Australian Folklore Network
Australian Folklore Research Unit
Curtin University of Technology
This and previous editions also available online at
FROM THE CONVENOR
This is a fairly brief edition of Transmissions, mainly to let readers know of the upcoming AFN Forum in Canberra on April 22. We also include news of a number of projects involving the AFN, including Verandah Music and the National Folk Festival Survey, as well as a new publication by AFN Affiliates. As usual we also have other items of interest and a request for information.
AFN FORUM 2003
The Australian Folklore Network held its first Forum at the National Folk Festival last year. This year, still in conjunction with the NFF, we will be holding the Forum as a discrete event, kindly hosted by the National Library of Australia on Tuesday April 22, 10am-12pm, in the Ferguson Room. I am currently compiling an agenda for the meeting and would be happy to consider requests for items to be placed upon it. An important agenda item will be discussion of the possibility for a National Folklore Centre, as outlined and discussed in previous editions of Transmissions.
Jeff Brownrigg writes:
I have been writing a long piece about the history of the songs and poems of Robert Burns in Australia from about 1811 to now.) Does anyone come across many Burns' songs? (I am thinking of the popular Victorian ones that crop up in the parlour repertoire "O My Love's Like a Red, Red Rose", "A Man's a Man for a' That", "Ae Fond Kiss", "Duncan Gray", " The Deil Came Fiddlin' Through the Town", "Scots Wha Hae Wi Wallace Bled", "The Lovely Mary Morrison" and so on.
There are a few early Australian recordings and lots of references to ballad concerts in the 19th century and even "The Star O' Robbie Burns" which Peter Dawson did. (Dawson's people were Scots and so were Melba's.) Remember also the Billy Williams filtering into the folk tradition (from 78 rpm discs)?
AFN Affiliates Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal have just published A Guide to Australian Folklore: From Ned Kelly to Aeroplane Jelly (Simon & Schuster, 2003). The book aims to present information about Australian folklore to a general audience and will hopefully be used by schools, libraries, etc. to raise awareness of traditional Australian culture. The book will be officially launched at the National Library of Australia following the AFN Forum on April 22.
This AFN project is proceeding well. All the entries are in, preliminary editing has been done and the publisher (Fremantle Arts Centre Press/Curtin University Books) has accepted the book for publication. Final editing, design, etc and completion of the accompanying CD masters is now in progress and we hope to see Verandah Music: Roots of Australian Tradition in the bookshops by the second half of the year. ABC Radio National has also indicated an interest in producing a series based on the book and co-editor Rob Willis has assembled a concert version featuring some of the performers from the book/CDs. You can catch the Verandah Music session at the National Folk Festival.
FOLK FESTIVAL SURVEY
Another AFN project involving the Folk Alliance, University of Central Queensland and the Australian Folklore Research Unit (AFRU) at Curtin University has recently obtained some funding. The National Folk Festival Survey began with a pilot project at the 2002 Fairbridge Festival in Western Australia. Funds were required to crunch the results and these have now been made available through the Peel Regional Research Strategy at Curtin. We hope to have a full report available, soon which might also encourage other festivals to take part in the national project.
THE AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORY
We have reported on this project, headed by AFN Affiliate Brian Dunnet, at various stages of its development. Brian has received a great deal of information – primarily, songs, poems and stories - from people all around the country and has assembled a preliminary manuscript. He is still open for contributions at “ The Australian Railway Story” C/O the Rail Tram and Bus Union 83-89 Renwick St Redfern NSW 2016 or firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Brian Dunnett 0296689051. Brian is also actively searching for a publisher as the book is to commemorate the opening of the historic Adelaide-Darwin railway link in 2004.
FOLK MUSIC RETURNS TO ROOTS
Mark Gregory has winkled out an article on folk music house concerts in New York lurking in the ABC’s SciTech vaults for reasons best known to that institution:
SOME USEFUL WEBSITES
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
Australian Folklore – journal of folklore studies
Australian Children’s Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria
Bush Music Club
David De Santi
Folk Alliance Australia
J D A Widdowson
J S Ryan
Luisa Del Giudice
Museum of Childhood, Edith Cowan University
Social Science Department, Aranmore Catholic College
Top End Folk Club
Victorian Folklife Association
Western Australian Folklore Archive