The fourth Festival of Sydney saw a new spin on New Year’s Day, as they hosted the largest Highland Gathering and Games in the Southern Hemisphere. Another new feature of the program was Dancexplosion 1980, with dance companies from around Australia performing their latest works in a series of premiere performances.

View Program

1980 program

Festival Director: Stephen Hall

The fourth Festival of Sydney saw a new spin on New Year’s Day, as they hosted the largest Highland Gathering and Games in the Southern Hemisphere. Another new feature of the program was Dancexplosion 1980, with dance companies from around Australia performing their latest works in a series of premiere performances.

It was a particularly strong year for theatre, with the newly formed Sydney Theatre Company presenting its first production in the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House: the historic Australian work The Sunny South by George Darrell, directed by Richard Wherrett.

The Festival provided a unique platform for new productions with the Ensemble Festival of Sydney Playwrights 1980. Some of the works would later reach international audiences, like No Room For Dreamers by George Hutchinson, going on to play at Edinburgh Festival.

Finally, in a tradition that holds until this day, Festival of Sydney 1980 hosted the inaugural Ferrython, originally known as The Great Ferry Boat Race.


Ensemble of Sydney

Festival of Sydney Orchestra

Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Sydney Virtuosi

Abdullah Ibrahim - Dollar Brand Quintet, Errol Buddie Quintet

An Evening with Mike McClellan and Chris Duffy

Dollar Brand, David Liebman, Art Ensemble of Chicago

Bob Bertle’s Moontrane

Chris Duffy Band

David Liebmann, Mike Nock All Stars, Jelly Roll Band, Dick Hughes Famous Five

David Martin Group

Evening of Asian and Pacific Culture

Festival of Folklife
Stefan Grossman, John Renbourn, Chris Duffy Band, Paul Brady, Bernard Bolan, Eric Bogle, Jeannie Lewis, Lee Williams Band, The Larrikins, Keith McGarvie

Gllian Eastoe and King Dog


Higgins Municipal

International Jam Session
Laurie Benner, John Hoffman, Keith Hounslow, Nancy Stuart, Dutch Tilders, Some, Tony Buchanan, Jack Rimsley, Bob McIvor, Ron Toussart, Tony Esterman, Dieter Vogt


Japanese Folk Concert

Jazz Festival
The Bruce Cale Quartet, Don Burrows, Don Andrews, George Golla, the Young Northside Big Band, Graeme Bell, Judy Bailey Arts Ensemble of Chicago, Dollar Brand, David Liebman, Voices of The Leonine Consort, Jazz Jamboree, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lew Tabackin's Big Band Music

John St Peeters

Judy Bailey Quintet

Mike and Michelle Jackson

Modern Music by Enso

Noel Crow's Jazz Men

Organ Recital


Peter Boothman and Evolution Jazz Group

Roger Woodward

Shirley Collins and Peter Ballamy

Steam Shuttle

Stefan Grossman and John Renbourn

Sydney Songster

The Guitar In Jazz

The Larrikins and Uncle Harry

The Laurie Bennett Jam Session


The Australian Opera

The Bear
The Australian Opera

The Pearl Fishers
Victorian State Opera

The Triumph of Honour
The Australian Opera


A Big Hand For The Limbs
Murray River Performing Group


All My Sons
New Theatre

Beyond The Hard Old World
The Darlinghurst Players

Boys Own McBeth
Composer & Playwright: Grahame Bond
Playwright: Jim Burnett

Dick Hughes Famous Five

Edward's Unfortunate Alliance
Ensemble Theatre

Emu Nugent's Stories To Make Your Ears Fall Off

Forbidden Fruit
Ensemble Theatre

Ensemble Theatre

Little Bo Peep

More Than A Sentimental Bloke
John Derum

Motion Picture Mime Show

Mr Jupiter’s Children’s Theatre

Murray River Performing Group

No Room For Dreamers
Ensemble Theatre

On Our Selection
Nimrod Theatre

Paco and Lobo

PACT Clown Factory
PACT Theatre

PACT Theatre Co-op
PACT Theatre

Pirates At The Barn
Nimrod Theatre


Songs Of Innocence and Experience

The Do-It-Yourself Pantomime
PACT Theatre

The Dying Of Angel Dunleavy
Ensemble Theatre

The End of the Earth Show
The Rocks Players

The Ideas Company

The Last Time I Saw Paris
Ensemble Theatre

The Really Interesting Gypsies

The Sower and The Reaper
Ensemble Theatre

The Sunny South
Sydney Theatre Company

The Three Secrets
New Theatre

The Travelling Doctor Show

Those Fabulous Years 1901-2001

Toad of Toad Hall

Tom Thumb
Pilgrim Theatre

Travelling North
Nimrod Theatre

Wizard of Oz
Presented by Clem Dirago

Fall of the House of Usher
Steven Berkhoff


Australian Contemporary Dance Company

Dancexplosion 1980

One Extra Dance Group

The Australian Contemporary Dance Company


Kids Cabaret featuring the Bunyip Children's Band


Sidewalk Circus

The Busy Bodies


Aboriginal Bark Paintings

Allan Gamble's Sydney, drawings of Central Sydney

Archaic Sound Sculpture
Colin Offord

Australian Images

The Australian Women's Weekly Collection of Conrad Martens works

Contemporary Paintings

Deborah Niland Festive Paintings

Eight Artists from Western Australia

Ethnic Arts and Crafts

Frei Otto

Herald Art Prize

Institute of Australian Photographers Merit Awards and Hasselblad Masters


Leading Australian Artists

Marking Time, watercolours by Robert Inkpen

Mick Griff

Movie Poster Exhibition

The Art of Gardening in Colonial Australia

The Hands Of The City

The People of St James

The Wind Blew Today/Families of Okinawa

USSR Old Masters paintings


Australia Day Ceremony

Battalion Parade

Beating the Retreat

The Regiment's Band


BP Disco


Mardi Gras

Medieval Faire

New Year's Day Highland Gathering

New Year's Eve
Marcia Hines, Rolf Harris, The Angels, Jon English, Grahame Bond

The American Express Food and Wine Frolic


Christmas In The Colony

Circular Quay: Model train display

Fine maps from the Dixon Library collection

Lion Rugs From Far (Iran)

Miles Franklin, from the Mitchell Library Collection

People and Places

The Bulletin Centennial Exhibition - English and European silver

Treasures of the Museum: African sculpture


Patrick Simpson's Magic Show


Orchestrated Voices

Poetry Australia Presents

Poetry from Little Magazines

Sydney Women’s Writers Workshop

The New Rational Poetry

Young Street Poets


Australian Frisbee Association

Benson and Hedges Festival Showjumping Championships

Grand Prix Cycle Race

Life Be In It Games

NSW Trotting Club's Summer Carnival

Pepsi Cola Can Regatta

Pub Squash Classic Car Rally

Tattersall Race meeting

The Great Ferry Boat Race

View Program

1980 program



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