… Naomi Malone is a consulting historian, currently interested in Australian history and in doing oral history. She is also undertaking communications and events work for the PHA (NSW & ACT).
What made you decide to pursue a career in history?
I love history! The challenge of delving into the past to tell informed stories appeals to me. Further, I enjoy exploring why current issues present as they are today – news, current affairs, political and human interest subjects. From 2000 to 2002, I completed a MA in Public History at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and was awarded an Outstanding Student Award. From 2013 until 2017, at UTS, I undertook a PhD examining the past in relation to deaf education in NSW since WWII. It involved extensive research that included conducting oral history interviews with deaf and hearing-impaired former students about their educational experiences. Deaf education has changed tremendously since the 1960s with the introduction of increasingly sophisticated hearing aids over time and more so with the arrival of the cochlear implant in the mid 1980s. Both technologies aid the teaching of spoken language during the child’s early years, enabling the child to attend regular schools and universities.
Who is the audience for your history?
Everyone! I want to regale and capture all with historical stories. At the moment, I am researching and writing a 50th anniversary book for The Shepherd Centre (founded in 1970) which provides services to give spoken language to deaf and hearing-impaired children. I went there as an infant and now I have come full circle due to returning as their historian.
What’s your favourite historical source, book, website or film?
As for a website, I really like the online exhibition about the Australian disability rights campaign at https://made.org/explore/exhibitions/disability-rights-exhibition/. This exhibition is hosted on the website of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. In the past, I enjoyed reading Leon Uris’s historical fiction – Trinity, Redemption, Exodus and Haj. Uris’s writing style inspired me to write history. Another book I really like is Irving Stone’s Those Who Love. A Biographical Novel of Abigail and John Adams.
Why is history important today?
History is vitally important because it gives us a basis from which to resolve current issues. Evidence from the past helps us to understand societal change, how the Australian community came to be what it is today and how to best live in the future.