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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.


Ralph Aliperti

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.


MP3 DownloadDownload Ralph Aliperti oral history (MP3 29.8MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif   Download Ralph Aliperti interview transcript  (PDF 84KB)


May Bourke

Growing up in 1930s Balmain.

MP3 Download Download May Bourke oral history (MP3 51.7MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif   Download May Bourke interview transcript  (PDF 100.9KB)


Philip Bray

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.

MP3 Download Download Philip Bray oral history (MP3 66.2MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Philip Bray interview transcript (PDF 143KB) 


Diana Bryant

"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."

MP3 Download Download Diana Bryant oral history (MP3 23.4MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Diana Bryant interview transcript  (PDF 97.7KB)


Fergus Fricke

Remembers the local opposition to container transportation through Balmain's residential streets.


MP3 Download Download Fergus Fricke oral history (MP3 55.8MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Fergus Fricke interview transcript (PDF 99.2KB) 


Fabio Glavina

"People said 'Balmain, its bloody rundown place full of crooks' I found only honest people here, really and truly."

MP3 Download Download Fabio Glavina oral history (MP3 37.9MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Fabio Glavina interview transcript (PDF 112.9KB) 


Merv Houghton

For many years a local postie, Merv has lived in Balmain since 1956.

MP3 Download Download the Merv Houghton oral history - Part 1 (MP3 3.4MB)

MP3 Download Download the Merv Houghton oral history - Part 2 (MP3 68.8MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif   Download Merv Houghton interview transcript (PDF 127.1KB) 


Geoff Large and Neil Bevan

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."

MP3 Download Download Geoff Large and Neil Bevan oral history (MP3 84.7MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Geoff Large and Neil Bevan interview transcript (PDF 167.5KB) 


June Lunnsman

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."

MP3 Download Download the June Lunsmann oral history - Part 1 (MP3 26.4MB)

MP3 Download Download the June Lunsmann oral history - Part 2 (MP3 8.4MB) 

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download June Lunsmann interview transcript (PDF 120.2KB) 


Wayne Lynch

"Everything closed lunchtime Saturday, after that it was a veritable ghost land, you know."

MP3 Download Download Wayne Lynch oral history (MP3 33.8MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Wayne Lynch interview transcript (PDF 106.5KB) 


Bronwyn Monro

Recalls Balmain' babysitting co-op, home renovations and the suburbs first coffee shop opening in the 1970s.

MP3 Download Download Bronwyn Monro oral history (MP3 60.8MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Bronwyn Monro interview transcript (PDF 128.5KB) 


Teresa Mortimer

Remembers the stench from Balmain's soap factories, night time noise from its dockyards and the draw of foreshore parkland.

MP3 Download Download Teresa Mortimer oral history (MP3 39.8MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Teresa Mortimer interview transcript (PDF 86.3KB) 


Francis Peters-Little

"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."

MP3 Download Download Francis Peters-Little oral history (MP3 78.2MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Francis Peters-Little interview transcript (PDF 160.3KB) 


Rose Pickard

Remembers the affordability of Balmain property for a newly married couple in the 1960s.

MP3 Download Download Rose Pickard oral history (MP3 58.2MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Rose Pickard interview part 1 transcript (PDF 119KB) 

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Rose Pickard interview part 2 transcript (PDF 120.1KB)


John and Rosemary Roebuck

MP3 Download Download John and Rosemary Roebuck oral history (MP3 69.4MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download John and Rosemary Roebuck interview transcript (PDF 157.8KB) 


Alan Rogers

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."

MP3 Download Download Alan Rogers oral history - Part 1 (MP3 57MB)

MP3 Download Download Alan Rogers oral history - Part 2 (MP3 42.1MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Alan Rogers interview part 1 transcript (PDF 124.5KB) 

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Alan Rogers interview part 2 transcript (PDF 104.7KB)


Juliet Sheen

Remembers her neighbours on Sutton and Little Streets in the 1970s

MP3 Download Download Juliet Sheen oral history (MP3 76MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Juliet Sheen interview transcript (PDF 143.9KB) 


Wendy Smith

Witnessed the shift of many long-term Balmain residents to the Central Coast in the 1970s.

MP3 Download Download Wendy Smith oral history (MP3 52.2MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Wendy Smith interview transcript  (PDF 118.9KB)

Katherine Stavrou

"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."

MP3 Download Download Katherine Stavrou oral history - Part 1 (MP3 19.7MB)

MP3 Download Download Katherine Stavrou oral history - Part 2 (MP3 38.2MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download Katherine Stavrou interview transcript (PDF 119.6KB) 


John Williams

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."

MP3 Download Download John Williams oral history (MP3 44.7MB)

pdf-new-icon.gif  Download John Williams interview transcript (PDF 108.3KB)