About Oral History Australia
The aims of Oral History Australia are to:
- promote discussion and training on all aspects of the methodology and ethical practices of oral history as a discipline and a means of gathering and preserving social and cultural history;
- foster preservation, access and use of oral history collections;
- support State and Territory Oral History associations;
- provide a national voice on all aspects of oral history; and
- link Australian oral historians to the international oral history movement.
The Oral History Association of Australia was formed in 1978 and in 2013 was re-named Oral History Australia. It remains a non-profit body whose members practise and promote oral history.
The constitution of Oral History Australia can be accessed here
National conferences are held biennially focusing on current and future oral history projects as well as ongoing and evolving issues such as ethics and copyright. These conferences usually include international speakers.
The Oral History Australia Journal is published annually and its contents reflects the diversity and vitality of oral history practice in Australia. Items for publication may be accepted from overseas-based contributors.
Independently incorporated oral history associations operate in each state, with the Northern Territory being affiliated with South Australia and the ACT with New South Wales.
All State Oral History Associations hold regular meetings, seminars and workshops and encourage members to lodge their work with libraries and archives for the benefit of researchers and to ensure preservation. Some states are able to provide recording equipment at very low rates to members.
What is Oral History?
- Oral History is the recording of memories of people's unique life experiences. Often the only way to find out about the past is to ask someone who knows about it.
- Oral history creates a record or supplements existing ones. Through oral history the past comes alive. People can be much more interesting than documents.
- Oral history preserves the past for now and for the future.
The recording of oral history is a two-way process in which someone shares memories with an interviewer who has carefully planned an interview.
- Oral history preserves voices, accents and vocabularies of individuals interviewed.
How may it be used?
- for the life histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other groups who may be poorly represented in written sources
- to trace the history of a local community
- for family history
- to encourage children to treat people as living history books, at the same time increasing understanding between generations
- for research purposes in tertiary education studies
- in corporate and institutional histories
- in museums to enliven displays
- in publications to capture readers imaginations
- in radio, television and plays to promote authentic voices of the past
- for inclusion in interactive websites