Valley Rattler stories

The Valley Rattler is capturing the oral history of the Mary Valley railway line from the mid- to late 20th century. The project is being funded by a Regional Arts Development Fund grant which will be used towards the costs of research, interviews and photography of a selection of railway employees who worked on the Mary Valley branch line and Gympie Station during operation of the Brooloo branch by Queensland Railways.  For full story click here.

History of Britain’s Largest Army Base

An innovative project to tell the story of Catterick Garrison through the eyes, ears and mouths of the people who lived and worked there is to begin this summer.  Garrison Voices will record the history of the largest British Army base in the world through a mix of oral history recording, maps, photographs, and written documents.  For full story click here.

Australian Generations Project – Tasmania

Life stories are fascinating. Everybody has a special story to tell about their life and events especially and event that left a lasting impression on them.  Oral historians find those stories a wealth of untapped history and reflection of years gone by.  We all know the corporate history of events but it is the personal stories that have the most impact.  Currently Ben Ross is collecting life story interviews with generations of Tasmanians born between 1920 and 1980. It is part of a collaboration with historians at Monash and La Trobe universities and ABC’s Radio National.  For full story including radio interview with Ben Ross, click here.

Blackbirding – Vanuatu project

A hundred-and-fifty years ago, young ni-Vanuatu men were brought to Australia to work on sugarcane plantations in northeast Queensland.  The practice, known as Blackbirding, went on for 41 years.  Now the Blackbird descendents are trying to track down their families and a new association’s being set up to help them.  Oral historians in Vanuatu say around 1,000 men were loaded every year on to ships to work the Australian cane fields, from 1863 to the early 20th century. For full story including radio broadcast click here.

Kiama’s oral history tour app

Stories told by residents form part of a new interactive tour of Kiama launched this week for mobile devices and smartphones.  App versions are available for Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as for devices running Android software, designed to lead residents and visitors on a 45-minute guided walking tour, complete with sound recordings and photos.  Kiama library manager Michelle Hudson said the stories were gathered as part of an oral history project several years ago, but the app offered a way to bring the tales to more listeners.  For full story click here.

History of Australian Wine

There’s a story lurking inside every bottle.  So begins Max Allen’s book, The History of Australian Wine.  The 200-plus pages in this hardback tell the story of Australian wine in the 20th century and is based on a series of interviews historian Rob Linn conducted with industry figures.  “It’s neither an official history nor a definitive history; it’s an oral history,” he writes in the introduction.  For full story click here.

Rutgers Veterans (USA) Oral History project

The Rutgers Oral History Archives started in 1994, conceived and initially funded by the Class of 1942, to collect stories of the World War II generation, many of them veterans. The archives take on two or three interns each semester and train them in oral history techniques, helping students engage in research in order to bring new resources into the classroom. The archives have expanded their scope to include just about anyone with a Rutgers or New Jersey connection who has a story to tell. There are now 650 histories, 26,000 pages of transcripts, accessible online, with more being processed.  “Oral history helps us understand the past experiences of ordinary men and women,  because few people write down their own histories or leave extensive records,” said John W. Chambers, professor of history and an academic advisor to the Archives.  For full story click here.

Australian Women Lawyers Oral History Project

A project exploring the professional authority and public influence of women lawyers is on the agenda for the upcoming Australian Women Lawyers (AWL) conference.  The Trailblazing Women and the Law project is being carried out by an interdisciplinary academic team in partnership with AWL, the National Library of Australia, the National Foundation for Australian Women and the Federal and Family Courts of Australia.  It has been running as a pilot project for the last 18 months but has just secured funding through the Australian Research Council’s linkage grants system.  For full story click here.

Schoolchildren learn oral history

Oral history is another way historians gather information. The class demonstrates this approach by having the students interview each other, starting with questions such as “What’s your name? Do you have a pet? What grade are you in?”You can learn about both family and local history by interviewing people who are close at hand, such as grandparents, an exercise many schools have adopted. For full story click here.

Arrowtown, New Zealand memories

One of the most popular exhibitions held by the Lakes District Museum is back this month, and the museum director has been invited to give heritage preservation tips to Coromandel residents. The museum in Arrowtown had presented Speaking of Change: Memories of the Wakatipu 1900 to 1960 in the early 1990s as a major exhibition based on oral history recordings of 40 senior residents who were interviewed about their lives in the 20th century. For full story click here.