Australian Folklore Network

March 2003


Australian Folklore Research Unit

Curtin University of Technology


This and previous editions also available online at

Folklore Australia






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.


Graham Seal





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.





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.





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 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.




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:





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 Journal/AF.htm






Australian Children’s Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria

Bill Scott

Bill Wannan

Bob Bolton

Brian Dunnett

Brian Shepherd

Bruce Cameron

Bob Rummery

Bush Music Club

Campbell Irving

Chloe Roweth

Chris Kempster

Chris Woodland

Chris Wright

Colin McJannett

Dave Hults

David De Santi

David Mulhallen

Dawn Anderson

Dieter Bajzek

Folk Alliance Australia

Graham Seal

Gregan O’Leary

Gwenda Davey

Hugh Anderson

Ian Russell

Jason Roweth

J D A Widdowson

Jeff Corfield

Jim Low

John Harpley

John Low

J S Ryan

June Factor

Karl Neuenfeldt

Keith McKenry

Kel Watkins

Luisa Del Giudice

Mark Cranfield

Mark Gregory

Mark Moravec

Martin Goreing

Mike Martin    

Moya McFadzean

Museum of Childhood, Edith Cowan University

Noris Ioannou

Olya Willis 

Patrick Watt

Peter Ellis

Phyl Lobl

Rob Willis

Roger Hargraves 

Ron Brown

Ron Edwards

Ruth Hazleton

Social Science Department, Aranmore Catholic College

Steve Gadd

Susan Faine

Top End Folk Club

Valda Low

Victorian Folklife Association

Warren Fahey

Wendy Corrick

Brian Wilkins

Western Australian Folklore Archive