Silverchair's guitarist/singer Daniel Johns (Sony/ATV Music Publishing Australia) made APRA awards history tonight (Monday) by winning songwriter of the year for the third time.

Johns won it in 2003 for his work on Silverchair's epic "Diorama" album, (released in North America by Atlantic, in Australia by Eleven A Music Company/EMI), and in 1995 jointly with Silverchair drummer Ben Gillies.

The category is decided by the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) board of publishers and songwriters.

Also on the night, "Straight Lines", which Johns co-wrote with Julian Hamilton from electronic duo the Presets (EMI Music Publishing Australia), was voted song of the year by APRA's 30,000 eligible members.

The song, which was the band's third chart topping single, also took out the most-played Australian work from radio airplay and public performance figures. It featured on Silverchair's fifth album "Young Modern" from March 2007.

Sally Seltman aka New Buffalo (EMI Music Publishing Australia) was named breakthrough songwriter by the APRA board for her pop song "1234", which was a hit its co-writer, Canadian performer Feist.

Rogue Traders won their second APRA award, again in the dance category, for "In Love Again". It was penned by Jamie Appleby (Universal Music Publishing MGB Australia), his wife Melinda Appleby (J Albert and Son Pty Ltd /Orient Pacific Music) and Tears for Fears' Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith (EMI Virgin Music Publishing Australia). Rogue Traders won that category in 2006.

John Butler received his third APRA award, in the blues and roots category, for "Good Excuse" (Family Music), while rock trio Wolfmother took-out most played Australian work overseas for their band composition "Woman".

There were three first time winners this year. Jade MacRae took the urban category for "In The Basement" (Bell Hughes Music Group) which she co-wrote with Arnthor Birgisson (Mushroom Music).

Troy Cassar-Daley got best country work for "Everything's Going to be Alright" (EMI Music Publishing Australia) which he co-wrote with Cold Chisel's Don Walker (Sony/ATV Music Publishing Australia).

And composer Kenneth Schroder took the jazz category for "Eucalypso", performed by The Moovin' and Groovin' Orchestra.

The event, held at the Sydney Hilton, hosted a musical tribute to the late country music pioneer Smokey Dawson by singer songwriters Archie Roach and Shane Howard.

Music promoter Michael Coppel introduced artist manager Roger Davies, who was recipient of the 2008 Ted Albert award for outstanding services to Australian music. Pay-TV channel MAX will screen an hour's edit of the awards titled "They Write The Songs" on June 30.