Life Stories Australia was founded in 2017 in response to the need to have Australian personal historians/ biographers gain representation, recognition and promotion within their own country. Originally paid members of the Oceania chapter of the American-based Association of Personal Historians (APH), it became obvious that due to the geographical and cultural differences between the two vast regions, that a new, independent association had to be formed and thus, Life Stories Australia was born and incorporated as an Association on 29 June 2017 in New South Wales, registration number INC1700896 .
Life Stories Australia is governed by a Board of Directors (without ownership) made up of at least five fully paid members, all of whom must be practising in the industry and one of whom must represent film or a non print biographical form.
- To promote Life Stories Australia as the recognised, professional industry benchmark for the recording, preserving and sharing of personal life stories and organisational histories
- To promote awareness and appreciation of the value of preserving life stories and organisational histories
- To promote Life Stories Australia and its members in the media and other relevant forums in Australia
- To maintain a public register of Life Stories Australia professionals and facilitate access to potential clients in their geographical area and preferred format.
- To establish and maintain a code of ethics and professional standards
- To provide ongoing education and training based on industry best practice and research
- To provide support, networking and collaborative opportunities amongst members
- To provide members with links to external relevant educational and professional organisations.
Paul English - Association President and principal spokesperson
A communication specialist and experienced film and multimedia producer with over 35 years experience, Paul was a radio journalist/ presenter for many years. Paul also worked for many years for the International Red Cross in Geneva in charge of multimedia production and marketing, and that was where he started making films. Paul established his film production companies That's My Life in 2015 and My Business My Story in 2017 with his psychologist wife Alison, and together they mix journalism and psychology in their storytelling approach.
Gabriella Kelly-Davies - Vice President, Media & Public Relations
Gabriella Kelly-Davies is a memoir, life story and biography writer and founded Share your life story so she could help families preserve their precious memories. She has written family histories of farming families and families who can trace their ancestors back to convicts on the First Fleet, musicians who have started new orchestras, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Gabriella runs free memoir writing groups in Sydney, regularly presents memoir writing workshops and is studying biography writing at Oxford University.
Heather Millar - Treasurer, Membership
Heather’s passion for life stories began after she recorded her father’s memoirs before he died. She went on to volunteer recording the memoirs of palliative care patients. She has worked as a magazine editor in London and Australia, and has ghostwritten books. An accredited editor and freelance journalist, she has also been a Board member at the Cancer Care Centre and Australians Against Racism, for whom she co-edited Dark Dreams: Australian Refugee Stories.
Michael Collins - Secretary
A former undercover cop in London and educated in England and Singapore, Michael Collins has lived in Australia and New Zealand since 1973. Writing extensively and specialising in memoirs for over thirty years, Michael has travelled widely rubbing shoulders and dining with Dames and Knights, and the wealthy and famous. He's also laboured hard for a living alongside rough and tumble, salt-of-the-earth characters around the world.
Gillian Ednie - Events, Funding & Strategic Development
Gillian has a long career in health service policy, planning, consumer advocacy, wellness and writing. More recently, she has been studying the benefits of life review and biography. Gillian writes biographies, memoirs, family and organisational histories, and helps people write their own life stories through individual coaching and via Guided Autobiography groups. Gillian established Your Biography in 2008.
Annie Payne - Mentor/ Counsel (Honorary Life Member)
Annie is passionate about helping people to record and preserve their family stories and memories as a legacy for the future, and opened History from the Heart in 2006. As a Personal Historian, she has been interviewing and writing personal and family histories since 1988. Annie sat on the Board of the Association of Personal Historians until its closure in 2017.