'when's dad home?': an oral history of inter-war Australian fatherhood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Drawing upon interviews recorded in Australia four decades ago, this article considers the challenges of using archived oral history and how these interviews contribute to a history of fatherhood between the wars, traversing three temporal moments: research in the 2010s; interviews in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and events in the 1920s and 1930s, when narrators were children and young parents. The interviews show how and why most interwar Australian families aspired to the ideal of a division of family roles along gender lines, with fathers primarily breadwinners and mothers responsible for the home and childcare. They also reveal how different catastrophes – the aftermath of the First World War, the Depression and the loss of a parent through death or desertion – played havoc with that family ideal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalOral History
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • family history
  • fatherhood
  • Great Depression
  • First World War
  • childhood
  • Secondary analysis

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