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April 14, 2023

Adelaide’s Golden Record

If CityMag had a rocket, these are the sounds we'd launch into space, as selected by 10 aural authorities on all things Adelaide.

  • Story: Angela Skujins
  • Graphic: Jayde Vandborg

In 1977, a pair of 12-inch gold-plated copper discs — reminiscent of vinyl records — were catapulted into the sky on the back of a spaceship.

The idea was that if intelligent extra-terrestrial life ever found these engraved artefacts – one containing sound, the other images – they could understand the etchings and, by extension, humanity.

To find out what frequency Adelaide oscillates at, we asked a range of local authorities what South Australian sounds they would launch into the ether, for posterity, on the back of our metaphorical spaceship.

Listen to the selected sounds on the Spotify playlist below, or scroll further down for a bit more from our Golden Record selectors on why they chose their specific pieces of aural history, which span speeches, singles and cicadas.


Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

ASO, Jack Buckskin, Jamie Goldsmith, Mark Simeon Ferguson, Grayson Rotumah — ‘Pudnanthi Padninthi’
In 2021, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra proudly announced a specially commissioned Kaurna Acknowledgement of Country, Pudnanthi Padninthi (‘The Coming and the Going’), that is now performed at the start of ASO concerts.

The musical Acknowledgement is a collaboration with Kaurna Narungga musicians and composers Jack Buckskin and Jamie Goldsmith, and orchestrator/arranger Mark Simeon Ferguson, and Grayson Rotumah, lecturer at the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music.


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See the work at the ASO’s website.

Miriam Hyde — ‘Piano Concerto No.1’
In 2020, ASO announced the launch of The Miriam Hyde Circle, an exciting new ASO initiative, committed to greater representation of female composers – past, present and future – on the stage.

A trailblazing South Australian, Miriam Hyde AO OBE (1913-2005) was one of Australia’s foremost pianists, composers and music educators of the twentieth century. A graduate of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, she also attended the Royal College of Music in London and, in addition to her orchestral music, composed over 150 works for piano and 50 songs.

Richard Meale — ‘Cantilena Pacifica’
Richard Meale, one of most Australia’s most prominent composers, taught at the University of Adelaide from 1969—88. ‘Cantilena Pacifica’ is regularly performed at ASO’s Sanctuary Series.

Graeme Koehne — ‘Tivoli Dances’
Adelaide own born and bred easily one of Australia’s leading compositional figures.

Anne Cawrse — ‘A Room Of Her Own’
Anne was the curator of She Speaks in 2020. This was a landmark event spotlighting leading female composters, bookended with live performances and talks. Read more about it in this CityMag story.


Porch Records

Selected by founder Sharni Honor.

Jesse Davidson — ‘Flaws’
I still remember the first time I heard this song come on Triple J, I was in the foodland carpark, and sat in the car until it finished. Overjoyed to hear it was an SA artist, I emailed Jesse that afternoon and booked him for a show.

Jess Johns — ‘Stranger’
One of South Australia’s greatest voices and songwriters is Jess Johns, also a frequent player of our varying concepts. We helped Swirl Records release her first ever vinyl record, and it’s absolutely timeless.

Adam Page — ‘Orange’
Something a lot of people don’t know about Adelaide music is the strength of our jazz scene. We have some unbelievable and world-renowned players in our backyard, spanning Ross McHenry, Shaolin Afronauts, Alexander Flood, and a personal favourite, Adam Page. This beautiful piece is from his record, The Colours of Grief. It’s truly lovely.

Nu Article — ‘Slippin’
Our first release as a record label, brings Nu Article into the picture. We worked alongside this jazzy, hip-hop instrumental 4-piece to deliver their first ever self-titled EP, pressed to vinyl. this one is one of my favourite tracks from the record.

Tell Mama — ‘Freedom Rising’
There’s a beautiful cross-section of personal taste and an up-and-coming soul, jazz, funk scene coming up locally, we program a lot of these genres over at our venue Summertown Studio, where we host international touring shows, as well as local jazz nights. a personal favourite is Tell Mama. This is one of their latest singles.

Mono Kiosko — ‘Sunpak’
If Madlib was born in South Australia, this is what he would sound like. Introducing Mono Kiosko, with one of the best records of the year. They played this live when we toured Kamaal Williams to Summertown Studio earlier this year.


Northern Sound System

Selected by music educator Nick O’Connor.

Nat Luna — ‘Cupid Boy’
Crazy supernova vocal quality from a pure spirit, Nat Luna released ‘Cupid Boy’ with the support of creative agency SeeOh this year and we were stoked she did!

WaiKid — ‘Be Your Man’
Possibly the most casually charismatic community builder in Adelaide right now, Waikid is saving the world one party roller at a time.

Taiaha — ‘Humpty Dumpty’
People talk about authenticity but Taiaha is the real deal. He’s a ‘listen to the whole album/stay for the whole set’ kind of artist.

DEM MOB — ‘Still No Justice’
DEM MOB are the most powerful live act in SA right now with huge APY energy that goes all the way through you and the parallel universes either side of you.

Elizabeth Ruyi — ‘Stars and Galaxies’
Elizabeth Ruyi is an ultra wizardess in the art of gentleness. Her live performances are smooooooth, her voice exquisite. Her audio paintings are of the purest quality. Behold.


Music SA

The Masters Apprentices — ‘It’s Because I Love You’
Possibly one of the most iconic Aussie songs of all time. Evocative of an era, a genre, a feeling. Grounded in the Adelaide landscape as part of our heritage, fabric, sound and because the Masters were a beacon for all those that followed.

Peter Combe — ‘Wash Your Face in Orange Juice (Mr Clicketty Cane)’
Who didn’t grow up washing their face in orange juice? Pop star to toddlers, Peter Combe has delighted, educated, engaged and respected Australian (and Adelaide) children for decades. Thousands of young ones have grown up with this iconic SA voice in their lounge rooms, bedrooms, cars, backyards, schools and daycare.

Kasey Chambers — ‘Not Pretty Enough’
A role model for girls and women all over, Kasey’s unique voice is imbedded in the South Australian psyche. From SA musical royalty, Kasey is the regional girl made good and country artist successfully crossed over to main stream. An important voice representing diversity, vulnerability and authenticity. Unique, high quality and of substance – and if that ain’t Adelaide we don’t know what is!

Hilltop Hoods — ‘The Nosebleed Section’
The embodiment of contemporary, sassy, street-smart Adelaide: our incredibly talented younger generations, our innovation in tech and industry and culture, successful international exports and profile. But also summers, music and arts festivals, hot sweaty gigs, feel good times and all that we took for granted before COVID. And mostly, local boys done good. Real good.

Paul Kelly & Kev Carmody — ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’
Adelaide’s unofficial poet laureate with Kev Carmody. A sound and story that lives in our hearts and country. Kelly is arguably the song voice of modern Adelaide, and a powerful role model for inclusion, generosity, respect and collaboration with First Nations artists and communities. A story of generations and cultures, of courage and patience, of reconciliation.  A prompt for us always to walk together.


SA Museum

The song of the Mount Lofty Firetail (Yoyetta loftyensis)


SA History Trust

Sir Thomas Playford IV

Listen to South Australia’s 33rd Premier, Sir Thomas Playford, speak with journalist Mel Prattle via Trove.

Don Dunstan

Listen to South Australia’s 35th Premier, Don Dunstan, speak at the National Press Club in 1981 via Trove.

Julia Gillard

Robert Simms

Doug Nicholls 

Janine Haines

Listen to Janine Haines, the first female leader of an Australian national political party, the Australian Democrats, speak at the National Press Club in 1987 via Trove.


Radio Adelaide

Contributions made by the Songcatcher team

The Twilights — ‘What’s Wrong with the Way I live’

No Fixed Address — ‘We Have Survived’

The Baker Suite — ‘Every Time’

Electric Dreams — ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’

Alana Jagt — ‘Stars of Napperby’


The Elder Conservatorium of Music

The work of Dr Simone Slattery
Ex-Brighton High School and Elder Conservatorium, graduated with BMus, BMusHonours, and PhD.

The work of Joe Chindamo
Australia’s most celebrated jazz pianist and a composer of symphonic works. He lives in Melbourne, but he is currently a candidate for our PhD in Musical Composition, and he has had notable performances in SA by both the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Australian String Quartet. His trombone concerto was commissioned by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and premiered earlier this year.

The work of composer Connor Fogarty
He comes from Toowoomba in Queensland, but for the last four years has been studying with us in Adelaide for his BMusHonours and PhD degrees.

The work of composer Aaron Pelle

The work of composer Jakub Jankowski


Simone Slattery

David John Lang, Simone Slattery — ‘Anthochaera carunculata – Red Wattlebird’

Australian String Quartet, Anne Cawrse — ‘A Room of Her Own I. Web’

Boomskully — ‘I Could (feat. Ben Harrison)’


Five Four Entertainment

Selected by bookings manager Jesse Coulter.

Teenage Joans — ‘Three Leaf Clover’

Bad//Dreems — ‘Cuffed & Collared’

Cold Chisel — ‘Khe Sanh’

Exploding White Mice — ’51st State’

Hilltop Hoods — ‘The Nosebleed Section’ (redux)


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