Wollongong Town Hall

A social history of the Wollongong Town Hall: evolution of a public space

The Wollongong Town Hall project was designed to capture a slice of Wollongong’s history through its people’s interactions with a building that has represented a central core of the community.

In 2009 Wollongong City Counicl’s Cultural Services division contracted a Project Coordinator, Kirstin Bokor and Project Support Officer, Darian Zam to research the social history of Wollongong Town Hall. Research was carried out by conducting oral history interviews, together with viewing and copying photographs and other memorabilia. Whilst desk research was carried out the major focus of this research assignment was directed towards interviews with members of the public.

Click on the participant’s photos for more information and to listen to their story.


TH2Marcia & Karren Belcher

Marcia and Karren discuss Wollongong social life.

Listen to their story here.

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Judy BourkeJudy Bourke

Judy grew up in Wollongong and attended St Mary’s high school. She worked for the council in various capacities over the years and now lives in Thirroul.

Listen to Judy’s story here.

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Janet Bitters
Janet Bitter & David Bryars

Dave Bryars and Janet Bitter, members of the Arcadians Theatre Group, Arcadian Lamplighters and the Arcadian Minstrels since the late 1960’s, talk about auditioning and rehearsing in Wollongong and performing at the Town Hall.

Listen to their story here.

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Aunty Jack Portrait imageGrahame Bond

Grahame Bond AM is an Australian actor, writer, director, musician and composer, known primarily for his role as Aunty Jack.

Listen to Grahame’s story here.

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TH1Jeanette & Lawrence Bond

Lawrence and Jeanette (nee Pepper) Bond were central members of The Workshop Theatre, which staged many of their plays in the Wollongong Town Hall Annex from 1964 to 1969.

Listen to their story here.

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TH3
Sandy Brenchley

Sandy moved to the Illawarra as a young teacher in 1951 and has lived here ever since.

Listen to Sandy’s story here.

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TH2Helga Christie-Burnett

Helga describes her life in Wollongong as a pianist, member of the Illawarra Choral Society, music teacher and secretary for the City Engineers Department of Council.

Listen to Helga’s story here.

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TH1James Cook

James recounts his story of seeing a female apparition in 1993 in what is now the Tourism Information Offices.

Listen to James’s story here.

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TH3Maurene Dredge

Maurene is a lifelong Wollongong resident. She has frequently been involved in events held at the Wollongong Town Hall through the many organisations she has belonged to, such as The Illawarra Choral Society, Music Illawarra and The Arcadians.

Listen to Maurene’s story here.

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TH2Alan Flanagan

Alan, a resident of Unanderra, visited the Crown, Savoy and Civic Theatres through the 1950’s and 1960’s to see movies and meet people. The second part of the interview is a brief overview of his life in Wollongong.

Listen to Alan’s story here.

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TH1
Robyn Hutton

Robyn, a member of the Illawarra Choral Society since 1959, relates a history of the Choir and her many varied experiences and memories surrounding the Wollongong Town Hall.

Listen to Robyn’s story here

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TH3

Ann (Simpson) James

Ann, whose grandfather was Alderman W. A. Lang, Wollongong’s mayor in the 30’s and 40’s, relates many colourful memories of events held at the Wollongong Town Hall.

Listen to Ann’s story here.

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TH2
Robyn Letham & Sheelagh Geraghty

Robyn Letham and Sheelagh Geraghty are both Life Members of the Wollongong Eisteddfod Committee.

Listen to their story here.

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TH1
Sue Meehan (nee Woolley)

Sue Meehan is the president of Catholic Women’s League of Illawarra. She has a long history with Wollongong Catholic associations, attending many functions and balls at the Wollongong Town Hall.

Listen to Sue’s story here.

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Margaret Reeve
Margaret Reeve

Margret Reeve talks about her life in Wollongong as a champion ballroom dancer and teacher, and running a successful dancing studio with her husband Ray Reeve until 2006.

Listen to Margaret’s story here.

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TH3Joseph (Joe) Smith

Joe Smith was a much respected swim coach at Thirroul, Corrimal and Wollongong Continental Pool. He also served as a Wollongong City Council Labor alderman between 1971 and 1974 and was the President of the  Corrimal branch of the Australian Labor Party.

Listen to Joe’s story here.

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TH2Doris Stewart

Doris Stewart of Bulli is a long-time member of the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales.

Listen to Doris’s story here.

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TH1Ada Raynor & Stephen Zantiotis

Ada Raynor and Stephen Zantiotis were long term members of the City of Wollongong Symphony Orchestra (WSO), which often played in the Wollongong Town Hall.

Listen to their story here.

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TH3Jan Waples

Jan Waples talks extensively about changes in various Wollongong Council departments, immunization programs, the Wollongong Town Hall organ and the Queen’s visit to Wollongong.

Listen to Jan’s story here.

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