Take a walk through Lithgow’s social history via the Lithgow Library Catalogue

Access to 1832 digital photographs from the Lithgow Mercury Collection is now available to search, browse and view, via the Lithgow Library Catalogue.

One of the unexpected benefits for the library of the enforced shutdowns, working from home, and reduced opening hours due to COVID restrictions, has been the ability to undertake tasks that can be difficult to accomplish when the library is operating normally.

When Len Ashworth retired from the Lithgow Mercury he donated a large collection of photographs to the Lithgow Library. At one time most have appeared in various Lithgow Mercury articles dating back to 1962. The Lithgow Mercury Photograph Collection consists of 1,832 photographs, reflecting a time line of Lithgow going back to the 1800s right through into the 2000s. 

Many were taken from 1962 to 2000 and are a social history of Lithgow from community events, sport and even the shopping. Significant events standout, such as the Bracey store fire in 1970, the dedication ceremony of the Marjorie Jackson statue, and the important visitors such as Gough Whitlam and the Queen.

Library volunteer Kay Ross organised the photographs into various categories, creating lists that library staff could search. It was always the intention to incorporate them into the library catalogue but some projects require the right timing to commence. With the library going into shutdown in March due to COVID-19 and with a number of staff required to work from home, projects that were sitting on the back burner were brought forward. One of the priorities was to catalogue the Lithgow Mercury Collection.

Sharon Lewis who undertook the cataloguing project says, “There are numerous old photographs that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It is worth browsing the collection on the catalogue to get an overview.” 

The Lithgow Mercury Collection can be accessed via the Lithgow Library webpage  http://library.lithgow.com Once there search the catalogue for the Lithgow Mercury Collection and browse the thumbnails. 

The library would like to acknowledge the enormous contribution that Kay Ross made to the local history collection over her long tenure of volunteering with the library. She is sadly missed by the library staff; however her legacy will go on in the projects she worked on that make the local history collection more accessible to the community.