Archival Research (Step 1)

Archival Research on Censorship in Australian Radio History (Topic)


Task 1: 400-word exercise

  1. Upload one document or image for your topic.
  2. Identify what the document/image/object is – if it is a photograph of an archival document for example, you should include the full record for the document – series, box, folder, etc. and some information about the context – by whom was this document created, for what purpose, and so on. Then in not more than 400 words, explain and interpret the significance of the item.
  3. Successful completion of this assessment requires that you have identified a topic for your archivally-based research project, begun the archival research for it and completed enough contextual reading in existing scholarship to make sense of what you have found.

Assessment criteria:

  • Skill in location of archival material relevant to proposed project. 20%
  • Capacity to explain historical significance and locate the item in historical and historiographical contexts. 60%
  • Presenting your findings in an engaging, coherent, imaginative and thoughtful way. 20%


Task 2:An archivally-based research project of 2600 words

It is expected that what you write on this topic will be a narrativeand interpretive accountfocussed according to your judgement and choice. The essay will require at least three illustrative archival or other primary source items of the sort you identified in the first 400-word exercise.


You will integrate them in your narrative so that your argument is dependent on the objects you have chosen. Your emphasis is on making a reasoned account informed by the secondary literature and the objects you are using.


Assessment criteria:

  • Skill in use of archival primary sources. 20%
  • Capacity to explain historical significance and locate the item in historical and historiographical contexts. 60%
  • Presenting your findings in an engaging, coherent, imaginative and thoughtful way. 20%








Course Outline


  1. State and Institutional Archives

Arlette Farge, The Allure of the Archives (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), pp. 1-17.


Achille Mbembe, ‘The Power of the Archive and Its Limits’, in Carolyn Hamilton et al. (eds.), Refiguring the Archive (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2002), pp. 19-26.


Timothy Garton Ash, The File (London: Harper Collins, 1997), pp. 5-28.



  1. Radio History

Susan J. Douglas, Listening in: Radio and the American Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), pp. 3-13:


Paddy Scannell, ‘Broadcasting and Day to Day Routine: Britain’, Media Information Australia 41 (1986), pp. 11-15.


Lesley Johnson, The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of Early Australian Radio (London: Routledge, 1988), p. 113-127.


Lesley Johnson, ‘Wireless’ in Bill Gammage, Peter Spearritt, and Louise Douglas, eds. Australians 1938 (Sydney: Fairfax, Syme & Weldon Associates, 1987), pp. 365-371.


Bridget Griffen-Foley, Changing Stations: The Story of Australian Commercial Radio (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2009), pp. 354-363.



  1. Digital Archives / Digital History

Tim Sherratt, ‘Exploring Digital History’, Inside History 10 Sept., 2013:


Tim Sherratt, ‘It’s All About the Stuff: Collections, Interfaces, Power, and People’, Journal of Digital Humanities 1, no. 1 (March 9, 2012):


David Armitage and Jo Guldi, The History Manifesto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), pp. 88-116.


Explore online: America’s Public Bible:



  1. Archival Research, Truth, Reading Archival Documents, Finding People in the Archives.


Ludmilla Jordanova, History in Practice (London: Arnold, 2000), pp. 183-189.

Arthur Marwick, The New Nature of History: Knowledge, Evidence, Language (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001), pp. 152-157.

Richard Pennell “Looking for Azzopardi: A historic and a modern search” Provenance: The Journal of Public Record Office Victoria, 10, (2011):


The National Archives (UK), “Forged documents – investigation findings released”, press release, 3 May 2008.


David Sanderson, ‘Himmler murder claim documents “were forged”’, The Times 2 July 2005, p. 14.


Gene Mueller, review of Martin Allen Himmler’s Secret War: The Covert Peace Negotiations of Heinrich Himmler (London: Robson, 2005) in The Journal ofMilitary History, 70, (2006), 860-861.























Radio history archival projects


Task: research, contextualize, interpret and write about an aspect of the history of radio broadcasting in Australia (preferably Victoria). You need to undertake some archival research in primary sourcesand some contextual research in the digitized newspapers on Trove or the radio magazines at the State Library.



Some key histories of radio in Australia (on reserve in the High Use Collection at Baillieu):


Bridget Griffen-Foley, Changing Stations: The Story of Australian Commercial Radio (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2009).

  1. S. Inglis and Jan Brazier, This Is the ABC: The Australian Broadcasting Commission,1932-1983 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1983).

Lesley Johnson, The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of Early Australian Radio (London: Routledge, 1988).

Alan Thomas, Broadcast and Be Damned: The ABC’s First Two Decades (Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 1980).



Radio broadcasting changed a lot about social, cultural, political, religious, sporting life in Australia. There are some histories written (see below), but many focus more on Sydney than Melbourne. You are free to choose any topic in radio history, if you can locate some archival and contextual material as described above.


Interviews could also be with listeners – the history of radio listening is an interesting field. The early radio magazines at SLV will illustrate this theme. See for example this work on American radio listening:


Susan J. Douglas, Listening in: Radio and the American Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004)



Australia has a hybrid broadcasting system – a national public broadcaster (the ABC) since 1932, and a range of commercial and later community stations. From 1924 there were A class stations, supported from listener licence fees, and B class stations, which were funded by sale of on air advertising or private means. In 1928 the federal government took control of technical services of A-class radio stations, providing programs for the Australian Broadcasting Company. In 1932, the Australian Broadcasting Commission was formed, taking over the A class stations.







Below are some suggestions for materials. This is by no means exhaustive and if you can locate other archival material and check with your tutor, that is also fine to use – this could include study of more recent radio history.


The following references archival collections in the National Archives of Australia (NAA), the University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) and the State Library of Victoria (SLV):


UMA, the University of Melbourne Archives Most of the suggestions below have the call number provided for you. You can also search for other material in the Archives here:

The UMA Reading Room is shared with Special Collections and is conveniently located on the 3rd floor of the Baillieu library. Check hours and how to order material ahead of your visit here:


NAA, the National Archives of Australia They have a Reading Room at 99 Shiel Street, North Melbourne.You need to irder material ahead and it takes at least 48 hours for them to bring material in from storage facilities to the Redaing Room. You search for and order material in the Record Search screen on their website – you’ll need to create a free account in order to request material. The guide below makes a number of specific suggestions about relevant collections but is by no means exhaustive. You can also therefore search for yourself. I recommend using the advanced Search function, choosing Items as the search goal, and then setting the ‘Location of Items’ entry to Melbourne (there are of course many interesting records in Canberra, Sydney and elsewhere but more difficult for you to access). This is the screen you want to start with:


SLV, the State Library of Victoria  – hopefully a familiar institution to most of you.



Radio magazines at SLV:

3LO, 3AR, and Dominion Broadcasting Pty. Ltd. Broadcasting Programmes: Week Ending … / 3LO and 3AR, Dominion Broadcasting Pty. Ltd. Melbourne: United Press PtyLtd. Ceased in 1929.


3AW. Brother Bill’s Monthly: The Monthly Magazine for Members of “The Unseen Fellowship” and the “Radio Church” of 3AW, Melbourne. Fitzroy, Vic.: McLaren and Co, 1936-43.


Listener In. Melbourne: Listener In, 1925-55.


Wireless Institute of Australia. Radio Broadcast (Melbourne, Vic.), Radio Broadcast. Melbourne: Wireless Institute of Australia, 192AD.


Radio Times (Melbourne, Vic.), Radio Times: Radioprogram. Melbourne: Radio Times, 1934 – 1950.


The Australasian Electrical and Radio Times. Melbourne: Australasian Electrical and Radio Times, 1936.


The Radioprogram. Melbourne: Radioprogram, 1934-36.


ABC WeeklySydney: ABC 1939 – 1959




















Radio elections:

Choose any election from 1928 to 1957 and look at the use of radio.

1928 might have been the first federal election in which radio played a significant role.

NAA MP 341/1 1928/7917 Broadcasting Political Speeches, Federal Election 1928. Barcode 349525. Explains the rules – the A class stations (funded by listener licence fees) could broadcast one speech by each party leader while B class stations (the commercial stations)

Trove search: speech broadcast, limited to 1928 = 3239 hits; add limit to Victoria = 438 hits. Think of other searches. Bruce, broadcast [1928] = 2055 hits. Scullin, broadcast [1928] = 347 hits.

Bruce policy speech here: and Scullin here

‘While government regulations insisted that A-class stations – which were to become part of the ABC in 1932 – show no political preference, on Sydney’s B-class (commercial) stations a propaganda battle raged in the mid- to late 1920s.’Bridget Griffen-Foley, ‘The “Fireside Chat” on Australian Radio’, in Bridget Griffen-Foley and Sean Scalmer (eds.), Public Opinion, Campaign Politics & Media Audiences: New Australian Perspectives (Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 2017), p. .


Nick Richardson, ‘The 1931 Australian Federal Election-Radio Makes History’,Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, no. 3 (2010): 377-389.


Also NAA: MP404/1, 1941/8263Radio – Broadcasting. Political. Equal Facilities for all Political Parties. Ban on speeches by Politicians.


One topic would be tolerance (or not) of political diversity on radio. See for one small example: ‘Communist Session Wanted’, Shepparton Advertiser 16 Jan., 1945 ‘“Why has a wireless station ceased to broadcast the Communist country session formerly given by Mr.Dick Blackburn,” was one of themany questions asked at a well-attended meeting at Mooroopna lastnight. It was claimed the session wasan interesting commentary on variousaspects of the news and gave food forthought and discussion whether a person agreed with all the ideas expressed or not.Mr C. P. Walker, who presided, accepted the resolution, “That this meeting write to the station asking for the restoration of the CommunistCountry, Session.” The resolution wascarried unanimously.’














Community Singing

A search in Trove for ‘community singing’ and radio, limited to Victoria, brings up over 9000 hits. Bernard Harte writes in his book When Radio Was the Cat’s Whiskers (Dural, N.S.W: Rosenberg Publishing, 2002) (p. 102) that ‘community singing did more to promote commercial radio in Australia as an entertainment medium than any other form of programming’.



ABC(from 1932)

NAA MP341/1 has details of a controversy about a 1936 talk by adult educator Dr. W.G.K. Duncan on marriage and the family in Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. File includes the script of the talk and letters of complaint. There are many more ABC files at NAA in North Melbourne – do explore for yourself in the online Record Search (advanced search, items search, location Melbourne, exact phrase Australian Broadcasting Commission).


Oscar Oeser was a University of Melbourne psychologist. His papers at UMA have material on his ABC radio broadcasts on psychology including listener mail: Oeser 1985.0155 Units 28, 29, 30. You can read about Oeser here:




Radio and WWII

Instances of greater federal control over radio during the war can be seen for example in NAA SP 109/3 (file is digitised) about suspension of 3AR and 3KZ for broadcasting in response to the loss of the HMAS Sydney. NAA: MP404/1, 1943/6712 also has 1943 material on breaches of the Broadcasting Act. NAA: MP150/1, 462/201/2252 has material on the ABC broadcasting services for Army, Navy and Air Force during the war.


UMA has the papers of Alan Bell which include typescripts of radio broadcasts on 3DB during WW2, about the war and the homefront: UMA Alan Bell 1987.0114.


Relevant book is: John Hilvert, Blue Pencil Warriors: Censorship and Propaganda in WorldWar II. (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1984).













Department of Information shortwave broadcasts:

NAA MP 272/3 D1/1 part 1, Sir Henry Gullett file. On Department of Information international broadcasts, programs for women, etc. Document explains the Department’s aim in its short wave broadcasts: ‘to explain why Australia is supporting the Allies, to describe the Australian war effort, and to expose the more important falsehoods broadcast by Germany, particularly those about Australia.’

NAA MP 272/3 L.G. Wigmore file. Details (not scripts) of DoI broadcast series. Correspondence of W. Macmahon Ball, political scientist from the University of Melbourne, who was in charge of the Broadcasting division.

NAA MP 272/3 D1/1 part 5. Information on the wartime international short wave broadcasts of the Department, especially to the USA.

NAA MP 404/1 – on overseas short-wave broadcasts, whether can carry advertising, whether can advertise Australia itself to the world.

NAA MP 272/3 – Reports on ShortWave Department Australian Broadcasting Commission.


Relevant book: Ai Kobayashi, W. Macmahon Ball: Politics for the People (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2013).


Writer Mary Grant Bruce (most well-known for the Billabong series for children ) did three series of Department of Information talks. Some of the scripts are in her papers at SLV:


Hume Dow, later long-serving English department academic at the University, worked for Department of Information broadcasting section. His papers are at UMA Hume Dow 1988.0115.





















3KZ was the labour station in Victoria – owned by Trades Hall but leased out to a radio management company most of the time, with stipulation that the Labor Party and unions could have some air time each week.

UMA has records of the Industrial Printing and Publishing Co. which owned the licence for 3KZ: UMA 2005.0029– unit 2: annual reports; folders – history of 3KZ. Also at UMA is Marcella Pearce’s interesting autobiography – an account of growing up at Trades Hall in Lygon Street, includes memories of setting up 3KZ: UMA Marcella Pearce1995.0099

In the UMA digitised records of the Victorian Trades Hall see VTHC 1978.0082 – unit 365 broadcasts, unit 81 correspondence in 7/1/3 file AR, re 3kZ. minutes available online eg (page 322) for a 1931 Trades Hall discussion of 3KZ labor broadcasts.


NAA MP 1897/2 3KZ Political Broadcasts – listings of political broadcasts on 3KZ 1940s to 1970s.

NAA MP522/1, 3KZ


R.R. Walker, Dial 1179, the 3KZ story (South Yarra, Vic.: Currey O’Neil, 1984)


3KZ in Radio History: A Brief Look at 3KZ’s Role in Australian Radio. Melbourne? : 3KZ, 1980? Melbourne? : 3KZ?, n.d. SLV


Broadcaster Norman Banks’ papers are at the SLV

This ADB entry tells something of his life: SLV has a recording of some of his 3KZ broadcasts: The Baillieu has his 1953 book The world in my diary : from Melbourne to Helsinki for the Olympic Games


The Mick Nolan papers at SLV contain material on the Labor Hour on 3KZ.


Boxes 6 and 7 of the Val Morgan papers at SLV contain material on 3KZ in the 1930s and 40s, including minute books and photos.


Frederick Arthur Trainer,The Art of Successful Parenthood: (Radio Talks through 3KZ, Melbourne, Etc.) (Ballarat, Vic: Tulloch & King, 1937) is in the Baillieu


  1. J. Dore, Daniel’s Pre-View of World Empires: Babylon, Medo-Persia,Greece, Rome, the Stone Kingdom, Britain: A Series of Radio Talks. [Melbourne: H. J. Dore], 1939. [broadcasts on 3KZ]


SLV has digitised the constitution of the 3KZ Friendship Circle: A search for ‘3KZ Friendship Circle’ in Trove gets 600+ hits.




SLV has some 1945-55 scripts:


SLV have digitised Ida Coffey,Look up and Laugh: 13 Years at the Mike (Melbourne: National Press, 1945)

Ida Coffey, Tough Ground / by Ida Coffey (Penelope—3UZ Melbourne) (Melbourne: National Press, 1946): book is also in Baillieu Special Collections:


SLV has recording of 3UZ coverage of the Beatles visit to Melbourne:



Broadcaster Norman Banks papers are at the SLV

This ADB entry summarises his life: The author of the entry, John Lack, is a SHAPS fellow and may be available to speak to students.


SLV has some 1945-55 3AW and 3UZ scripts:



SLV catalogue brings up 267 items about 3LO – most of them records form the music library but includes also things such as The 3LO Girl: Prospectus of a BeautyCompetition (Melbourne: Australian Broadcasting Company,1927)

Educational broadcasts from 1932 digitised here

And 1933 here









Dramatising political matters


Between April 1947 and the 1949 election, over 200 episodes of the ‘John Henry Austral’ series – advertising for the new Liberal Party –  were broadcast on radio. Stuart Macintyre describes it as ‘the most lavishly funded electoral campaign ever seen in Australia’. Stuart Macintyre, Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s (Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2015).


The University of Melbourne archives has digitized the sound recordings of the John Henry Austral collection: UMA John Henry Austral 1989.0137. Read about the discovery of the recordings here: and listen to the recordings here: University of Melbourne Archives holds a number of collections related to the Austral program. They include Federal Executive papers from the period in the Liberal Party of Australia, Victorian Division collection (1972.0032), Federal election material in the Peter Howson collection (1984.0098). In the Liberal Party collection for material on John Henry Austral see: Liberal Party collection, 1972.0032: unit 20 (Federal Directors Correspondence 1946-60), unit 21 (Federal Executive minutes 1946-60), unit 23 (Public relations committee minutes, 1945-49)

– Liberal Party collection, 1985.0148 (U7/8): unit 15 (executive correspondence 1946-47), unit 22 (executive correspondence 1947-48).The UMA also holds collections of material from the Communist Party of Australia and the Australian Labor Party.Search in Trove newspapers on “John Henry Austral” yields 4410 hits.


In response, the federal Labor government amended the Australian Broadcasting Act in 1948 to specifically forbid ‘dramatisation of any political matter which is then current or was current at any time during the last five preceding years’.

NAA BP/5/2/part 1 contains correspondence on the administration of the law, including the John Henry Austral case with scripts of the program and correspondence about it.

NAA: M3299, 89 has material on John Henry Austral series.


Stephen Mills tells the story of this Liberal Party advertising series here: See also his book: Stephen Mills, The Professionals: Strategy, Money and the Rise of the Political Campaigner in Australia (Melbourne: Schwartz Publishing, 2014) available as ebook through the library: See also: Ian Ward, ‘The Early Use of Radio for Political Communication in Australia and Canada: John Henry Austral, Mr Sage and the Man from Mars’, Australian Journal of Politics & History 45, no. 3 (September 1999): 311-330.











Australian Content: The Hume Dow papers have interesting material on efforts of Australian writers to avoid loss of income through low payment for writing for network broadcasting and syndication of international material (including American comics) in the press after the war. This chapter tells the story of concern about use of American radio soap opera scripts in Australia and provides some context: David Goodman and Susan Smulyan, ‘Portia Faces the World: Rewriting and Revoicing American Radio for an International Market’, in Michele Hilmes and Jason Loviglio (eds.), Radio’s New Wave: Audio in the Digital Era (New York: Routledge, 2013), pp. 163-179 UMA has the papers of the Victorian Division of Actors Equity of Australia A.1984.0044 and you can see from the finding aid that parts relate to campaigns for local or Australian content on radio:


Cold War

Reverend Victor James was minister at the Unitarian Peace Church in Melbourne from 1947. UMA 1981.0143 boxes 11-17 is a collection of his radio talks about peace during the Cold War 1943-70s.


Malcolm Fraser

The Malcolm Fraser collection at UMA contains transcripts of the radio talks he gave weekly from 1954-1983 as member of the House of Representatives for Wannon, Minister and eventually Prime Minister, covering a huge range of topics.



Australia’s first community radio station, went to air in 1976. The Community Radio Federation (CRF) – the incorporated body of 3CR – was formed at a public meeting at the Pram Factory in Carlton, Melbourne on June 23, 1974, and was awarded a broadcast licence on October 10, 1975. See:

Juliet Fox, Lucy De Kretser, Jenny Denton, Lou Smith, and Areej Nur, eds. Radical Radio: Celebrating 40 Years of 3CR (Collingwood, Vic: 3CR Community Radio, 2016)

SLV has 3CR Weekly Bulletin from 1977

SLV also has material about 3CR in its Ephemera collection (do an SLV catalogue search keyword 3CR) and have digitised many posters from the station – also a collection illuminating 3CR’s coverage of the 1986 nurses strike .


UMA have the Victorian Women’s Liberation and Lesbian Feminist Archives which have numbers of cassettes and transcripts, flyers and more for feminist, lesbian and women’s liberation shows, mostly on 3CR:

Women’s Liberation Halfway House, 2000.0298 box 47 Correspondence, program content, minutes of meetings, information, leaflets and flyers, and ‘Community Radio Federation Newsletters’ 1977-1988


Cathleen Moore, 2000.0205 file 04/20 box 2 Radio-programme material News clippings newspaper articles pamphlets, leaflets, articles, contact list, transcript, guidelines, notes; Melbourne Victoria. 1977 – 1979


Dianne Otto, 2000.0109 file 8/7/10 box 7. Morning Show, 3CR radio: collective minutes, notes, materials 1983-1984


Also at UMA the Norman Rothfield papersilluminate his campaign to have a progressive, pro-Israeli program on 3CR, backlash by both left and right. See UMA Norman Rothfield 2002.0014, Unit 2: item 5/1; Unit 3: item 5/6 petition; Unit 7 throughout; unit 9 throughout.


It might be possible to research aspects of the history of 3RRR:


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