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Tash Sultana, Michael Gudinski and late Tony Cohen welcomed into the Australian Music Vault

Since its inception in December 2017, the Australian Music Vault has charted the story of contemporary Australian music from the 1950s until today showcasing the iconic people, events and places that define Australian music.

One of its displays – The Wild Ones – explores the work of both on and off stage professionals in the music industry, putting the spotlight on innovators including performers, producers, technicians, roadies, makers, promoters, publishers, presenters and journalists. 

As the gateway to the exhibition, it sets up the overarching curatorial narrative as being a non-chronological, industry-wide story of the whole Australian music industry, not just the performers who take centre stage. There are three new music industry identities now added into this display including singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana, Mushroom Group CEO and Australian Music Vault patron Michael Gudinski (AM), and record producer and sound engineer Tony Cohen.

“Contemporary music has always pushed boundaries and been at the forefront of creativity across musical genres and artistic, entrepreneurial and technical practice. We are delighted to share the cross-generation stories of Michael Gudinski, Tony Cohen and Tash, and welcome them to the Australian Music Vault,” says Director, Australian Performing Arts Collection Janine Barrand.

Tash Sultana is one of Australia’s most exciting emerging artists. From humble beginnings as a busker on Melbourne’s acclaimed Bourke St Mall, Tash became a YouTube sensation after a live bedroom recording of the song ‘Jungle’ went viral with over 100 million views online to date. Tash is now breaking attendance records globally at international festivals, theatres and arenas. This success has been achieved outside conventional pathways and fans can now see parts of this incredible journey in the Australian Music Vault where they will see a performance outfit worn by Tash at triple j’s 2017 One Night Stand in Mt Isa, and the famous busking set-up including an Epiphone guitar, case and stomp box. Tash will be performing at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Thursday 14 March as part of her FLOW STATE national tour.

"I'm honoured to be featured at The Australian Music Vault. It's a bit surreal to be included and thank you to the people who run such a great memoir of Australian Music," says Tash.

In 1972, Gudinski changed the Australian musical landscape forever when he launched a bold new recording venture in the form of Mushroom Records. Over the past five decades, his 360-degree management model of publishing and recording, artist bookings, concert promotions and merchandising has helped to revolutionize the industry and nurture the careers of generations of artists. Those who know Gudinski have likely seen him make the ‘No. 1’ pose when making reference to an album or single charting at the top spot. This famous gesture was sculptured in brass back in the 1990s and will now be on display in the Australian Music Vault, along with a copy of his own Sunbury Festival triple album released in 1973; an album that was a bold move for Mushroom Records at the time but still holds great significance to this day.

“I am honored to be a Founding Patron of The Australian Music Vault, and excited to see how music fans have responded so positively to it. To now be included in The Wild Ones section of the exhibition that recognises innovation, intuition and mastery in our music industry is very special. I might not be quite as “wild” but I remain as passionate and excited about Australian Music today as I was when Mushroom first released the Sunbury Triple Album,” says Gudinski.

Cohen's career behind the mixing desk began in the mid-1970s in Melbourne, where he became a major influence on the sound of the city's thriving music scene. His illustrious and celebrated career meant working with Australian musicians including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Go-Betweens, Paul Kelly, Models, Hunters & Collectors, The Beasts Of Bourbon (and Tex Perkins), The Cruel Sea, TISM, Dave Graney, Kim Salmon & The Surrealists, Powderfinger, The Blackeyed Susans, Mick Harvey, Kylie Minogue and Frenzal Rhomb, among several others. He also won three ARIA awards for Producer of the Year (1994 The Cruel Sea’s The Honeymoon Is Over, 1995 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Let Love In) and Engineer of the Year (1995 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Let Love In).

Cohen sadly passed away in August 2017 where the Australian music industry mourned and reflected on the true scope of his contribution. To show just a glimpse of his genius, the Australian Music Vault will have a small suitcase of cassette tapes kept by Cohen as a back-up to master recordings for artists such as Nick Cave, Archie Roach, Davey Graney and Tex Perkins.

“It was obvious to our family from early days that Tony was heading for a career in popular music. From the formation of his first band Epitaph and throughout his lifelong career, his involvement in this industry became the focus of his life. Sadly, it wasn’t until his untimely death in August 2017 that I was made aware of the esteem that he was held in by so many people. I am proud of his contribution to the rock and roll music industry here and all that he achieved through his life,”says Margaret Cohen, Tony Cohen’s mother.

The Australian Music Vault is a key initiative of the Victorian Government's Music Works Strategy, supporting and collaborating with the music industry. It has been developed by Arts Centre Melbourne in consultation with the music industry and is a celebration of the Australian contemporary music story – past, present and future. It’s a place to explore your love of music, revisit some of the big music moments of your life and discover the exciting new stories of today’s Australian music scene.

Australian Music Vault presents The Wild Ones Display FREE From 23 February 2019 More information at


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