ISSN 1833-6930

- Making Connections in Folklore -

Published for the AFN by the Australian Folklore Research Unit
Curtin University of Technology


This 25th issue of Transmissions includes a notice and call for papers for the 2009 National Australian Folklore Conference. We also have news of books, digital resources, projects, other conferences, a review and a reader query.

Thanks to Sandra Nixon, Rob and Ollya Willis. Please continue to send in any items for future editions.

Graham Seal




National Australian Folklore Conference


An annual conference facilitated by the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia, the National Folk Festival and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Australia, Asia and the Pacific, Curtin University.

National Library of Australia. 9-5pm Thursday April

Building on the success of the last four Australian National Folklore Conferences, the Australian Folklore Network, the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival will again host a one-day conference immediately before the National Folk Festival.


If you would like to propose a paper for the conference please email the title, and a brief abstract tho the conference convenor



Irish Traditional Music Archive is an amazing resource with an enormous collection of printed matter and recorded works. Based in Dublin, it is beginning to make some catalogue/database material available online

Contemporary Music Centre Ireland, library and sound archive, free to the public. Online searchable archives

Irish Folklore Collection

more information here  



Selling Yarns 2: Innovation for sustainability Conference Friday 6 March - Sunday 8 March, 2009
Venue: National Museum of Australia, Canberra In association with the exhibition ReCoil, Change & Exchange in Coiled Fibre Art

Selling Yarns 2: Innovation for sustainability is a conference that addresses contemporary Indigenous craft and design practice. It draws on the outcomes of the first Selling Yarns conference held in Darwin in 2006 that looked specifically at contemporary Indigenous textile practice.

Selling Yarns 2 builds on the previous conference by presenting success stories that demonstrate innovation and new directions in Indigenous craft and design practice. It will highlight the work of Indigenous makers from the south eastern region of Australia and parallel the directions in practice of urban Indigenous makers with that of artists in remote communities.

The aim of the conference is to demonstrate that through cultural practice a dialogue can be had that draws all interested parties together for the benefit of a rich and sustainable Indigenous culture.

A call for papers is now open. Topics of interest include:
* Design and manufacture, engaging with industry
* Innovation for social and cultural sustainability
* Mentoring between communities
* The impact of government policies on sustainability
* The internet and the global market for Indigenous craft and design
* Tourism and museums as a driver for innovative practice

Papers: We invite Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners, researchers, academics, buyers, collectors, curators, business and arts advisors to respond with a 300 word abstract addressing the conference themes.
Workshops: We invite proposals to run workshops to build skills, increase awareness and appreciation, share information and develop understandings of new developments and sustainable practices.

Email 300 word abstracts to For enquiries, contact Louise Hamby on (02) 6125 8986 or Andy Greenslade on 0412 774 343

Email workshop proposals to For enquiries, contact Valerie Kirk on (02) 6125 5833 or Adam Blackshaw on (02) 6208 5230

Deadline for abstracts and workshop proposals: 1 July, 2008 Notification of acceptance: 1 August, 2008 Deadline for biography (on acceptance): 1 September, 2008 Deadline for full papers: 15 January, 2009


Can any reader help Ian?

I am trying to find the source of a rhyme that my father used to recite in the 1940s. Like many of his generation, born at end of 19th century, he had copies of the poetry of Adam Lindsay Gordon and Banjo Paterson but I have been unable to find it in those volumes.

The lines my sister and I remember are

         "all we've got is an old iron pot,
        and a frying pan to bath the baby in".

I have searched several books of quotations and sayings but had no success and wondered if your archive might contain a source and the complete version of the song or poem?

I would be most grateful for any help you might be able to give in this search.

Ian Hamilton
52 Chamberlain Drive
Leongatha  VIC  3953


Bannister, Roland. (2007). Music and love: music in the lives of Italian Australians in Griffith, New South Wales. Melbourne: Italian Australian Institute, La Trobe University

Italian Australians in Griffith, NSW, sometimes call their city Un giardino nel deserto (A Garden in the Desert). Their giardino is a leafy urban island in the vast, semi-arid western Riverina flat land. Griffith, the ‘capital’ of the western Riverina, owes its prosperity in part to the large Italian agricultural population that began to settle there in 1913 when the tap was opened to deliver water to create the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.
Unlike the Italians who came to Carlton in Melbourne, and Leichhardt in Sydney, the Italians of Griffith stayed: they and their descendants have made Griffith their home for nearly a century now. Even to the casual visitor the city is recognisably Italian in character. And music has been, and remains, one of the strongest markers of identity for the Italians: they use music in their quest for identity as Italians, as Australians and as residents of Griffith.

In this, the first Australian community music study, Dr Roland Bannister traces the stories of the immigrants and their descendants, and the place of music in their lives. Music and Love is designed both as a memento for the people of Griffith, and as a book about a people and their music for readers with interests in Australian music, history and culture


Bounty Chords: Music, Dance and Cultural Heritage on Norfolk and Pitcairn Islands. By Philip Hayward. 2006. Eastleigh: John Libbey Publishing. 256 pages. ISBN: 978-0-86196-678-3 (soft cover). [Distributed by Indiana University Press in the United States]. Courtesy  of Journal of Folklore Research, Reviews

Reviewed by C. K. Szego, Memorial University of Newfoundland (

Bounty Chords documents the music-making and dance practices of The Bounty's mutineers and their descendants--The Bounty being the eighteenth-century British vessel captained by William Bligh and brought to international imagination through twentieth-century cinema.

Hayward begins by outlining his research approaches, then chronicles the main events of Norfolk and Pitcairn island settlement. In summary, Bligh sailed to Tahiti and sojourned there for several months with his crew in 1789. Weeks after The Bounty was again underway, Bligh was cast off by Fletcher Christian and fellow crew members. The mutineers' brief return to Tahiti added local men and women to their party, and together they settled on remote Pitcairn, 1350 miles southeast of the Society Islands. Violence marred the refugee community, and by 1793, only a few British men and Tahitian women remained to sustain it. Like many island societies, however, Pitcairn was host to numerous travelers. Some stayed to leave their mark, while many others documented their observations before moving on. Under land pressure, in 1856 all 175-plus Pitcairners relocated west to Norfolk Island, a former Australian penal colony. In 1858, sixteen returned to Pitcairn, followed by another twenty-six in 1863.

Taking a chronological approach, Hayward describes entertainments on board The Bounty and on Tahiti; he then details the musical lives of early Pitcairn and Norfolk settlers, tacking between the two islands in short chapters. Here Hayward offers a particularly rich smorgasbord of historical material--newspapers, diaries, and logbooks among them. Sources are meticulously documented and often quoted at considerable length, allowing readers to interpret these texts for themselves.

By 1800, only one male--John Adams--remained on Pitcairn. His sudden religious turn moved hymnody to the center of island musical life. Within decades, the arrival of two Englishmen gave rise to the first "locally-associated" hymns, and by the 1850s there was again evidence of secular music for dancing, provided by harmoniums and fiddles. Hayward suggests that at this mid-century mark, dance on Pitcairn was ethnically gendered: men restricted themselves to European solo dances (e.g., hornpipes) and women to a gesture-based, Polynesian movement style. Relocation to Norfolk introduced couple-dancing. Indeed, Norfolk's proximity to other islands (especially New Zealand and Australia), improved inter-island transportation, and the advent of portable recording technologies exposed islanders to global popular culture. The late 1930s, for example, saw them performing blackface minstrelsy and hillbilly songs. Chapters 2 to 6, then, sweep from the late-eighteenth to the early-twentieth century, documenting swings of the musical pendulum as islanders came under the influence of transnational trends as well as more and less austere religious movements. Regardless of leadership and place, hymns constituted a core repertoire, and four-part harmonizing a shared practice.

Chapter 7 stands out for several reasons. First, Hayward vows in the introduction to withhold theorization until the book's conclusion, out of consideration for his Norfolk and Pitcairn readership. The chapter's discussion of Norfolk Islanders' re-Polynesianization of music/dance cultures, however, begins with an extended socio-political analysis of the sexualized male gaze vis-à-vis Tahitian women in 1930s film and literature. Hayward's critical skill truly shines in this chapter, and his conclusion--that Norfolk dancers remade themselves in the image of cinematic Polynesians--is well taken. It is also at this point in Hayward's narrative development that the research (and readers) necessarily get stuck on Norfolk Island--that is, until the final chapter. [1]

As Hayward moves deeper into the twentieth century, his data sources multiply, and his interactions with people living on Norfolk Island allow him to tap into lived memories and observe local practices. As a result, chapters 8 through 11 become increasingly more particular. In fact, the later chapters comprise a kind of biographical catalogue, focused on late-twentieth/early twenty-first century composers and musicians and the "glocal," hybrid styles they favored.

Though Hayward offers some light musical analysis of recordings, exegesis of song texts (including those in Pitcairn and Norfolk languages) is his primary mode of exploration. Hayward's primary point, iterated throughout, is that music and dance have been used by Norfolk and Pitcairn islanders as assertions of their changing identities. This is a standard ethnomusicological claim, and I wished for some more nuanced exposition of it in light of islanders' mixed heritages. Just how do Pitcairn and Norfolk islanders view their Tahitian ancestry? Do Norfolk Islanders read Tahiti into the syncretic style of "hula" they continue to perform?

Of the many contemporary musicians that Hayward discusses, George "Toofie" Christian (presumably a descendant of the lead mutineer) receives the greatest amount of attention, in part because of Hayward's relationship with him: Hayward served as executive and assistant producer for Christian's 2001 CD, Pilli Lornga N.I.

Related to this, the afterword to Bounty Chords is a discussion of the participant-action research that Hayward and his colleagues are engaging in in the Southwestern Pacific. Hayward uses this forum to discuss what he calls Culturally Engaged Research and Facilitation (CERF). CERF performs an assistance and advocacy role, from low-level technological support to fully subsidizing recording projects. Though he mentions resistance to CERF, Hayward's description of it seems curiously defensive. In light of the "writing culture" movement in anthropology (which denies researcher objectivity), the last decade's burgeoning of public sector folklore, and touchstone publications on ethnomusicological fieldwork relations (e.g., Barz and Cooley 1997 [2008]), it is difficult to imagine many folklorists or music researchers who would take exception to CERF's proactive stance, at least as Hayward describes it. Rather, one would expect them to affirm this collaborative approach involving local participants.

While I was surprised by the paucity of ethnographic data and virtual absence of references to the literature on Pacific hymnody (e.g., Stillman 1993) or Polynesian dance, Bounty Chords is compelling reading for those with an abiding interest in indigenous hymnody, twentieth/twenty-first-century global popular culture, and processes of intercultural contact. Hayward will satisfy many audiences with this volume: his gathering of historical sources in the early part of the book is very impressive, and his careful attention to songs and their singers in the latter part will be especially gratifying to his Norfolk and Pitcairn island consultants.

Works Cited

Barz, Gregory F., and Timothy J. Cooley, eds. Shadows in the Field:
New Perspectives for Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. [2nd edition 2008]

Stillman, Amy Ku'uleialoha. "Prelude to a Comparative Investigation of Protestant Hymnody in Polynesia," Yearbook for Traditional Music
25 (1993):89-99.           

[1] Pitcairn Island was rocked by a sex-abuse scandal when Hayward planned to conduct ethnographic field research there in 2002-2004. Though he was able to interview some Pitcairn ex-patriots and visitors to Norfolk Island, lack of face-to-face interaction with Pitcairn Islanders did limit him.

Read this review on-line at:



A recent project applies the folklore approach to primary education in rural New South Wales:

STUDENTS at Bellbrook Primary School have spent the past week recording music and conducting interviews with teachers, each other and community members as part of a program to improve oral communication and critical literacy skills. Initiated by the school and held in conjunction with the National Library of Australia, the program also assisted in ongoing research into the unique culture of Bellbrook and the Nulla.

National Library researchers Rob and Ollie Willis worked with students, staff and the community to develop recordings that will now become part of the Oral History and Folklore collection at the library. Developed over the past two years, it is hoped the program will continue via the internet. “It was put in motion by the last principal and we’ve developed it further since,” school principal Allison Mitchell said. “We had members of the community come into the school to record their stories and the kids ad written interview questions or them. “It was basically a case of giving hem a reason to want to do it. Hopefully they’ll be able to record everything by themselves and we’ve got four students travelling away this week to learn about podcasting and vidcasting on the internet.”

Mr Willis has been carrying out research in the Bellbrook area for more than 20 years and said he was impressed with the way the students had conducted themselves during the project . He was pleasantly surprised by the response the researchers had received. “Bellbrook Public is unique. Staff have a special relationship with their students,” he said. “

A 10 minute radio show has been assembled from the recordings, as has a DVD of students’ games and activities, CDs of music, interviews and photographic images. Ms Mitchell said the program would be a valuable tool for future generations of students to learn while recording information relevant to the Bellbrook area. “It’s part of a wider program that teaches about using technology as a way of overcoming isolation and presenting their work to a wider audience,” she said. “As far as I know this is the first time something like this has been done, at least in the Macleay

By Luke Horton The Macleay Argus Tuesday, September 2, 2008 - 7


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
Mary Martin
Maureen Seal
Mike Brown
Mike Martin    
Moya McFadzean
Museum of Childhood, Edith Cowan University
Noris Ioannou
Olya Willis 
Patrick Watt
Peter Ellis
Phillip Ashton
Philip Hayward
Phyl Lobl
Reilly McCarron
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

Verandah Music

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:

Folklore Weather Forecasting – well worth a look.
Also Weather Forecasting and Folklore at

Useful Ballads link

Warren Fahey’s folklore site

Australian Storytelling Guild

Ballad sites

Dry stone wall society

Childhood, Tradition and Change

Gallipoli 2015