Oral History Australia
Giving Voice to the Past

Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History

Every two years, in conjunction with our national conference, Oral History Australia (OHA) presents an award to recognise a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of oral history over a considerable period of time.

The award is named after Hazel de Berg (pictured left), one of Australia's pioneering and most prolific oral historians, who recorded just over 1300 interviews during her lifetime.

From 1957, Hazel de Berg documented Australia's social history by recording poets, novelists, historians, painters, musicians and scientists - people who were contributing to the ongoing intellectual life of Australia.

A significant number of her interviews are now held in the oral history collection of the National Library of Australia as the Hazel de Berg Oral History Collection, a collection which comprises approximately 1300 hour-long taped interviews.

The inaugural Hazel de Berg Award was presented to Beth Robertson at the International Oral History Association Conference in Sydney 2006.  The OHA's national committee determines the winner of the award based on nominations. It is an open award and is not restricted to OHA members.

The De Berg family has generously offered to provide this award and arranged for its design by a glass artist. Each award is inscribed with the recipients name and the date and accompanied by a citation. 

Find out more about Hazel de Berg Find out more about Hazel de Berg.

Latest winner—2017 

Karen George (pictured above, right) with Diana Ritchie,
the daughter of Hazel de Berg.

Find out more about Karen and previous winners.

Current & previous winners 

2017 - Karen George

2015 - Jill Cassidy

2013 - Francis Good

2011 - Frank Heimans

2009 - Janis Wilton

2007 - Michael Clarke

2006 - Beth Robertson


Nominations should be for people who have made an outstanding contribution to the field of oral history over a considerable period of time.

Self-nominations are not permitted. A nomination:

  • should be persuasive, succinct and evidence-based, addressing the achievements of the nominee (all claims must be substantiated)
  • must be typewritten on the prescribed form (available in the Awards section of the OHA website) and marked ‘Confidential’
  • must be signed and dated by the nominator, and
  • can be made by any member of a State oral history association or resident of Australia.


The Hazel de Berg Award recognises a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of oral history over a considerable period of time. Nominees should either:

a) satisfactorily meet all of the following criteria, or

b) be outstanding in one or more of these. 

Relevant activities are many and varied and include:

  • Promotion and raising of awareness of oral history, within the oral history profession, with historians, with organisations and within the general community.
  • Volunteer oral history work  with communities, not-for-profit groups and with oral history associations.
  • Initiation and implementation of a range of oral history projectsover time.
  • Significant contributions to the technical creation, management or oversight of oral history projects documenting Australia’s past and contemporary history.
  • Preservation and archiving of oral history collections.
  • Contribution to the literature on oral history through the publication of papers, journal articles and books.
  • The use of oral history in new media, multi-media, performance, film, radio, podcasts and other creative outputs.
  • Education and/or teaching of oral history including the conducting of seminars and workshops.
  • Mentoring and other contributions to oral history.


The Judging Panel for the biennial Hazel de Berg Award will be appointed by the committee of Oral History Australia. The Judging Panel will comprise a member of Oral History New South Wales, a member of one other Australian state oral history association and a senior member of the Australian oral history profession.


Nominations for the 2019 Award have not yet opened. The 2019 nomination form will be available from the start of 2019.