Wollongong's historical Blue Mile at a click

When Wollongong residents think of the Blue Mile they think of modern improvements, like the landscaped waterfront, and spruced-up North Beach Bathers' Pavilion.

Their minds probably don't wander to the area's history, like the Flagstaff Hill Fort, built in the late 1800s as a deterrent against a possible Russian attack on Wollongong Harbour.

That fact and many others are included in a new website about the history of the Blue Mile area.

The site, thebluemile.com.au, was designed as a resource for Illawarra school teachers and students and includes historical information, ideas for school excursions, lesson ideas and more.

Visitors can discover a wealth of long-forgotten stories, like the 1857 "bathing machine", a shed on wheels that allowed people to swim at Brighton Beach while preserving their modesty.

The website was the idea of The Rotary Club of Illawarra Sunrise and was developed by University of Wollongong students Naomi Combe, Jessica Ratcliffe, Rhiannon Clark and Nicola Rowbotham as an elective project.

"It's a great local collaboration to provide teachers in the Illawarra with a resource to help them teach local history, which has not existed before," said rotarian Ian McMaugh. "[Many] teachers in the Illawarra come from somewhere else so they don't understand the local history and therefore they are at a disadvantage teaching it."

Mr McMaugh said the website, launched this week, would grow to include Aboriginal history and more.

It was supported by IT company Microsolve and The IMB Community Foundation.

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