'There's No Aphrodisiac Like Newtown': The Evolving Connection to Place in the Music of the Whitlams

Liz Giuffre


The Whitlams live in Newtown, Australia” is a byline that has appeared on each of the Sydney band’s albums since their beginnings in 1992. During this time the band has progressed from being on a small, independent label with a local audience to achieving national coverage and recognition, culminating with 8 ARIA award nominations in 1998. Of these they won three for Best Group, Song of the Year and Best Independent Release. Following this The Whitlams were signed to Warner Music (as it incorporated Festival Music), and have continued to make albums that still use inner city Sydney as a focus, but are pitched at a less localised audience. The Whitlams have used Sydney as a setting for major local events during this time, (the Sydney Olympics, State Government policies), but also just as a setting to express more personal issues (songs about relationships, aging). This paper will compare The Whitlams’ early releases to the music made after the band gained national attention, looking at how and why Sydney has remained a central theme, but has been expressed in different terms.


music, Newtown

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/tfc.v4i1.1058