Oral histories

Oral histories

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Sydney people talk about their history, their neighbourhoods, their beliefs, their work, their businesses, their relationship with the natural world, and their myriad experiences of daily life in this city.

Sydney Oral Histories

Telling stories

Sydney Oral Histories showcases some of the City of Sydney's many oral history interviews. Our History Unit's expanding oral history collection reflects diverse aspects of the lived experience of Sydney's history. Each interview is presented in full and as an excerpt, in both sound file and full transcription forms, to allow for fully accessible browsing and research.

While some interviews are quite old and the sound quality is imperfect the philosophy behind the Sydney Oral Histories website is that the usefulness of an interview will be decided by you, with the site organised around 6 dedicated collection themes. See what piques your interest!

Recent interviews

  • Kathy Ingram – 15 February 2015

    Kathy Ingram was born in 1945 and lived much of her life in Waterloo. In her interview she talks about her childhood and life around …

  • Grace Schwebel – 15 February 2015

    Grace Schwebel was born in Newtown in 1916. In her long interview she discusses a very broad range of subjects including: middle class life, multiculturalism, …

  • Dean Ingram – 15 February 2015

    Dean Ingram was born in 1975 and grew up in Waterloo and Redfern. In his interview he remembers many aspects of life in the area; …

  • Jane Lanyon – 15 February 2015

    Jane Lanyon was born in 1920 in Chippendale and moved to nearby Redfern when she was six. In her interview she recalls many facets of …

  • Harry Brennan – 11 February 2015

    Harry Brennan was born in 1949 and came to Alexandria, inner city Sydney, when he was seven. He grew up in family of twelve children, …

Sydney Oral histories also hosts occasional video presentations based on interviews from the collection.

Our city

Diverse neighbourhoods characterise the City of Sydney, each with their own personalities. Locals recollect the different places in Sydney in which they have lived, their significance, meaning and tranformations.

Belief

The City is host to dozens of organisations that represent various religious and secular creeds, convictions and philosophies. These interviews focus on the history of these organisations and their relationships with local communities, illustrating the cultural, religious and philosophical diversity that underpins the urban history of Sydney.

Shared terrain

Urban ecology, the relationship between the natural and built environments is explored in these interviews that look at native fauna, vegetation, weather patterns and environmental management within the local area.

Art and culture

People from the performing arts, cinema and visual arts discuss Sydney's rich cultural history.

Shelter

All aspects of housing, residential space and homelessness in Sydney is covered in this collection, which looks both at the forces that govern housing availability and the myriad personal experiences of what private residential space means in an urban environment.

Open all hours

The histories of work, commerce and industry have been critical to the development of Sydney since its beginnings. The extraordinary range and diversity ofspecific jobs, industrial and craft-based manufacturing and small business within the City is presented in this group of interviews.

Hear the voices of Sydney people past and present

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this video may contain images or voices of people who have died.

Last updated: Wednesday, 30 October 2013