From 2011 to 2014, the Australian Generations Oral History Project recorded 300 interviews with Australians born between 1920 and 1989. The contributions to this book, a result of this project, reflect on the practice of oral history and how interviews can illuminate Australian social and cultural history.
Three of the chapters consider oral history innovations: focusing on the potential for oral history in a digital age, the pioneering technologies that underpinned Australian Generations and the ethical issues posed by online digital oral history, and the challenges and opportunities for radio oral history. In addition, four chapters demonstrate how oral history interviews can be used as rich evidence for historical research: examining the interconnections between class, social equity, and higher education in post-war Australia; how life histories can transform understandings of mental ill-health; considering how oral history interviews with Australians of all ages confound stereotypical notions about generations; and investigating the ways in which family relationships mediate identities and how remembered places and objects provide points of anchor in a rapidly changing world. This book was originally published as a special issue of Australian Historical Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Oral History and Australian Generations Katie Holmes and Alistair Thomson
1. Class, Social Equity and Higher Education in Postwar Australia Christina Twomey and Jodie Boyd
2. Talking about Mental Illness: Life Histories and Mental Health in Modern Australia Katie Holmes
3. Australian Generations? Memory, Oral History and Generational Identity in Postwar Australia Alistair Thomson
4. Telling Families and Locating Identity: Narratives of Late Modern Life Kerreen Reiger
5. Creating an Oral History Archive: Digital Opportunities and Ethical Issues Kevin Bradley and Anisa Puri
6. Oral History in the Digital Age: Beyond the Raw and the Cooked Michael Frisch
7. Commentary – The Radio Documentary and Oral History: Challenges and Opportunities Michelle Rayner
Katie Holmes is a Professor of History at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Her work brings together cultural, oral, and environmental history, and her publications include Spaces in Her Day: Australian Women’s Diaries of the 1920s and 1930s (1995), Reading the Garden: The Settlement of Australia (with Susan K. Martin and Kylie Mirmohamadi, 2008), and Between the Leaves: Stories of Australian Women, Writing and Gardens (2011).
Alistair Thomson is a Professor of History at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and has served as President of the International Oral History Association and of Oral History Victoria. His publications include Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend (2013), The Oral History Reader (with Rob Perks, 2006), Ten Pound Poms: Australia's Invisible Migrants (with A. James Hammerton, 2005), Moving Stories: An Intimate History of Four Women Across Two Countries (2011), Oral History and Photography (with Alexander Freund, 2011), and Australian Lives: An Intimate History (with Anisa Puri, 2017).