Monday, 4 July 2011

Oral History Mornings at Geraldton Regional Library

Oral history consists of spoken memories, stories, and songs, and the study of these, as a way of communicating and discovering information about the past.” (Definition from Collins English Dictionary.)

Whether we are talking about ‘official’, local or personal views on historical events, an element of interpretation is always present. The aim of oral history is to collect and preserve historical information obtained from individuals and groups. The more individual stories are collected, the more comprehensive view of the past can be constructed. Oral histories contain the personal views and opinions of the person sharing them with others. Each story is as valuable as the next, as each experience and interpretation adds to the understanding of life, society and the events of the time past.

The Local Studies Collection at Geraldton Regional Library holds over 300 oral history interviews collected since the 80’s. We are currently in the process of digitising and transcribing all the older interviews. The transcriptions and most of the tapes are available for loan.

The Library hosts a highly popular Oral History Morning every 3rd Wednesday of the month (February – November). A live interview, usually by Jim Trevaskis, takes place after a morning tea. It is a fantastic opportunity to come and learn about local history and characters, as well as to share stories and ask questions. If you would like to be notified of the Oral History Mornings, please contact the Library at 9956 6659 and register your residential or email address to the Oral History mailing list.

Jim Trevaskis in action during an Oral History Morning.
 Some of the Oral History Stories are available as audio files from the Geraldton Regional Library website through Overdrive. Just search for the ‘History’ and ‘Biography’ sections.

The next Oral History Morning on Wed 20th July, will be with Joe Greenland. Mr Greenland was born in London in 1930, and after 8 years in an orphanage he was sent to Western Australia along with 41 other boys. He spent a number of years at the agricultural school in Tardun and Pallotine Mission, where he learnt to bake bread. Later he worked as a baker at the Golden Crust Bakery in Geraldton. You are welcome to join us for morning tea and at 10am hear Mr Greenland’s fascinating story.    

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