The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Voices from Liverpool's past

A group of Italian prisoners of war behind the perimeter fence of the main compound at the Liverpool prisoner of war and internment camp November 21, 1945. 1945-11-21 By McQuillan, Ern. Contributed by Australian War Memorial AWM 123706
The Dictionary of Sydney has been working with Oral History NSW, the Royal Australian Historical Society and Liverpool City Council to curate excerpts from Liverpool Library's oral history collection, digitise them and make them available online. Last week 65 snippets of oral history interviews were added to the Dictionary. The audio clips are drawn from the project 'Looking back at Liverpool: an oral history of the Liverpool region 1900-1960'.  This interview recording project was conducted by Liverpool City Council between June 1985 to March 1986. There are approximately sixty cassette tapes within the collection, all of which are transcribed and indexed, and available in the Liverpool City Library collection. So it was a big job going through them and curating short clips for people to dip into and enjoy. Let's listen to one now. This is Miss Marjorie Tebb, who was born in 1920. She was interviewed nearly 30 years ago, in 1986. In this clip Miss Tebb remembers one of the Chinese hawkers who sold their wares door-to-door in Liverpool in the early twentieth century. The Liverpool audio clips provide memories of a number of migrant communities that lived in the district in the early 20th century, including the Chinese (as we've just heard), gypsies, Italians, and Germans. And there are several reminiscences of Aboriginal people living by the river and working around the place. Many oral history interviews demonstrate the dramatic changes that have taken place in the suburbs of Sydney. In this clip Mr Joseph Bradshaw, who was born in 1905, recalls being the proud owner of the second car in Liverpool, which he bought in 1927.  Petrol was cheap and there was no traffic congestion. Those were the days!  What I love about these recordings too is the way it captures the Australian accent. There are some great clips to listen to; some are a little bit crackle-ly because they are so old but there are some gems there. You can hear about making meals stretch during the Depression, working at the local butchers, the Liverpool soldiers riot in 1917, and the gypsies that came to Liverpool every year and camped in the paddocks. You can find out about what it was like to live in Liverpool during the first and second world wars, or how young kids learnt to swim in the Georges River. Here's one last clip. Mr Jack Healy was born in 1908. Here he remembers how boys learnt to swim in the Georges River and where they used to go. Check out the full set of clips about Liverpool here. Our work is not done. These clips will soon be connected to articles from the Georges River Project and other subjects in the Dictionary. If you missed Lisa's segment on 2SER Breakfast with Mitch Byatt this morning, you can catch up here. Tune in next Wednesday morning for more Sydney history courtesy of the Dictionary and 2SER. 8:20am, 107.3 FM.
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