THE final Illawarra Remembers Scan and Share Day for 2013 will be held at Wollongong Central Library on Saturday from 10am-4pm.
On this day people are encouraged to bring along photographs, diaries, medals and other mementoes belonging to Illawarra residents or their family members who were involved in World War One.
The items will be photographed or scanned by a professional scanning company, and added to an online database illawarraremembers.com.
Gathering photos and images of these family and community heirlooms is part of the Illawarra Remembers 1914-1918 project, which is a joint partnership of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama Councils, the University of Wollongong, the Illawarra Family History Group, the State Government of NSW and the Library Council of NSW.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbury said fascinating stories and items have come to light as a result of the previous Scan and Share Days, and he is looking forward to seeing what precious pieces are brought into Wollongong Central Library on Saturday as part of this important project.
“We can’t underestimate what an impact World War One had on our region. More than 3,000 soldiers from the Illawarra left their wives, children, mothers, fathers and siblings behind to go and fight,” he said.
“So many didn’t return. This is a way of capturing the stories of those who went to the front and sharing them with generations to come.
“It’s important to note, we’re not just looking for the soldiers’ stories. Some of the other fascinating items uncovered as part of this project are letters and personal mementoes from nursing staff on the frontline.’’
The Illawarra Remembers 1914-1918 project is linked to the Centenary of World War One in 2014. It’s hoped the items will bring to life the names on cenotaphs across the city, and the website will be a resource for professional and amateur historians, as well as history buffs and students.
“It’s so important to preserve this history and I thank all of those who have happily shared their family’s stories and treasured possessions for the benefit of the whole community,’’ Mayor Bradbery said.
“For those who haven’t yet got involved, it’s not too late. I’d encourage you to come along to the library on Saturday. If you can’t make it, give our local studies librarians a call and they’ll be able to arrange an alternative time to record your contributions.”
More than 600 copies have been done since the first Scan and Share Day held on Wednesday June 26 at Thirroul District Library. The majority of these are photographs and the remainder have been documents, postcards, letters home and diaries.
Other items shared as part of the Scan and Share Days include a cablegram announcing the birth of a daughter, identity tags and bracelets, a sewing kit still with 11 buttons, wool, thread, needle and one safety pin, medals, soldiers’ pay books, uniform badges, ribbons and buttons, Christmas cards sent home, a forage cap and illustrations and drawings.