Australian Generations – a national oral history project

Alistair Thomson

project-aust-generationsAfter creating 300 life history interviews with Australians born between 1920 and 1989 (totalling 1221 hours of digital audio recording), the Australian Generations project – a partnership between historians at Monash and La Trobe universities, the National Library and ABC Radio National – is nearing completion. You can access the interviews via the Australian Generations website, and listen to ten Australian Generations radio programs produced by Radio National.

The latest theme issue of Australian Historical Studies (AHS), edited by Katie Holmes and Alistair Thomson, features seven articles by members of the Australian Generations team in which we use the project’s oral history interviews to illuminate a range of topics in Australian social history, and to discuss innovations and issues in oral history. The open access online editorial on ‘Oral History and Australian Generations’ by Katie and Al introduces the project and the articles. Katie and Al also discuss the articles in this video clip on the AHS Facebook site. Use this link to access all the articles.

Early in 2017, Monash University Publishing will publish Australian Lives: An Aural History by Anisa Puri and Alistair Thomson. This book uses interview extracts to illuminate the lived experience of Australian history across the 20th century, arranged in chapters on Ancestry, Childhood, Faith, Youth, Migrations, Midlife, Activism, Later Life and Telling My Story. The book will be published as a paperback and e-book, and e-book users will be able to listen to each interview extract as they read – an ‘aural history’ first!