Born in Dublin, Siobhan McHugh graduated from University College Dublin with a B.Sc and worked as an editor, writer, and radio producer, before emigrating to Australia in 1985.

An award-winning writer, podcaster and documentary-maker, Siobhan also has broad experience of oral history as a practitioner, teacher and consultant. Her oral histories range across social, cultural, scientific, environmental, multicultural and political themes and have been made into books, films, TV and radio documentaries and podcasts, CDs, a stage play, and featured online.

Siobhan has won the NSW Premier’s literary award for non-fiction and been shortlisted twice for the NSW Premier’s History awards. Her radio documentaries have won international awards [gold and bronze medal, New York Radio Festival, Asia-Pacific Best Radio Documentary: co-winner] and been shortlisted for a Walkley, a Eureka science award and the United Nations Media Peace Prize.

In 2013, Siobhan founded the open access online journal RadioDoc Review, which commissions in-depth critiques by eminent practitioners and/or scholars of the world’s best audio storytelling features, documentaries and podcasts. It has developed a new vocabulary for the audio feature form, filling a significant gap in critical textual studies.


TV documentaries Siobhan has co-written include Echo of a Distant Drum, a series for ABC TV on the Irish in Australia and The Irish Empire for SBS TV on the Irish diaspora. She has published six books, including The Snowy: The People Behind the Power, which won the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Award for Non-fiction in 1990.


See Siobhan’s award-winning work here and/or download. Themes include a landmark series on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, Australian women’s involvement in the Vietnam War, the isolated mining town of Broken Hill, the Stolen Generations, Palm Island, a history of tourism on the Great Barrier Reef, a history of the Irish in Australia, sectarianism and mixed marriage, dam-building and irrigation, and Ireland in the ’60s.


Siobhan and Journalism colleagues Marcus O’Donnell and Shawn Burns.
Photo: University of Wollongong 2012

Siobhan is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Wollongong, south of Sydney. Her doctorate, on the creative crafting of oral history for radio documentary, is available here:

Title: Oral History and the Radio Documentary/Feature: Intersections and Synergies.Gay Wilson

Though rigorous (eminent Italian oral historian Professor Alessandro Portelli observed of it ‘…her critical approach is faultless…’),   it’s quite readable!

This audio clip is of Gay Wilson from Sydney, who grew up in a mixed marriage in the ’40s and ’50s and has contributed her story to Marrying Out,  the creative component of Siobhan’s DCA. Brought up Catholic in a mixed marriage, Gay married a Presbyterian in 1960, against his family’s wishes.


Siobhan continues to research engaging ways of capturing and presenting personal stories and analysing the transformation of voice through crafted audio features. Her work has been featured at the Global Editors Network Media Summit 2016 (Vienna) and 2015 (Barcelona),  Harvard University (2011),  Concordia University, Montreal  (2011) and Iran (International Radio Conference keynote speaker 2010) and at ‘Uni in the Brewery’, a public showcase for leading researchers at the University of Wollongong.See the film of her Power of Voice presentation at Uni in the Brewery, 2011.

She was the inaugural speaker at the John Hume Global Institute of Irish Studies at the University of New South Wales. Listen here to her public lecture: Mixed Marriage and the myth of ‘Anglo-Celtic’ Australia.

MISC LINKS to Siobhan’s other activities:

What’s the connection between St Francis of Assisi, Siobhan and an Irish mother? This lovely radio play, Little Black, by John Connell, a young Monaghan writer, produced for ABC Radio National by the excellent Jane Ulman. Happened serendipitously – I was just passing the studio and knew the prayer.