Our Local History Prize is held each year to encourage people to explore and engage with the history of the Wollongong area.
The prize has evolved over the years, but generally involves people creating a written work inspired by material in our Local Studies collection. Winning entries are added to our collection.
The Local History Prize is kindly sponsored by the Friends of Wollongong City Library.
You can read about recent Prizes below.
For the first time in 2019, our Local History Prize was open to local primary school children in years 4, 5 and 6.
Students chose a historical photo from the Illawarra Images collection as a starting point to research and write about a place or event. They were also asked to explain why they selected that place or event, what it meant to them, and their vision of how it will be in the future.
34 entries were received by students from schools between Helensburgh in the north, and Port Kembla and Dapto in the south. A judging panel selected five winners, whose names are shown below with the image that inspired each entry.
'Coalcliff Shops' by Peggy, Scarborough Public School
Image catalogue number P18487.
'Dapto Railway Station' by Maiya, Lakelands Public School
Image catalogue number P03776.
'Dapto War Memorial Olympic Pool' by Zara, Lakelands Public School
Image catalogue number P17647.
'West Dapto Public School' by Addisen, Cedars Christian College
Image catalogue number P17689.
'Wollongong Show Ground' by Archie, Wollongong Public School
Image catalogue number P23487.
Our 2018 Local History Prize was shared between two winning entries:
- A cottage, a convict and a cow: the veterans of Dapto Creek by J.G.D. Howes and Lorraine Neate. This research paper focused on the early settlement of West Dapto after the government provided land for retired military settlers in 1829. The paper includes an in-depth study of the lives of the veterans before and after their arrival in Australia.
- George Ricket: of Helensburgh, master builder by Janet Lee. This paper looks at the life of George Rickett, a former Helensburgh identity. It looks at the buildings he erected, and his contributions to the Helensburgh and Stanwell Park communities during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
You can also read these 2018 Local History Prize entries which are held in our collection:
- The awful life of C. W. Peck: Illawarra's first native flower child by Joseph Davis
- Bringing home Hugh by Dan Michael Meehan
- "Garlick by the sea": the mansion at 129 Morrison Avenue Wombarra & the life of the total absolute bastard who caused it to be built by Joseph Davis
- Only we can understand: the story of a coal mining family by Dan Michael Meehan.
In 2017, we invited young people to submit a written work for the Local History Prize.
The winner was Lachlan Booth, with his work The Reid Family. This written piece looked at the history of the family behind the suburb of Reidtown, which no longer exists; Reidtown was absorbed by Towradgi, Fairy Meadow and Fernhill in the early 21st century.
Our first Local History Prize competition was held in 2016.
The winner was Julianne Morris, whose work Wollongong Gaol 1859-1915 looked at six female prisoners in detail, and the circumstances that led to them being imprisoned.
Top image: The Beach Shop, Coledale, c1943. See image details on our catalogue