Letty Katts Fellowship Winners

The Letty Katts Fellowship supports the research and documenting of Queensland’s music history. It gives a musician, composer, scholar or researcher the opportunity to study, experiment and explore new thinking in their art/study, leading to the creation of new knowledge or work/s inspired by Queensland’s music history. The recipient will receive a stipend of $5,000.

The 2020 Letty Katts Award was awarded to Narelle McCoy for her project Musicians Should Be Heard and Not Seen: the life and music of Letty Katts (1919-2007) and her cultural contribution to the Australian music scene. 

Narelle McCoy will explore the contribution of Queensland-born composer Letty Katts, to the musical landscape of Australia. Compositions such as her popular songs, “Never Never” and “A Town Like Alice” provided a distinctly Australian voice to a scene dominated by American culture. She was the first Australian to have an original song in the popular music hit parade during the 1950s, yet little is known about her.

This project aims to redress that by researching the Letty Katts archives held by the State Library of Queensland and reclaiming Katts’ deserved position as a successful creator of popular music in an era when female composers were rare. Her quote: “Musicians should be heard and not seen” contradicts her determination and her ability to liaise with the (predominately male) decision-makers including publishers and agents.


Research Reveals: Musicians Should Be Heard and Not Seen: the life and music of Letty Katts (1919-2007).

Professor Peter Roennfeldt.

Professor Peter Roennfeldt was the recipient for his project Brisbane’s Albert Hall 1901–1968: celebrating memory and heritage of a major performance venue. The year 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the demise of Albert Hall, which for nearly 70 years was a major venue servicing Brisbane’s performing arts community. The project aimed to capture and make visible the cultural contribution of Albert Hall through the collections of State Library of Queensland and memories of musicians and others associated with the venue.


2018 Letty Katts Fellow Professor Peter Roennfeldt’s Research Reveals presentation where he presented his research on the history and legacy of Albert Hall in its 50th anniversary. His research project Brisbane’s Albert Hall 1901–1968: celebrating memory and heritage of a major performance venue showcases the legacy of the much-loved venue, home to countless concerts, theatrical productions, film evenings, eisteddfod competitions, lectures, meetings, conferences and political rallies and thousands of memories.      

Street life: posters and their role  in the Brisbane music scene 1975–1995 was a research project designed to enhance the scope of the posters in State Library’s collection by adding details around provenance; by encouraging music poster donations to State Library through social media and personal contacts in the music industry; and by contextualising the posters in written form as well as public presentation/exhibition.



Street Life presented by Dr John Willsteed

2016 Letty Katts Award recipient, Dr John Willsteed talks about the 2022 Queensland Memory Awards, his research project and what it's like being a State Library fellow.