Frank Heimans

PHA NSW Accreditation

Professional Member


Frank Heimans is an oral history producer, interviewer and documentary filmmaker. He has recorded more than 850 oral history interviews and directed, edited and produced over fifty television documentaries and corporate video productions.

 Oral History assignments undertaken include a project of thirty interviews for the Faculty of Engineering, University of NSW, eleven projects for NSW Roads and Maritime Services, three projects for the NSW Department of Commerce, a project documenting the history of the Australian Taxation Office, a series of twenty-four interviews for Engineers Australia, a project on Maitland Gaol for Maitland City Council and an assignment of twenty-five interviews and a video production for Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. Frank Heimans has also recorded twenty-one interviews to date for Australian Generations, a joint project of the National Library, ABC Radio National, Monash and La Trobe universities and five interviews for the National Film & Sound Archive on Australian actors, directors and television administrators. He has also contributed twenty-nine interviews to the National Library’s Eminent Australians Oral History Collection and nine interviews to the National Library’s Bringing Them Home project on the Stolen Generation.

 Between 1991 and 1996 he was the founding producer, writer, director and editor of Australian Biography (produced by Film Australia and broadcast on SBS Television) and produced the first 32 programs in this landmark series on iconic Australians.

 Frank Heimans’ documentary films have been screened on broadcast and cable television in Australia and thirty countries and have won 21 Australian and international awards, including three Gold Medals from the International Film & TV Festival of New York. In 2011 he was awarded the Hazel de Berg Award for excellence in oral history by Oral History Australia.

Area of Expertise

Oral history researching, interviewing and production.

Sound editing and mixing

Video production

Publications/Past Work


Australian Generations Oral History Project: Interviewed 25 persons for this project of 300 interviews in total with Australians born between 1920 and 1990 for Monash University, La Trobe University, National Library of Australia and ABC Radio National.

The Hills Shire Council:Hills Voices Online’ - ongoing oral history project (135 interviews recorded to date). Winner, ‘Programs, Projects and Partnership’ category, NSW Local Government Cultural Awards, 2008.

Urban Growth NSW Project of 15 interviews and a 30,000-word Report on the history of the Ingleburn Army Precinct from 1939-2000.

National Film and Sound Archive: Interviews with David Gonski, (lawyer, businessman and arts philanthropist), Jack Thompson (actor), Peter Westerway (arts administrator), Fred Schepisi (film director), Russell Boyd (cinematographer) and Kim Gyngell (actor).

WEA (Workers Educational Association): oral history project of 12 interviews, a Compilation CD and brochure documenting the life of the organisation from its foundation in 1913.

Roads and Traffic Authority NSW: Major oral history project of 29 interviews on Road Safety in Australia, including 66,000-word Report and 3-part Compilation CD.

Roads and Traffic Authority NSW: ‘Sydney Harbour Bridge – Celebrating 75 Years’ oral history project. Project consists of 159 interviews and Compilation CD.

Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC Group of companies): Oral history project of 22 interviews with executives and staff to record the history of the organization.

NSW Department of Housing:Millers Point Oral History Project’ consisting of 50 interviews with local residents, transcripts, and 20,000-word Report.Lord Howe Island Board: Lord Howe Island Oral history Project consisting of 33 interviews, tape logs and 15,000-word Report.

Engineers Australia, NSW Division: Series of 25 oral history interviews conducted from 1997-2004 with eminent engineers, covering a wide range in civil, mechanical, electrical, acoustic, aeronautical, nuclear, mining and astrophysics fields.

Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority: oral history project ‘White Bay Power Station and Rozelle Marshalling Yards’, consisting of 25 interviews, transcripts, 35,000-word Report and 15-min video production (Winner, Energy Australia-National Trust Heritage Awards Best Video Production, Corporate/Government Category, 2003).

University of NSW: Series of 30 interviews with Heads of Schools, professors, lecturers, and alumni students for the Faculty of Engineering Oral History Project.



‘THE BATTLE FOR SYDNEY HARBOUR’ 50-min television documentary on the fight to save Sydney Harbour public foreshore land. Screened by SBS in The Cutting Edge series. [Producer/Director/Editor]

‘AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHY’ [32 half-hr programs] Television and archival series on the lives of prominent Australians. Produced for Film Australia; screened by SBS Television. [Producer/Writer/Director/Editor]

‘AUSTRALIA DANCES’ [86 mins.] A celebration of the history and the renaissance of Australian dance. Screened by ABC-TV. [Writer/Producer/Director/Editor]

‘IN MORAL PANIC’ [56 mins.] The first Australian documentary to take an international perspective on attitudes to crime and punishment. Screened by ABC-TV. [Co-Producer/Director/Editor]

‘MARGARET MEAD AND SAMOA’ [52 mins.] An investigation of the world-wide scientific controversy surrounding Prof. Derek Freeman’s refutation of Margaret Mead's ethnographic fieldwork in Samoa during the 1920s. Screened by ABC and Discovery Channel, USA & Europe. [Writer/Producer/Director]

‘THE SWORD AND THE FLOWER’ [56 mins.] A film about Australians who have built bridges of understanding with Japan through their experiences of war. Screened by SBS-TV. [Co-Producer/Director/Editor]

‘PARADISE CAMP’ [56 mins.] A documentary about Theresienstadt, the strangest of all the Nazi concentration camps, told by survivors now living in Australia. Screened by SBS and Discovery Channel, USA & Europe. [Co-Producer/Director/Editor]

‘WHERE DEATH WEARS A SMILE’ [47 mins.] The story of two former Australian prisoners-of-war interned in ‘The Small Fortress’, a Nazi concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Screened by the Seven Network, ARD Germany and PBS, USA. [Co-Producer/Director/Editor]

‘CLASS OF '39’ [88 mins.] Three-part documentary series about the fate of the Vienna Mozart Boys Choir, stranded in Australia at the outbreak of the Second World War.  Screened by SBS, ORF Austria and Channel Four, UK. [Producer/Director/Editor]

‘CAVE OF DREAMS’ [50 mins.]  A documentary about perhaps the oldest organised event in human history: the 3500-year old annual pilgrimage to the cave of Amar Nath, high in the Himalayas of Kashmir. Screened by ABC-TV, Japan & France. [Co-Producer/Co-Director]

 ‘THE ELEVEN POWERS’ [52 mins.] A documentary about the greatest of all Balinese festivals, The Eka Dasa Rudra, held only once every century. Screened by the Seven Network and in 12 countries. Narrated by Orson Welles. [Co-Producer/Director/Editor]

‘SHADOW SISTER’ [52 mins.] A film biography of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, indigenous Australian poet, writer and civil rights campaigner.  Screened by the Seven Network. [Producer/Director/Editor]

‘THE ELUSIVE GEISHA’ [52 mins.] A film about the famous geishas of Japan. Screened by the TEN Network and PBS TV (USA). [Producer/Director/Editor]

‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY COUNTRY?’ [50 mins.] A film about Australia - past and present, seen through the eyes of the first Australians.  [Co-Producer, Director, Editor]


Article: ‘Inside Maitland Gaol’, Oral History Association of Australia Journal, 2001

Article: ‘Paradise Camp’ – Documenting the Holocaust’ - OHAA Journal, 2005

Article: ‘In Splendid Isolation’ - The Lord Howe Island Oral History Project, OHAA Journal, 2006