ISSN 1833-6930

- Making Connections in Folklore -

Australian Folklore Network
Australian Folklore Research Unit
Curtin University of Technology


From the Convenor
National Australian Folklore Conference, 2007
Graduate Diploma in Australian Folklife
Recent Books
National Film & Sound Archive Scholarship
Fiddling and Tex Morton in Canada
Australian Folklore Association
Verandah Music Special
National Folklore Research Project Success
AFN Affiliates
New Links and Old Links


Transmissions has reached its 20th edition! To celebrate we have gone official with an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).

In this edition we have a piece on recent disaster lore, news of books, courses. Scholarships, research projects and the cal for expressions of interest to present at the 2007 Folklore Conference.

We are sad to report the recent death of folklorist, oral historian and author Wendy Lowenstein. Like the many other pioneers of Australian folklore who have recently passed away, Wendy will be greatly missed.

Please continue to send in items for publication in the next Transmissions.

Graham Seal



Arrangements are under way for next year’s folklore conference in conjunction with the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival. This event is a prelude to the National Folk Festival at Easter and has attracted increasing numbers since it began in 2005. The conference combines presentations of research, fieldwork and archiving issues, together with lunchtime concerts of traditional music and the opportunity for discussion among participants.

The first conference revolved around the closely linked themes of collecting, collections and collectors. Last year it was the dissemination of collected folklore through archives, performance, recording, publishing and teaching.

This year we are altering the format slightly to make further time available for general discussion. There will therefore be an even more limited number of presentation slots available – a total of 8.

A number of individuals have indicated their interest in giving a paper next year and it may be that, if these eventuate, there will be no need for a call for papers. Please contact Graham Seal if you would still like to present a paper next year. There will be no particular theme for the 2007 conference, so any aspect of folklore can be addressed.



There was not an opportunity to study a complete course on folklore/folklife in this country until the forerunner of the OUA Grad Dip was established by Gwenda Beed Davey in the National Centre for Australian Studies at Monash University in the late 1990s. A number of students graduated from that course, but it was closed down when funding dried up. It was decided to combine elements of the Monash course with units in folklore taught at Curtin University and to develop a Graduate Diploma in Australian Folklife that would be available through Open Universities Australia (then known as Open Learning Australia).

The Graduate Diploma in Australian Folklife emphasises the application of the understandings gained from a study of folklife to a wide variety of social, cultural, organisational and human needs. It is designed to be of interest to anyone wishing to understand some fundamentals of the human condition and especially to professionals involved in human services, heritage studies, organisational behaviour, human resources, tourism, museology, cultural planning, librarianship and teaching.

The degree consists of six units:

1. Introduction to Folklore

2. Folklore and Folklife Fieldwork

3. Folklife: A Multicultural Perspective

4. Applied Folklore

5. Community Folk Heritage

6. Advanced Issues in Folklore and Folklife Studies

 Flexible delivery means that students may take the units that constitute the degree at their own pace. Individual units may also be taken independently for personal interest and/or professional reasons.

We have students all over Australia, in China and the UK. We have also had a student from Malaysia who conducted her fieldwork unit in India. We have also had expressions of interest from potential students in America and Europe. So although our focus is Australian folk lore and life, the universal nature of the field allows us to reach out across the world.

Our students are of all ages and varying backgrounds, including teachers, administrators, academics, retirees, managers, medicos, performers, heritage professionals

Our numbers are also increasing quite strongly. We began the distance version of this program with no students. Then we enrolled one student and there are now around 40 at different stages of their studies. We have graduated 4 students so far, with a few more close behind.

A number of student projects have been published in previous issues of Transmissions, a feature we hope to continue.

For further information contact:



Warren Fahey’s Australian Folklore Unit has tracked the developing folklore of the recent Beaconsfield Mining Disaster in Tasmania. Warren collected some examples (below) of the use of internet and email technology to transmit very contemporary responses to the event. On his website Warren also provides some historical background to the folklore of Australian mining disasters, based on the collections of a number of Australian folklorists over many decades.

For a look at the disaster lore that followed the Twin Towers attack in New York go to American folklorist and journalist Russel Frank’s article


The item was titled “The Real Hero Of Beaconsfield’

The second used the T-shirt as a carrier for a message:


The implication being ‘hard rock’ of the mine as they attempted rescue.

Without a doubt the most circulated item was titled ‘First photograph of the trapped miners’


I also received a more elaborate Powerpoint version of the above sight joke with various captions like ‘Brant and Todd in the morning’, ‘Brant and Todd winking’

The next item is a CD record cover of a compilation of songs using mining themes connected to the rescue. Interestingly a news release made comment that a record label was considering releasing the compilation into the market.

And, in accordance with that enduring trait of human nature to make light of everything, there have been some truly awful ‘sick’ jokes:

Michael Jackson has cancelled his trip to Beaconsfield after hearing the two minors who were trapped in a cage have been released.

'I don't think the guys will be getting a beer tonight as it's illegal to serve beer to minors'

Warren is still collecting disaster lore, Email to

He would like to thank the following for their contributors to this project

John Milce
Valda Low
Ronald McCoy
Marita Blood
Geoff Francis
Peter Hicks
K V McLennan
Chris Maltby
Megan Brennan
Kevin Bradley
Robert Smith
Russell Hannah
Tim Shirley



Tucker Track is an eclectic and entertaining collection of culinary-related customs, habits and traditions in Australia, guaranteed to trigger long-lost memories and delight readers with every page turned. 

Brimming with examples of culinary wisdom, old wives' tales and fascinating bite-sized chunks of information, Tucker Track is divided into 25 chapters on topics such as 'Iconic Foods', 'Festivals and Rituals', 'School Meals' and 'Entertaining and Etiquette', and the alphabetical entries are perfect for dipping into. Certain to stir up powerful memories, Tucker Trackexplores Australia's history from a unique and fascinating perspective - just dig in and enjoy.

‘Warren Fahey knows his tucker and can take his readers back along some fascinating bush tracks where campfires burned brightly and country kitchens produced dishes that were uniquely Australian and as tasty as the best.’  Joan Campbell  Former food director for Vogue and Vogue Entertaining + Travel

ISBN 0 73331727 8 – rrp $27.95. Available in all good book shops and from ABC Enterporises at

Magowan, F & Neuenfeldt, K. (eds), Landscapes of Indigenous Performance: Music, Song and Dance of the Torres Strait and Arnhem Land, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 2005. A wide-ranging consideration of traditional and contemporary indigenous music and dance under the influence of colonialsim, commericlisation, globalisation and Christianisation.

Hayward, P., Bounty Chords: Music, Dance and Cultural Heritage on Norfolk and Pitcairn Islands, John Libbey Publishing, Sydney, 2006. Following on from Hayward’s previous study of Lord Howe Island musical traditions, Hearing the Call (2002, reviewed in Transmissions), this book deals with the role of song and dance on the formation and maintenance of local identity from the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789 to the present.



Through these fellowships the NFSA encouraging and facilitating research into Australia's historic and contemporary moving image and recorded sound culture.

Research projects can investigate the collection:

  1. As historical evidence
  2. As interpretation of the past and enrichment of contemporary culture
  3. For contemporary creative performance or work

We encourage applications for research projects that expand knowledge and understanding of the Archive’s collection, including its audiovisual preservation and archival practices.

Fellowships are open to established researchers and audiovisual practitioners, with a record of significant achievement in a field relevant to the NFSA. Senior academics, post-doctoral scholars, independent scholars, writers, audio and audiovisual practitioners, artists and archive professionals from both Australian and overseas are eligible to apply.

The fellowships include access to the library and collection, with hands on assistance and opportunities to work with archivists and curators with deep experience in their fields. We also offer rent-free accommodation in comfortable quarters close by and a well equipped work space and office facilities.

Information about the research fellowships, the NFSA collection and the fellowship application form are available from the NFSA website:

Applications for this round close on 30 November 2006.

If you have any inquiries about the fellowships please contact the Coordinator of Centre for Scholarly and Archival Research, Marilyn Higgins on +61 2 6248 2032.



Some links to the variety of Canadian fiddle traditions courtesy of Rod Olstad, a Canadian folklorist and fiddle player and Rob Willis.

Here's a link to the Canadian Virtual Museum display about traditional music in Western Canada:

Here's a link to the display from Cape Breton, the east coast of Canada:

We're scheduled to have the Northern Alberta Fiddle exhibition up by Jan. 2007. 

Here's a link to a project about Metis fiddle music and culture: <>

And here’s one specifically to Gilbert Anderson, a favourite Metis fiddler in Edmonton: The video here starts with the launch of the metis virtual museum and goes on to some fiddle music played by Gilbert.

Rod also notes that the well-travelled Tex Morton went to Carleton University in Ottawa.  Here's the link to that University  He’s also heard it said that Tex owned or rented a theatre in Ottawa for a time when he put on shows from there. Anyone know more about Tex Morton’s North American doings?



The AFA was founded to further the study and teaching of folklore in Australia. It publishes the journal Australian Folklore each year and publishes an e-newsletter edited by Mark Moravec. The current issues includes an obituary of recently-deceased folklorist Bill Scott, an article on storytelling, notices of a number of films on folklore and other relevant news and events. If you would like a copy of the newsletter or to find out more about the Association, contact Mark at .



We have obtained stock of the book and CDs Verandah Music: Roots of Australian Tradition from the publisher and can now offer it as a special to AFN subscribers at the much reduced price of $35.00AUD + post and packing. Please contact if you would like to purchase copies.


NATIONAL FOLKLORE RESEARCH PROJECT - Childhood, Tradition and Change

A research group from Melbourne University, Deakin Unievrsity, Curtin University, the National Library of Australia and Museum Victoria have been awarded an Australian Research Council Linkage grant to research the changes that have, or have not taken place in Australian children’s lore over the last fifty years. AFN members Gwenda Beed Davey, June Factor and Graham Seal are members of the research team

The project will revisit the Australian schools visited by American Fullbright scholar Dr Dorothy Howard during the 1950s with a view to documenting and understanding the changes in children’s lore since then.

This major project runs from 2006-2010 and will produce a number of outcomes, including seminars, a conference, journal articles and a book.

This is the first (hopefully, of many) large grant for folklore from the Australia Research Council and so represents further official recognition of the quality of Australian folklore research and fieldwork.



Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria
Beth Sowter
Bill Scott
Bill Wannan (dec.)
Bob Bolton
Brian Dunnett
Brian Shepherd
Brian Wilkins
Bruce Cameron
Bob Rummery
Bush Music Club
Campbell Irving
Chloe Roweth

Chris Kempster
Chris Woodland
Chris Wright
Christina Mimmocchi
Cliff Hanna
Colin McJannett
Dani Rocca
Danny Spooner
Dave Hults
David De Santi
David Mulhallen
David S Azzolina
Dawn Anderson
Dieter Bajzek
Don Brian
Folk Alliance Australia
Graham Seal
Gregan O'Leary
Gwenda Davey
Hugh Anderson
Ian Russell
Jan Orloff
Jason Roweth
Jenny Gall
J D A Widdowson
Jeff Corfield
Jim Low
John Harpley
John Low
John Marshall
J S Ryan
June Factor
June Nichols
Karl Neuenfeldt
Katie Andrews
Keith McKenry
Kel Watkins
Kevin Bradley
Les Montanjees
Luisa Del Giudice
Mark Cranfield
Mark Gregory
Mark Moravec
Martin Chatfield
Martin Goreing
Maureen Seal
Mike Martin    
Moya McFadzean
Museum of Childhood, Edith Cowan University
Noris Ioannou
Olya Willis 
Patrick Watt
Peter Ellis
Phillip Ashton
Philip Hayward
Phyl Lobl
Robert Smith
Rob Willis
Roger Hargraves 
Ron Brown
Ron Edwards
Ruth Hazleton
Sandra Nixon
Steve Bullock
Steve Gadd
Susan Faine
Terry Clinton
Tony Suttor
Top End Folk Club
Valda Low
Vic Orloff
Victorian Folklife Association
Warren Fahey
Wendy Corrick
Western Australian Folklore Archive




Handy list of ballad sites from Sandra Nixon

Dry stone wall society


National Register of Folklore Collections

Folklore Australia – resource base

Australian Folklore Research Unit – Australia Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology

Simply Australia - Online magazine of folklore and social history

National Library of Australia Oral History/Folklore Archive

Trad&Now – Australian Folk Music magazine

Play and Folklore- Australia’s journal of children’s folklore

Graduate Diploma in Australian Folklife

Moonlit road – traditional tales and associated lore. An excellent American website that uses spooky folktales to interest the young, and not-so-young, in folklore. Have a squiz if you dare at:

Verandah Music: Roots of Australian Tradition - A joint project between the AFN, Curtin University and the National Library of

Folklore Weather Forecasting – well worth a look.

Also Weather Forecasting and Folklore at

Useful Ballads link

Warren Fahey’s folklore site