From St Kilda To Kings Cross

A completed PhD investigating the geography of live music in Sydney and Melbourne between the 1980s and 2000s.

Public talk at State Library of NSW, afternoon of Saturday 31st October, 2015

Hi everyone –

I will be giving a free public talk at the State Library of New South Wales on the afternoon of Saturday 31st October. This is part of the Tony Mott rock photography exhibition, running at the library from October to February.

I’m very flattered to have been invited to contribute to this exhibition, and it’s also a great chance to preview my findings in an accessible format (a mix of map images and talking, in a gig-length presentation).

The focus will be on adding my particular perspective to the changes in Sydney’s live music scene over time, a topic which Tony’s photographs also explore, albeit at a different zoom level.

I’ll make sure to mention that the State Library of NSW was extremely useful for my research – where else can one find the entire catalog of Drum Media and On The Street? Maybe an epic sharehouse or a fastidious punter’s house somewhere in the suburbs of Sydney but, for my purposes, thanks are in order.

Hope to see youse there.


Details as per State Library NSW site:


band members playing guitar
Saturday 31 October 2015
2.00 pm to 3.00 pm
Metcalfe Auditorium, Ground Floor, Macquarie Wing
Free, bookings essential
Click here to book

It’s popularly believed that Sydney and Melbourne’s live music scenes of have been dying out since the late 1990’s. Musician Sarah Taylor decided to find out the truth and is close to completing her PhD mapping data from local gig guides over a 23 year period from 1983 and comparing it with census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Join Sarah for this illustrated talk as she reveals her surprising findings.

In association with the What a Life! Rock photography by Tony Mott exhibition.


4 comments on “Public talk at State Library of NSW, afternoon of Saturday 31st October, 2015

  1. John
    November 4, 2015

    I’ve just become aware of your research after visiting the Tony Mott exhibition.

    I am currently working on a documentary video looking at live music venues in the Marrickville area. I’m interested in the changes *since* 2006, particularly since 2010. The venues I’m concentrating on have been established in Marrickville in the last 2-4 years. It seems to me there’s been some quite fundamental changes on several levels.

    Any plans to look at this period, or pointers for further investigation?


    • sarahtaylor247
      November 5, 2015

      Hi John –

      Thanks for posting. Sounds like you pick up where I finish, as my PhD looks up until 2006, pretty much covering the transitional time between “then” and “now”. Right now I need to finish the thesis but I can see that there is interesting stuff happening outside it. I pretty much have to wear blinkers!

      Of course many of the people I’ve interviewed don’t have my blinkers on and they talk about present day stuff, and I also have some more recent gigs in my data. If you want any quotes or stats whatnot I’m happy to help. Marrickville comes up most often in relation to fully informal gigs/living spaces like Maggotville, and also the new style arty initiatives like Red Rattler which are still edgy but a bit more formal. Are you looking at both these aspects? They are interesting together.

      My first thought when you mention Marrickville in the last few years, was a conversation I had with a guy called Craig Lyons. He did his honours project on Surry Hills and is now looking at the informal/warehouse scene for more research. I’ve not met him in person, just talked on the phone, but it sounds like a) you might already know each other and b) if you don’t, you should 🙂

      The other thought I had was there is another doco maker, Greg Appel, who made the famous “Long Way to the Top” TV show but also some more smaller projects from earlier decades. He had this one on King Street in the early 1990s, I think it would be interesting to use this as a point of comparison.

      When do you reckon you’ll finish the doco? Probably a stressful question, but I would absolutely love to see it, it’s fabulous to capture the zeitgeist and get footage of participants at the time rather than in hindsight.



  2. John
    November 5, 2015


    Thanks very much for your reply.

    Our documentary is funded by the local council, who (to their credit) are attempting to develop the audience for some of the new venues. We are interested in the warehouse scene, but there may be some friction, given many operate in a somewhat unregulated way :-).

    One of the ‘themes’ emerging as we talk to venue owners and musicians is the very specific conditions which make Marrickville attractive for starting a venue. It seems your research shows how the geographic distribution of venues has changed in sometimes radical ways. Perhaps in an upcoming episode we could interview you about your findings?

    We have almost completed the first episode (five are planned), and I will let you know when it’s ready.

    Thanks for mentioning Craig Lyons. I don’t know him, but will certainly get in touch when we look at the warehouse venues.

    All the best,


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This entry was posted on October 13, 2015 by in General Interest.

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