Paradisec Projects

PARADISEC actively seeks collections of relevant tapes to digitise and curate. We run a regular ‘Lost and Found’ survey to find such collections. We get no funding to do this work, but rely on small grants that can cover more than the funded project.

Typical projects we have undertaken, and can undertake in future if we have sufficient funding include:

Collections in Progress:

Neil Bell’s recordings in several central Australian Aboriginal languages

60 tapes recorded since the early 1980s


Wurm collection (many languages represented)

Cost: AUD$51,000

Material deposited by Helen Wurm.

340 reel-to-reel tapes.

This is the collection of tapes recorded by the late Professor Stephen Wurm and Dr Helen Wurm  in many different languages. Each of these tapes requires cleaning and special care before they can be digitised. The estimated cost for digitising each tape is in the order of AUD$150.


Edith Bavin’s Warlpiri recordings

Made in the 1980s, 150 tapes of children’s speech


Debra McDougall’s Kubokota tapes (Solomon Islands) 

90 tapes made since the late 1990s


Ian Frazer’s To’aba’ita tapes (Solomon Islands) 

340 tapes made since the 1970s



Completed Collections:

Tapes at the Divine Word University in Madang, PNG

Madang, PNG. John Z’graggen’s recordings (many PNG languages represented)

173 60-minute cassettes, 43 Sony PRA 275 m 36 micron tapes, and 40 older audio reels Cost of shipping to Australia, cleaning,

digitising, accession to collection and return of DVD copies to Madang estimated at $28,000.


Acehnese (Indonesia) (Ethnologue code: ace)

Number of speakers: 3,000,000

Cost: AUD$31,400

Material deposited by Mark Durie.

314 reel-to-reel tapes or cassettes.

The estimated cost for digitising each tape is in the order of AUD$100.


Tapes in the Solomon Islands Museum in HoniaraSolomon Islands National Museum, Honiara. 800 recordings (many Solomon Islands languages represented)

Cassettes and open reels. Estimated cost of transport to Sydney, cleaning, digitising, accession to collection and return of hard disk copies to Honiara $70,000.


Asmat (Central Asmat) (Indonesia/West Papua) (Ethnologue code: cns)

Number of speakers: 7,000

Cost: AUD$9,100

Materials deposited by Ruth H. Roesler and The Evangelical Alliance Museum.

Materials of Calvin Roesler, recorded in the 1950s.54 reel-to-reel tapes plus three inches of manuscripts.

Assessed by Professor William Foley (University of Sydney) as being “priceless” material.

Each of these tapes requires cleaning and special care before they can be digitised. The estimated cost for digitising each tape is in the order of AUD$150, a total of AUD$8,100. Imaging the associated notes for web delivery will cost around AUD$1.50 per page, or a total of some AUD$1,000.

Bahasa Sabu / Lii Hawu (Indonesia)

Two boxes of language data (Bahasa Sabu / Lii Hawu) collected by Alan Walker in the 60s-70s (published as Walker, Alan T. 1982. A Grammar of Sawu. NUSA Linguistic Studies in Indonesian and Languages of Indonesia. Vol. 13.). This includes language cards (7 boxes), notebooks (43), open reels (14) and cassettes (40).

Estimated cost of digitising the tapes is $6,000. The cost of imaging the cards notebooks is unknown without further investigation.


Paamese (Vanuatu) (Ethnologue code: pma)

Number of speakers: 6,000

Cost: AUD$3,000


Materials from Terry Crowley’s estate. 20 reel-to-reel tapes. Each of these tapes requires cleaning and special care before they can be digitised. The estimated cost for digitising each tape is in the order of AUD$150.


Ngunese (Vanuatu) (Ethnologue code: llp)

17 recordings made by Ellen Facey (1970s)

Cost: AUD$2,550

These cassettes record stories printed in Facey’s book Nguna Voices


Ngunese (Vanuatu) (Ethnologue code: llp)

Number of speakers: less than 3,000

Cost: AUD$900

Material deposited by Al Schütz.

6 reel-to-reel tapes.

Each of these tapes requires cleaning and special care before they can be digitised. The estimated cost for digitising each tape is in the order of AUD$150.


Ken McElhanon (Various PNG languages)

Cost: AUD$5,700

57 reel-to-reel tapes or cassettes.

The estimated cost for digitising each tape is in the order of AUD$100.


Gayo, Aceh (Indonesia) (Ethnologue code: gay)

Number of speakers: 180,000 in 1989

Cost: AUD$900

9 cassette tapes deposited by Domenyk Eades.

The estimated cost for digitising each tape is in the order of AUD$100.


Southern Western Australia

Wilf Douglas’s 11 recordings in various WA languages, estimated cost $1500.


*PARADISEC (Inc) is endorsed as a deductible gift recipient under: item 1 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997; item 4 of the table in section 30-15 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997; Subdivision 30-D of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. Item in Subdivision 30-B of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (12.1.3 public museum).