Queanbeyan’s Living History – Oral History Project


Member Lee Davy, Leigh Collins our Technical Trainer and Society President
John McGlynn learning how to make digital sound recordings

Queanbeyan’s Living History Oral History Project is Ongoing

Our interviewers continue to interview people and are adding to our store of knowledge for the future.

Why an oral history project for Queanbeyan?

In 2013 the Queanbeyan and District Historical Museum Society celebrated Queanbeyan’s 175 years as a community by recording the memories of a cross-section of its residents. We obtained a ‘snapshot’ of what life in Queanbeyan has been like for the lives of its people, which historians of the future can use for research in addition to the official records, such as those held in Archives.

Who will be involved?

We have selected people with varied and interesting lives which represent some of the many facets of Queanbeyan: migrants, pioneers families, those involved in business, public service or politics, educators, tradespeople, religious, health workers, the indigenous community and so on.  Of course we cannot hope to cover all the different experiences and each person interviewed represents only him or herself and their life experience.

What is involved?

Interviewers are being trained in interview techniques and how to use the recording equipment. They will approach people to see if they are willing to be interviewed.  If given the go-ahead there will be a preliminary discussion to gain the outline of a person’s life and the milestones in that life so that the interviewer can prepare for the main session or sessions. During the preliminary session, the time and place of the interview will be decided. What permissions will be asked for and the possible uses of the interview recording will be explained. Dates and spelling will be written down so there is no confusion in the main interview and so the interviewer can ask relevant questions to ensure the whole of life is covered.

How is the interview conducted?

For the main, recorded interview, the person interviewed will sign the permission form first and then when all is ready the recorder activated and the interview conducted. The main interview will take place over one or two sessions depending on how the interview is going.  If the first recording is taking too long the interviewer will call a halt at an appropriate point and arrange for another session.

What does the oral history interview cover?

The oral history interview will cover the whole of the subject’s life, but aims to concentrate on life in Queanbeyan.  We hope to gain an idea of how the person influenced and was influenced by Queanbeyan, how the town developed during their time their as well as the interesting facts of the subject’s life.

What happens after the interview?

After the interview a DVD or USB will be made, and a copy will be provided to the person interviewed. One or more copies will be stored at the Museum for future use in exhibitions or for historical research. As well a transcript or log/summary will be made in writing. Here there can be a timeline including dates and significant people can be recorded.

What about copyright?

Copyright is explained on the permission form. If Copyright is not assigned to the QDHMS Inc., the person interviewed will be contacted for permission for anyone to publish from the oral history.

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