A voice from the past
This speech by Stanley Melbourne Bruce has recently come into the Museum’s collection. We were very excited to hear it, as none of us had ever heard Bruce’s voice before! This rare recording was made during the 1929 election campaign and may be the oldest surviving recording of Bruce’s voice. He sounds very much as contemporary images portrayed him, with an aristocratic, educated voice and English accent – ironic, as Bruce was in fact born and bred in Melbourne.
Bruce speaks of industrial arbitration, the most important issue of the campaign. The entire election came about because of the government’s defeat on the floor of the House of Representatives over a key bill, the Maritime Industries Bill, which would have removed the Commonwealth from all workplace relations decisions, apart from those of maritime workers. Bruce would go on to lose the election, and even lose his own seat!
This speech arrived on an old 78” shellac record. The Museum had it digitised, along with other treasures from our collection that we hope to be able to share with you.
Image: Screen printed portrait of Stanley Bruce by Alison Alder. See more in our exhibition onetoeight: Australia's first prime ministers.