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Oral History

The City of Adelaide Oral History Collection

Digitised Oral History

An Oral History is a record of people’s memories, their stories and experiences of the past, which is captured and preserved for posterity (originally on audio cassettes, nowadays on digital media).

From 1971 to 2001 City of Adelaide sponsored a program of oral history interviews with individuals who had had a long association with the City of Adelaide, or had made a significant contribution to it, with the aim of capturing their memories, experiences and relationships with the City. These interviews were transcribed and later digitised.

In all 110 people were interviewed. These included former Lord Mayors, Councillors and long-serving ACC employees, as well as elderly residents, well-known business identities and prominent community leaders.

The oldest person interviewed was born in 1884, the youngest in 1942.  Interviewees came from many and varied backgrounds with their collective memories spanning almost three centuries of the City’s progress, as well as their own personal triumphs and tragedies. As such the collection presents a unique and fascinating historic record of life in the City. 

Details of the collection including biographies of the participants and an index to the transcripts were published in the book City Memory (ACC, 2001) which is available for purchase at the City Archives.

From 2011 - 2013Council decided to re-activate the program and commissioned a ‘catch up’ round of interviews with 20 more eligible City identities.

Council’s Oral History Collection is able to be accessed at the City Archives in Topham Mall, and at the State Library on North Terrace. Digitised audio recordings of selected interviews may also be listened to by clicking on the links on the left hand navigation. Interviewees are listed alphabetically.

A complete list of those persons who were interviewed from 1971 to 2013 is included here: Summary of Oral History Interviews (DOCX)

A published guide to the Collection by Karen George, City Memory, A Guide and Index to the City of Adelaide Oral History Collection (Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1999) is available for sale at the City Archives.

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