Oral histories

Inner West Council Oral History Collection contains 130 Oral Histories. To listen to the oral histories visit the  Indyreads website  Each oral history comes with a transcript.  Type in “Oral History” in the search box.

Since 1997 we have interviewed people to capture their memories of living and working in the area in earlier times.

Interviews are conducted by volunteers, local history staff and oral historians that are funded through the Council’s Local History Grants program.

What subjects are covered?

The Oral History Collection contains oral histories from the Inner West Council area and cover a range of themes including:

  • Local activism
  • Refugees
  • Industrial Heritage
  • Gentrification
  • Growing up in the Inner West

The earlier Oral Histories were completed in between 1996-1998 with many completed projects following. The Inner West Council is committed to continue supporting and conducting the Oral History project with volunteers, local historians and local organisations that are committed to recording the rich voices of our local community. 

Why interviews?

We've used interviews for a number of reasons. People are much more interesting than documents, and they often have anecdotes to tell which will not be found in the formal records.  The interviews:

  •  Let us hear the voices of people who actually experienced the times they are describing
  • Make history come alive in a unique and fascinating way
  • Allow interviewees to reminiscence
  • Add to our understanding of the social history of the Inner West area
  • Preserve memories that would most probably have been lost forever.

If you have any enquiries please email history@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

Collection highlights


Oral history cover page
Oral history name and details
LGBTQI oral history cover

2014  - LGBTIQ Oral history Project

In 2014, Marrickville Council began a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) History Project to record the stories, successes and struggles faced by Marrickville’s LGBTIQ community.

Ballast point oral history cover page

2012 -  Saving Ballast Point 2.6

10 interviews undertaken by local history staff, oral historian Roslyn Burge and volunteers on the 14 yearbattle by local activist groups to save the2.6 hectare headland on the Balmain Peninsula - Ballast Point.

  Mondo and more oral history cover page

2009 - Mondo and more

The 20th Century Greening of Leichhardt. Part of a series of 10 interviews co-ordinated by oral historian Roslyn Burge and community volunteers. These Oral Histories explore the shifting patterns in the greening of Leichhardt and domestic gardens represented across the different suburbs in the Leichhardt municipality. It considers the shift from growing vegetables for domesticate consumption to ‘lifestyle gardens’ and decorative planting.

100 voices oral history logo

2009 -  100 Voices Sydney’s Pride History Group

Lesbian and Gay History of Leichhardt.  Oral History as a series of 7 interview of local gay activist as part of 100 Voices Project Sydney’s Pride History Group.

Listen to 100 voices here

Aliperti oral history AUDIO cover image

2008 - Transforming the Local

Transforming the Local Interview Part of a series of 20 interviews co-ordinated by oral historian Paula Hamilton and community volunteers on social and cultural changes in the Balmain area since the 1960s. Interviewees included long-term residents and those who moved into the area in the1970s and 1980s.

Interviewees included long-term residents and those who moved into the area in the1970s and 80s.

Rozelle Hospital oral history cover page

2008 - Rozelle Hospital Project

11 interviews undertaken by oral historian Roslyn Burge in 2008/9 with former workers of Rozelle Hospital and its parent institutions Callan Park Mental Asylum and Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic.

Fisherman of Iron cove oral history cover page

2006  -  Fisherman of Iron cove

A collection of 10 interviews undertaken by oral historian Annette Salt in 2006 with the Italian fishing community of Iron Cove.


2001 - Leichhardt's Environment

10 interviews undertaken by the library’s local history staff and communityvolunteers on environmental change. Interviewees included bushcare and community garden volunteers, local environmental activists and Leichhardt Council staff such as planners and engineers.

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Page last updated: 13 May 2021