Illawarra Remembers website details region’s war stories

Historian Michael Molkentin spoke at the  launch of the Illawarra Remembers website. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI
Historian Michael Molkentin spoke at the launch of the Illawarra Remembers website. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

A hundred years on from the start of World War I, an online archive detailing the Illawarra’s contribution to the  Great War has been launched.

The project, Illawarra Remembers, is the result of two years of archiving, scanning, digitising and amateur history work by Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama council librarians, as well as Illawarra citizens.

With  photographs, stories, news reports, letters, gravestones and more from the 1914-1918 war period, Illawarraremembers.com.au is a treasure trove for local history buffs, researchers, and direct family descendants.

‘‘It is about the living memory concept. World War I still lives on in the community’s living memory and social memory,’’  manager of community and library services for Wollongong council Jenny Thompson said.

‘‘It has come about from the willingness of the community to share the interest in local history. Gathering, and sharing,  that history is so important.’’

Wollongong Deputy Lord Mayor Chris Connor called the website a collection of ‘‘priceless memories’’. ‘‘War memorials display the names of war dead but this is about their stories,’’ Cr Connor said.

The site was officially launched on Thursday in front of 100 people at the Wollongong council chambers, but the project is ever-expanding. 

The next ‘‘scan and share’’ day, to add to the archives’ collection, is on October 10 at Wollongong Library.  

See the website for more information.