Oral History NSW
Giving Voice to the Past
Giving Voice to the Past

Oral History Australia

Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History

The Award

Oral History Australia Inc has established an award to recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of oral history in Australia over a considerable period of time.

The Award is open to all and is not restricted to members of an oral history association and there is no impediment to a person nominating themself.  

To commemorate her pioneering work in oral history, the award has been named the Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History.

This national award presents the opportunity to give public recognition and encouragement not only to the recipient but to the important role of oral history.  

The next Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History will be made in 2017.


Nominees must have made an outstanding contribution to oral history in Australia over a considerable period of time.  Relevant activities are many and varied and include:
  • Promotion and raising of awareness of oral history, within the oral history profession, with historians, with organisations and within the general community.  
  • Volunteer work with communities, not-for-profit groups and with oral history associations.  
  • Initiation of and contribution to oral history projects documenting Australia's past and contemporary history.  
  • Recording and documentation of oral history.
  • Preservation and archiving of oral history collections.
  • Research involving assessing oral history.
  • Publication of papers, journal articles and books.  
  • Education and/or teaching including conduct of seminars and workshops. 
  • Mentoring   
  • Such other contributions to oral history considered worthy of recognition


Past winners of the Hazel de Berg Award 2006-2013

Hazel de Berg and her passion for Oral History


In principle, the award is made biennially (except when in the opinion of the Oral History Australia there is no nominee of acceptable standard) and the award is presented at the national Oral History Conference.

Presentation of this award has been made possible by the generosity of the family of Hazel de Berg. The Award has been designed and made by glass artist Brian Hirst. It is an ellipsoid-shaped clear glass ornament about 20cm high, into which aqua glass has been injected in the shape of a microphone with speech bubbles. It is mounted on a square base, inscribed with the name of the recipient and year of award and accompanied by a citation signed by the National President of Oral History Australia. 


Winner of the 2015 Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History- Jill Cassidy

Jill Cassidy has made an outstanding contribution to the cause of oral history in Australia for almost 30 years, undertaken both in a professional and voluntary capacity. 

Working at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) in Launceston, Jill conducted oral histories which formed the basis of exhibitions to commemorate Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988. She later authored a number of publications including  Launceston Talks: Oral Histories of the Launceston Community. As a result of the project’s success in documenting the history of northern Tasmania, Jill was appointed as the Museum’s first Oral Historian. She went on to initiate, manage and conduct further oral histories, exhibitions, publications and ran engaging and successful public programs. Jill firmly established the Museum’s collection and her commitment to recording and preserving interviews ensured the collection continued to grow and that oral history became an integral part of QVMAG exhibitions. Jill’s contribution here was exceptional. She was also a member of the Editorial Committee for The Companion to Tasmanian History. 

In 1991, soon after being appointed as Oral Historian at QVMAG, Jill initiated the formation of the Tasmanian Branch of the Oral History Association of Australia, now Oral History Tasmania. She has been either branch President or Secretary since its inception, and has edited the newsletter Real to Reel for most of that time. Jill has tirelessly contributed to the promotion of oral history practice in Tasmania. She has conducted annual oral history workshops in Hobart and Launceston, along with others around the state when requested. She has given talks about oral history to many groups from historical associations to school groups and has contributed a number of oral history papers to conferences and seminars. Jill ran a local oral history symposium for Deviot – the community where she lives. She has also played a central role in the national association, as President and as the Convener of two very successful national conferences. She has been a member of the national executive since 1991. 

Photo: Jill Cassidy was presented with her award by Sue Anderson, President Oral History Australia, at the national conference held in Perth WA September 9-12, 2015.