Documentation for speech and sound recordings

Archive Collections / Dr Norman Barnett Tindale / Documentation for speech and sound recordings
Date Range1930  -  1990
CollectionDr Norman Barnett Tindale
ArrangedNo original order (order imposed by archives)
Series IdentifierAA338/12

This series contains a broad range of documents relating to NB Tindale's speech and sound recordings (series AA 338/11). Tindale's speech and sound recordings were made over a sixty year period (c1930-c1990) in a range of media, including Edison wax cylinders, acetate discs, and magnetic tapes (reel-to-reel and cassette). Their contents include: Aboriginal songs, narratives, and oral histories; field interviews and conversations; recordings of lectures, personal events, and media interviews.

Much of the documentation in this series consists of Tindale's own written records. Tindale was a fastidious record keeper, amassing volumes of field journals, field notebooks, office journals, and also compiling a detailed speech and sound register. Many of the field journals and notebooks contain details of recording sessions, often including transcriptions and English translations and such details as singer and place of recording. Some of the documentation included in this series relates to the management of the speech and sound collection by the South Australian Museum (SAM) and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). These documents are often concerned with issues such as copying and access conditions. An important reference document is the S. A. Museum Speech and Sound Collections register. Tindale began compiling this document in 1963, and it contains contextual information about his sound recordings up to 1964. Some of this information appears in summary form in Alice Moyle's (1966) A Handlist of Field Collections of Recorded Music in Australia and Torres Strait. In 1980, the SAM Speech and Sound Collection was transferred to magnetic tape preservation reels, with a preservation copy being sent to AIATSIS. At AIATSIS further documentation was produced: Grace Koch produced a transcription (or preservation) tape catalogue and transcriptions for the Western Australia 1966-1968 series of Tindale's fieldtapes.

The main items in this series are:

  1. Song records (notebooks)

  2. Tape records (journals)

  3. Tape records (papers)

  4. 'S.A. Museum Speech and Sound Collections' register

  5. Documents for wax cylinder transfer

  6. 'Re-recording of wax cylinders'

  7. Notes relating to the Fanny Cochrane Smith recordings

  8. Transcript of Albert Karloan's 'Story of Peindjali and Perolge'

  9. Transcription catalogues of discs and magnetic tapes

  10. Notes and correspondence relating to the speech and sound collection

  11. Documents relating to copying Norman B Tindale's magnetic tape recordings

  12. Correspondence with AIATSIS regarding cataloguing and access conditions

  13. Audition catalogue of Western Australia 1966-1968 fieldtapes

  14. Draft catalogues for wax cylinder and acetate disc transfer

  15. Transcription tape catalogue

Other relevant documentation not contained in this series include Tindale's field journals (series AA 338/1) and published articles. Note that song texts are scattered through the Tindale journals. Published articles include Tindale, 1937, 'Native songs of the South East of South Australia', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, Vol. 61, pp. 107-120; and Tindale, 1941, 'Native songs of the South East of South Australia, Part 2', Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, Vol. 65(2), 1941, pp. 233-243.

While consulting items in this series it is important to bear in mind that while Tindale often appeared to ascribe songs to tribal groups on the basis of the singer's associations, the actual language or cultural ownership of the song in question is not necessarily attested in the web catalogue descriptions below. In many cases this awaits further work upon the collection.

Note that some of the documentation in this series also relates to the broader South Australian Museum Speech and Sound Collection. References can be found to collections such as EH Davies (AA 70), Jack Doolan (AA 632), and PM Rice (AA 247).

Included Items