Wollongong Town Hall will reopen early next year, after being closed for more than two years due to safety reasons. Yesterday, a Wollongong City Council spokeswoman said work to remove lead and asbestos contamination had finished, and the council was working with NSW Government architects on the next stage of development.To qualify for a place of public entertainment licence, the hall still needs disabled access and improved fire safety provisions. Only a year ago, the hall faced demolition until council administrators decided the site's heritage significance was worth the investment to return Wollongong's cultural icon to its former glory.The council is now celebrating the town hall's importance to the Illawarra by collecting social history memorabilia.It hopes to display highlights from the collection in the hall's foyer once it reopens. Among the contributors is Wollongong Eisteddfod publicity officer Jenelle Morgan-Monk, who competed in her first ballet competition at the town hall aged eight."I was so nervous, I forgot to take off my red cardigan before I danced," she said. Civic attendant supervisor Tony Mahar was one of the staff who prepared the hall for the late Princess Diana's visit in 1988."I wouldn't call myself a royalist, but there was an aura about her (Princess Diana)," he said. Contributions to Wollongong Town Hall's memoirs and memorabilia collection can be made at Wollongong Central Library on March 6, the CWA Hall at Stanwell Park on March 11, Corrimal Community Centre on March 19, and Ribbonwood Community Centre at Dapto on March 21.