Running Time:

63 min

Release Date:

June 1999

Recording Location:

Track 1: Main waterhole at entrance to Ormiston Gorge, Western Macdonnell Ranges
Track 2: "Gunbarrel Highway" near Kulgera
Track 3: N'Dhala Gorge, Eastern Macdonnell Ranges
Track 4: Ormiston Gorge, Western Macdonnell Ranges
Track 5: John Hayes Rockhole, Trephina Gorge, Eastern Macdonnell Ranges
Track 6: near Luritja Road (Kings Canyon to Uluru)
Track 7: Lasseter Highway, near Mount Ebenezer
Track 8: near Kings Canyon
Track 9 & 10: Ellery Creek Bighole, Western Macdonnell Ranges
Track 11: Main waterhole at entrance to Ormiston Gorge, Western Macdonnell Ranges

Spirit of the Outback

The Australian Outback - ancient, mysterious and often breathtakingly beautiful.

Listen to predawn birdsong echoing around Ormiston Gorge, an exhilarating flock of wild Budgerigars, Wedgebills - 'the windchimes of the desert', the cries of Black Cockatoos carrying across the plains, rare desert frogs and, under a full moon, the eerie wail of Dingoes.

Andrew comments:

"The outback is one of our favourite places. It can be utterly bewitching - stark and dry, or full of life. This album captures that magic, but mostly through sheer luck on our part.

"On the first night of our field trip, tired after a long day of driving, we camped in an unassuming patch of mulga. The next morning we awoke to find the place alive with birdsong. It had rained maybe a week previously - but only on this few square kilometers of country. Nomadic birds had arrived and begun breeding, and we were treated to a rarely heard richness of birdsong. We were in the right place, at the right time.

"We were fortunate to get the dingoes too. After 8 weeks of field work, with no luck and deteriorating weather, we decided to try for them one more night. Recording in the dark by a waterhole, I realised I had a dead battery, and rushed off to get a replacement. I'd no sooner got the recorder fired up again than the dingoes began wailing. 20 seconds later and I would have missed them. Half an hour later, the wind was howling and rain began falling."

And finally - those Pied Butcherbirds at Ormiston. Many listeners have been moved by this recording. What a songbird, and what an acoustic space."

Download listening notes for this album

Audio sample of this album


Ormiston Gorge, Full Moon, 3 a.m.



Dawn across the Mulga



Wild Budgerigars



Spinifex Country



Red Gorges and River Gums



Mulga Afternoon



Red-tailed Black Cockatoos



Desert Dusk



Nightfall at the Waterhole






Ormiston Gorge, The Following Night


This album on our blog

Music inspired by the Song of the Pied Butcherbird


Read more >
A beautiful nature sound recording - Pied Butcherbirds in the Australian Outback

There are times when nature's sounds and the physical landscape come together to create a moment that is utterly magical. Such an occasion involved the voice of one of the world's most s...

Read more >

Customer reviews of this album

"Spirit of the Outback" is really wonderful, one of my favourite nature recordings - truly magical...

Anthony, USA

I bought your "Spirit of the Outback" CD. It is very atmospheric and realistic - that Western Bowerbird sounds amazing, like a coin being dropped in a jar, on track 8 at 3.41

Gary, UK

We recently spent some time in the Centre and woke each morning to the prolonged and glorious melody of the Pied Butcherbird. We were able to identify it after buying your wonderful "Spirit of the Outback" CD, and downloading the field notes from your website. We are so grateful for your lovely CD. Again, many thanks for your work.

Robert, Canada

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