FLASHBACK GALLERY: 10 years ago in the Illawarra

The Regent Theatre's final farewell: the illuminated letters on the marquee spell out the simple message ''See you soon''.
The Regent Theatre's final farewell: the illuminated letters on the marquee spell out the simple message ''See you soon''.
Wollongong's grand dame of cinema: tributes roll in for Rowena Milgrove, owner of the Regent Theatre.

Wollongong's grand dame of cinema: tributes roll in for Rowena Milgrove, owner of the Regent Theatre.

Susie Elelman delivers a eulogy for Rowena Milgrove at St Michael's Cathedral.

Susie Elelman delivers a eulogy for Rowena Milgrove at St Michael's Cathedral.

Cunningham MP Michael Organ outside Wollongong's historic Regent Theatre. The Federal MP fights for the preservation of the Art Deco cinema.

Cunningham MP Michael Organ outside Wollongong's historic Regent Theatre. The Federal MP fights for the preservation of the Art Deco cinema.

An enormous explosion sends a fireball 30m in the air over Port Kembla and tears apart a steel tank containing ethanol.

An enormous explosion sends a fireball 30m in the air over Port Kembla and tears apart a steel tank containing ethanol.

An enormous explosion sends a fireball 30m in the air over Port Kembla and tears apart a steel tank containing ethanol.

An enormous explosion sends a fireball 30m in the air over Port Kembla and tears apart a steel tank containing ethanol.

An enormous explosion sends a fireball 30m in the air over Port Kembla and tears apart a steel tank containing ethanol.

An enormous explosion sends a fireball 30m in the air over Port Kembla and tears apart a steel tank containing ethanol.

The crumpled lid of the ethanol tank which flew into the air after its contents exploded and burst into flames.

The crumpled lid of the ethanol tank which flew into the air after its contents exploded and burst into flames.

Father Patrick Vaughan, the first priest at the Waterfall disaster, is still deeply affected by the tragedy a year later.

Father Patrick Vaughan, the first priest at the Waterfall disaster, is still deeply affected by the tragedy a year later.

An aerial shot of the stripped-back surface of Port Kembla pool as it undergoes repairs.

An aerial shot of the stripped-back surface of Port Kembla pool as it undergoes repairs.

Weather chaser Michael Thompson captures a spectacular lightning bolt over Lake Illawarra.

Weather chaser Michael Thompson captures a spectacular lightning bolt over Lake Illawarra.

Terry Dean, Wollongong City Council works coordinator, with some of the signs recovered after what police described as the ''great sign heist''.

Terry Dean, Wollongong City Council works coordinator, with some of the signs recovered after what police described as the ''great sign heist''.

BlueScope Steel workers vote to reject the pay offer of three 4.5 per cent increases over three years, but with conditions attached.

BlueScope Steel workers vote to reject the pay offer of three 4.5 per cent increases over three years, but with conditions attached.

Brad, Paul, Heath and James Hurry of Dapto test out Lake Illawarra's waters which are producing the best fishing there in more than a year.

Brad, Paul, Heath and James Hurry of Dapto test out Lake Illawarra's waters which are producing the best fishing there in more than a year.

How the lake looked a little more than a year earlier.

How the lake looked a little more than a year earlier.

Lien Dao, 65, with family friend Vivien Hoang, 15 months, at Trangs Vietnamese Restaurant in Keira Street.

Lien Dao, 65, with family friend Vivien Hoang, 15 months, at Trangs Vietnamese Restaurant in Keira Street.

Baby Nathan, with mum Leah Varga and brother Andrew.

Baby Nathan, with mum Leah Varga and brother Andrew.

Department of Environment and Conservation officer Mike Jarman holds a little tern. After 40 years, the endangered bird species is back at Perkins Beach, Windang.

Department of Environment and Conservation officer Mike Jarman holds a little tern. After 40 years, the endangered bird species is back at Perkins Beach, Windang.

Chicks start arriving at the Windang little tern colony, to the delight of conservationists.

Chicks start arriving at the Windang little tern colony, to the delight of conservationists.

Eddie Vormister of Wollongong with the film projector he made in the 1940s.

Eddie Vormister of Wollongong with the film projector he made in the 1940s.

Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club in a state of disrepair.

Wollongong Surf Life Saving Club in a state of disrepair.

Flames race towards the St Mary’s Tower Retreat at Douglas Park. Swift work by firefighters saves the building.

Flames race towards the St Mary’s Tower Retreat at Douglas Park. Swift work by firefighters saves the building.

Eliza de Vet, whose medical struggle captured the Illawarra, awaits uni news.

Eliza de Vet, whose medical struggle captured the Illawarra, awaits uni news.

Bellambi’s Sigfried Frattner with some of the 16,000 fairy lights he arranged to raise $6000 for the Wollongong City SES. An estimated 5500 people visited the light show in his garden.

Bellambi’s Sigfried Frattner with some of the 16,000 fairy lights he arranged to raise $6000 for the Wollongong City SES. An estimated 5500 people visited the light show in his garden.

Chris Shirlaw unwinds his 2.5km ball of French knitting.

Chris Shirlaw unwinds his 2.5km ball of French knitting.

An aircrane helicopter bombs the bushfires near Wilton.

An aircrane helicopter bombs the bushfires near Wilton.

Security manager Norm Rees escorts Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman at the Mundine-Nishizawa fight at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Security manager Norm Rees escorts Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman at the Mundine-Nishizawa fight at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Ten years ago, the region was ringing in 2004, hundreds of workers were evacuated from Port Kembla's industrial heart after an ethanol tank exploded, and the Illawarra's grand old dame of cinema - Rowena Milgrove, owner of the Regent Theatre - died.

What were you doing in January 2004? Do you recognise any faces? Let us know in the comments below.

Mum Rachael Crombie might be a Kiwi but was proud baby Crystelle was born on Australia Day. Rachael and Crystelle are joined by sister Jade, 6, at Wollongong Hospital.

Mum Rachael Crombie might be a Kiwi but was proud baby Crystelle was born on Australia Day. Rachael and Crystelle are joined by sister Jade, 6, at Wollongong Hospital.

Residents of the apartment block adjacent to the proposed residential and commercial complex in Crown St, Wollongong, Mark Yates and Adam Hayhurst.

Residents of the apartment block adjacent to the proposed residential and commercial complex in Crown St, Wollongong, Mark Yates and Adam Hayhurst.

Two-year-old Jayda with the three sizes of bins to choose from.

Two-year-old Jayda with the three sizes of bins to choose from.

Wollongong playwright Van Badham, sick of waiting for a call in the home town, shifts her sights overseas.

Wollongong playwright Van Badham, sick of waiting for a call in the home town, shifts her sights overseas.

Cordeaux Heights mother Teena Leussink with children Brodie, 11 (left), and eight-year-old triplets Kyle, Todd and Joshua.

Cordeaux Heights mother Teena Leussink with children Brodie, 11 (left), and eight-year-old triplets Kyle, Todd and Joshua.

Bree Keen (left), Murray Baker and Melissa Garcia at the Palm Court Hotel in Corrimal on New Year's Eve.

Bree Keen (left), Murray Baker and Melissa Garcia at the Palm Court Hotel in Corrimal on New Year's Eve.

Danielle Jolliffe (left), Adam Kennedy and Katrina Edmonds at Shellharbour Workers Club on New Year's Eve.

Danielle Jolliffe (left), Adam Kennedy and Katrina Edmonds at Shellharbour Workers Club on New Year's Eve.

Cassandra Rowles and Brooke Russell at Novotel Northbeach on New Year's Eve.

Cassandra Rowles and Brooke Russell at Novotel Northbeach on New Year's Eve.

HMAS Wollongong steams into Belmore Basin to celebrate Australia Day.

HMAS Wollongong steams into Belmore Basin to celebrate Australia Day.

Click here for picture from December 2003.