Between 2007 and 2009 twenty oral history interviews were undertaken as part of the project Transforming the Local. We invite you to access the sound files and interview transcripts here.
On migrating to Australia from Naples, starting Ralph's Deli with his parents in Darling Street, Balmain and the "complete overhaul, complete change" in the suburb.
Download Ralph Aliperti oral history (MP3 29.8MB)
Download Ralph Aliperti interview transcript (PDF 84KB)
Growing up in 1930s Balmain.
Download May Bourke oral history (MP3 51.7MB)
Download May Bourke interview transcript (PDF 100.9KB)
Recalls the heady days of change on Leichhardt Council in the 1970s, when huge swathes of Glebe and other suburbs were saved from reckless development.
Download Philip Bray oral history (MP3 66.2MB)
Download Philip Bray interview transcript (PDF 143KB)
"East Balmain waterfront was a very vital, busy little spot, you know. There was a lot more activity on the harbour. It's basically gone now."
Download Diana Bryant oral history (MP3 23.4MB)
Download Diana Bryant interview transcript (PDF 97.7KB)
Remembers the local opposition to container transportation through Balmain's residential streets.
Download Fergus Fricke oral history (MP3 55.8MB)
Download Fergus Fricke interview transcript (PDF 99.2KB)
"People said 'Balmain, its bloody rundown place full of crooks' I found only honest people here, really and truly."
Download Fabio Glavina oral history (MP3 37.9MB)
Download Fabio Glavina interview transcript (PDF 112.9KB)
For many years a local postie, Merv has lived in Balmain since 1956.
Download the Merv Houghton oral history - Part 1 (MP3 3.4MB)
Download the Merv Houghton oral history - Part 2 (MP3 68.8MB)
Download Merv Houghton interview transcript (PDF 127.1KB)
Balmain born and bred - "A hell of a lot of people rented, so all of a sudden everyone realised that you didn't have to do anything at Balmain, just buy the house, knock a few walls down and build it up a bit and you had a beautiful place with water views, you know."
Download Geoff Large and Neil Bevan oral history (MP3 84.7MB)
Download Geoff Large and Neil Bevan interview transcript (PDF 167.5KB)
When I moved to Balmain I looked at a $40,000 house and when I went to the bank they said "Sorry, we don't lend to women, especially on old houses."
Download the June Lunsmann oral history - Part 1 (MP3 26.4MB)
Download the June Lunsmann oral history - Part 2 (MP3 8.4MB)
Download June Lunsmann interview transcript (PDF 120.2KB)
"Everything closed lunchtime Saturday, after that it was a veritable ghost land, you know."
Download Wayne Lynch oral history (MP3 33.8MB)
Download Wayne Lynch interview transcript (PDF 106.5KB)
Recalls Balmain' babysitting co-op, home renovations and the suburbs first coffee shop opening in the 1970s.
Download Bronwyn Monro oral history (MP3 60.8MB)
Download Bronwyn Monro interview transcript (PDF 128.5KB)
Remembers the stench from Balmain's soap factories, night time noise from its dockyards and the draw of foreshore parkland.
Download Teresa Mortimer oral history (MP3 39.8MB)
Download Teresa Mortimer interview transcript (PDF 86.3KB)
"Balmain is just cute. It's gorgeous. I often look at the place and imagine what it would be like without any buildings and think of the land. As I've gotten older I've been really curious to know about the traditional people who lived here, the Wangal."
Download Francis Peters-Little oral history (MP3 78.2MB)
Download Francis Peters-Little interview transcript (PDF 160.3KB)
Remembers the affordability of Balmain property for a newly married couple in the 1960s.
Download Rose Pickard oral history (MP3 58.2MB)
Download Rose Pickard interview part 1 transcript (PDF 119KB)
Download Rose Pickard interview part 2 transcript (PDF 120.1KB)
Download John and Rosemary Roebuck oral history (MP3 69.4MB)
Download John and Rosemary Roebuck interview transcript (PDF 157.8KB)
Was active in the Balmain Association in the 1960s. He remembers the first street plantings in Curtis Road and Balmain with plenty of industry yet "No restaurants or anything. No art galleries or anything."
Download Alan Rogers oral history - Part 1 (MP3 57MB)
Download Alan Rogers oral history - Part 2 (MP3 42.1MB)
Download Alan Rogers interview part 1 transcript (PDF 124.5KB)
Download Alan Rogers interview part 2 transcript (PDF 104.7KB)
Remembers her neighbours on Sutton and Little Streets in the 1970s
Download Juliet Sheen oral history (MP3 76MB)
Download Juliet Sheen interview transcript (PDF 143.9KB)
Witnessed the shift of many long-term Balmain residents to the Central Coast in the 1970s.
Download Wendy Smith oral history (MP3 52.2MB)
Download Wendy Smith interview transcript (PDF 118.9KB)
"Something I find strange is the fact that every time a shop closes, when it opens back up it's either a food shop of some sort, a restaurant, or it's a dress shop or hairdressers. The amount of money that comes through the suburb now is unbelievable."
Download Katherine Stavrou oral history - Part 1 (MP3 19.7MB)
Download Katherine Stavrou oral history - Part 2 (MP3 38.2MB)
Download Katherine Stavrou interview transcript (PDF 119.6KB)
Has lived in Balmain all his life. "If you find the slightest slip of oil in Dawn Fraser pool these days, there's panic, we've got to close the baths, but certainly when I was taught to swim there, when I swam there as a child, you'd get minor oil slicks and think nothing of it."
Download John Williams oral history (MP3 44.7MB)
Download John Williams interview transcript (PDF 108.3KB)