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Discover stories from Australia's rich and diverse popular music history.

The history of rock and pop lies at the beating heart of the Australian Performing Arts Collection. From folk to punk and indie to hip hop, the exciting history of popular music in Australia is told through major collections relating to The Beatles' Australian Tour, Sunbury Festival, Juke Magazine and artists such as Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Skyhooks and AC/DC.

 

Spotlight


Two women enjoy the digital displays within the Australian Music Vault. In front of them is a touch-screen, and behind that is a large glass cabinet filled with costumes and music memorabilia.

Australian Music Vault

The Australian Music Vault is a celebration of the Australian contemporary music story – past, present and future, created by Arts Centre Melbourne in collaboration with the Australian music industry. Visit the website to explore your love of music, revisit some of the big music moments of your life, and discover exciting new Australian music stories from today.

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Stories


Four screenshots from the 'Unstaged' series, depicting performers getting ready to go on stage.

 

Unstaged and digital

Read about how our Broadcast & Digital team flexed their multimedia skills by creating a new video series called Unstaged.


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Archie Roach on stage for Live at the Bowl

 

Playing the Bowl: Archie Roach

We reflect on one of the remarkable highlights from Live at the Bowl – Archie Roach’s performance of Tell Me Why. He moved audiences and showed that physical distance does not have to create emotional distance.


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A compilation of photos taken from Zoom calls with Australian musicians, athletes and arts administrators, as they're interviewed about their experiences during the COVID pandemic.

 

Highways of Hope

Watch an inspiring video series from our music community who, in the face of challenges and hardship, found music to lift their spirts.


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Pass the Parcel: Skyhooks

 

Skyhooks: ‘Shirley’ Strachan

One object, multiple stories. The Australian Performing Arts Collection team share their stories about the vest and white pants worn by Graeme 'Shirley' Strachan of Skyhooks, unveiling more of its hidden history.


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The Australian Music Vault's Long Play Series

The Australian Music Vault asked some of the country’s most influential trailblazers and unsung heroes to open up about their lives in music as part of the Australian Music Vault's Long Play Series. This series features Michael Gudinski AM, Judith Durham AO, Lou Bennett AM, Glenn Wheatley, Missy Higgins and many more. Visit the Australian Music Vault website for many great interviews.


Tina Arena AM

Tina Arena AM is one of Australia’s highest selling recording artists having sold over 10 million albums worldwide.

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Archie Roach AM

Archie Roach AM, is a legendary musician, ‘voice of the Stolen Generations’ and Australian Music Vault Founding Patron.

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Watch more Long Play videos

Listen

Our Australian Music Vault curators have put together some great Australian playlists for your listening pleasure.



Hear more from the AMV

 

Objects

Explore historical music objects in our Collection.


Peter Allen's shoes

'The Premier Fun-Maker of the World'

At the height of his career, Australian entertainer Peter Allen was billed as 'The Premier Fun-Maker of the World'. Dance was an important feature of Allen’s frenetic and flamboyant stage presence. These spectator shoes were donated to the Australian Performing Arts Collection by Bruce Cudd, Peter Allen's long-time assistant and friend in 2008.

Gift of Bruce Cudd, 2008
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne


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Wunderkind

Wunderkind

This quarter-sized violin was used by Alberto Zelman Jnr, child prodigy and founder of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It was made in Germany around 1860 and was donated to the Australian Performing Arts Collection by Dorothy Roxburgh who played viola under Zelman from the Symphony's premiere performances in 1906.

Childs' violin used by Alberto Zelman Jr., c.1881
Gift of Dorothy Roxburgh, 1981
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne


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The Seekers Come Home

The Seekers Come Home

The Seekers are one of Australia’s most successful and best loved bands. Formed in Melbourne in 1962, The Seekers became the first Australian band to have a Top 10 hit simultaneously in Australia, Britain and the United States with their single, ‘I’ll Never Find Another You’. This was followed by a string of hits including ‘The Carnival Is Over’, ‘A World of Our Own’, and the Academy Award-nominated theme to the film, ‘Georgy Girl’. On their return to Australia in 1967, Durham wore this elegant green shift dress when she performed before an estimated 200,000 fans at The Seekers homecoming concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Dress worn by Judith Durham of The Seekers at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, 1967
Designed by Peter Barron, London
Gift of Judith Durham AO, 2017
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne


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'I Am Woman'

'I Am Woman'

In 1973, Helen Reddy became the first Australian to receive a Grammy Award when she won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her song ‘I Am Woman’. In her acceptance speech, Reddy famously thanked ‘God, because She makes everything possible’. Reddy wrote ‘I Am Woman', with collaborator Ray Burton after feeling frustrated by the lack of music that related to her own experiences of womanhood. ‘I Am Woman’ has since become an anthem for the Women's Liberation Movement and made a significant impact around the globe.

Grammy Award received by Helen Reddy for I Am Woman, 1972
Gift of Helen Reddy, 2011
Australian Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne


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