Australian Lives: An Intimate History – a new type of oral history book

Australian Lives: An Intimate History (by Anisa Puri and Alistair Thomson) will be published by Monash University Publishing in May 2017.

Click here to read extracts from the book published in the Melbourne Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

Click here to listen to Anisa, Al and interviewee Veronica Schwarz talking about the project and the book on ABC RN Life Matters.

Click here to hear Dave Astle and Al Thomson talk about the book and oral history on ABC Radio Melbourne –  the 30 minute interview starts exactly one hour into the show. 

Click here to hear ‘Australian love lives through the decades’, the first of a series of ABC Radio Nightlife programs featuring extracts from the book discussed with Al Thomson.  

See below for book launch details. Future events and details updated regularly at

In Australian Lives, rich testimony  illuminates the history of everyday life in Australia across the past century. Readers follow 50 ‘ordinary’ Australians, born between 1920 and 1989, who narrate their experiences as children and teenagers, in midlife and in old age, about faith and migration, work and play, aspiration and activism, memory and ancestry, joy and sorrow. Australian Lives shows how Australians from all walks of life have been shaped by contemporary history and how, in turn, they have made their lives and created Australian society.

Drawing upon interviews recorded by the Australian Generations oral history project, Australian Lives is also a book with a difference: e-book users can listen to hundreds of interview extracts by connecting direct to the National Library online archive to hear interviewees tell their stories in their own voices.

  • ‘Life is long. When you’re forty-eight, there’s been a lot of stuff that’s happened (laughs). It’s got elements of comedy and there are elements of heartache and drama and thriller and it’s got so many things in it.’ Rhonda King, born 1965
  • ‘I really like the idea that in maybe a hundred years someone could listen and hear about my life to learn about what living in 2012 or 2013 was like. Think that’s really cool.’ Adam Farrow-Palmer, born 1988

Melbourne launch, Monday 22 May, 6-7.30 at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

Canberra launch, Wednesday 31 May, 6-7.30 pm at the National Library of Australia  

Sydney launch, Saturday 17 June 2017, 4 for 4.30 pm at Gleebooks 

Adelaide launch, Saturday 9 September, 4.30-6 pm at State Library of South Australia, North Terrace