ANU Heritage Oral History Project

ANU Heritage is committed to recording and celebrating the stories of students and staff connected to the ANU. Our understanding of the University is informed by the memories of our community.

Richard Baker

Professor Richard Baker commenced as the Pro Vice-Chancellor (University Experience) at ANU in April 2013. Prior to taking up this Professor Richard Baker had a long history of educational leadership at ANU. Trained in the fields of geography and archaeology at ANU and the University of Adelaide, he has also worked at the Northern Territory Museum and the National Museum of Australia. His research has focused on issues related to Indigenous Land management and how to effectively link teaching and research.

Listen to Richard's oral history

Norman Banham

Norman tells of his longstanding connections to Stromlo, being born on the site, growing up there, completing an apprenticeship in the workshops and working there until his retirement. Norman also speaks on his hobby of building clocks including full replicas of John Harrison's longitudinal clocks.

Listen to Norman's oral history

Graeme Blackman

Graeme worked as the Site Caretaker for many years, living in several houses on the site including one which was destroyed in the 2003 bush fires. Graeme tells of life at Stromlo from a site-wide perspective including raising his children there and his memories of the fires.

Listen to Graeme's oral history

Gabe Bloxham & John Hart

Gabe and John worked for many years in Stromlo's workshops. Gabe was a specialist in Optics and John worked as an Engineer. Both speak fondly of their time at the site, the projects they worked on and the devastation of the 2003 fires.

Listen to Gabe and John's oral history

James Connolly

James Connolly was the 2016/17 President of the ANU Students' Association (ANUSA). James has been involved in queer advocacy, having focused on queer inclusion in residential Colleges acting as Queer Officer at Burgmann College in 2015. His Asia-Pacific Studies majors and minors reflect his interest in the surrounding region and in making universities accessible spaces for international students.

Listen to Jame's oral history

Ken Freeman

Ken Freeman is one of Australia's most celebrated Astronomers and Astrophysicists. Ken shares his early impressions of Stromlo, memories of his time at the Observatory and details of his research and discoveries.

Listen to Ken's oral history

Toss Gascoigne

Toss lived at Stromlo as a child with his siblings and parents Rosalie (artist) and Ben Gascoigne (astronomer). Toss reminisces about the day to day life on the site as a child and the remoteness of the place in its early years.

Listen to Toss' oral history

Stephen Padgham and Greg 'Charlie' Dickens

Stephen Padgham and Greg Dickens were students at ANU in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In this interview they talk about the significance of the Union Building (Pauline Griffin Building) as a place for student activities, politics, activism, the office of the student newspaper '˜Woroni' and the office of the Administrative Secretary of the ANU Students Association, Diana Riddell.

Listen to Stephen and Charlie's oral history

Penny Sackett

Penny came from the USA to take up the role of Director in 2002, just months before the catastrophic bushfires of 2003. The rebuilding of the Observatory following the 2003 fires defined Penny's time at Stromlo, and she shares stories of both devastation and hope.

Listen to Penny's oral history

Claire Wehner

Claire speaks about her time at Mt Stromlo from the 1940s, undertaking mathematical calculations, working on the site's first computer and as part of the Commonwealth Time Service. Claire also speaks on the domestic life of Stromlo, life on site for women and breaking down the typical gender roles.

Listen to Claire's oral history

Hermann Wehner

Hermann reminisces about his time at Mt Stromlo since the early 1950s in the site workshops. Hermann travelled to Australia from Germany following the Second World War and became a Senior Engineer at Stromlo. Now in his 90s, Hermann is still involved with in providing technical advice on many telescopes and instruments he designed and built.

Listen to Hermann's oral history

Derek Wrigley

Derek Wrigley was the University Architect/Designer from 1961-1977, having joined the ANU Design Unit in 1957. Wrigley's Design Unit consisted of 13 staff, and was responsible for all aspects of design within a university - responsible for site planning, architecture, interior design, furniture, landscape, graphics and site signage.

Listen to Derek's oral history