“Hazel de Berg (1913–1984) was a woman of immense talent who, from 1957 onwards, created the National Library of Australia’s first oral history collection. Over 27 years, she recorded the voices of 1,290 Australians born between 1865 and 1953, including artists, writers, composers, scientists and many others. In December 2020, her legacy reaches a whole new audience as part of an innovative collaboration between the National Library and the National Portrait Gallery. Extracts from her recordings bring to life a wide range of portraits, matching visual and audio elements to create an immersive and moving experience. Visitors to the Portrait Gallery (and people across the world who download the specially designed app) will be able to hear extraordinary Australians in their own words (a great many of whom have passed away), thanks to Hazel de Berg’s efforts recording them decades prior.” Read more here.
When Hazel de Berg began recording life stories in 1957, the expensive machine she used was cumbersome, heavy and rare. Reel-to-reel tape recorders had only been in Australia for several years; she taught herself to use one and sought advice on the technology from a friend at the ABC. But Ms de Berg's best tool was her natural ability to persuade people to talk — a charm and a persistence which eventually resulted in an extraordinary oral history collection at the National Library of Australia (NLA). For full story click here.