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Local Studies
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Information relating to the people, the environment, the geography and the history of the Illawarra

Drawing on a wide range of resources, the Library's Local history collection provides a valuable source of information on the history and development of the Illawarra from 1799 to the present.


Due to the rare and valuable nature of the historical material kept by the Local Studies Library the main collection is only available from Level One of Wollongong Central Library.
Trained and experienced staff are available to assist you with your enquiries. Photocopies can be made of most materials.
The Local Studies Library is open to visitors Monday - Saturday.  If you are unable to visit, please contact us.  All enquiries are welcome.

Donations of Material

Donations of both historical and contemporary material relating to the Illawarra are always welcome.
Photographs may be loaned to the Local Studies Library for copying, and then returned.
Items will only be accepted without encumbrances, and when they are relevant to the scope of the Local Studies collection.
If you would like more information about donating to this collection please contact the Local Studies Librarian.

Books, Reports, Magazines and Newsletters

The collection includes a large collection of history and contemporary books, reports, magazines and newsletters covering topics such as:
  • History and development of local industries
  • Profiles of prominent individuals
  • History of the built and natural environment
  • History of education and schools
  • Local government history and development
  • Environmental studies
  • Tourism

Illawarra Images
Illawarra Images is a collection of over 22,000 photographs of people, places, buildings and events covering the last two centuries of local history from the mid 1800s. Illawarra Images comprises the photographic collections of Wollongong City Libraries and other organisations. The image collection can be searched on our catalogue using the drop down menu option 'Illawarra Images'.

ImageLink an image search system for regional archival photo collections

Using Chrome or Firefox, try ImageLink linking images, information & communities


The library holds more than 1000 items of original material including:

  • Company and community group records
  • Minute books and accounts of private organisations, Council and Parish churches
  • Family papers from prominent Illawarra personalities
  • Field books
  • Menus
  • Visitors' books
  • Scrapbooks
  • Photo albums
  • Shipping Logbooks

Electoral Rolls and Registers

Electoral registers list residents who are entitled to vote. The Local Studies collection includes records from 1866 (incomplete holdings) and complete sets from the late 1940s. These registers include names, addresses and occupations.


Local newspapers have been collected from 1856 to the present day. We hold many newspaper titles covering the history of the Illawarra through the media. The newspaper collection includes a local clippings file, print and microfilm copies and indexes.


  • Topographic
  • Parish
  • Aerial
  • Historical and subdivision (from 1822)

Census Records

Census records provide valuable statistical summaries of the Illawarra district including age ranges, employment & unemployment rates, ethnicity, income and more.

The collection includes extracts of the Illawarra district since the NSW Census 1828. Recent census summaries from the Australia bureau of Statistics can be searched by postcode and suburb.

Business, Trade & Tourist Directories and Gazetteers

In the early 1800s trade directories were similar to telephone books with lists arranged by trade name and surname. The Local history collection includes:

  • Sand's Sydney and suburban directory
  • Bailliere's NSW gazetteer and road guide from 1866
  • Central and Southern NSW trade and business directory from 1950s

Illawarra Collection

Whilst the main Local history collection is held in the Central Library each branch library includes a small collection of books about the Wollongong area. These items are duplicate copies of those held in the Local Studies Library and some can be borrowed.

For Teachers and Students

PDF iconMy Suburb Online Research Project (PDF, 860KB) is a resource available to students and teachers that explores both the Local Studies and Library's online resources.

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