Monday, June 30th, 2014

The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM), in association with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), is pleased to announce Shana Tiang as the winner of the Test of War Young Composers’ national competition to create a soundtrack for a 1928 silent film on Australia’s first naval battle in World War I.

Young composers aged 18-26 were invited to find inspiration in Australia’s naval history and create a composition for a five-minute clip of the film on the battle of HMAS Sydney and German raider SMS Emden, reflecting the mood and drama of the original cinematography.

Eighteen entries were received and judged by ANMM exhibition curator Dr Stephen Gapps, NFSA Sound Archivist Bronwyn Murphy, and award-winning screen composer Antony Partos (The Rover, Animal Kingdom, Redfern Now).

Mr Partos said: “Shana’s work stood out, as it best engaged with the emotion and drama of the images. It did so in a way that was contemporary, but simultaneously did not draw undue attention to itself.”

“Her score helped frame and pace the storytelling – highlighting sections without being overt. It was a joy to listen to how every composer distinctly interpreted the film, but Shana’s score was the one that seemed to best gel, leaving an emotional imprint,” explained Partos.

Jane Cruickshank, NFSA General Manager, added: “'We were impressed by the response to this competition, as well as the talent and potential demonstrated by all participants. It is very rewarding to see that the national audiovisual collection continues to inspire young generations to interpret its stories and create new artistic works. We congratulate Shana and look forward to hearing her work at the exhibition.”

Shana’s soundtrack, together with the clip, will feature in the ANMM’s exhibition War at Sea – The Navy in WWI when it opens at the museum in September this year. The exhibition will tour nationally until 2018, taking Shana’s work to hundreds of thousands of people across Australia.

Shana also received a Toshiba Portégé Ultrabook Tablet, valued at $1,499.


War at Sea – The Navy in WWI traces the history of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from its genesis after Federation in 1901, its formation in 1913, and its immediate baptism of fire in the first great global conflict of modern times – the Great War of 1914 to 1918. It tells the history of the RAN through the voices of those who were there and the images and objects that have survived to this day. One of the most significant stories in the exhibition is the Sydney-Emden battle.

The battle of Sydney-Emden in 1914 was the first great naval engagement of Australia’s new navy and was celebrated with great gusto by Australians as their first victory in the war. It became the subject of books, posters and all manner of celebratory ephemera – including film. The clip of the silent film made in 1928 by Ken G. Hall, from the NFSA’s national audiovisual collection, will form an important part of the museum’s exhibition.

War at Sea – The Navy in WWI opens at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, on 12 September 2014.


Media information: Shirani Aththas 02 9298 3642, 0418 448 690 or [email protected]


silent film, music competition


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