Althea Dorris Barber Oral History

This week, Dr Kate highlights the State Library's incredible (and extensive) oral history collection, and focuses on the role that oral history can play in telling the stories of everyday West Australians and in highlighting and describing those aspects of our social history that are often ignored or left out of more official documentation of the past.

Althea Dorris Barber was born in South Australia in 1896. Her family took up farm land in Katanning when she was seven, and in the early 1920s she moved with her husband Alan to Dixvale just out of Manjimup to claim land as part of the Group Settlement Scheme which was an opportunity for predominantly British migrants to undertake farming in the state's south west.

A strong storyteller with an impressive memory for detail, Dorris (as she preferred to be known) speaks of the various aspects of early 20th century domestic life in regional Western Australia, providing details on how households were run, speaking also of travel through the south west, her social life, community and religious life, and providing the perspective of a housewife on the controversial and largely unsuccessful Group Settlement Scheme in which the Barber's took part.

Search the catalogue for Althea Dorris Barber's oral history and to hear other oral histories and stories online.

For more stories from the State Library and the State Records Office, follow @statelibrarywa and @staterecordsofficewa on Facebook and @statelibrarywa on Instagram.

Recorded live on ABC Radio Perth on 4 August 2020.