Each year the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) recognises ten sound recordings for their defining impact on Australian culture and history by including them in the Sounds of Australia registry.
This year radio’s Martin/Molloy and ABC Radio recordings of the 1956 Olympic Games have been included.
Martin/Molloy by Tony Martin and Mick Molloy – 1995-1998
The Martin/Molloy program, named for its star comedians, Tony Martin and Mick Molloy, ran on Australian radio from 1995-98.
Produced at Austereo‘s Fox FM in Melbourne, it was broadcast live on up to 54 radio stations across Australia during this time.
The fast-paced, sketch-based format had previously been restricted to breakfast radio; the idea of such a show working in late afternoons (4pm-6pm weekdays) seemed far-fetched to some radio insiders, however, Martin/Molloy was a ratings success, and quickly grew from being broadcast on just Austereo’s metropolitan stations to airing around Australia.
An entire generation of drivetime radio comedy-talk shows followed and this format remains the backbone of the major commercial FM networks in Australia to this day.
Tony Martin gifted the original recordings of Martin/Molloy to the NFSA in 2013, and he says, “Not only have the NFSA finally completed the mammoth task of digitising the Martin/Molloy archives, now they’ve gone and inducted us into their Sounds of Australia. As fans of our show would recall, some of those sounds were rather rude, but as a massive radio nerd – and a New Zealander – this is a huge honour.”
Olympic Games, Melbourne 1956: Official souvenir recording of Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony – 1956
These two discs include highlights from the ABC Radio broadcast of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere and the first Australian event to covered extensively on radio and television.
The recordings include speeches by Prime Minister RG Menzies, President of the International Olympic Committee Avery Brundage, and Governor of Victoria Sir Dallas Brooks, with music provided by the Victorian Symphony Orchestra and a massed choir conducted by Sir Bernard Heinze.
While the Melbourne Olympics are often highlighted as heralding the arrival of television in Australia, television set ownership at the time was very low.
It was the ABC radio broadcasts which brought the Olympics to Australian homes and helped shift local and international perceptions of Australia.
The newest Sounds of Australia for 2020 are, in chronological order:
● Starlight by Hamilton Hill – 1907
● Etude de concert in F minor and Etude de concert in A flat major by Eileen Joyce – 1933
● Olympic Games, Melbourne 1956: Official souvenir recording of Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony – 1956
● Nausicaa: Opera in Three Acts by Peggy Glanville-Hicks – 1961
● Arnhem Land Popular Classics: Aboriginal Dance Songs with Didjeridu Accompaniment by David Blanasi, Djoli Laiwanga and others – 1963
● Because I Love You by The Master’s Apprentices – 1971
● It’s Time by Alison MacCallum – 1972
● True Blue by John Williamson – 1986
● Tomorrow by Silverchair – 1994
● Martin/Molloy by Tony Martin and Mick Molloy – 1995-1998