Family to document field recordist
A man heavily involved in recording traditional Aboriginal song in northern WA will soon become the subject of a documentary, and his family are seeking help from locals who knew him.
Field recordist John Hutchinson, who died last August, dedicated his life to capturing the sounds of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions where he spent over a decade living an often solitary bushman’s life.
Now his niece Jan Malcolm and her children are chronicling his extraordinary life in a documentary called Save That Song, and will soon visit the Pilbara.
Mr Hutchinson was born in south western WA and first ventured north in 1959 for work with the Department of Agriculture.
He started recording local indigenous people’s songs, corroborees and native languages that year. His high-quality recordings were added to the Sounds of Australia Registry at the National Film and Sound Archive late last year.
Ms Malcolm said her uncle was so dedicated he would even relay messages between different indigenous communities on his recording machine.
“I don’t think he realised at the time he was doing something so important,” she said.
He later focused on recording native bird calls.
Ms Malcolm said the documentary was still in its early stages and the family would like to speak to people he met in the Pilbara.
You can contact Ms Malcolm by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The late John Hutchinson listens as his great niece Madeline Malcolm reads from his autobiography Save That Song, on location for the documentary about his life.
The late Mr Hutchinson in the field with his home-made recording machine.