Cockburn History is a collaborative effort between the Cockburn Libraries, City of Cockburn, and Azelia Ley Homestead Museum.
Joint efforts between the Cockburn Libraries, Azelia Ley Homestead Museum, Cockburn Historical Society, and volunteer helpers has seen the photographic, video, oral history and Cockburn Soundings collections digitised over the years, and all are now available on this website.
Research and writing on this site was done by Leah Napier, librarian at Spearwood Library, throughout 2017-2018.
The mission of Cockburn History
Michael Berson's book Cockburn: the Making of a Community was the jumping off point for this project. Published in 1978 from extensive research and interviews conducted by the author, it is a comprehensive look at the life of the people of the Cockburn district since its earliest days. But the limitations of the book are inherent in its premise: Berson's focus was on the community aspects of Cockburn, the groups of people who lived in small agricultural settlements, and their growth from struggling enclaves into prospering communities.
This approach ignored several equally important aspects of Cockburn: its long industrial tradition, its encounters with displaced Aboriginal people, its history of migration, and its connection with the outside world. The Second World War was recent history for Berson, and he skips over Cockburn's wartime experience entirely. There is very little history of the important sites and buildings of Cockburn. And of course, many years have passed between 1978 and today, during which time the Cockburn district has changed almost beyond recognition.
Creating a website
Though the concept of publishing another book had been floated many times over the years, there were several reasons for developing a website instead: to broaden access to historical information, to collect every area of the City's local history in one place, and to allow for updates and additions to be made as new information is discovered.