‘Sounds of Australia’ additions list has just been released by the National Sound and Film Archive. The list includes recordings of songs and speech from the Torres Strait Islands made in 1898 by the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition. The recordings have been digitised from the original wax cylinders so the sounds quality is not fantastic, but what a treasure to preserve and have in the national archive. Here is a news piece by the ABC on the new additions to the collection. On the NFSA website you can also find the Indigenous collection which contains sound and film recordings from 1898 to the present day. A lot of this footage is available to view on the Australia Screen website. Happy viewing!


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One Response to Sounds of Australia, National Sound and Film Archives.

  1. Robyn Smith says:

    The Australia Screen website has a series of short films called Nganampa Anwernekenhe which has the maintenance of Aboriginal languages and culture as its primary aim.
    There are more than 180 in the series; I’ve looked at only a few so far. One was Wirriya: Small Boy which gives tells us about 7 year old Ricco in three separate clips.
    He speaks in Aboriginal English, and there are English subtitles. Clip 2 shows footage of him at school (including a class teaching Warlpiri language), and it was interesting to see that the older Aboriginal woman who taught the language class was much stricter than the normal classroom teacher. Her teaching style seems to be at odds with the notion that generally Aboriginal teaching tends to not give explicit instruction; so perhaps she is mimicking the other teachers, or the way she herself was taught at school.
    When the teacher asks Ricco where he lives all the time, he points to the map of the world and says ‘here’; she asks ‘where?’ again, and again he answers ‘here’. She asks one more time ‘where’s that?’ (apparently fishing for the answer ‘Australia’), but he looks a bit perplexed and says ‘here, right here’. It seems he’s unfamiliar with this particular conversational routine, where asking again shows that the teacher wants more information. This would seem to be an instance of cultural mismatch – other footage shows him to be a generally compliant student, and he pointed to and named Mexico on the map. No doubt if she’d asked him explicitly for the name of the country he would have given her the answer she wanted.
    I recommend you explore this site, and post comments about other ones you find particularly interesting!

    Robyn Smith
    LING366 2012

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