Recording and preserving life stories


JamJar Life Stories provides a unique service, a personal biographer, to work with individuals, families, businesses and groups to record and preserve personal histories. We start with an oral history recording, an interview that assists individuals to tell their story, in their own words and, importantly, in their own voice. These permanent memoirs will become a priceless heritage, a gift to current and future generations. The recordings provide the basis for writing biographies and book publishing, creating podcasts and documentaries and incorporating into displays and marketing media. JamJar Life Stories works to ensure that the voices and stories of the important people in your world are recorded and preserved so they are never lost.



Interviews are typically recorded in 1½ -2 hour sessions undertaken over separate days. The result is a broadcast quality audio file delivered on a jump/flash drive, CD/DVD or by online fie transfer. You also receive a log of the interview making it easy to quickly locate topics that you want to listen to or share with others.


Increasingly people want the benefit of seeing the interviewee as well as hearing. You have the choice of HD or 4K video and the option of including photos, family film/video and music. As per audio recordings you also receive a typed log of the interview to aid locating particular sections of the recording.



A written biography is-and will always be-a great way to celebrate a life. Often the research has been undertaken but the time to pull it all into an engaging narrative and then take it through to publication is often not available,  That's where JamJar Life Stories can assist.


A typed, verbatim transcript is an excellent option for those wanting to read a life story and is also a great assistance for writing biographies, family histories or the story behind a company product or service.



An oral or video life story recording is a great asset when creating interpretive displays and to enhance exhibits. We can create presentations that incorporate voice, images, music and effects in a format that allows viewers to navigate or can be played on a continuous loop.


A podcast is a great way to share that life story with friends and family that may not have the time to listen to several hours of interviews. We incorporate voice-over narrative, music and contextual information (eg news recordings) where appropriate.




Increasingly customers are looking for a background story to the business providing a product or service. There is also great value in ensuring the story of the life of a business – the beginnings, bumps and adventures that mark its journey – are recorded. A life story recording is also a unique way to reward the people who have made that story possible.

Community Groups

JamJar Life Stories can undertake projects in partnership with community groups seeking to record their history or key events. JamJar Life Stories is also experienced in running ‘memory events’; think of Q&A with a panel of members recalling the early days and taking questions from the audience. This can be recorded in podcast form or videoed. 




Estimated price $495

audio recording

Example based on two, two–hour sessions and includes a separate, preliminary interview, background research and travel. You receive two copies of the interviews: one suitable for emailing and a larger, broadcast quality version.

Estimated price $655

video recording

Based on 2, two–hour sessions. Price may vary subject to lighting requirements, travel time and distance. Music, photos and videos can be incorporated to enhance the final video (additional cost).




typed transcript

Ideal for people wanting to write a biography, it typically takes around 3½ hours to type one hour of audio. 



Depending on the amount of source material required to edit typically a 45 minute podcast will require 12-14 hours to produce.



*Please enquire for biography, business and community group rates.



To find out more:                                                                    please complete the following or call Peter 0439 182 411



I have been recording the ‘extraordinary stories of ordinary people’ since 2008.  My journey to JJLF includes working in a range of occupations: in youth and community work, regional economic development, the wine industry, tour guiding and manager of an Antarctic research station. I think this broad life experience has given me the ability to relate to people from all walks of life and to assist them in sharing their stories.

I have served on the management committee of the Oral History Association of Australia since 2014.

Finally, I’m very fortunate to have a copy of my paternal grandfather's diary and a video interview with him made for a documentary in 1978. But, have nothing like that of my three other grandparents so, tragically, their stories and voices will fade and disappear within a few generations. I think this explains as much as anything my passion for recording and preserving life stories.


Peter is an experienced oral historian, and it was clear that he had completed some research on the topic to shape the questions he asked. Working with Peter Hackworth was an invaluable opportunity for the National Railway Museum to expand the narrative of Australian railway history. While the NRM’s collection possesses a large volume of documentary evidence of railway operations and many objects to be interpreted, the information that can only be gained by asking the people who were there at the time often provides the vital link required to truly understand the railways. The project was a useful and informative first foray into oral histories for the NRM.
— Gabrielle Sexton, National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide

Within our family there were several stories that we felt should be recorded and we asked Peter to undertake this task. The initial assignment was to interview Mr David Walker, father of Annette Balnaves and father in law of Doug Balnaves. David, aged 95 at that time had lived a full life, with many accomplishments .The outstanding success of this interview that yielded so much, was due to Peter's research, his ability to listen, and his skill in knowing which question to ask to promote further discussion. Since that initial oral history recording, Peter has recorded the history of other members of the family with similar success.  The importance of these types of recording became  very apparent recently  with the  unexpected  passing of  Annette Balnaves.  The recording and transcript undertaken by Peter, revealed  a life well lived with many accomplishments that few people  were aware  of. This information was then able to be used in our  function  celebrating  Annette's life.We are now even more aware of the importance of this type of record. We will be more able as a family to reflect on Annette's achievements and the  influences that she has had on us as individuals and on our community.

- Balnaves Family, Coonawarra

I engaged Peter to record and transcribe the life stories of my parents. I have heard my parents family histories over the years, but I believe it has been beneficial for them to have them preserved forever. It has also been beneficial for our family legacy. For my children and grandchildren to hear the stories firsthand is very special.
— Jane, Strathalbyn