Gaywaves, Sydney’s first gay and lesbian radio program, went to air in November 1979. The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) recently announced the induction of Gaywaves into Sounds of Australia, Australia’s national sound recording registry.
The registry so far contains over 160 sounds ranging from a 1927 recording of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ through to Kylie Minogue’s ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ 60 years later.
Sounds of Australia also contains sleeping Indigenous languages and memorable speeches. No one then alive could ever forget Gough Whitlam’s Kerr’s cur speech, delivered on the steps of Old Parliament House after learning of his dismissal as Prime Minister by Sir John Kerr.
“Ladies and gentleman, well may we say God Save the Queen because nothing will save the Governor-General.”
The NFSA choose recordings for Sounds of Australia that inform or reflect life our national life. Sounds that made history and became part of our national identity.
The recordings in Sounds of Australia will live on for future generations to discover and enjoy.
The groundbreaking Gaywaves first went to air before NSW decriminalised male homosexuality. Broadcast weekly on Sydney community radio station 2SER, Gaywaves included music, talkback, news, current affairs, and radio drama serials. It covered everything from Mardi Gras Parades to HIV/AIDS rallies.
Gay rights activist Dietmar Hollman also volunteered as a presenter and producer on Gaywaves. In 2009, he donated a collection of recordings and other memorabilia to the NFSA. On his death in 2012, Dietmar bequeathed the NFSA funds to digitise over 160 segments of Gaywaves.
The collection includes gems like the show’s first live broadcast on 3 January 1980. Gay rights activists Dennis Altman and Marg McMann featured in an interview about gay identity.
In addition to the NFSA collection, significant holdings of Gaywaves are held by the State Library of NSW and the Australian Queer Archives.
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