ISSUE 21 - May 2007

ISSN 1833-6930

- Making Connections in Folklore -

Australian Folklore Network
Australian Folklore Research Unit
Curtin University of Technology


From the Convenor

2007 National Folklore Conference

WA Folklife Project Update

Free Australian Folk Music Radio Programs

Digger songs on CD

Rare ballad collection online

ARC Children’s Folklore Research Project Website

Children’s Folklore Publications Available

Oral Tradition goes digital

Gallipoli 2015

Verandah Music special offer

Australian Folklore Network



Although it has been some time since the last Transmissions, the AFN has been busy organising and presenting the third National Australian Folklore Conference, as reported below. Once again, the conference was a success and the venue for next year has already been booked. The WA Folklife Project also completed its third year and there are some copies of the Verandah Music book and CDs still available.

We also report on other folklore activities within Australia and elsewhere, including publications and CDs, online archives and radio programs of interest and a number of new and developing research projects, including Childhood Tradition and Change and Gallipoli 2015

Thanks to those who contributed items and please email future contributions to

Graham Seal




This year’s conference was again a collaboration between the AFN, the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival. Papers included:

Rob Willis and the NLA arranged a concert of traditional music in the Library foyer featuring two traditional performers from Western Australia, fiddler Sean Doherty and sean nos singer and lilter Tom Kearns, together with some step dancing. Sean and Tom also appeared at the national Folk Festival over the following four days, as did many of the conference presenters.

Around fifty people attended the conference and many took part in the general discussion session that concluded the day.

The conference organising committee consisted of:

Kevin Bradley – National Library of Australia

Graham Seal – Centre for Advanced Studies in Australia, Asia and the Pacific, Curtin University (Convener)

Rob Willis – Australian Folklore Network

Dave O’Neill – National Folk Festival

Preparations are underway for next years’ conference which will be again at the National Library on Thursday, March 20.



In 2004 The National Library of Australia, Australian Folklore Network Curtin University (anyone else) implemented the Western Australian Folklife Project.

Coordinated by Graham Seal and Rob and Olya Willis, the ongoing project has recorded many facets of Social History and Folklore in the state, from Broome to Albany and between.

From 2004 until the current field trip in March 2007 the project has recorded 71 individuals and 3 groups or choirs. Some of the topics covered include whaling, Indigenous folklore and stories, the timber industry, travelling showmen, blacksmithing, the WA folk revival, child migration, POWs and farming, along with various other aspects of Western Australian social history and folklore.  Multicultural traditions recorded have included Ukrainian, Swiss, Greek, Persian and Irish.  The interesting aspect is that the well does not look like drying up, there is much more to be recorded.

The dissemination of this collected material is very important to the National Library and for some years they have been supporting a series of concerts at major festivals implemented by Rob Willis and Graham Seal under their banner of ‘Verandah Music’.  These productions have featured many of the traditional performers that NLA have recorded in the field, telling their stories and playing their music.

The productions at festivals have been complemented by several series of programs on ABC radio through the Regional Production Fund.

As Western Australia was the featured state in 2007 at the National Folk Festival Rob and Graham invited several traditional performers for their ‘Verandah Music – Living traditions from WA’ performance. Singers Tom and Kathleen Kearns along with traditional fiddler Sean Doherty also appeared at a lunchtime concert at the National Library and were recorded in the Library studios as well as during their festival performances.

Rob and Olya Willis, accompanied by NLA curator of music, Robyn Holmes and curator of Oral History, Kevin Bradley also traveled to the Fairbridge (WA) festival with a presentation featuring the NLA’s various folklife projects.  This display was in conjunction with the State Library of WA and their music specialist, Kylie Black.

Graham Seal and Rob Willis also presented two themed concerts at the Fairbridge Festival on traditional music in WA and child migration.



The AUSTRALIAN FOLKLORE UNIT site now offers free streamed radio programs of Australian traditional music. Go to warren Fahey’s site at then click 'podcasts' on the menu bar.

                        The first series offers 12 x half hour programs THE AUSTRALIAN LEGEND feature DECLAN AFFLEY and PETER O'SHAUGHNESSY 

                        THE AUSTRALIAN LEGEND - streamed free radio

                        Bound for Botany Bay - Convict transportation

                        Bound Down By Iron Chains - Life in the Penal Colony

                        Bolters and Bushrangers

                        Bright Shining Gold

                        Settlers, Cockies and Squatters

                        All Among the Wool

                        The Overlanders

                        Cupid Was A Digger

                        Shanties By The Way

                        A Cry From The North

                        Wale Chasers - featuring Harry Robertson

                        The Poets.

                        Also available are the first two half hour programs in the SONGS THAT MADE AUSTRALIA Series which feature Warren Fahey discussing his early field recordings and playing tracks from various traditional singers now held in the National Library Collection. Includes his tapes of Jimmy Cargill, Cyril Duncan, Jack Pobar, Susan Colley, Joe Watson, Sally Sloane and many others. The remainder of the series will be on the site in the next two weeks. This is a rare opportunity to hear song carriers from the collection. The first two programs are:

                        Bushrangers featuring Joe Watson, Cyril Duncan and Jack Pobar

                        Rambling Sailor featuring Jimmy Cargill and Sally Sloane.

Several more free radio series will be added over the next months including the long-awaited 16 part series WHILE THE BILLY BOILS

Also new to the site is the Malcolm J Turnbull series of essays on the history of THE AUSTRALIAN FOLK REVIVAL




DIGGERS is a CD of songs, ditties, poems and humour from the Australian diggers at war sung by Warren Fahey and Mic Conway.

This CD complements Warren Fahey's book 'Diggers' Songs' published by Australian Military History Books. The recording is more documentary than anything and offers a large number of tracks including some wonderful historic performances from pre WW1 music hall artists. Both the CD and book are available from Warren's website's General Store which also has a complete track listing. The CD is released in the Yesterday's Australia series of historic recordings which include early radio serials, music hall, early stage and radio singers, pioneer country music and Australian jazz. Go to



A rare collection of English ballads is now available online at

In a marriage of literary history and 21st-century technology, the Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has established the English Ballad Archive, a collection of English broadside ballads posted on the Internet in their original format.

With a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Early Modern Center, a research unit within the Department of English, has, as its first project, cataloged and posted detailed facsimile transcriptions of more than 1,800 ballads in the Samuel Pepys collection The collection dates to the 17th century and resides permanently in the Pepys Library at Magdelene College in Cambridge, England. Eventually, the English Ballad Archive will include all extant ballads from about 1500 to 1800.



On September 15, 2006, the academic journal ORAL TRADITION, founded in 1986 by the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri became available electronically and free of charge at as a series of pdf (Adobe

Acrobat) files, with key-word searching of all online texts and with embedded multimedia.  In addition to the current issue (volume 21, number 1), four years of back issues have already been posted, and plans are underway to include the entire twenty-two years of ORAL TRADITION by the end of 2007.


ARC Children’s Folklore Research Project Website

The Childhood, tradition and change project website is now live and accessible at:



Children’s Folklore Publications Available

Play & Folklore is a forum for discussion about childhood and children's culture. It publishes articles, letters, memoirs and research studies that examine what children do when largely free of adult direction or control - their colloquial speech, songs, games, rhymes, riddles, jokes, insults and secret languages, their friendships and enmities, their beliefs and hopes.

Play & Folklore is published twice a year, by the Australian Society & Technology Department, Museum Victoria, and is edited by June Factor and Gwenda Beed Davey.

Past issues are available for download (in PDF format) from the Museum Victoria website.

Child's Play book available

Child's Play

Child's Play: Dorothy Howard and the Folklore of Australian Children, edited by Kate Darian-Smith and June Factor, is published by Museum Victoria.

Child's Play re-publishes US scholar Dorothy Howard's essays on Australian children in the 1950s, alongside contextual essays by international scholars in the fields of history and folklore. It contains photographs from Museum Victoria's Australian Children's Folklore Collection.

It is available for purchase from Museum Victoria.



Gallipoli 2015 is a multi-faceted array of national, international and regional research projects focussed on the cultural responses to and from this particular historical incident, as well as the subsequent cultural consequences and representations of that event.

The Gallipoli 2015 research agenda involves individual researchers, groups, networks and institutions in regional, national and international collaborations. These partnerships are designed to produce a number of scholarly, educational and community outcomes over the period 2005-2015, illuminating the many and varied dimensions of Gallipoli and its long aftermath.

This research agenda is posited on the multiple international, national and regional significances of an event that took place in a defined geographic area and in a period of barely eight months between April 25, 1915 and Christmas the same year.

In addition to its immediate impact and outcomes, Gallipoli has had continuing consequences in many parts of the world. For Australia, Gallipoli was the pivotal experience in the establishment of national identity, the iconic figure of the digger and the Anzac legend.

For many other participant nations, especially Turkey and New Zealand, Gallipoli also had immediate and far-reaching outcomes and impacts in relation to nation building, national, regional and local identity, cultural production and various forms of memorialisation and mythologisation. Other nations and groups present at Gallipoli have also continued to be affected by the experience, including Britain, Canada, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), France, Palestine and Germany.

Gallipoli was, and continues to be, an event of profound international significance, generating a continuing and varied outpouring of cultural expressions. The event itself produced verse, song, art, diaries, letters, trench newspapers, photographs, folklore and story. The long aftermath of Gallipoli has included novels, drama, poetry, memoir, histories, films, television fictions and documentaries, memorials, commemorations, oral histories, museology and tourism.

Gallipoli 2015 brings together researchers from many fields and disciplines in the production of a large collection of scholarly, educational and community resources. The project is just beginning and if you would like to find out more and/or be added to the email list, go to:

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.



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.



Amanda Bettesworth
Anna Jarrett
Ann Young
Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria
Beth Sowter
Bill Scott (dec.)
Bill Wannan (dec.)
Bob Bolton
Brian Dunnett
Brian Shepherd
Brian Wilkins
Bruce Cameron
Bob Rummery
Bush Music Club
Campbell Irving
Chloe Roweth
Chris Kempster (dec.)
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
Don Ray
Folk Alliance Australia
Graham Seal
Gregan O'Leary
Gwenda Davey
Hugh Anderson
Idena Rex
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 (dec.)
Karl Neuenfeldt
Katie Andrews
Keith McKenry
Kel Watkins
Kevin Bradley
Lee-Anne Abdo
Les Montanjees
Lia Depaoli
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




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