Yvonne Matta, Oral History Interviewee, Brisbane, 2014.

ALHS Oral History Project

The ALHS has an ongoing project to record of oral histories with Lebanese immigrants and their descendants. See the list of interviews conducted between 2000 and 2020.

The National Library of Australia has also conducted a set of interviews with Lebanese immigrants and their descendants and this can be located through the National Library website.

This is an ongoing project and the ALHS welcomes expressions of interest in the project. Register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest, Australian Lebanese Historical Society Inc. Oral History Project form.

Oral Histories conducted by the ALHS -2000-2020

Monera KaleelFreda Backes2001
Rose MelickHelen Crane2001
Yasmine YaredJohn Koorey and Rosemary Walker2006
Pauline BittarJohn Koorey2007
Malake KebbeFreda Backes2007
Mansour (Vincent) FakhryFreda Backes2007
Rose LeatAnne Monsour2007
Marie Joseph, Analle Richards, Catherine Riley & Margaret HenryRosa Monsour2009
Joe HannaRosa Monsour2009
Joan TorbeyRosa Monsour2009
Ron & Gerard BetrosRosa Monsour2009
Colin StephensRosa Monsour2009
James & Joseph MonsourRosa Monsour2009
Jeanette JosephGabrielle Saide2011
Mervyn & Rodney SlebaGabrielle Saide2011
Chahira & Freda CooreyGabrielle Saide2011
Narda (Mary) MorrisAnne Monsour2011
Theresa AndaryViolet Torbey2013
Shafik TorbeyViolet Torbey2013
Yvonne MattaAnne Monsour2014
Gwen ManningAnne Monsour2014
Yvonne CarriganAnne Monsour2014
John KooreyAnne Monsour2015
Sister Elham GeageaPetronella Fakhry and Paul Convy2016
Barbara ThackerMichael Thacker2016
Rose Kairouz SuccarJohn Koorey and Petronella Fakhry2017
Doreen FarrahJohn Koorey2018
Thomas GeorgeJohn Koorey2018
Gabrielle SaideAntonia Simpson2019
John & Elsie HabibAnne Monsour and Anne Thacker2019
George CooreyMounira Saad and Nissrine Khadra2020  

Expression of Interest: Australian Lebanese Historical Society Inc. Oral History Project

The Australian Lebanese Historical Society is collecting the stories of Lebanese immigrants and their descendants through conducting oral history interviews. 

This project aims to record these individual memories and stories and use them to tell the collective story of Lebanese immigrants and their descendants. All interviewees receive a copy of their interview.

If you would like to be part of this project, please register your interest by providing the following information via post to:

Australian Lebanese Historical Society Inc., Oral History Project,

P.O. Box 342, Coogee NSW 2034


via email to: [email protected]



Contact details: Landline, Mobile, Email

Some details about your personal or family migration story.

These questions may help:

Where in Lebanon did you/your family come from?

When and why did you/they leave?

Where did you/they settle in Australia?

Why did you/they settle there?

How did you/they make a living in Australia?

Once you have registered your interest, you will be contacted with further details about the interviews.

Doing Oral History

According to Michael Frisch, oral history is ‘a powerful tool for discovering, exploring, and evaluating the nature of the process of historical memory-how people make sense of their past, how they connect individual experience and its social context, how the past becomes part of the present, and how people use it to interpret their lives and the world around them’.

Reference: Michael Frisch, A Shared Authority: Essays on the Craft and Meaning of Oral and Public History (Albany: State University of New York Press), p. 188, cited in Alistair Thomson, ‘Four Paradigm Transformations in Oral History’, Oral History Review, Winter – Spring, 2007, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 49-70.

In the Oral History Handbook a ‘practical definition of oral history is:

  • a recorded interview in question-and -answer format
  • conducted by an interviewer who has some knowledge of the subject to be discussed
  • with a knowledgeable interviewee speaking from first-hand experience
  • on subjects of historical interest
  • that is made accessible to other researchers’

Reference: The Oral History Handbook (Beth M. Robertson, Oral History Handbook, Unley SA, Oral History Association of Australia, 2013, Fifith Edition, p. 2.

Oral History Australia (OHA) is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation committed to promoting the ethical practice of oral history in Australia and overseas. Their website provides a comprehensive coverage of what you need to know doing oral history. To find out more about Oral History Australia website: https://www.oralhistoryaustralia.org.au/

Published by the South Australian Branch of the Oral History Association the Oral History Handbook is ‘the bible for oral historians’. First published in 1983, it has been in print ever since, and is well established as the national standard. 

There are chapters on:

  • Introducing Oral History
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • Copyright and Oral History
  • Developing Questionnaires
  • Recording Equipment
  • Digital Recording Standards
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Summaries and Transcripts
  • Funding for Oral History
  • Guidelines of Ethical Practice
  • Commissioning Oral History
  • Recommended Reading


Online guides to doing oral history

The Smithsonian Institution Archives defines oral history as ‘a technique for generating and preserving original, historically interesting information – primary source material – from personal recollections through planned recorded interviews’ . The following link takes you to guidelines ‘to start recording oral histories based on best practices used in the Smithsonian Oral History Program at the Smithsonian Institution Archives’.


The Baylor University’s Institute for Oral History creates oral history memoirs by preserving a sound recording and transcript of interviews with individuals who are eyewitnesses to history. Together with our interviewees, we document memories representing the diversity of American society and encompassing varied topics of social and historical significance. We encourage oral history scholarship through fellowships, graduate assistantships, and training workshops, and we share the outcomes of our oral history research through publications and public programming. Find out more here: https://www.baylor.edu/library/index.php?id=974111

Be sure to look at the Institute’ s Introduction to Oral history:


Hidden Histories Hidden Historians project

The following toolkit is part of a series produced by Manchester Histories as part of its Heritage Lottery funded Hidden Histories Hidden Historians project.

This toolkit is a step-by-step guide to doing a successful oral history project. It covers all the key steps in the process of putting together your project, from planning and design, to interview skills, and organising your material and transcription. At the end of the toolkit, you should feel confident to get started with your oral history project.


Oral history interviews held in the National Library of Australia

Australian Lebanese Historical Society oral history project documents the experiences of Lebanese Australians, their communities and varying experiences of migration and cultural diversity. These interviews are part of a joint oral history project being conducted by the National Library of Australia and the Australian Lebanese Historical Society.

Recorded from 11 March 2016. Audio [spoken word]

Includes interviews with:

  • Tony and Josephine Sukkar
  • John Koorey
  • John Betros
  • Freda Backes
  • Emil Dan

Another set of interviews held in the NLA:

Lebanese immigrants in Australia interviewed by John Iremonger [sound recording], 21 March 1976, 1 sound tape reel (ca. 192 min.)


  • H. Coorey (Habib Coorey)
  • Louis Haddad
  • Maurice Haddad
  • Wahid Sania (Wahid Samyia)
  • Deab Haddad
  • Gus Monbarak (Gus Moubarak)
  • Tony Aboud (Anthony Abood)

An example of an oral history project

The Lebanese in Mississippi: An Oral History is a project by James G. Thomas, Jr. at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. The project:

documents and interprets the lives of first- and subsequent-generation Lebanese Mississippians whose families immigrated to the state looking for a better life. It is an oral record—sometimes a second-hand “remembering”—of their forbears’ experiences of settling in a foreign land where they knew few people, did not speak the language, and had to create their own occupations. It is the collective story of struggles and successes, of maintaining an ethnic identity and assimilating into a new culture, and of creating a new culture that mirrors that experience. Heard together, these stories provide a picture of a people remembering, envisioning, and interpreting where they came from and the struggles of those who came before them. Their stories begin on a ship leaving harbor in the Mount Lebanon region of Syria, and they continue today in towns and cities across Mississippi. (James G. Thomas, Jr, Associate Director for Publications, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi, https://www.thelebaneseinmississippi.com/ )

Follow this link to a set of oral histories:


This link will take you to audio files based on oral history interviews: