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Welcome to the
Brisbane Folk History Project

The book ...

Brisbane has arguably the most vibrant folk scene in Australia. From humble beginnings in the ‘50s, Queensland has generated a passionate and organised community of singers, dancers, musicians, songwriters, instrument-makers and – yes, historical recreationists. People from many walks of life, countries of birth and shades of political persuasion identify as ‘folkies’, bound together by a common ethos as powerful and enduring as it is hard to define.

Yet folk functions as an underground movement, barely recognised by mainstream culture. Ask someone on the street about ‘folk music’ and they’ll say it wandered into the sunset humming I Shall Be Released around 1975. The folk interviewed for this book, aged 9 to 90, tell a different story – in fact, hundreds of them.

Here for the first time the Brisbane folk community reflects on this creative, cohesive, multi-generational sub-culture. How has folk music shaped and been shaped by the state’s political evolution? Where does the Brisbane folk scene intersect with Queensland, Australia, the world? And what’s coming next?

Packed with shenanigans, insight, tragedy, love and phone-tapping, with its blood alcohol content perhaps a little high but its heart firmly in the right place, Brisbane Folk will make you feel the music.

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The Brisbane Folk History Project Inc. is dedicated to the recording and preservation of the history of the Brisbane folk music scene.  Brisbane has arguably the most vibrant folk music scene of all the major cities in Australia. The depth of talent among the local musicians, singers and organisers is outstanding, yet folk music and folk culture is little known in the mainstream.  The music of this enthusiastic and talented group marks our common heritage, interests and community culture.

Our folk music is one of the ways in which we express who we are as a community.  Our music carries on a tradition of social commentary, activism, and creativity.  The stories in song and verse handed down through the many songwriters and musicians in our folk music family are of historical importance not just to us but also to the wider community. 

The Brisbane Folk History Project commenced in early 2007. Since inception the project has worked to document, through a variety of media, the history of folk music in the Brisbane region.

Documentation of the history of the Brisbane folk scene is proceeding through four interconnected projects:

  • the production of a Book based on oral histories
  • the collection and digitisation of photographs and ephemera
  • the collection and digitisation of audio recordings
  • the digitisation and dissemination of Brisbane folk music videos from the 1980s to now

The Brisbane Folk History Project Inc. has been granted incorporation as an association.

We are grateful for financial support provided by the Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government and our ongoing partnership with the Queensland State Library.

For further information on the Brisbane Folk History Project, contact webmistress Mary Brettell by .

Michael Tully
President, Brisbane Folk History PRoject
Home: 07 3255 8268, Mob: 0408 152 614


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