Community Stories

Wollongong Living Books Icon

Wollongong Living Books is a program where real people, known as ‘books’, share their life stories and experiences. As a reader, you can have a conversation with our ‘books’, ask questions, and listen to their stories. Our ‘books’ come from lots of different backgrounds. They all have a unique story to tell that will help you see the world in new ways and challenge stereotypes.

Lets Get Salty - Illawarra Stories Profile Image

The Wollongong Let’s Get Salty Podcast brings together community, industry, university, government and environmental leaders to get the low down on how our local area is evolving, and how we can all contribute to a sustainable future.

Italians of Wollongong Icon

Wollongong is home to a wonderful and large community of Italians. Italians of Wollongong shares their stories and contributions.

The Virtual Museum of Italian Immigration in the Illawarra includes stories with local residents.

 My Backyard: Your Backyard project takes a look at personal stories of local Italian Australians through their backyards.

Ben Fatto Bene is a documentary story of seven Italian Australian people who have left their mark on the Illawarra through their talents and skills.

New Shoots Icon

New Shoots is a series of four poems produced as part of the Wollongong Botanic Garden’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2021. The poems connect plants, people, and place. In collaboration with Red Room Poetry, Dakota Feirer, Kirli Saunders and Lillian Rodrigues-Pang wrote and performed poems inspired by the Garden and its annex sites at Mount Keira Summit Park and Puckey’s Estate.

Podcasts From The Edge Icon

Podcasts from the Edge, made collaboratively with young people (who happen to live in places that are considered disadvantaged) is a suite of podcasts that use a unique blend of fictional and informational stories, where young people are leading conversations about anything and everything that is important to them. 

We need to talk podcast contains honest and raw conversations with people who have it all… Or so it seems. Each episode, we speak with people at the top of their professional game and invite them to drop the armour and share the struggles, trials, failures, and shortcomings that have shaped their career – the parts you won’t find on their LinkedIn page. Wollongong City Council’s Todd Hopwood is one of the people interviewed.

These interviews were conducted in 1995 by Tom Hadley and broadcast on his In My Day program on community radio station 2VOX FM. The audio files have been digitised from cassette tapes and are uneven in quality.

This recording includes a reading of the poem, Five Soft Nets: A Coledale Sonnet Cycle, by Mark Tredinnick after a short introduction by Morag Mirankar. The poem inspired artist Bradley Eastman (Beastman) to design the unique and vibrant mural on the Coledale Community Centre in April 2021.

The project was a partnership between Wollongong City Council and the South Coast Writers Centre.

A new community mural was installed on the back of Pioneer Hall at MacCabe Park in May 2021. Produced in partnership with The Disability Trust, this mural was designed by artist Jill Talbot and incorporates artworks created by nineteen school leavers via a series of printmaking workshops she led in early 2021.  

Queerstories Icon

Queerstories celebrates the culture and creativity of the LGBTQI+ community, one true story at a time, featuring both professional storytellers and emerging talent.

Clifton Conversations Icon

The Clifton School of Arts presents Clifton Conversations, a series of online discussions with local artists, writers, musicians, historians, filmmakers, and more.

Balgownie Hostel – Image Courtesy of National Archives of Australia NAA: A12111, 1/1964/22/2

The Migrant Heritage Project Illawarra collects and shares stories of migrants to the area so that future generations will learn about the history of migration in Wollongong and the Illawarra. these stories include descriptions of life in hostels and camps, of working and going to school.

U&Me Icon

U and Me began as an idea by the Why Documentaries team who have always supported positive multicultural projects.

In partnership with Multicultural Communities Council Illawarra and sponsored by Multicultural NSW, the hunt was on for stories of unlikely friendships between people from very different cultural backgrounds.

Yesterday Stories Icon

Yesterday Stories enables you to view video histories of events and stories in the locations in which they occurred. The page features stories from the Illawarra and twelve other locations.

Same Same But Different

During Pride Week, Wollongong City Library hosted a lively panel discussion calledSame, Same but Different which invited people living with a disability, parents and community service providers, and members of Wollongong’s LGBTQI community to share their lived experiences.

Coomaditchie Stories

Capturing Culture was a community development project conducted by the Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation. It provided an opportunity for the children and young people of Coomaditchie to spend time with the Elders in the community to capture and record their stories and learn more about their culture.

Scarf Stories

SCARF is an independent, community-focused and not-for-profit organisation that supports humanitarian refugee entrants to rebuild their lives in Wollongong and the Illawarra. Many people in the SCARF community have stories of unimaginable hardship and loss. But we also hear stories of resilience, hope, and triumph, as well as experiences and anecdotes from across the spectrum of life. 

Lawrence Hargrave Drive 2

The first part of this oral history project discusses the background and significance of Lawrence Hargrave Drive to the local community and records the history, lives, aspirations, and occasional frustrations of some of the local people who rely so heavily on this road. 

The second part features interviews with those involves in the planning, design, construction and naming of Sea Cliff Bridge. It includes the official speeches made at the opening ceremony on Sunday 11 December 2005 and comments from a number of local residents and children walking the bridge for the first time.

Lake Illawarra MAP

The Lake Illawarra MAP (Memory and Place) Project showcases 51 dynamic and inspiring digital stories that have been produced by people who live in the catchment of Lake Illawarra. This collection of films are reflections and memories of the lake as a place of work, play, holiday, and home.


Len Leffley was a retired legendary local coal miner who has a dedicated page on ABC Open featuring stories he had written about his life. He was interviewed about his experience in 1949, when he confronted Prime Minister Ben Chifley about the coal miners’ strike. From that time he was closely watched by ASIO. Len also wrote songs about the local area.


In conjunction with the 2016 Heritage Festival, Wollongong City Council has created an online resource called Wollongong Heritage & Stories. It acknowledges the amazing objects and stories unearthed in our local museums and collections. What stories are waiting to be unearthed in your community? How have old stories been rediscovered for new generations? From extinct species to forgotten byways, what’s waiting to be rediscovered? 

Browse through the website and discover the history of Wollongong and your heritage.


Where Lies Beauty charts the history of Wentworth Street, Port Kembla, and its sites of architectural beauty through the words of the people who have lived, loved, and worked among its bricks and mortar.