A major project to record the voices of those affected by the devastating Badja Forest bushfire has already resonated with people who felt their stories from the disaster still hadn’t been heard. The National Library of Australia (NLA) is working with the Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre (CBRC) and the local community to create an oral history project to tell the stories of those who were affected by the fire. Read more here.
“Families with Chinese ethnicity or Fijian heritage are invited to share their personal experiences to ensure Australia’s vibrant, diverse and continually evolving cultures are preserved for future generations. The National Library of Australia is looking to expand its Chinese Australian and Fijian Australian collections and wants to hear how different migrant communities have made our country richer for their contributions.” Find out more here.
“The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (the journalist’s union) estimates up to 5,000 Australian journalists have left the industry over the past decade. The New Beats study has been charting what happened to journalists after they left, including through regular surveys. In partnership with the National Library of Australia, we have also conducted “whole-of-life” interviews with close to 60 journalists for the library’s oral history collection. ‘Upheaval: Disrupted Lives in Journalism‘, tells their story. It aims to give a picture of what it was like to work in journalism when the media had resources and a lot of influence and then what happened as disruption began in earnest during the mid-2000s.” Read full story here.
“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.
“In the 101 years since the ‘Spanish Flu’, the world has changed. Penicillin has been discovered, there has been a second World War and technological advancements have seen man walk on the moon and a device created that fits in your pocket that contains most of the knowledge known to the world. This device has increased the number of people with access to breaking news and largely changed the way it is consumed. It also means that the way we record history has changed. Gone are the days where the printed daily newspaper was the single source of truth. Now, people turn to websites and social media for to-the-minute updates on developing situations, like COVID-19.” Read full story here.
“Imagine if you could reach out with a microphone to the past, back as far as World War I, and speak to an original Anzac who had just returned from the front to an influenza epidemic that would go on to kill more people than the war itself. Their voices can be heard, and their faces can be seen at the National Library of Australia’s website. The National Library of Australia is the nation’s historian, preserving our books, recordings, documents, maps, papers, media items and even websites. For full story click here.
Professor Alistair Thomson from the history program at Monash University said that “although Melbourne’s GMH plants at Fishermen’s Bend and Dandenong closed much earlier than the South Australian plants, working for Holden is still a powerful memory for many former Victorian Holden workers, perhaps especially in Melbourne’s southeast, where residential suburbs created in the 1950s and ’60s catered for Holden families”. For full story click here.
Vilma Ryan spent her early years in Bagtown – a community near the Cowra Aboriginal missions. She left school at 14 but later put herself through TAFE. She then set about improving education for her people. She was on the board of the Murrawina Preschool for Aboriginal children in Redfern and one of four people Charlie Perkins sent to Santa Fe Indian School to learn how to establish an Aboriginal high school, which they did. For full story click 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.