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A woman at a music festival in the 1970s dancing.


Livin' in the 70s: Australian Youth, Music and Culture

Australian Mediatheque

From Jul

Is music part of your youth? Was there a soundtrack to suit your cultural experience? Music is a cultural avenue by which we are drawn together as a society to celebrate and relax, but it is also a way for particular groups of people to identify themselves and their place in the world.

The 1970s was a melting pot of music and cultural happenings; both conservative and radical. This program aims to highlight the diversity of music and culture in Australia and the fashion and ethos of various youth groups gathering together in a 1970s Australia.

Programmed by ACMI Collections and the NFSA

  • Sunbury

    John Dixon (director), 1976, 96 mins, Cambridge Film Productions

    A documentary about the 1972 Sunbury Festival, held over the Australia Day long weekend which includes performances by a number of bands. Crowds are shown dancing, swimming in the river, camping and just enjoying the music. Ian "Molly" Meldrum interviews musicians and gathers vox pops from the audience and Sunbury locals.


    Sharpies [a gathering]

    Greg Macainsh (director), 1974, 3 mins

    Short version of the 1974 film Sharpies which documents a massive gathering of the Melbourne Sharpies at a Lobby Lloyd concert.


    Australian [colour] diary. No. 037. Country jazz

    Bob Kingsbury & Gil Brealey (directors), 1971, 12 mins, Australian Commonwealth Film Unit

    The 25th Australian Jazz Convention, 1970, brought 600 musicians and enthusiasts to Dubbo, N.S.W. This annual event startled many of the local inhabitants, especially those who watched the parade of musicians down the main street.


    Australian [colour] diary. No. 043. Three Directions in Pop Music

    Peter Weir (director), 1972, 11 mins, Australian Commonwealth Film Unit

    Offers a sample of three trends in recent Australian pop music: the theatrical act of Wendy Saddington and Teardrop; the jug music of the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band; and the popular rock group Indelible Murtceps.


    Country Outcasts

    David Roberts (director), 1977, 29 mins, Film Australia

    A look at the journey of the band Country Outcasts from the city to the outback.


    Good Afternoon

    Phillip Noyce (producer/director), 1971, 57 mins

    Phillip Noyce is now one of Australia's most celebrated international directors. Early in his career, he made this innovative split-screen film about the Aquarius Festival, held on Canberra's Australian National University campus in 1971.


    Blind Date: Episode 74

    Robert Williams (director), 1974, 23mins, Reg Grundy Productions

    Episode 74 of the successful Australian television series features singer Ronnie Burns performing 'Changes' before compere Bobby Hanna takes over. Voiceover announcements are by Seven Network stalwart, Sandy Roberts. Watch the young adults match up in all their awkwardness.


    George and Toula

    Debby Kingsland (director), 1978, 9mins, Film Australia

    Starting out at a community dance, this Film Australia documentary (part of the Our Multicultural Society series) focuses on Toula's conflicted feelings about her married life with George, who is more traditionally Greek.


    GTK [Hush: Get the Feeling]

    Bernie Cannon (producer), 1974, 3mins

    This short clip was produced for the children's TV show GTK and features Australian rock band Hush performing live their debut single 'Get The Feeling', taken from the 1973 album Aloud 'n' Live! Open-neck shirts with bare chests, sparkly fabrics and tight fitting jump suits - safe to say it was the "Glam Rock" period. The band and the audience are having a great time!



    Jason Ollivier (director), 1977, 9mins, Film Australia

    Teenage skateboarder Dean has decided to give up marijuana smoking. His motive is simply the challenge itself, but in doing so has he created a conflict with his lifelong friend who accuses him of simply substituting one source of stimulation for another. The film explores the feelings of a boy who chooses the excitement and dangers of skateboard riding as an alternative to drugs and alcohol. This is an early work for Academy Award Winning Cinematographer Dean Semler.


    Play Loud

    Daniel Scharf (producer), 1979, 8mins

    It's 1979 in Carlton and you can almost feel the sticky carpet! The small inner-city venues of 1970s Melbourne gave rise to a distinctive musical culture, exemplified in this filmed performance of Melbourne band Cuban Heels.


    Travellin' round

    Kerry Brown (director), 1975, 31mins, Film Australia

    A road-trip around Australia with a suitably 1970s soundtrack and keen youth.


    [Sunbury '74] Movietone Newsreel

    Kevin Golsby (narrator), 1974, 3mins, Movietone Productions

    The Sunbury Rock Festival 1974. Around 30,000 young people crowd the area to watch Australia's biggest pop festival. Crowds are shown dancing, swimming in the river, camping and just enjoying the music. Short clips of bands on stage. Courtesy: Cinesound Movietone Productions.


    Crystal Voyager

    David Elfick (director), 1973, 96mins, Tracks Motion Picture

    Crystal Voyager was one of the most beautiful and successful surfing movies ever made. Shot largely in California, Greenough and his surfing friends Richie West (a Californian) and Nat Young (Australia’s world champion surfer) take to Californian waters, searching for undiscovered waves. The footage has an abstract beauty and is further enhanced by the music of Pink Floyd.