Apparently November is Australian Music Month (don’t ask, just enjoy!), which is a good excuse to highlight some of the Australian music we have in our collection!

Corroboree ; An outback overture by John Antill: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Judd

 Naxos, 2008 Naxos, 2008

In the annals of Australian music, theatre and dance John Antill’s Corroboree holds a special place. Inspired by memories of a corroboree he had attended as a child, Antill sought to convey a sense of the mystery and ritual that had so profoundly moved him. The ballet was first staged in Sydney in 1950 and then in Melbourne in 1951 as part of the National Theatre Arts Festival, and whilst performances since then have been few and far between it has achieved a somewhat legendary reputation as a work that conveys a distinctly Australian sound world and sensibility. If you’re a registered user of the Library you can listen to this remarkably powerful work via the Naxos Music Library.

Don John of Austria : Australia’s first opera, music by Isaac Nathan ; arranged by Sir Charles Mackerras

ABC, 2011 ABC, 2011


Though not born in Australia Isaac Nathan is considered one of Australia’s first composers, having emigrated to Sydney in 1841. Don John of Austria is the first homegrown opera to be wholly written and produced in Australia, although Nathan’s most important work was arguably centered around his exploration of Jewish melodies and his interest in Aboriginal music making. His ancestors, the late Charles Mackerras and his nephew Alexander Briger, continue the proud family tradition of music making, and they both pay homage to their illustrious predecessor in this fine recording.

The rough guide to Australian Aboriginal music

World Music Network, 2008 World Music Network, 2008


The music and culture of Aboriginal Australia has long fascinated composers such as Nathan and Antill, and it continues to exert a strong influence on much contemporary music making. This CD works as a fine introduction to this rich and evocative landscape, and includes traditional pieces as well as performers working in more popular idioms such as folk and country.

Long way to the top: stories of Australian and New Zealand rock & roll (DVD)


Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2001

From Johnny O’Keefe and Col Joye to Kylie Minogue and Yothu Yindi, this documentary charts the evolution of the Australian rock music scene from the 1950s through to the beginning of the “naughties”, and some of the footage is just wild! There’s absolutely no denying that Australian musicians in the fifties responded to the development of rock n’ roll with an enthusiasm that set the scene for everything that was to come later; and which continues in its own unbridled fashion to this day!

History of jazz in Australia


Sound Heritage Association, 1996 Sound Heritage Association, 1996

 Australia has long had an extremely vibrant jazz scene, and these two CDs chart just some of its high points from 1925 through to the late 1980s. Graeme Bell and Don Burrows rub shoulders with the likes of Ray Tellier’s San Francisco Orchestra, Sidney Simpson and his Wentworth Cafe Orchestra and Les Welch and his 8 Beat Boys, to name just a few. Just looking at the cover gets my feet tapping!


Some like their jazz hot!

No. 2 [Fire Brigade] Station's Jazz Band No. 2 Fire Brigade  Station Jazz Band

This article has 2 comments

  1. Interesting image, shame about the very poor quality scan and the lack of information in the catalogue record.

  2. You’re quite right Tom, it is an interesting image but a poor scan. Our Picture Librarian tells me that this was one of our very early attempts at digitising and it will be upgraded as part of an ongoing program. Unfortunately there may not be much we can do about the amount of information/documentation available, although if anybody has information about it that they’d like to share we would be delighted to receive it!

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