SOUND MAT­TERS

Australian Geographic - - Your Say - ROS BRAN­SON, BRIDGE­WA­TER, SA

I have been fa­mil­iar with The last great ex­pe­di­tion (AG 142) since my child­hood, but I was dis­ap­pointed to find my fa­ther, Ray­mond Giles, did not rate a men­tion! He was a ra­dio op­er­a­tor with a unit sta­tioned south of Dar­win dur­ing World War II.

Af­ter the war he was a ra­dio sound en­gi­neer at ABC Ade­laide. It was with this back­ground he was of­fered the sound recordist job on the Na­tional Geo­graphic ex­pe­di­tion.

All my life I en­joyed Dad’s anecdotes of the in­ter­est­ing weeks he spent with the sci­en­tific party, how the wire record­ing de­vice worked, how the Abo­rig­i­nal lads helped carry the heavy bat­ter­ies and how the sa­cred dances, songs, sto­ries and a cor­ro­boree were

recorded for the first time. An­other day he set up the record­ing de­vices on the edge of a bil­l­abong to catch the early morn­ing scat­ter sound when the water­bird flock took flight.

Ray was a coun­try boy, so he was quite at home on the land and to­tally non-racist and non­judge­men­tal, full of cre­ativ­ity and cu­rios­ity all his life.

The trip was a life ex­pe­ri­ence he val­ued greatly. Ray passed away in May 2015 at 98, still alert and cu­ri­ous as al­ways.

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