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Indigenous Oral History

"The bridge between oral tradition and written history."

It has been recognised that most written sources of history only offer a view of the past from the point of view of those who held power. For many Aboriginal people, oral traditions also mean that their voice and stories become lost over time. Oral history is the bridge between oral tradition and written history, and allows people to share their memories and ensure their stories never get forgotten.

The National Library of Australia has created a website which brings together thousands of oral histories from collections across Australia. Visit the National Library Catalogue to start searching.

Interviews with Aboriginal People

The State Library holds many interviews with Aboriginal people speaking on a variety of subjects and about their lives, experiences and families. A small selection has been highlighted below, but many more can be found through the State Library Catalogue.

  • Interview with Graham Farmer / Interviewed by Steve Hawke - OH2602
    Graham (Polly) Farmer talks about his life and football career.
  • Interview with May O'Brien / Interviewed by Ron Chapman - OH3397/4
    The first Aboriginal teacher in WA, May traces her family origins and talks about her influential career in education and particularly Aboriginal education.

Share your story

More and more Aboriginal communities are now getting involved in sharing and recording their stories. If you or someone you know has a story to tell, consider recording an oral history. Itís a worthwhile experience that will preserve your story for future generations.

If you want to find out more about recording Indigenous histories, have a look at the following book here at the State Library or from your local public library:

Telling it Like it is: A Guide to Making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History by Penny Taylor, Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1992

Page last updated: Monday 13 August 2012