Welcome to the website of the


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The Oral History Association of Australia is a non-profit body formed in 1978 with Affiliated Associations in all states.
The aims of all State Associations are:

  • to promote ethical practice and methods of oral history
  • to educate in the use of oral history methods
  • to encourage discussions on all aspects of oral history
  • to foster the preservation of oral history records

National conferences are held biennially which include discussions about oral history projects
and issues such as ethics and copyright.  The OHAA Journal is published annually.


What is Oral History?

  • Oral History is the recording of memories of people's unique life experiences. Often the only way to find out about the past is to ask someone who knows about it.
  • Oral history creates a record or supplements existing ones. Through oral history the past comes alive. People can be much more interesting than documents.
  • Oral history preserves the past for now and for the future.
    The recording of oral history is a two-way process in which someone shares memories with an interviewer who has carefully planned an interview.
  • Oral history preserves voices, accents and vocabularies of individuals

How may Oral History be used?

  • for the life histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other groups who may be poorly represented in written sources
  • to trace the history of a local community
  • for family history
  • to encourage children to treat people as living history books, at the same time increasing understanding between generations
  • for research purposes in tertiary education studies
  • in corporate and institutional histories
  • in museums to enliven displays
  • in publications to capture reader's imaginations
  • in radio, television and plays to promote authentic voices of the past.

                                                     Oral History paves the way for social justice.
                                                     Interviewer is Rob Willis, the interviewee is Patricia Kirby, and the image 
                                                     was taken by Olya Willis for the National Library of Australia’s Forgotten Australians
                                                     and Former Child Migrants Oral History project. Used with permission.