Graham Webster’s World of Music

State Library holds a significant collection of sound recordings donated by the late Graham Webster AM, a Queensland radio broadcasting professional with over 40 years’ experience in ABC radio and television. A national figure during his career, Graham presented for NHK (the Japanese national broadcaster), and his work in Japan included narration for films, and TV series such as “The Silk Road”, many of which won international awards.

Towards the end of his career, Graham spent eight years as a voluntary presenter for 4MBS Classic FM 103.7 in Brisbane, and during that time researched, wrote, and presented a high-quality program entitled Graham Webster’s World of Music, which aired between 1990 and 2001. To research each program, Graham made particular use of the State Library’s music, heritage and LP collections. Graham Webster’s World of Music comprises 94 hours of taped documentary and sound music programs which cover a range of subjects in the history of music – from the lives of composers, to major historical events illustrated with music, to modern musicals. The programs were transferred from DAT tapes to approximately 95 CDs including cover art and content notes and are a highlight of the State Library’s music collection. The collection was formally presented to the State Library in June 2005.

Although many of the programs cover general topics in Western Art music, some of the topics have a distinct Queensland theme. For instance, The Cremorne remembered looks back at the shows and performers of the Cremorne Theatre on the South Bank in Brisbane, from its opening in 1911 through the World War II years. In Three Overseas Arrangers in the Sunshine State, Graham talks with Ronald Hanmer, Gordon Langford and Tommy Tycho about their lives and work. Brisbane concert goers in the 1860s provides a fascinating insight into the musical pastimes of Queenslanders more than 150 years ago.

Robyn Hamilton

Queensland Music Coordinator – State Library of Queensland