Memory Man Beginnings
Bob Mitchell‘s first interview was in 1996, a very personal
one which captured the memories of a dying father. The oral recordings
led to a book ‘Scone Larrikin’ which was both self
published and published by the NSW branch of the Oral History Association
Of Australia (OHAA) in 1997.
Two years later the State Library
published a special Memory Man technique which explains the process
by which life story audio recordings can be published as a book.
These events led to an ongoing association with OHAA and a mission
to help families capture precious family oral histories before
it is too late.
Training & Experience
Interviewing skills and technical skills using audio recording
equipment were acquired through attending seminars and workshops
at the NSW State Library since 1996. Writing skills came from over
20 years experience as a business analyst, corporate board reporter,
ministerial correspondent and author.
Experience gained from attending State Library oral history courses
and business Influential Writing & Presentation Courses in
the 1990s have resulted in over 200 Memory Man oral history presentations,
community college courses, and private family history commissions
Benefits of Oral Histories
The sharing of stories is one of the main elements that bind families
and communities together and once captured become available for
the generations to come. Oral history is perhaps the simplest of
recording mediums, but conveys so much more than the written account.
It is impossible, for example, to replicate in writing the humour,
timing, idiosyncrasies, etc, of the human voice. Nevertheless the
recordings are most effective in providing the raw material for
Audio recording are more informal and less obtrusive than
being confronted by a movie camera and as a means of recording
memories far less expensive.
Full time oral historians in Australia are few and in the uncertain
climate of today’s society it is little wonder that the importance
of oral histories to families and communities is on the rise.
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