New Feature: Opening up the Audio Collection


My audio archive contains broadcasts relating to current events, politics and elections. It includes speeches, interviews, press conferences, election night broadcasts and myriad radio programs dating back to 1972.

As of today, my finalised audio collection consists of 1.23 terabytes of 64,476 separate items. These are all labelled and sorted into 3,150 yearly, monthly and topic folders.

Another 2.67 terabytes of digitised material exists in 5,521 files which have yet to be edited into standalone items.

Audio data

Over the years I have endeavoured to digitise the earlier material from the 1980s and 1970s. Some of this exists in master files in WAV format that have not yet been edited into standalone items.

A massive collection exists from the turn of the century. The arrival of the digital age meant that bulky tapes could be dispensed with. From around 2000, the collection exploded. Now, everything I gather is stored on hard drives and secured in the cloud. I still marvel at the thought that I can listen from anywhere on a mobile phone to any recording from my collection.

Whilst much of the collection has been digitised, several hundred audio-cassette tapes remain to be converted. These include much political material and election coverage from the 1990s. The picture below shows two bedroom cupboard compartments currently housing the undigitised tapes.

Audio data

Over the years, I’ve worked my way through Dropbox, OneDrive, Amazon S3 and SugarSync cloud services. Backblaze is now my service of choice. All the audio on the websites is served via Backblaze B2, a service four times cheaper than Amazon S3.

Opening Up the Collection

As of today, I’m planning to upload five audio clips per day, chosen from random months over the past six decades. Each of these will posts will appear on the home page of

Many of the audio files I have will never be used on posts or pages on the websites, so this is a small attempt to open up the collection whilst so many other things remain to be done.

The collection includes video and audio items. There are many thousands of these to process. It also includes a massive collection of political ephemera (election literature, how-to-vote cards, etc), documents, booklets and newspaper clippings.

I’ve now been officially retired for nearly ten months. The adjustment from a working life has been more difficult than I imagined. At this stage, the plan remains unchanged: for the next few years I will work on digitising, scanning and posting online as much as possible. I know that this is a very niche interest and I don’t kid myself that many people will be interested in it. Nevertheless, if I don’t collate it, no-one will. At least now my time is my own.

Today’s Audio Clips – March 2003

1. March 20, 2003: Prime Minister John Howard addresses the nation on the war in Iraq (9m)

2. March 21, 2003: Opposition Leader Simon Crean addresses the nation on the war in Iraq (9m)

3. March 22, 2003: ABC’s 7.45am radio news bulletin reports the beginning of the “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq (12m)

4. March 22, 2003: NSW Liberal Opposition Leader John Brogden concedes defeat in the state election (7m)

5. March 22, 2003: NSW Labor Premier Bob Carr claims victory in the state election (6m)

Question Time Ended As Government Wins Technical Victory On Suspension Motion

2.50pm – Prime Minister Julia Gillard has ended Question Time, following an attempt by the Opposition to move a no-confidence motion in her.

The motion to suspend Standing Orders was carried 73-71 but failed because it needed to reach an absolute majority of 76 votes.

The House of Representatives has now moved on to routine business as Labor members left the chamber to prepare for the 4.30pm leadership ballot.

Sky News is reporting the Gillard camp claims it still has 58 certain votes to defeat Rudd.

Backbencher Graham Perrett (Moreton, Queensland) has said he will support Gillard. Parliamentary Secretary Richard Marles says he will support Rudd.

There are some suggestions from Sky’s Peter van Onselen that Kevin Rudd may not nominate. Rudd has maintained since his defeat in February last year that he will not challenge.

Sky’s Kieren Gilbert read a text he said was from the Gillard camp: “Simon Crean is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rudd enterprises.”

Simon Crean Calls For Leadership Spill, Supports Rudd

1.20pm – The Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, has asked Prime Minister Julia Gillard to call a leadership ballot.

Crean says he has asked Gillard to call a spill. He says if she refuses the Caucus should petition her for a ballot.

Crean says Kevin Rudd should run. Crean says he will support Rudd. [Read more…]

Fairfax Donates Historic Photographs To National Library

Historic photographs of Australia’s early federal history have been donated to the National Library and will soon be made available online.

The Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, announced today that the donation by Fairfax Media is to be supported by $425,000 of funding to the National Library of Australia to enbale the storage, cataloguing and digitisation of the collection.

The collection consists of 12,000 glass-plate negatives, the majority of which cover events from 1900 to 1930, including the departure of troops for World War I and the opening of the first parliament.

Text of media release from Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean.

Historic photo collection about to go digital

Twelve thousand photographs of key events in Australia’s early history—the entirety of Fairfax Media’s collection of historic glass-plate negatives have been donated to the National Library of Australia and will soon be available online.

Chair of the National Library of Australia Ryan Stokes today accepted the donation at a ceremony at Fairfax Media head office in Sydney.

Arts Minister Simon Crean said the extraordinary collection tells the Australian story through photographs. [Read more…]