August 15, 2015


From their beginnings in the 1970’s on the pub circuit of Sydney’s Northern beaches Midnight Oil went on to win audiences across the world with their fierce commitment to environmental, social, anti-war and indigenous rights issues.

‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ is major public exhibition opening June 2014, which maps that journey and examines the band’s impact on social and cultural history across a 40-year period.

Amongst the wealth of items on display will be a stage recreated with Rob Hirst’s water tank, dingo and roo from the Diesel and Dust tour, Peter Garrett’s microphone and other instruments. Throughout the space the band’s original road cases have been reworked into display cabinets housing a myriad of fascinating objects, guitars, amps and pedals, iconic stage wear including the ‘Read About It’ overalls and Olympic ‘Sorry Suits’ and a huge array of banners, posters, rare photographs and original lyrics.

Two large screens reveal new and unseen film footage including a documentary on the recording of 10,9,8 by Robert Hambling and touring footage from the 1980’s by film maker Ray Argall, who also made ‘The Power and The Passion’ clip.

A surround sound booth with a sign saying ‘The Antler’ aims to capture some of the atmosphere of what it was like to be in the audience at an Oils gig, complete with sticky beer stained carpet, gaffa tape, elbows sticking out of the walls and a rare and unearthed piece of footage of the band filmed at the 1981 festival ‘Tanelorn’. Along one wall of the gallery a massive 30-foot wide banner from the band’s protest gig outside New York’s Exxon headquarters proclaims ‘Midnight Oil Makes You Dance, Exxon Oil Makes You Sick’.

In support of the exhibition, Sony Music are making available for the first time on DVD the documentary of that protest gig, ‘Black Rain Falls’. Also in support of the event, remastered versions of the band’s entire early catalogue are being made available for the first time on CD.

‘The Making of Midnight Oil’ is a free exhibition developed over a two -year period by MAG&M Curator Ross Heathcote in close collaboration with Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst.

Manly Art Gallery & Museum, West Esplanade,10am to 5pm, Tuesday – Sunday
Black Rain Falls and the remastered Midnight Oil catalogue available at the Gallery and through Sanity JB HIFI and also on iTunes

January 27, 2015

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

October 9, 2014

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.