Resources > Home

Every Story Counts

Every Story Counts Recording Migration Heritage
A Wollongong Case Study

Recording migration heritage, and in particular people’s memories of migration and settlement, provides first-hand perspectives on Australian history.

Meredith Walker’s thematic framework provides a new and innovative approach to recording the migration experience. It gives voice to memories which would not be heard or shared and ones which are rarely documented formally. They are however, part of the kaleidoscope of stories that bring us together as a nation.

This book is for all people to encourage them to record their experiences and local knowledge of post-Second World War migration and settlement. It is also for clubs, historical societies and museums, and for all people researching and caring for heritage places to research, record and collect migration heritage. Wollongong stories and migrants are featured as case studies to record people's stories and the places, objects and collections associated with those stories.

The book is presented in themes to assist to interpret the relevance and significance of the information and more importantly to communicate the messages to a wider audience

This book is presented in two parts. Part one is the themes of migration and outlines the history of post-Second World War migration to Australia and settlement using eleven historical themes. Part two provides ten suggestions for recording your migration stories and tips for getting started.

Behind every 'ordinary house' is an extraordinary story and our photo albums and family mementos inside can hold the key to special community memories.

Download Order Form to purchase a copy of 'Every Story Counts'


Getting Started

Recording and documenting history, whether your own or a community, takes many resources. To begin with, it is best if you have a computer, printer, scanner and digital camera. Current trends and practices are making collecting information almost totally electronic. Digital cameras allow the photographing of objects to occur instantaneously and the computer is an excellent storage facility of information that can be shared. Recording equipment, such as a microcassette recorder with dictaphone capability, is also a very useful item to have and is a much more efficient means to record interviews and provides a more accurate account of what was said. In addition to this equipment, consumable items such as paper for printing out copies of documents or photograhs and CDs to store images and to back up your computer files are an ongoing cost, as is archival storage materials. All in all, it takes time and money to sustain a collection.

Before you start your project determine what is going to be your collection policy. That is, what are you going to collect? Then survey what is currently held to ensure that you are not duplicating what has already been collected. Always start with the elderly first and always catalogue photographs, objects etc with names, dates etc because it is always harder to go back and get the information. Whether these items are to be donated or to be copied should be left up to the individual. Custodians of this information must be prepared to preserve it. Custodians have a moral obligation to protect images being abused by stereotypes, so access must be controlled. Forms therefore must be prepared for authorisation of use, copyright and access. Names and addresses of donors should not be revealed as this would allow people to go directly to the donors and the risk of misrepresenting the donors is very real. If you are an organisation, it should be essentially a community-based one to give your collection credibility and it should serve the community and schools on immigration and socialisation. Try to have a collaborative agreement with main stream repositories such as libraries or museums where copies can be deposited. These comments are drawn from personal experiences by organisations and individuals who are collecting and documenting migrant history.






Become a member

If Illawarra’s cultural heritage matters to you, you may want to stay in touch with MHP and become a member.


For further information:

Migration Heritage Project
PO Box 1589
South Coast Mail Centre
Wollongong NSW 2521


Every Story Counts