Thursday, 24 October 2013

Oral Histories collection launched today!

We officially launched our Digitised Oral History collection today! The interviews were recorded on cassette tape by Dr Debbie Stephan, the City of Berwick and later City of Casey Historical Officer and by students from Berwick Secondary College  in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These tapes  have been sitting in our Archive since then. Over that time, no-one had an opportunity to listen to them or even knew what a great resource we had, so we thought it was time to digitise the tapes and make them available to the general public.  There are over 50 tapes already digitised with another 30 to go. We haven't edited them at all, just improved the sound quality. They are now available on our website - click on this link and it will take you straight there.

These oral histories cover a wide range of subjects and time periods. Dr Stephan had interviewed people associated with the formation of the City of Berwick  such as Mr Neil Lucas, the CEO; Mr Ross Currie, City Engineer; Mr Jeff Marjoram, Director of Community Services and Mr Ron Chidgey, Technical Services. We were fortunate that Neil Lucas, Ross Currie and Ron Chidgey could attend the launch - in fact Neil did us the honour of officially launching the collection today. We listened to some of Neil's interview and he talked about the very first City of Berwick Council meeting which was held at 10.00am at the Berwick Inn on October 1, 1973. It was held at the Berwick Inn as that is where the first Berwick Road Board meeting was held.

This photograph was taken after the first meeting of the City of Berwick at the Berwick Inn. The newly elected Mayor, Barry Simon, is at the front, behind the bar. Left to right are David Lee, Jack Thomas, Keith Wishart, Sid Pargeter, Jan Bateman, Jim Alexander, Joan Phillips, Ron Irwin, George Chudleigh, John Byron and Bill Hudson. Our oral history collection also includes interviews with David Lee, Barry Simon and Jan Bateman

The oral histories are not just related to municipal affairs - other people interviewed include - Mr Vivian Campbell, the manager of the Piney Ridge farm which was located where the suburb of Endeavour Hills is today; Mr Ted Allen of Cranbourne who talks about his service in World War Two; Dr Noel Stephenson who talks about the changes to the Berwick Bush Nursing Hospital; Miss Lucy Bailey, of Araluen, whose grand parents came to Narre Warren North in the 1890s and established the first orchard in the area; Mr Doug Smith who talked about Cranbourne when it was a country town and Mrs Queenie Brundrett who talked about Narre Warren North in  the depression.

This is just a snap shot of the broad range of stories, memories and information that you will find in our oral history collection. Many of the people interviewed have now passed on, but a part of them will live on in these oral histories.

You can access the Oral histories from our web page and there are links in the Local History section or just click here


Linda said...

Most excellent! Congratulations!

Infolass said...

Congratualtions on making this valuable resource online. Just in time for History Week!

Heather said...

Thank you Linda and Infolass for your kind comments!
Best wishes,