Beyond the Bars: 3CR radio broadcasts from Indigenous people in Victorian prisons added to Library collections

2 minute read

Two people wearing blue shirts, holding microphones in front of the Australian Aboriginal  flag

Beyond the Bars is a live radio series which airs and records the songs, poetry, opinions and conversations of Indigenous men and women in Victorian prisons. It has been broadcast live by 3CR Community Radio, Melbourne since 2001.


Explore the collection


The Beyond the Bars digitised collection of material objects will be of interest to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, policymakers, researchers, social workers, radio and broadcast historians, non-profit organisations, and anyone interested in human rights, social justice, critiques of incarceration and policing, First Nation and Indigenous studies, and social equity.

This archived collection includes promotional posters, digitised recordings, CD artwork, and booklets. It covers almost two decades of the program – from 2002 through to today. New Beyond the Bars programs will be added to the University Library archive after they are broadcast.

Listen to segments from Beyond the Bars

Horticulture inside - Roxanne 00:39 (2020)

Be nice to look at country - Matthew 00:42 (2020)

‘Sweet Koori Lady’ - Rocky, Henry, Feno, Michael 2:13 (2018)

Beyond the Bars was founded by singer-songwriter, broadcaster and Mutti Mutti man Kutcha Edwards, and Aboriginal broadcaster and community advocate, the late Gilla McGuinness. First Nations broadcasters mentor Indigenous peoples in prison. They present the annual NAIDOC week radio broadcasts, which are then collated into an annual CD.

Beyond the Bars is the first live prison broadcast in Australia. It amplifies the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Victorian jails and is presented as a special AM and streaming broadcast each year as part of National NAIDOC Week celebrations.

Beyond the Bars will celebrate its 20th broadcast this year during NAIDOC Week, from 5 to 9 July, 2021.

CD cover for Beyond the Bars 2014, with a person in a hoodie interviewing another person in front of a colourful artwork

Explore digitised CDs featuring recordings of poems, raps, stories, and reflections on life in prison, community, culture, and family.

The archiving project was led by Dr Liz Dean and Dr Juliet Fox at 3CR Community Radio. Digitisation was provided by the University of Melbourne Digitisation Centre. Read more about the archiving project .

Archiving was funded by a Melbourne Social Equity Institute’s Community Engagement Grant. These grants fund projects that develop research in partnership with members of disadvantaged or marginalised communities. Some lead to larger projects that are funded by the Institute’s Seed Funding Program or Community Fellows Program.

Banner image: NAIDOC Week 2016 Celebrating 15 years of live broadcasts in Victorian prisons/3CR (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).
Body image: Beyond the Bars: Prison Broadcasts NAIDOC Week 2014/3CR (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).