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Searching for songs from the Missions Era

Research: Welcome

Song Hunting & Gathering

Jessie Lloyd first became curious about the songs form the Aboriginal reserves or the mission days when she heard her Aunties singing an old tune from Palm Island called ‘The Irex’. The Irex was the boat that used to transport the stolen generation children and those removed under the Aborigines Protection Act in the early to mid 20th century. This song was what the families used to sing as they didnt know if they would see their loved ones again. Jessie was curious to see if other families and communities had similar songs from their mission days.

She approached Songman Archie Roach and Professor Marcia Langton for direction and advice on how to begin the historic task and began the Mission Songs Project.

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After two years of traveling, research and consulting its seems Jessie has scratched the surface. She has so far gathered a significant collection of around 40 – 50 ‘mission songs’, songs that were written about life on the mish’; on the settlements, reserves and native camps were Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people were removed.

The primary approach in researching and reviving the old mission songs is through consultation with senior Indigenous songmen and songwomen. Jessie has traveled Australia visiting various communities and elders seeking their stories and advice about the music and life of the old days. Jessie has also been the recipient of the State Library of Victoria – Creative Fellowship Award 2016 and the National Library of Australia – Folk Fellowship Award 2017, providing valuable access and resources into researching the   oral history and other hidden gems in the archives.


Cedric, Peena, Lillian, Lynelda, Delphine and Joe Geia
Frank Anderson
Paul Gorden
Jeremy Beckett
Karl Nuenfeldt
Chris Sullivan
Aaron Corn
Clint Bracknell
Elverina Johnson
Will Kepa
Seaman Dan
Cessa Nakata

Nai Gabey

Leonora Adidi
Roger Knox
Kath Mills

Maxine Briggs
Stephen Pigram
Baamba Alberts
Rosie Smith
Jill Shelton
Lou Bennett

Agnes Donovan
Emma Donovan
Deline Briscoe

Shellie Morris
John Wayne Parsons
Luana Pitt
Tiriki Onus
Monica Weightman
Robert Champion
William Barton
Marlene Cummins
Warren Roberts
Johnny Nicol
Mindalaya Read
Eugenia Flynn
Leah Flanagan
Karina Nolan
David Williams
Jessica Hitchcock

Mindy Kwanton
Vonda Last
Charmaine Bennell

Sam Dimer

Dewayne Everett-Smith

Dyan Summers

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