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The National Film and Sound Archive holds somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 Oral History recordings. Roughly half of these are on audio tapes, half are digital recordings. It is possible to search NFSA’s catalogue for any particular subject, but unfortunately less than a dozen recordings are available to listen to on-line at present. However, once you have found the material you are looking for, you can lodge an online “access service request”.  NFSA advises that it will usually respond within 15 working days.
tipsAs with any research there are tricks and techniques to finding what you want – if it’s there.

Martha Ansara has compiled a set of hints, and if you are new to the Search The Collection page of NFSA’s website, these are highly recommended.

Martha Ansara writes . . .

Finding oral histories on NFSA website

The way one ought to search is simply by entering a person’s name and the words oral history in the search field….. EXCEPT you may miss an oral history searching this way, because some oral history recordings have been catalogued as interviews, or series. Read on . . .

(NB also: The resulting  list of recordings will include some with the person searched and some with other interviewees who mention the person searched.)

Because of the history behind the formation of the catalogue (resulting in not altogether complete consistency),  I personally start my search for sound oral histories by entering the name of the desired interviewee (or the interviewer) in easy search and tick both

  • sound recording, published and
  • sound recording, unpublished as media and see what comes up.

The results will be tagged variously interview, oral history, series, or spoken word. (These categories are also listed under narrow search, down the left side of the page.) Take your pick!  (But don’t tick film as media because, of course, in that case, as you haven’t included the words oral history in the search field, you’ll get the films where the interviewee is credited as well as oral history sound recordings. Do a film oral history search separately.)

Another way is to search is to enter oral history broadly as such, ticking sound recording, published and sound recording, unpublished and film. And scroll down alphabetically.

This search at present yields 4,459 results. Eliminating film from the search yields 3,710 results.

Oral history with no media ticked yields 5,830 results including categories of media such as radio, documentation, multimedia, sound recording, film etc.

Oral History + documentation results in 917 matches including transcripts and photos and notes, etc. etc. And there are further selections that can be made according to what items under media are ticked….

So what you get depends on how you search.
 
Example:

For Trerise, there are 13 matches searching for Trerise  + sound recording, published and sound recording, unpublished and  (mysteriously) 10 matches searching for Trerise oral history sound recording, published and sound recording, unpublished 

Or for someone who we know has oral history recorded on both sound and film and who is mentioned a lot in other people’s oral histories, here are the numbers of matches from different searches:

  • Ken Hall + sound recording, published and sound recording, unpublished = 68
  • Ken Hall oral history = 52
  • Ken Hall oral history + film = 4
  • Ken Hall oral history sound recording, published and sound recording, unpublished and film = 39

For example . . .

Below are the 13 search results  for Trerise + sound recording, published and sound recording, unpublished

(These entries should provide live links to the NFSA Search The Collection pages – follow some to see what is listed.)

NB: those which are in green italics don’t show up in the search which includes the word oral history, importantly Judy Adamson’s interview.

[ADAMSON, JUDY : INTERVIEW COLLECTION] : [BILL TRERISE : INTERVIEWED BY GRAHAM SHIRLEY, 1981.07.02]   (1981)
Title information taken from original packaging.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Interview
[ADAMSON, JUDY : INTERVIEW COLLECTION] : [BILL TRERISE : INTERVIEWED BY JUDY ADAMSON]   (c. 1981)
Title information taken from original packaging.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Interview

[CARTY, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA. PT. 1 : ORAL HISTORY]   (1995)
Bill Carty, cameraman, speaks about his childhood in Paddington, cinemas, Wally Sully, Australasian Films, Bill Trerise, newsreels and his early days at the lab.
Media: Sound Recording, Published    Produced as: Series
[FANCOURT, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY HUGH MCINNES : ORAL HISTORY]
( more ) …d. He particularly recalls associating with Hugh McInnes and Bill Trerise, while they worked on the production of “The Steel Worker”. Fancourt discusses his extensive association with film making … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[GEOFFREY THOMPSON : RECOLLECTIONS, 29 MAY 1975]   (1993)   Speaker: Hugh McInnes
( more ) …e industry including, Bert Cross, Arthur Smith, Ken Hall and Bill Trerise. General notes: Description from audition.
Media: Sound Recording, Published    Produced as: Spoken word

[HIGGINS, SHEILA : INTERVIEWED BY HUGH MCINNES : ORAL HISTORY]   (1977)
( more ) …her, Phil Harmer, Claude Carter, Tas Higgins, Bryce Higgins, Bill Trerise, Merv Murphy, Gwen Oatley.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[KAYSER, CARL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY ; TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY]   (1978)
( more ) … Information from recording and cassette insert. Note that Bill Trerise is misspelled as Bill Therise.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[MCINNES, HUGH : NOTES ON A TELEPHONE CONVERSATION WITH BILL TRERISE]   (1976)
Hugh McInnes talks on a phone conversation with cinematographer Bill Trerise which took place on 31 May 1976.
Media: Sound Recording, Published    Produced as: Interview

[MEARNS, WARREN : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY]   (1994)
( more ) …ersonalities such as George Low, Cap Hurley, Peter Finch and Bill Trerise. He also discusses the technical side of film-making and how it has changed over the years. After his interview, there is a … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Published    Produced as: Series
[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY GRAHAM SHIRLEY : ORAL HISTORY]   (1981)
Bill Trerise, cameraman, talks about his fifty year career. Topics include: his beginnings in Australasian Gazette; working for Movietone; shooting films such as ‘For the Term of His Natural … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history

[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY HUGH MCINNES : ORAL HISTORY]   (c. 1978)
Bill Trerise recalls his extensive career in film production within the Australian motion picture industry. His career spanned fifty years. He entered the industry in 1913, working on the … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY JOAN LONG : ORAL HISTORY]   (1971)
Interview covers his early career as a cameraman, on silent films including ‘For the Term of his Natural Life’ and ‘The Adorable Outcast’, and with Movietone newsreels.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY]   (1978)
Bill Trerise, cameraman, talks about the camera and lighting equipment, and film stock, he used during his career. He discusses the rivalry between Movietone and Cinesound, the directors and … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral hist

Here are the results searching for Trerise Oral History

[ADAMSON, JUDY : INTERVIEW COLLECTION] : [BILL TRERISE : INTERVIEWED BY GRAHAM SHIRLEY, 1981.07.02]   (1981)
Title information taken from original packaging.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Interview
[CARTY, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA. PT. 1 : ORAL HISTORY]   (1995)
Bill Carty, cameraman, speaks about his childhood in Paddington, cinemas, Wally Sully, Australasian Films, Bill Trerise, newsreels and his early days at the lab.
Media: Sound Recording, Published    Produced as: Series
[FANCOURT, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY HUGH MCINNES : ORAL HISTORY]
( more ) …d. He particularly recalls associating with Hugh McInnes and Bill Trerise, while they worked on the production of “The Steel Worker”. Fancourt discusses his extensive association with film making … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[HIGGINS, SHEILA : INTERVIEWED BY HUGH MCINNES : ORAL HISTORY]   (1977)
( more ) …her, Phil Harmer, Claude Carter, Tas Higgins, Bryce Higgins, Bill Trerise, Merv Murphy, Gwen Oatley.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[KAYSER, CARL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY ; TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY]   (1978)
( more ) … Information from recording and cassette insert. Note that Bill Trerise is misspelled as Bill Therise.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[MEARNS, WARREN : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY]   (1994)
( more ) …ersonalities such as George Low, Cap Hurley, Peter Finch and Bill Trerise. He also discusses the technical side of film-making and how it has changed over the years. After his interview, there is a … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Published    Produced as: Series
[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY GRAHAM SHIRLEY : ORAL HISTORY]   (1981)
Bill Trerise, cameraman, talks about his fifty year career. Topics include: his beginnings in Australasian Gazette; working for Movietone; shooting films such as ‘For the Term of His Natural … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY HUGH MCINNES : ORAL HISTORY]   (c. 1978)
Bill Trerise recalls his extensive career in film production within the Australian motion picture industry. His career spanned fifty years. He entered the industry in 1913, working on the … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY JOAN LONG : ORAL HISTORY]   (1971)
Interview covers his early career as a cameraman, on silent films including ‘For the Term of his Natural Life’ and ‘The Adorable Outcast’, and with Movietone newsreels.
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history
[TRERISE, BILL : INTERVIEWED BY MARTHA ANSARA : ORAL HISTORY]   (1978)
Bill Trerise, cameraman, talks about the camera and lighting equipment, and film stock, he used during his career. He discusses the rivalry between Movietone and Cinesound, the directors and … ( more )
Media: Sound Recording, Unpublished   Produced as: Oral history

So now you are ready to start . . .

nfsa-stc

See also:-

Comments on the design of the Search the Collection utility in Storry Walton’s 2017 talk

Other places to search in Graham Shirley’s 2018 talk at an AMOHG meeting