Oral history archive

At a history teachers conference this week, Michael Caulfield spoke about the making of the Australians at War Film Archive.

This archive exists because of the Australian fascination (read obsession!) with war and war history. But the result is not military history. It is a rich source of oral history.

The archive comprises 12,000 hours of film interviews with 2005 people. Well-trained interviewers worked in pairs to elicit amazingly intimate and frank stories of lives before, during and after the subject’s war experience.

Better still, every interview is transcribed and therefore fully searchable by keyword. It seems like whatever term you search for – I tried ‘Depression’, ‘pregnancy’ and ‘worms’ – yields pages and pages of results.

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