great about the Pokies are the pretty pictures and the music, The Black
Rhino or Wild Africa and the Cougar one, theyíve got
animals on them.
Rhonda Wilson introducing Shelter
argues: ĎOral history is important because it records the
unofficial or subtle history of the world as distinct from received
official history, which is largely the history of menís power
struggles and menís wars. Whereas this subtle history tells
lives of the people. It is precious because it truly paints a picture
of the times we live in: the traditions, the culture. It fosters
respect for the way people speak: the rhythms, the colloquialisms, the
turns of phrase that characterise a particular people at a particular
this group of pregnant young women would walk down the main road, down
to the shops in Fairfield. We must have looked like quite a circus
show, it was very embarrassing, very shaming.
Shelter, An Oral History
of Marjorie Oke Rooming House for Women
, tells in their
own words those womenís stories which we would prefer kept
(Newsletter of the NSW Branch of the Oral History Association of
Australia), No. 39, October 2008
There is a big red brick house in Station St in Fairfield, Victoria. It
used to be owned by MacPherson Robertson who made his fame and fortune
in chocolates. It is strange that a house built on so much sweet sugar
and cocoa would over time house so much sadness and pain.
This oral history of MarjorieOke Rooming House for Women shines a light
on individual lives but also shows us society's changing attitudes
between the 1950s and the present, from a time when single women had
their newborn babies taken away from them for adoption to a
when even the most marginalized women are offered support and shelter
in a comfortable rooming house.
This subtle social history tells the lives of the people. It is
precious because it truly paints a picture of the times we live in: the
traditions, the culture. It fosters respect for the way people speak:
the rhythms, the colloquialisms,the turns of phrase that characterise a
particular people at a particular time.
An actor, theatre director and teacher, Rhonda Wilsonís
earlier oral history, Good
Talk, The Extraordinary Lives Of Ten Ordinary Australian Women
was nominated for the Victorian Premierís Prize in Australian
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