Call for participants

December 2018 Update: The interview period for this project is now drawing to a close. Thank you so much to the interview participants (and to those who I couldn’t get to because there is only one of me and I have a young family!) If you still want to share your story with me, I am happy to accept written submissions. 

The Reshaping Australian Manufacturing Oral History Project is seeking engineering patternmakers, clay-modellers and model-makers (currently working, retired, or now in another field).

If you have trained as an engineering patternmaker (or related trade), and are interested in telling your story, please make contact. It doesn’t matter whether or not you still work in the trade.

These interviews will be archived in the National Library’s Oral History and Folklore Collection. This collection records the voices that describe Australia’s cultural and social life, and includes interviews with people who have lived through significant social trends and conditions. Participants can be assured that their stories are interesting and important, and that their contribution to a national collection is highly valued and will be handled respectfully.


  • First you need to make contact with Jesse. If we decide to go ahead with an interview, here’s what happens next:
  • The interviewer will travel to you. The interviews can take place at your home, or another quiet space (e.g. local library or community centre).
  • These interviews take a ‘whole of life’ approach – asking wide-ranging questions about your life (e.g. where you were born, education, training, where you lived), putting your working experience in a broader social context.
  • Oral histories for the National Library of Australia tend to be quite long because of the ‘whole of life’ approach. The minimum interview time is 3 hours, and there is no maximum time: interviews last as long it takes to tell your story. Interviews can be undertaken in multiple sessions over several days.
  • Importantly: your privacy can be protected if you wish: public access to the National Library’s interview sound file and summary can be restricted on request. Restricted access can mean, for example, an embargo for 2 years, 5 years, or only released ‘on signature’, or ‘for my lifetime’ (etc.). Or access can be unrestricted (open access) from the beginning. The project has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Technology Sydney UTS (Project #ETH17-1385)
  • Interviewees are encouraged to bring objects, tools, artworks, ephemera and photographs to the interview if they may find these helpful in telling their stories.
  • After the interview you will receive a digital copy of the interview and a letter from the National Library of Australia thanking you for your contribution to a nationally significant collection.


Image acknowledgement: with thanks to Scott Murrells.

2 thoughts on “Call for participants”

  1. Jesse, all sounds fine to me. I will be v happy to participate in/contribute to the project.
    I am flexible with time and almost always available. I’m sure we will have an interesting talk. My wife Edith/Edie, and I live in —————- Vic.
    Postal address :———————
    Residence:- ————- Phone. ———
    Very kind of you to offer me an electrickery copy of your book. Yes please.
    Look forward to meeting you. We will provide lunch.
    Best wishes
    Bryan. (Poynton)


  2. Hi Jesse,
    I’m happy to participate in your study.
    I’m 52 years old, a 3rd generation patternmaker. Our company is still trading. H. Phipps Pty Ltd.
    My 84 year old father Bruce may also participate. Our business is located ———-, Kirrawee, NSW.
    04——– if you’d like to chat, cheers Peter Phipps


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