INTERVIEWS: Life in the Great Depression

What does the family breadwinner do after suddenly getting the sack? How do you manage when you are working every second week only or your wages — but not your mortgage — have been cut by 20 per cent? Working for the dole, living in shanty towns, squatting in empty buildings, standing forever in queues, despised by bureaucrats and slowly losing self-respect — all these experiences and more are described vividly. This collection of interviews about life in the Great Depression in Australia is the foundation Wendy’s book “Weevils in the Flour” There are 269 recordings in this collection and 182 interviewees. The interviews are much more extensive than the written material in Weevils in the Flour.

Copies are held in the Lowenstein Family collection and the National Library of Australia Oral History Collection nla-oh-0246

Interviewees include:
Jack Acland; Phyllis Acland; Albert (Hungry Mile); Alex & Jim (Taxi Drivers); Andy Alexander; Alf (Swagman); Grace Always ; Arthur (Upholsterer);

Carl Bailey; Frank Barnard; Les Barnes; Basil ( Carrier); Bert (Street Hawker); Betty & Marjorie; Bill (Onion Farmer); George (Bluey) Bliss; Wally Bourne; Dave Bowen; Sally Bowen; Niall Brennan; Rod & Maude Bretherton; Alfred Tennyson Brodney; Bruce Ano. (Timberworker); Miriam (Tonkin) Brunning;Arthur Burgess; Jim Burgess; Mrs Burke; G Burns; Jocka Burns;

Bert Cameron; Bert & Elna; Hattie Cameron; Linnet Carmichael; Joe Chambers; John Clements; John Coates; “Cody”; Mrs Cole; Jack Comerford; Jim Coull; Noel Counihan; Alexander Crane; Jim Crawford; Bob Cross; Ruth Crow; Cicily Curtin; Cecil (Tom) Curtis; Walter Cys;

Connie Davidson; Ernest & Rene De Lacy; Dick Diamond; Lil Diamond; Wattie Doig & Tom Curtis; Donald; Dorothy; Dot;
Elizabeth; Ted Englart; Enid; Ern (Sportsman); Dot Farrell; Mark Feinberg; Les Fletcher; Sylvia Fletcher; Julius Forth; Frances; Tom Galvin; Bob & Gwen Garland; Hedley Gates; Geoffrey; George (sharefarmer); Jim Gibbney; Gil; Betty Griffiths; Lillian Groves; Bert Grummit;

Hannah & Arthur; Harry (UWU); Harry Hartland; Mick Healey; Jack Henry; Bill Hicks; Dot & Tom Hills; Tom Hills; A Hoven; Arthur Howells; Frank Huelin; Nugget Humphries; Bill Ince; International Brigader; Jack (Territorian); Janet (Farmer’s wife); Ann Jeffrey;
Jessie (Clothing worker); Jim; Jock; John from Tasmania; Kim Keane (NZ Journalist); Ken & Margret, Bill’s Children

Jack T Lang, Premier of New South Wales for two terms (1925–27, 1930–32); Laura (Perth); Jack Legge; Brenda Leveson; Rose Lincoln; Linda (Farmer’s daughter); Les Lock; Madge; Marjorie (Tasmania); Mary; Matt; Basil McDonald; Beth Mclean; Donald cLeon; Jim McNeill; Bill Miller; Molly; Stan Moran;

Jim Nagel; Bill & Nell Nicholls; W J Nicholls; Michael O’Callaghan; Maureen O’Hara; Launa Partlett; Frederick Paterson (13 June 1897 – 7 October 1977) was an Australian politician, activist, unionist and lawyer. He was the only member of the Communist Party of Australia to be elected to an Australian parliament; Dorothy Paton; Patrick; Tom Payne; Peter; Rev. Phillips;

Bill Ricketts (Sculptor); Rita; M Robertson; Albert Robinson; Eva Robinson; Chris Rylands; Bart (Barney) Saggers; Louis Schneider; Ron Shand; Jim Sharrock; Shiela; Shirley; Jack Spears; Doris Spiers; Tom Spiers; Stan; Colin (Sheene) Steen; Elna Stembridge; Bill Stirton;
Walter Stone; Les Sullivan

Allan Tannock; Edith Taylor; Ted; George & Freda Teerman; A W Thirkell; Dot Thompson; Nellie Thompson; John Thomson; Mary Townshend; Win Tyzack; Vera; Susannah Walker; Walter (upholsterer); Barbara Warn; Tom Wedderburn; Bill White; Ethel White;
Bob Wise; Dutchy Young; Guiseppe (Joe) Zammarchi

The complete collection of over 1100 oral history interviews recorded by Wendy Lowenstein is held by the Lowenstein family Contact us: All rights to the interviews recorded by Wendy Lowenstein are retained by the Lowenstein Family.

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