Oral History Association Launches Website

At the OHAA SA/NT Branch AGM two years ago it was agreed to put recorded interviews on the branch’s website to celebrate the SA175th anniversary. Coincidentally this year is the 100th anniversary of the NT so the project helps to celebrate both occasions.

As oral history is about ‘the voice’ the SA/NT branch felt it was important to have audio recordings on their website so people could understand the power of the recorded word.

The aims of the project were to:

  • Give an introduction to the vibrancy and centrality of OH in the broader historical context;
  • Provide a primary research resource for historians interested in SA and NT
  • Provide a snapshot of oral history interviews which highlight the versatility and usefulness of this significant research resource;
  • Provide an historical resource that complements archives held in Sa and NT;
  • Provide a unique social history resource for schools;
  • Link to other professional resources and websites.

Twenty one-hour interviews – either a complete interview or an hour of a longer interview – were included on the site.

History SA  gave the Branch a grant through the SA 175th Anniversary grant scheme. The State Library provided in kind support to digitise cassettes and to transfer the digital recordings  into MP3 copies that were loaded onto the site.

DaveSmids from Wildfire Design did a wonderful job developing the site.

Allison Murchie, a Branch member,  kindly worked away to type up missing transcripts and timed logs which meant listening to the recordings. Interviewees provided some terrific images to complement the recordings.

In twenty hours of recordings we have interviewees talking about:

  • Market gardening on Frogmore Rd, Kidman Park
  • Life as an Adelaide photographer and being in an orphanage as a child
  • Living in Tennant Creek in the 1930s
  • Life in Darwin in the early part of the 20th Century
  • Training and working as a nurse
  • Life during the depression and WWII
  • Professional fishing in Cowell and the size of the sharks
  • Living in Meadows during the 1930s depression
  • Piano playing on the Ghan train
  • Life as a Ngarrindjeri woman
  • Being a friend of the Botanic Gardens
  • Being in Adelaide gaol as a conscientious non-complier during the Vietnam war
  • Being a child of the stolen generation
  • Life as a children’s author
  • Men, motor bikes, marriage and lesbianism
  • Life in the Swedish merchant navy and migration to SA
  • Being a Sudanese child soldier and life after migrating to SA
  • Being one of the first female veterinarians
  • Joys of working with animals and people at the Adelaide zoo as a volunteer
  • Being a Vietnamese-Australian and a Port Adelaide councillor

The interviewees’ stories have shown how wonderful and diverse life can be in SA & NT and has made the website the wonder that it is.

Madeleine Regan who was the project manager did a superb job to bring all aspects of the website together.

At the launch, Silver Moon, audio engineer at the State Library, gave a thoughtful and entertaining talk about being on the other side of the microphone. Ian Henschke from ABC891 morning radio launched the website and was enormously enthusiastic and supportive of the project.

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