‘A Hidden Culture’ is an occasional blog and website of independent folklorist & oral historian, Ruth Hazleton.

Topics of interest include: tradition, customs, foodways, family, music, dance, children’s culture, arts, superstition, history, prejudice, politics, gender and other contemporary issues – the everyday aspects of our lives that inform who we are through intangible culture.

Ruth lives in Melbourne, Australia, has studied Australian Folklife/Oral History at a postgraduate level, worked in the field (specialising in children’s folklore & music traditions) and contributed to a number of publications.


Ruth currently works as a contractor to the National Library of Australia as an oral history/folklore interviewer – contributing to a various projects within the library’s vast collection and also to the Ruth Hazleton Oral History & Folklore Collection.


Ruth is also a mother, advocate for Australian independent music and folk musician (singing, playing guitar & 5 string banjo – not at the same time).


McKinty, J., Hazleton, R. & von der Borch, D. (2022). ‘We stayed home and found new ways to play: a study of playfulness, creativity and resilience in Australian children during the COVID-19 pandemic’, in Beresin, A. & Bishop, J. (eds). Play in a COVID Frame: Everyday Pandemic Creativity of Children, Youth and Families (2023).

McKinty, J. & Hazleton, R. (2022). ‘The Pandemic Play Project – documenting kids’ culture during COVID-19’, International Journal of Play. DOI: 10.1080/21594937.2022.2042940

Hazleton, R. (2020). ‘Where Did That Tune Come From?’ in Seal, G. and Davey, G. (eds.) Antipodean Traditions: Australian Folklore in the 21st Century, Black Swan Press

Hazleton, R. (2017). ‘Folk Community & Industry: “A Beautiful Mess”’, in Lore Society, Woodfordia Publishing

Hazleton, R. (2017, August 15) ‘Why Independent Music Matters’, Contemporary Music Roundtable. Retrieved June 13, 2022, from https://musicaustralia.org.au/2017/08/why- independent-music-matters/

Hazleton, R. (2016). ‘Documenting Play: From the Frontline’, Play and Folklore, no. 66, Museums Victoria, 31-36

“The evolution of Australia’s folklife over time, with the disappearance of some items, the progressive alteration of others, and the development of new forms, is a natural process. It is important however to maintain conditions where folk traditions can survive within communities, and to ensure these traditions are identified and documented, as part of Australia’s evolving cultural heritage. This is often not the case at present, and elements of our folk heritage are constantly being lost. Community and government concern for heritage protection in Australia has so focused on material heritage – ‘the things you keep’ – that the essential intangible elements of our heritage, our folklife in all its myriad forms, have been neglected”. 

Australian Folklife Inquiry, 1987

Blog title taken from: G. Seal, “The Hidden Culture: Folklore in Australian Society” (Oxford University Press, 1989).