Oral History

 “Without the past there would be no present”

Our aim is to conduct, record and transcribe interviews with persons who may be able to provide insights into the early days and ways of the municipality.

It is the memories of the people who lived and worked in the area that gives us the most insight into the history of the area.

To quote a giant of oral history, Studs Terkel, 2007 . . .

“If we were to ask the audiences now watching this web site, ‘Who built the pyramids?’ the first reaction, reflex, is ‘pharaohs’. The pharaoh didn’t lift a finger . . . No, slaves, the anonymous ones through the centuries built the pyramids . . . I’m interested in . . . those millions and multi-millions of people down through the centuries who made the wheels go round but never made our traditional history books. We hear of generals, we hear of kings, we have industrialists, great statesmen. But who are these others?”

Oral History is Important. It encourages people to undertake research into their own family history and provide records and photographs of families connected with the early history of the area.

Many people are reluctant to speak on a tape, claiming they have nothing to say that would be of interest. However, once they start – perhaps prompted by an old photograph album – the memories start flooding out. And how interesting it can be!

It is not the major events we need to record – these are already well documented in other ways. It is the little things, the personal memories – how people spent their leisure time; the type of work they did; their experiences during the depression era; family activities; shopping; housework; schooling; children’s games, wartime experiences – that make the most interesting tapes.

The way people lived their lives, even only 40 or 50 years ago, is quite different from the present time and it is all these little things that need recording so they will not be forgotten.

Even those who were not born here but come from overseas to start a new life, can offer an important insight into our history through their experiences, even problems, in settling into a new and strange environment.

Our Promise: All people who agree to be interviewed are given a copy of their tape before it is placed into our library and they have the right to refuse permission to use it. Or they may put any restrictions they wish on its use or publication.

If approved, the tape is placed in our library and copies are then given to our local libraries.

We already have quite a few tapes in our library but would like to have many more. These tapes are also available through the local libraries.


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