If you thought professional historians were boring, almost irrelevant, people who wrote only for themselves and were part of an exclusive club that reviewed each others' work, you need to think again.
That was the message from University of Wollongong's Faculty of Arts History Program senior lecturer and convener Glenn Mitchell at a presentation of funding from the IMB Community Foundation to The Illawarra History Workshop.
Mr Mitchell said the money was being used to create an online interactive resource called "The Dictionary of Wollongong".
He said the dictionary was exciting because Wollongong was a city with plenty of incredible history that people like him wanted to help the local community discover.
"What we are about is presenting history in a very sexy and funky way," Mr Mitchell said.
"Just to give you a slice of this. Not many people would know this information. Back in the 1890s Edmund Barton, who would become Australia's first prime minister, was actually on the board of a company which hired a small metallurgist, Herbert Hoover, who went on to become president of the United States. A little while after this Richard Gardner Casey began working at ERS [the Electrolytic Refining and Smelting Co].
"So in Wollongong within a 20-year period we had a future prime minister, a future president of the United States and a future governor-general of Australia."
Mr Mitchell said it was that kind of information that the Illawarra History Workshop would present online by drawing on community resources.
The project involves The Illawarra History Workshop, the University of Wollongong and Wollongong City Council developing the online interactive resource made of film, documents, images, text, oral histories, maps and sound clips.
"We are about presenting history in an interesting, inclusive and interactive way," Mr Mitchell said.