Australian Lives: An Intimate History is a book rich with testimony from diverse Australians about the history of everyday life across the past century. In this book, readers follow 50 ‘ordinary’ Australians, born between 1920 and 1989, who narrate their experiences as children and teenagers, in midlife and in old age, about faith, migration, work and play, aspiration and activism, memory and identity, joy and sorrow.

Australian Lives illuminates Australian life by showing how Australians from all walks of life have been shaped by contemporary history and how, in turn, they have made their lives and created Australian society.

Drawing upon interviews recorded by the Australian Generations oral history project, Australian Lives is also a book with a difference: e-book users can listen to hundreds of interview extracts by connecting direct to the National Library online archive to hear interviewees tell their stories in their own voices.

‘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

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. 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).

Both authors are available for interview. Media enquiries to Sarah Cannon at Monash University Publishing / 03 9905 0526

Publication: May 2017 ISBN (print): 978-1-922235-78-7 Paperback AUD $39.95

Available for purchase by following this link:

Victorian Launch event

22 May: David Astle at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria/Oral History

The launch event is free but please visit the OHV events page for more details and to book.

Other Australian Events

  • 31 May: Professor Frank Bongiorno to launch at the NLA
  • 17 June: Lisa Murray, City Historian, Sydney to launch at Gleebooks with Clare Monagle as MC
  • 9 September: A special launch event presented by the History Council of South Australia/Oral History Australia SA/NT Branch.