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An OHV Special Event: Victorian launch of Australian Lives – An Intimate History

May 22, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Australian Lives: An Intimate History, by Anisa Puri and Alistair Thomson, is a major new oral history publication from the Australian Generations Oral History Project. The book captures in text and audio the extraordinary life stories of 50 so-called ‘ordinary’ Australians. As interviewee Kim Bear (born 1959) explains, ‘Stories are a great way to inform people about what it is to be human. Even if you say one thing that resonates … there’s that connection made.’

This Oral History Victoria Special Event will feature:

  • the launch by columnist and crossword-maker David Astle (from SBS Letters and Numbers)
  • a discussion between Australian Generations interviewer Katie Holmes (Professor of History at La Trobe University) and interviewee Veronica Schwarz about what it was like to create Veronica’s life story interview and what it’s like to be a character in the book
  • authors Anisa Puri and Alistair Thomson talking about the delights and challenges of making a book based on 1221 hours of life history interviews
  • drinks and snacks provided by Oral History Victoria
  • copies of the paperback available for purchase at a discount price from Monash University Publishing

The event is free and open to the public, but to help us with catering please make a booking via Eventbrite. Please note that the RHSV venue has a set of stairs and no lift access.

Click here for a Monash University Publishing pre-purchase option.

Further details about Australian Lives

‘Life is long. When you’re forty-eight, there’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened (laughs). It’s got elements of comedy and there are elements of heartache and drama and thriller and it’s got so many things in it.’ Rhonda King, born 1965

‘I really like the idea that in maybe a hundred years someone could listen and hear about my life to learn about what living in 2012 or 2013 was like. Think that’s really cool.’ Adam Farrow-Palmer, born 1988

Australian Lives: An Intimate History illuminates Australian life across the 20th and into the 21st century: how Australian people have been shaped by the forces and expectations of contemporary history and how, in turn, they have made their lives and created Australian society. From oral history interviews with Australians born between 1920 and 1989, fifty narrators reflect on their diverse experiences as children and teenagers, in midlife and in old age, about faith, migration, work and play, aspiration and activism, memory and identity, pain and happiness. In Australian Lives you can read and in the e-version of the book listen to the comedy, heartache and drama of ordinary Australians’ extraordinary lives.

About the authors

Anisa Puri is a professional historian and a PhD candidate in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University. Her work explores oral history and memory, Australian social and cultural history, and the intersection between oral history and digital technology. She is also the President of Oral History NSW.

Alistair Thomson is Professor of History at Monash University and President of Oral History Victoria. His books include: Ten Pound Poms (2005, with Jim Hammerton), Moving Stories: An Intimate History of Four Women across Two Countries (2011), Oral History and Photography (2011, with Alexander Freund), Anzac Memories (2013), and The Oral History Reader (2016, with Robert Perks).


May 22, 2017
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Royal Historical Society of Victoria – Lecture Room
Lecture Room, 362 William Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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