I have been a songwriter-singer since 1966 and was also directly involved in promoting and seeking out women’s music in Australia in the decades following the International Women’s Year of 1975. In 1982 with feminist colleagues I organised a women’s concert in my home town of Lismore featuring Margret Roadknight. It was on my initiative and with my co-ordination that that the First National Women’s Music Festival was held in Lismore NSW in 1983. The lead performer was Judy Small.
Three festivals followed on a biennial basis, staffed by women volunteers and featuring a range of performers including those above, Jeannie Lewis, and in the final festival, international artists and a women’s film festival curated by filmmaker and now Zen Roshi Susan Murphy.Through the festivals and through sales of my cassettes Liberation Road (1983) and Birds of Passage (1985) I established contacts all over Australia.
The hard copy manuscript of The First Australian Women’s Songbook consists of lyrics, sheet music, a short cv and photograph of each writer of fifty songs collected from women from all over Australia. This material, carried intact to five different cities over thirty years, remains unpublished.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.