Community Stories

Migrant Heritage Project Icon
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 called “Same, 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.