About the Songbook

In 1989 the Australia Council funded me to compile the First Australian Women’s Song Book. The hard copy manuscript consists of fifty songs collected from women from all over Australia, with lyrics, sheet music, a short cv and photograph of each writer. This material, carried intact to five different cities over thirty years, remains unpublished. In 2017 I finally acquired the equipment, software, time and space to transform the project into digital format.

A friend shared with me the Jessie Street National Women’s Library Facebook collection of feminist posters in 2017 and, seeking a feminist context for my work, I contacted the library.  JSNWL volunteer Dale Dengate and I have been sharing stories of the Australian folk and women’s music scene since our first fleeting contact thirty years ago. Due to this happy catalysis the project has come alive. For now, I’m working my way making a digital record of the original cassette tapes and manuscript. Once a fortnight, I come in to JSNWL for a day to get help to document the material according to good archival practice.

Once the original songbook is documented the project has potential to expand into a more comprehensive and accessible digital archive.

Kerith Power australian songwriter

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