Maritime history oral histories

Collections | Updated 4 years ago

The Maritime History department focuses on Western Australian maritime history within the context of the Indian Ocean. The Maritime History department’s Oral History Collection holds over two hundred interviews with people who are directly associated with the department’s collections, or who are associated with a specific area of research undertaken for publication or exhibitions.

Maritime History staff mostly conduct these interviews, however, sometimes volunteers from relevant fields perform the interviews on behalf of the Museum.

Interviews are taped, transcribed and specific details are checked with the person who has been interviewed. Volunteers in the department typically perform this transcription work.

The department sometimes transcribes interviews completed by other organisations if the interviews contribute to the maritime history of Western Australia. This includes the Migration, Ethnicity, Refugees and Citizenship Research Unit (MERC); and the Fremantle City Council Library’s Local History Collection; and CSIRO retired staff, Alan Pearce.

The Maritime History department is also the recipient of a an extensive collection of oral histories undertaken by H J Smith as part of a project that contributed to the publication by H J Smith and M T Tull, ‘The Australian Fishing Industry A Select Historical Bibliography, Department of Economics Research Monograph Series No 1, 1990’.

The principle areas represented by Maritime History’s Oral Collections include:

  • Fremantle’s World War II submarine base (collected during an international convention in 1995 in Fremantle) representing Dutch, British, American, and Australia submarine veterans;
  • Competitive sailors and yachting veterans;
  • Marine Engineers representing Scots, Irish, English, Welsh, and Australian engineers;
  • Fisherwomen and Fishermen representing Italian (Sicilian and Molfettese), Croatian, Greek, Portuguese, British, Irish, and Australian fishing communities;
  • Naval Architects; Ship and Boat builders, representing Dalmatian, Aboriginal, British and Australian builders.

Copies of our interviews and transcripts are also lodged with the Battye Library Oral History Unit and the Fremantle City Council Library’s Local History Collection.

Number of items
200 in 2010