Australia’s oldest sound recordings donated

At just over two minutes, The Hen Convention is the oldest surviving Australian sound recording. Recorded by Thomas Rome, it is a novelty song featuring chicken impersonations by vocalist John James Villiers to a piano accompaniment.

Rome also recorded Warrnambool Railway Accident, an audio re-creation of a local train derailment from March 1897. The recording features sound effects created by drum virtuoso George Twentyman (AKA ‘Herr Schoot’). The dialogue in the recording is courtesy of Warrnambool residents.

The Hen Convention and Warrnambool Railway Accident on australianscreen

NFSA website: Bringing wax cylinders back

Thomas Rome date unknown_cropped image_593728

Thomas Rome. NFSA title: 593728

John James Villiers_Source Rosemary Szente

John James Villiers. Source: Rosemary Szente