The Making of Midnight Oil

Peter Garrett at the Tanelorn Festival, 1981 (detail) - photo by Rob DraperCelebrating 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, now on show at Arts Centre Melbourne’s Gallery 1 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.

“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?” said Ross Heathcote, exhibition curator.

“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.”

Developed by Manly Art Gallery and Museum, The Making of Midnight Oil, is another example of iconic Australian musicians being celebrated at Arts Centre Melbourne. In recent years, Arts Centre Melbourne has created and toured comprehensive exhibitions about Kylie Minogue, Peter Allen, Nick Cave, Reg Livermore, Rock Chicks: Women in Australian Music and Australia’s most internationally successful and influential rock’n’roll band, AC/DC.

The Making of Midnight Oil
Gallery 1 – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 28 February 2016
Free entry

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Peter Garrett at the Tanelorn Festival, 1981 (detail) – photo by Rob Draper, courtesy of the Midnight Oil Archive