The Saints, Hard-Ons, The Living End & More Feature In New Australian Punk History Books

21 May 2024 | 11:23 am | Mary Varvaris

Both volumes of 'Orstralia' tell the stories of Australian punk and feature over 130 interviews with the country’s most influential punk and alternative artists.

'Orstralia: A Punk History' books

'Orstralia: A Punk History' books (Source: Supplied)

More The Saints More The Saints

Tristan Clark, an author who came up in Melbourne’s punk rock scene, is releasing two new books on the history of Australian punk music.

On Tuesday, 9 July, Clark will release Orstralia: A Punk History 1974-1989 and its companion volume that tracks the years of 1990 to 1999. Revealing why the books have been split in two, Clark wrote on Instagram:

“The original manuscript was way too long and the publisher had no desire to release such a door stopper. Because of this the 90s was cut from it. That section will now be a stand alone book and released to coincide with the 1974-1989 volume. It includes over 100 amazing flyers.”

Orstralia will be released through the Californian independent publisher PM Press. You can pre-order the first volume via PM Press, Readings, Amazon and Booktopia, with the 1990-1999 volume available to pre-order through BigCartel.

Both volumes of Orstralia tell the stories of Australian punk and feature over 130 interviews with the country’s most influential punk and alternative artists.

With Orstralia, Clark locked in interviews with The Saints, Radio Birdman, Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party, Victims, Xero, Hard-Ons, Cosmic Psychos, The Living End, The Meanies, Bodyjar, Frenzal Rhomb and even more. The two books also cover the Australian punk, hardcore, and thriving punk rock scenes on a city-by-city basis, with regional areas also covered.  

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Ian Glasper, the author of Burning Britain: The History Of UK Punk 1980–1984 and The Day The Country Died: A History Of Anarcho Punk 1980-1984, shared high praise about the project.

He described Orstralia volume one as a “deep dive into that country’s turbulent alternative underground of the late 1970s and ’80s when rebellious youths clashed with the police (not to mention the church, the government, the media . . . authority in general), rival subcultures, their parents and even themselves.”

Glasper added, “Proving that an oppressive police state is no match for subversive creativity in the long run, Australian punk evolved and thrived in the face of such adversity—very much its own beast given its isolation from London and New York—and this forensically researched tome is its story, written in such detail and with such fascinating insight, you can relive it all vicariously without having your nose broken and discover a treasure trove of passionate noise into the bargain. This is an important and entertaining piece of work.”

Tristan Clark is a Melbourne-based musician, writer and educator. He’s been involved in punk for over three decades as a band member, roadie, merch person, show organiser, community radio DJ and more, with experience writing in local zines and other publications as the scene blossomed.