“Identifying Early Illawarra Pioneers from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds from Settlement to the 1940s” was a Migration Heritage Project (MHP) Research Project.
The research was undertaken with the support of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Historical Research and Local Archive Projects NSW Heritage Grants Program, Department of Planning Heritage Branch. The research has provided a desktop review, using primary sources. Whilst the MHP has endeavoured to represent a large diversity of nationalities, further research is planned.
The researcher was Zofia Laba a local historian with a master’s degree in History from Poland and a member of the MHP committee.
The impetus for this publication came from research into an early Polish pioneer by Zofia Laba. In the course of her research, Ms Laba found a large number of non-British migrants who had settled in the Illawarra region in the 1800s and had been largely overlooked in the documentation of the early white history of the region. Most often, migration to the Illawarra region is associated with post-World War II arrivals. The research by Zofia Laba provides a study of some of those early migrants dispelling the popular view that migration to the Illawarra only occurred from the 1950s onward.
Their stories may be read in the MHP Research publication “Identifying Early Illawarra Pioneers from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds from Settlement to the 1940s” from the link on this page. This publication also includes census data on early pioneers from diverse cultural backgrounds from the 1846 to 1933 broken down into country of birth or nationality, towns in the Illawarra in which they lived, gender and countries of origin. Places of historical and geographical significance in relation to these early pioneers can also be found this publication.