Oral History & Recorded Sound Collection
The sound collection consists of oral history recordings, period music, radio interviews, and programs which are concerned with Australia's involvement in war and armed conflict, as well as oral history recordings. There are over 5000 items (over 7000 hours) of recordings in this collection.
To search the sound recordings collection please enter at least one search term in the box below and click the search button.
The Memorial's sound collection covers the First World War, Second World War, Korean War, the Malayan conflict, Vietnam, and peacekeeping operations. About 90% of recordings are oral histories, many of which were recorded in the Memorial’s purpose built sound recording studio. Our studio has seen an incredible range of people interviewed, from veterans of WW2 to highly decorated veterans of Afghanistan; from high ranking Defence force leaders, to the partners of soldiers in their early years of service
The rest comprises actuality recordings – radio transmissions; operational sounds of weapons and equipment; letters/messages recorded by servicemen overseas to their families in Australia, especially from the Vietnam era; radio variety programs and documentaries; radio broadcasts, consisting of recruiting announcements, commercials, jingles, speeches and addresses; songs and military band music. The collection has grown over the life of the Memorial itself, thanks to donations, on site recording, field recordings, field interviews and deployments by historians and curators to Australia’s military areas of operation. While these days interviews are recorded digitally, the collection also holds a large number of analogue recorded sound formats such as vinyl and shellac discs, tape cassettes and reels. The Sound section stores analogue material in climate controlled conditions and where possible, digital copies are made for easy access.
Of special interest is the Keith Murdoch Sound Archive of the Second World War: it has 365 indexed and transcribed interviews representing over 800 hours of recordings, and is available to the public in the Research Centre. The collection also holds a large number of oral history interviews with WW1 veterans. Hear some fascinating stories from our Youtube channel.
You can search our collection, which provides access to over 1,700 recordings. Researchers can listen to MP3 digital files in the Research Centre, and online from our website, where access provisions allow. A transcript may be available for the oral history you’re interested in – to find out, send an email to email@example.com
If you are a current serving, or former Defence Force member, or the partner or parent of an ADF member we’d like to hear from you.
This form can also be used to nominate someone else with a story to tell, but it is a good idea to check with them first! We can also give you some advice for recording your own stories.
Icons of the collection:
- Anzac Day requiem by C.E.W. Bean, 1946
- C.E.W. Bean’s account of Anzac, 1953
- Hall of Memory opening ceremony, 24 May 1959
- Prime Minister Keating’s speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 11 November 1993