Digital Histories

Using digital technology is one way that Way Back When presents history in an engaging and creative format. Unlike more traditional forms of history, such as books and publications, multimedia storytelling brings together historical research, images and oral history into an audiovisual presentation. Digital histories can take many different shapes – from iBooks and websites to digital stories and audio documentaries. Way Back When prides itself on keeping up-to-date with the latest technological developments to ensure that we can adapt and create the most modern and effective digital histories to suit any need.

Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Virtual Museum: Oral History Stories

Way Back When has been working with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) over many years, collecting stories of the Royal Melbourne Show and rural life in Victoria. More than fifty interviews have been recorded so far, covering some of the much-loved themes that are synonymous with the Show. These include animals, arts and crafts, show bags, sideshow alley, cupie dolls, wood chopping, food and wine, fireworks displays, the Garryowen competition, the CWA, grand parades, and the Miss Show Girl competition. Profiles, audio excerpts and images from each interview are now available via the RASV Virtual Museum. The Virtual Museum provides access to the RASV Heritage Collection and showcases stories about the RASV and rural life. Visitors can explore the cultural history of RASV, view highlights from the collection, and immerse themselves in the world of the Royal Melbourne Show through exhibitions, film and oral history stories.


Ballarat Town Hall Audio Tour

Way Back When worked with the City of Ballarat to create an audio tour of the Ballarat Town Hall. ‘If these walls could talk…’ explores the rich and dynamic history and heritage of this iconic building. The audio tour comprises ten ‘stops’ at particular locations in the Town Hall. Way Back When collaborated with sound designer and engineer Russell Goldsmith to produce the audio component. An online version is available through the Historic Urban Landscape Ballarat website.

Springthorpe and La Trobe Local History Project

Springthorpe is a small suburb in Melbourne’s north that has a rich and dynamic history. The Springthorpe Heritage Project commenced in 2014 with grants from La Trobe University, Darebin Council and Public Record Office Victoria to create a comprehensive website celebrating the unique history of the Springthorpe area. Over the past few years, Sarah Rood from Way Back When has worked with the community to guide them through the process of undertaking oral histories, primary and secondary research, gathering images and writing web content.

The resulting website, launched in September 2018, features material on the former Mont Park Asylum and its environs, the heritage-listed buildings, horticulturally significant landscape design (including the work of Hugh Linaker and the wildlife reserve), social and cultural history (Wurundjeri people and early settler history), hospital and psychiatric care history (including WWI returned soldiers and other military history), significant historical figures (including Dr John Springthorpe and Dr Ernest Jones) and interviews with people associated with the area in the past.

You can visit the website at

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 ChillOut Daylesford

To celebrate the 21st anniversary of the ChillOut Festival in Daylesford, Way Back When created a history component on the ChillOut website, which showcases the events, people and stories that have helped to make ChillOut Australia's biggest Queer Country Pride festival. Over the years, ChillOut has played a vital role in not only advocating for the rural LGBTI community, but also giving back to the Daylesford and Hepburn region, raising over $250,000 in funds for the local community.





Through Younger Eyes: Anzac Centenary

Through Younger Eyes is an Anzac Centenary-funded project that explores the lives of Geelong residents who were affected and forever altered by World War I, through the eyes of young Geelong locals today. Way Back When worked with young actors from Geelong to produce a soundscape that explored some of the events, themes and issues associated with World War I on both the battle and home fronts. The soundscape was installed in the Johnstone Park Peace Memorial for Anzac Day 2017 and Geelong After Dark 2017, in collaboration with sound designer Russell Goldsmith.







Daylesford Stories

Daylesford Stories explores ideas of community, identity and belonging. Through the personal stories of individual community members, this collection of material looks at how and why this region has become a place of meaning and significance for lesbians and gays, and for those who identify as part of LGBTIQ communities. The material is based on interviews with a range of community members and incorporates items from the Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives (ALGA). Developed for Culture Victoria, in conjunction with Tiny Empire Collective, the film and audio profiles, image galleries and short films on the GLBTIQ community in Daylesford can be accessed here.



Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Educational Films

Way Back When has been working with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) for the past three years gathering oral history testimonies from those who have been involved in various aspects of the RASV and the Royal Melbourne Show. Together with the RASV, we made two short educational films based on our filmed interviews. We have been working closely with the archivists from the RASV to incorporate archival film and sound material, photographs and other artefacts into the short films. The two films, one on dairy and beef cattle and the other on sheep, were shown at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2014 and will become a part of the RASV archives. 

National Sports Museum Audio Tours

Way Back When was engaged by the National Sports Museum to assist in redeveloping its audio tours. This exciting project challenged our storytelling skills and involve us utilising our oral history and audio production expertise. You can listen to our two completed audio guides - a family friendly guide to cricket and a thematic look at Australian sporting culture - now at the National Sports Museum. 

Our Stories: Sephardi Association of Victoria

Our Stories was a collaborative project between the Sephardi Association of Victoria, Way Back When and Catherine Forge Photography. This project captured some of the stories of Melbourne's small but thriving Sephardi community and the objects that have a significant place in their lives. This website: showcases a small sample of the wealth of experience, culture and heritage in this rich community. 


Under the Red Ribbon: Thirty Years of the Victorian AIDS Council

Under the Red Ribbon is the story of thirty years of the Victorian AIDS Council – a courageous and determined community united by a common cause. Way Back When tells the story of this dedicated and inspiring group via the comprehensive website, where the voices of those who were there are brought to life through audiovisual documentaries and digital stories. These stories combine film footage, photographs, objects and audio to tell this moving and uplifting story.

Melbourne Trams: Step Aboard!

Trams have been an integral part of Melbourne since the late 19th century; so much so that the city and its tram system have developed in unison. Every Melburnian has certain tram routes they call their own and tales of memorable experiences riding the trams. Way Back When worked with historian Carla Pascoe and filmmaker Joel Checkley to create a short narrative film that explores the history of Melbourne’s trams from the perspectives of Trammies (tram workers) and passengers. The film was commissioned by Culture Victoria and can be accessed at:

VicRoads: Themed Audio Documentaries

As a low cost, efficient and practical method of building and extending Victoria’s road network, sprayed bituminous road surfacing played an important role in the development of an extensive network of roads in Victoria. Way Back When worked with VicRoads to create a series of themed audio documentaries that bring the process of sprayed road surfacing to life. The aim of the documentaries is to educate the public on the history of this unique part of Victoria’s past. The series is available to download from the VicRoads website:

Brunswick Revisited: Projections from the Past

In 2012 Way Back When worked with the Moreland City Council to bring to light a little known collection of glass slides that document the history and development of Brunswick and Coburg. Originally shown in the early 1930s on a large and now superseded projector, the collection disappeared for decades before resurfacing in recent years. Fully digitised, the collection was once again brought to the people of Brunswick and the surrounding areas. In a nod to the past, Way Back When used projection, as well as light boxes and photographic displays, to showcase this beautiful collection. The exhibition also included a modern Brunswick photographic projection and soundscape, which aimed to address some of the gaps in the collection's history as well as inspire audiences to consider what aspects of Brunswick they might want to preserve for future generations. 

Gathering Strength: 50 Years of Engineering at Monash University

To mark the 50th anniversary of Engineering studies at Monash University and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the Faculty of Engineering, Way Back When created a comprehensive interactive website. Photographs, images, archival documents and maps are used to bring the history to life in ways not possible in a printed publication. Stories of the past 50 years in the form of narrative and personal reflections are woven together using audio documentaries and film footage. The site can be accessed at

With Open Arms: 75 Years of St Joseph’s Primary School 1938–2013

St Joseph’s Primary School in Springvale opened its doors to the first 45 students in 1938. To commemorate the school's 75th anniversary, Way Back When was engaged to create an online history. The dedicated website incorporates images, text and audio footage to tell the story of St Joseph's from 1938 to the present day:

Building a Community: A History of St Mary's Primary School 1912–2012

In 2012, St Mary’s Primary School celebrated its centenary. Way Back When was engaged by the school to prepare an online history in the form of a website to commemorate this 100 year milestone. As well as images, narrative text and an interactive timeline, the website features audio documentaries that incorporate footage from oral history interviews conducted with current and former staff and students, and members of the school and parish community:

ABC Radio National ‘Hindsight’ Program

‘Australian Generations’ is a five-part radio series, produced by Way Back When for ABC Radio National’s weekly history program ‘Hindsight’, that draws together material from 13 oral histories. Each program subtly explores generational change by looking at themes such as childhood memories, early school days, family relationships, building a life and starting a family. The series was broadcast in 2010 and can now be downloaded from the 'Hindsight' website:

Bialik College 70th Anniversary Celebrations

In 2012 Bialik College commemorated its 70th anniversary. The celebrations centred around a temporary exhibition displayed at the school. A pivotal component of the exhibition was a series of digital stories and short films that focused on aspects of the school’s history, establishment and values. Way Back When was responsible for producing these digital stories and working with senior students to create the short films.

Old Rialto Building Interpretive Installation

The original Rialto Building and its immediate neighbour, the Winfield Building (originally the Wool Exchange), have been majestic features of the Collins Street landscape since they were constructed in the 1890s. In 2012 Way Back When was commissioned to produce a permanent installation to explore the history of these two buildings and their journey from commercial hub to luxury hotel. Two multimedia projections located in one of the foyer areas in what is now the five star hotel, InterContiental Melbourne The Rialto, work with the static text panels to communicate the history of these two Melbourne landmarks. 

Hoffman Brickworks

Hoffman Brickworks Brunswick on Dawson Street in Brunswick is a site of historical and social significance that is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The remaining buildings on the Hoffman site provide one of few examples of brick-making practices in 19th century Australia and the site itself is a symbol of community and the emergence and development of industry in Brunswick. Way Back When worked closely with Save the Brickworks Inc. to produce a short film and digital story. The short film, filmed onsite in one of the abandoned kilns, focuses on the experiences of those involved in Save the Brickworks and their connection to the site. The digital stories combine heritage images with oral history interviews to convey a picture of what it was like to work at Hoffman’s.

Family Histories

Family history is a great way to preserve a legacy and provide a tangible and engaging reminder of where we come from. Documenting the stories of family members past and present is a wonderful way to instil a sense of ownership and pride within younger generations. Family histories, however, are often thought to be static, traditional and in many cases, boring.

The advent of digital storytelling techniques as well as increasing access to digitisation equipment has opened a world of possibility to families who wish to bring their family history to life. Way Back When has developed a way of capturing the essence of family and preserving the history for generations to come in a lively and engaging format. By utilising the latest digital technologies, we can bring your family history to life. Our digital family histories incorporate oral history interviews, old home movies, photographs and genealogical research in a dynamic and engaging format so you and your family members can immerse yourselves in your own history. Designed for iBook format on iPads, our digital family histories are expertly researched, beautifully presented and provide a wonderful opportunity to record your family legacy.


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