Working at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) in Launceston, Jill conducted oral histories which formed the basis of exhibitions to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988. She later authored a number of publications including Launceston Talks: Oral Histories of the Launceston Community. As a result of the project’s success in documenting the history of northern Tasmania, Jill was appointed as the Museum’s first Oral Historian. She went on to initiate, manage and conduct further oral histories, exhibitions, publications and ran engaging and successful public programs. Jill firmly established the Museum’s collection and her commitment to recording and preserving interviews ensured the collection continued to grow and that oral history became an integral part of QVMAG exhibitions. Jill’s contribution here was exceptional. She was also a member of the Editorial Committee for The Companion to Tasmanian History.
In 1991, soon after being appointed as Oral Historian at QVMAG, Jill initiated the formation of the Tasmanian Branch of the Oral History Association of Australia, now Oral History Tasmania. She has been either branch President or Secretary since its inception, and has edited the newsletter Real to Reel for most of that time. Jill has tirelessly contributed to the promotion of oral history practice in Tasmania. She has conducted annual oral history workshops in Hobart and Launceston, along with others around the state when requested. She has given talks about oral history to many groups from historical associations to school groups and has contributed a number of oral history papers to conferences and seminars. Jill ran a local oral history symposium for Deviot – the community where she lives. She has also played a central role in the national association, as President and as the Convener of two very successful national conferences. She has been a member of the national executive since 1991.
Jill has played a central and critical role in Tasmanian oral history. She continues to be the heart of Oral History Tasmania and has generously mentored many Tasmanian Oral Historians.
Photo credit: Sandra Blamey