Identification of the Oldest Known Datable Western Australian Sound Recording.


Some Edison Phonograph cylinder records were purchased from a collection that came from Albany.

Amongst the cylinders was a brown wax record. These are phonograph records that could be cut on a Phonograph.

When the record was played the introduction said:

     “Cornet selection by Ensign (name not recognizable). Albany Records”.

This was followed by a selection of patriotic British tunes (Rule Britannia, etc.) However at the end of the recording an extra track had been added. This stated:

    “This cornet selection was played by Ensign (name not recognizable) about four weeks before he was Promoted to Glory.”

On contacting the Salvation Army in Albany in late 2011, it was suggested the cornet player could be Ensign Albert Suridge.

Contact with Ensign Suridge’s grandsons in South Australia confirmed the cornet player’s identity.

Albert Suridge was born on 22 September 1871. He became an officer in the Salvation Army on the 14 December 1899 and came to Western Australia in 1902. He married Captain Ethel Wingate on the 2 September 1903 at Kanowna in the Kalgoorlie gold fields. Suridge served in the Salvation Army as a Captain in seven country towns before being appointed to Albany. He was only in Albany for seven months.

His relatives indicated Ensign Suridge died from typhoid aged 35 years in Albany on February 17, 1907. This means the recording was made in Albany in mid-to-late January 1907.

This makes the recording the oldest known datable Western Australian sound recording.

Research is still being carried out to identify "Albany Records".

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Suridge Record

Above: The Suridge cylinder record. It is made of soft brown wax. It plays on a phonograph at about 140 rpm.

Ensign Suridge

Above: Ensign Albert Suridge.