Sacred stories, songs and traditional language are now digitally preserved for future generations with the help of government funding.

First Nations male heritage officers examines a folio of photos wearing gloves.

Over 150 hours of First Nations oral history and songs were at risk because the recordings were stored on obsolete tapes and discs.

That was until the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) stepped in to preserve the incredible Central Australia Men's Audio Collection with $270,000 funding through our Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

Because many of the recordings relate to 'men's only' sacred and secret ceremonies, the NFSA has worked closely with Traditional Custodians to ensure the culturally sensitive material is managed appropriately.

The collection was compiled from 1949 to the mid-1970s by Professor Theodore George Strehlow, an Australian anthropologist and linguist, who devoted years to studying the Arrernte (Aranda, Arunta) Aboriginal Australians and their language.

His passion for First Nations culture began during his early childhood, spent at the Hermannsburg Mission, where his father Carl was the Lutheran pastor and Superintendent.

His wonderful collection of preserved recordings will enable Elders to pass down important cultural heritage, language, ceremony and song to future generations of young men.

The digitised collection was highlighted at the launch of the Digital Archive Access Studio at the Museum of Central Australia in Alice Springs.

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Photo: First Nations Heritage Officer Winston Green with Strehlow Collection Items.
Copyright: MAGNT. Photo by Chloe Erlich.