The Making of Midnight Oil

Celebrating the power and the passion of one of the world’s most inspirational rock bands

The Making of Midnight Oil is a free exhibition which examines the iconic band’s impact on social and cultural history across a 40 year period, and can be seen at Arts Centre Melbourne from 14 November 2015 until 28 February 2016.

Midnight Oil had a heart, a conscience and a strong Australian identity that spoke up for everyman. The Making of Midnight Oil captures the excitement, the big issues and the sound perfectly and completely.

From their early days as ‘Farm’ on Sydney’s Northern Beaches through to their infamous daytime protest concert outside Exxon’s New York corporate headquarters, The Making of Midnight Oil is jam packed with rare and iconic items including stage props, instruments, protest banners, hand written lyrics, photographs and posters sourced from public and private collections as well as the band’s own archives.

The enormous banner with the wording ‘Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes Us Sick’ and the band’s Sydney Olympics closing ceremony ‘Sorry Suits’, along with three specially commissioned film sequences by film maker Robert Hambling on the making of the band’s iconic 1982 album 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.will also be on display as part of the free exhibition.

The exhibition was developed by Manly Art Gallery and Museum Curator Ross Heathcote in collaboration with Midnight Oil songwriter and drummer Rob Hirst.

“The members of Midnight Oil would challenge themselves at every turn with the self-imposed question “Is it Oils?” – which meant: is it authentic, uncompromising, relevant and made with integrity and energy? Working closely with the band on this exhibition, we have tried to live up to this spirit and way of working. The more I have come to know about Midnight Oil, the more I respect their mighty achievements,” said Ross Heathcote, exhibition curator.


Arts Centre Melbourne and Manly Art Gallery and Museum present

The Making of Midnight Oil

Arts Centre Melbourne, Gallery 1

November 14 2015 – 28 February 2016


Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett is set to release his long- awaited autobiography ‘Big Blue Sky – a memoir’ on October 14


To celebrate the launch of the book, publishers Allen & Unwin will host a special online Q&A event on the evening of Tuesday 13 October.

Get involved by leaving your question for Peter at or on Midnight Oil’s Facebook page

Peter will then choose his favorites and answer them, along with celebrity questions from John Butler, Daniel Johns, David Suzuki and more – live online on Tuesday 13 October at 8pm (AEST)

Ten copies of ‘Big Blue Sky’ are up for grabs, with a signed edition for the best question as chosen by Peter.

To join in, and for events dates and times when you can catch Peter on tour throughout Australia in October and November, visit

Peter Garrett: ‘Big Blue Sky – a memoir’

Available 14 October

ISBN 978 1 92526 605 4

Pre-order from





Angus & Robertson

The Making of Midnight Oil Newcastle Museum 20 February 2015 – 10 May 2015


Developed by Manly Art Gallery and Museum, The Making of Midnight Oil examines the iconic band’s impact on social and cultural history across a 40-year period. The exhibition is jam packed with rare and iconic items including stage props, instruments, protest banners, hand written lyrics, photographs and posters sourced from public and private collections as well as the band’s own archives.

Admission fees:
• 3 and under Free
• Child $4
• Concession $5
• Adult $7
• Family $15

Curator Tours
Hear the stories behind the objects and find out how this amazing exhibition was developed through our curator led tours of the exhibition.

Hosted by Midnight Oils drummer Rob Hirst and Manly Art Gallery and Museum’s exhibition curator Ross Heathcote.
When: 11am, 20 February
Cost: $20 per person
Booking essential: 4974 1401 (places are limited)

Hosted by Newcastle Art Gallery Curator Sarah Johnson, initial development curator of the Making of Midnight Oil.
When: 11am, 20 March
Cost: $20 per person
Bookings essential: 4974 1401 (places are limited)

Song Writing Q & A
Iconic Australian songwriters Rob Hirst (Midnight Oil), Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus) and Reg Mombassa (Mental As Anything) will front an interactive discussion on their creative song writing process and behind-the-scenes stories of the songs that made a generation. Facilitated by Australian songwriter, musician and MAX presenter Chit Chat Von Loopin Stab, this is an amazing opportunity for Newcastle.
Come along for a rare and intimate opportunity to hear musical masters and rock icons share their song writing successes.
When: 6.30 – 9pm, Saturday 4 April
Cost: $25pp
Bookings essential: 4974 1401

Newcastle Museum, 6 Workshop Way, Newcastle NSW 2300
Open Tuesday – Sunday 10.00 – 5.00pm

Check out the Newcastle Museum website here

Rob Hirst Has Released His New Album ‘The Sun Becomes The Sea’


Rob Hirst is releasing his first album-length solo offering. The album is a perfect musical accompaniment to Berlin-based artist, Gabriella Hirst’s gouache songbirds on silk. Both the art and the music display a strong affection and respect for the land, sky and sea, for the wondrous creatures which inhabit them, and for the courageous people who protect them. The single from the album, The Truth Walks Slowly (Preview here) is based on the true story of a six-generation Queensland cattle farmer, who’s forced into a fight when the beauty and solitude of his pristine property is threatened by a gas mining company.

Hirst is joined on the recording by Rick Grossman on bass, Peter West on cello, Rob Woolf on keys, Jack Howard on trumpet, Johnny Graffham on steel and Jason Millhouse on guitar, to name just a few.

Rob Hirst is a musician and songwriter, a published author (Willie’s Bar & Grill through Momentum) and magazine contributor. He is also one of the founding members of Australian rock group Midnight Oil. Probably best known for his incredible performances as the band’s drummer, Hirst has written or co-written many of The Oil’s best loved songs – a musical legacy which has thrown the spotlight on important issues from indigenous land rights through nuclear disarmament, youth homelessness and asbestos related diseases.

The album is available now: a gift to Rob’s friends, fans and family. As Rob says: “I wanted to record some new songs at an unhurried pace, at our local studio, then invite some brilliant players I know to drop by and add their magic. My daughters Lex and Gabriella also sang along with me on a couple of tracks – for the first time ever – and Gabriella kindly allowed me to ‘borrow’ her beautiful painted birds for the artwork. It all came together so well: the whole project has been joyful from the beginning to the end.”

Over the last 30 years, Rob has played, sung and written songs in The Ghostwriters, Backsliders, Hirst & Greene and The Angry Tradesmen and more recently with the instrumental surf rock outfit, The Break which features two of his fellow members of Midnight Oil, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey and Bass player Brian Ritchie of the US group, Violent Femmes.

Limited editions of the album with a hard cover book featuring Gabriella Hirst’s exquisite paintings
are available now from Basement Discs in Melbourne Rocking Horse in Brisbane and Mall Music in Sydney.