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Wendy Katherin Lowenstein

Pioneer of Australian Oral Labour History

Wendy Lowenstein recorded interviews with over 800 everyday people from all around Australia, who talked about their struggles to obtain better working and living conditions over a period of 40 years from 1965

Lowenstein wrote a number of the most celebrated oral histories in Australia, focusing on the lives and struggles of working class people. She is also one of Australia’s best known historians of folklore. A member of many activist organisations since the age of fifteen, Wendy contributed to both social justice and aspects of Australian history which had, until she tackled them, been largely ignored. (from Australian Women’s Register)

Working life fascinates me.  Historians write as if it all happened without workers! Captain Cook discovered the east coast of Australia, but who sailed the ship?    Interview with Fiona Moore,  Meanjin, Dec 1987

Wendy Lowenstein, was one of Scribe Publications’ first authors. Weevils in the Flour, an oral history of the Great Depression and the book for which Wendy is best known, was first published by Hyland House in hardback in 1978, and was a bestseller for them. Scribe acquired the paperback rights to it a couple of years later, and published this edition in 1981. The book has never been out of print since. (Scribe Publications)

Major Collections of  Lowenstein’s Audio Interviews.

The Lowenstein Family Collection of over 900 hours of interviews is available for research purposes. These interviews are listed by the interview subject and names of interviewees can be searched on subject,place and industry.  

  • 1930s Depression collection: 108hours of interviews by Wendy Lowenstein
  • Outback Australia 1969 Working People: 126.5 hours
  • Melbourne Waterside Workers: Lowenstein & Hills Interviews; 60 hours
  • “The Left” in the Arts and Community: 125 hours  interviews by Wendy Lowenstein
  • Wonthaggi Miners Collection: 50 hours of interviews by Wendy Lowenstein
  • Robe River Industrial Dispute W.A. 1986: Wendy Lowenstein Interviews; 80 interviews
  • Work Changes 1990’s  over 80 hours of interviews by Wendy Lowenstein

For further information contact: martie.lowenstein@gmail.com

Published Books

  • The Immigrants. Wendy Lowenstein and Morag Loh, Melbourne: Hyland House 1977. * Out of Print
  • Weevils in the Flour – An Oral History of the 1930’s Depression in Australia. Scribe Publications 1981
  • Under the Hook – Melbourne Waterside Workers Remember 1900-1998. 2nd ed. Wendy Lowenstein and Tom Hills,  Melbourne: Bookworkers Press. 1998   Available at  Contact Us
  • Weevils at Work – What’s Happening to Work in Australia Melbourne: Catalyst Press. 1997    Available at http://www.pmhps.org.au/2016/11/under-the-hook/

Published works and audio interview enquiry: Martie Lowenstein   

Copies of many of Lowenstein’s audio and manuscript archives are also held at :

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