Classic protest song makes it to ‘Sounds of Australia’ list

REDGUM’S classic 1983 track about the plight of returned Vietnam soldiers, “I Was Only 19,” is one of 10 recordings added today to Sounds of Australia.



This forms the ultimate selection of culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant Australian sounds, established by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Other songs listed today include the only known voice recording of an Australian soldier on his way to the First World War, songs by Deborah Conway, the Hoodies’, Hilltop Hoods and Hoodoo Gurus and a Fairlight synthesiser sample used by Michael Jackson in “Beat It”.

As well, there is the theme from the long–running ABC children’s show “The Argonauts” (this writer was Argonaut Delphi 17) and a selection of Indigenous music and songs recorded by John Hutchinson in Western Australia in 1959.

Deborah Conway

Deborah Conway

Redgum’s lead vocalist and guitarist John Schumann said, “Much has been said about 19. That it helped bring our Vietnam veterans home. That it precipitated a Royal Commission. That it changed forever the way we Australians think about the men and women we send to fight our wars. These things are for others to say, not me. For me, I Was Only 19 has been an amazing gift, and I’m delighted that it has been identified as one of the Sounds of Australia. It’s a great honour.”

Sounds of Australia was established by the NFSA in 2007 to recognise the contribution of recorded sound to our nation’s evolving identity – from AC/DC to ‘Waltzing Matilda’, from obscure experimental artists to international stars, from extinct Indigenous languages to inspiring speeches, and much more.

The 10 additions to the list for 2015 are, in chronological order:

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