Hawkesbury Voices - Oral History

Hawkesbury Voices captures the social and cultural history of the Hawkesbury through local stories. These interviews complement existing records held in the Local Studies Collection of Hawkesbury Library Service.

We are constantly adding new interviews to Hawkesbury Voices. If you have a story to share and are interested in sharing your Hawkesbury memories or know someone else, please contact the Local History Librarian on 02 4560 4466 or email.


Hawkesbury Library was selected in 2021 to participate in the Amplify project. Using the innovative online tool called Amplify, developed by the State Library of NSW anyone from anywhere can now search, listen to and transcribe some of digitised audio oral history interviews. A selection of our digitised oral history collection have been placed on the platform with a copy of the interview, as interpreted by a machine.

Volunteers can assist by listening to the interviews and then correcting the transcription to help make the interviews more accessible.

It is not necessary to log in, just go to Amplify and select an interview. There are tutorials and FAQ on the site. If you'd like to listen to some of our audio collections before you start transcribing, select an individual item and click the Play All button. Remember the golden rule: Use your best judgement to transcribe as you hear.

Any enquiries contact the Local History Librarian via email.

What is Oral History?

Oral history is another form of documentation used by a wide range of researchers investigating local history. It involves recorded interviews undertaken with a view to eventual archiving for preservation and public access.

Oral History Australia summarises what makes oral history so special and valuable for local collections in their Statement of Value. For more information about Oral History check the Oral History Australia site. Watch a video from the Oral History Centre which gives a good explanation of the theory, practice and value of oral history.

Members of the local community bring to life the Hawkesbury through stories and building a picture that may otherwise be lost. The interviews preserve the way people speak, their voices, accents and vocabularies, creating a valuable record that can be accessed by interested people.


An oral history project was first established in the 1980s as part of a grant. Additional interviews were added undertaken by volunteer interviewees. These interviews document life in the Hawkesbury and include stories about living through the 1930s Depression, various floods, riverboats, schooling, entertainment and agricultural practises, to name a few. Some memories even date before World War 1, with some interviewees born in the 1890s or early 1900s. The interviews were recorded from a wide range of community members who were willing to share their stories and include local residents, both men and women, with occupations ranging from farmers, teachers, business managers to RAAF pilots and politicians. These interviews were originally stored on tape and have now been digitised.

More recently, Hawkesbury Library has recommenced the oral history project with several keen volunteers, being trained and currently undertaking interviews. Completed interviews can assist with local and family history research and can supplement other historical sources.

Our Collection

To check the holdings for Hawkesbury Sevice, search the catalogue using the term “Oral History Interview” Copies are kept in our Local Studies Collection, as well as lending copies for loan. Any enquiries contact the Local History Librarian via email.

The views expressed in the interviews are the speaker’s own and do not represent the policies of Hawkesbury Library Service or views of its employees.

Page ID: 193857