National Library of Australia

Enjoy a CovidSafe visit to the National Library.

<< Previous record  /  Next record >>
Record 8 of 42
You must be logged in to Tag Records
Gordon Briscoe interviewed by Suzanne Edgar [sound recording]
Bib ID 2826289
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Briscoe, Gordon, 1938-
Access Conditions Written permission required for research, personal copies and public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 1996 
5 sound discs (CD) (ca. 256 min.) 

Briscoe speaks of his early family life in Alice Springs, later in Mulgoa, NSW and then Kirribilli in Sydney, how the family was moved to Balaklava, S. Aust. because during World War II Aborigines were seen as possible collaborators with the enemy, how his mother agreed to let him live with a Christian pastor in Adelaide in 1945, describes St. Francis House in Adelaide as a home for Aboriginal boys of mixed descent, his experience with racial prejudice such as exclusion from hotels because of his race, how he came to work for the South Australian Railways, his recollection of S. Aust. in the 1950s, how he moved to the United Kingdom in Nov. 1958 and played soccer for the Barnet Wanderers in London and later in 1959 the Preston North End team, how he married Norma Foster in 1963 and had three children, his return to Sydney in 1964 as suggested by his cousin Charles Perkins, how he took a clerical position in local government while studying at night for matriculation, moved to Canberra in 1969 to study economics at the Australian National University but failed and transferred to the Canberra College of Advanced Education but was also unsuccessful.

Briscoe talks about returning to Sydney in 1970 to work as field officer for the Foundation of Aboriginal Affairs, in 1971 working for the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Aboriginal Medical Service at Redfern, his first contact with ophthalmologist and philanthropist Fred Hollows, Bob McLoud, Mum Shirl and others, his work with Hollows, failing to enter Federal Parliament in 1972 as an Australia Party candidate for the Northern Territory,by 1974 he was working for the Federal Dept. of Health in Canberra as the Assistant Director of the National Trachoma and Eye Health Program, while at Dept. of Aboriginal Affairs there was much criticism about how the Dept. should be run, how he became an elected member of the National Tribal Council, those who influenced significantly included family members, Aunt Millie Glenn who became his foster mother and Father Smith, his academic success as a historian with his Masters based on work dealing with the atomic testing at Maralinga, S.Aust. and its impact on Aborigines in the region, the reason Aboriginal health became his main professional interest, discusses his married life and family, alcoholism, the period he spent in jail as a result of misdemeanors such as drunk and disorderly when he worked on the railways, his views on Aboriginal history and issues including the "stolen" generation.


Gordon Briscoe, historian, intellectual and Aboriginal activist.


Recorded 24 October and 7 November 1996.

Digital master available National Library of Australia ;

Index/Finding Aid Note Summary available (3 p.) and uncorrected transcript (typescript, 107 leaves) available. 
Subjects Briscoe, Gordon, 1938- -- Interviews.  |  Intellectuals -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Political activists -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Aboriginal Australians -- Politics and government.  |  Historians -- Australia -- Interviews.
Occupation Historians.  |  Political activists.
Other authors/contributors Edgar, Suzanne, 1939-, Interviewer


    In the Library

    Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video Help Video.

    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 3517
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 3517 (transcript)
    Copy: Transcript
    Special Collections Reading Room

    Order a copy

    - Copyright or permission restrictions may apply. We will contact you if necessary.

    Help Video To learn more about Copies Direct watch this short online video Help Video.
    close Can I borrow items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close What can I get online?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    close Can I get copies of items from the Library?

    You need Flash player 8+ and JavaScript enabled to view this video embedded.

    You can view this on the NLA website.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags
    Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and other First Nations people are advised that this catalogue contains names, recordings and images of deceased people and other content that may be culturally sensitive. Please also be aware that you may see certain words or descriptions in this catalogue which reflect the author’s attitude or that of the period in which the item was created and may now be considered offensive.