For the first time ever, a history of the entire NSW South Coast has been compiled in a 320-page book, Extraordinary Histories.
There have been hundreds of histories written about each area all along the South Coast, mostly by or for the 16 history societies based throughout the region.
But never has there been a single source of history of the whole area - from Kiama to the Victorian border.
Author of Extraordinary Histories, Peter Lacey, said the history of the entire South Coast had essentially been determined by the geography of the area.
"Everywhere along the coast we have the sea to the east - and this has not always been readily or easily accessible from land," he said.
"To the west is a range of mountains with an escarpment that has always been a challenge to those wanting to travel up or down it. To the north are several major rivers that (somehow) had to be crossed.
"Along virtually the entire length of the coast is fertile grazing land that, from the earliest days of European settlement, had an alluring appeal to graziers in the Southern Highlands and on the Monaro, and which has since proven to be particularly suitable for grazing cows and cattle."
Mr Lacey added that the area's weather is mostly favourable and the resources required for settlement (reliable, drinkable water, and timber for housing), along with potential sources of income (dairying, timber harvesting, fishing), were in abundance and easily exploitable.
"The history of the South Coast that has resulted is extraordinarily interesting," he said.
"It's full of engaging stories of shipwrecks, bushrangers, gold rushes, fires and floods of course, some extraordinary promises that were made to the area that were never fulfilled, and some incredibly stupid decisions that significantly affected the area."
Mr Lacey faced the challenge of deciding which of the available stories should be include and which should be left out.
"Extraordinary Histories starts with some conventional history in chronological order," he said.
"The geological history of the area, information about the Yuin nation, details of early exploration and settlement.
"But [it] rapidly dissembles into a collection of somewhat random, but fascinating, stories about the area. This ensures the book is very readable and is a million miles away from being a textbook type of history."
Extraordinary Histories is a 320-page soft cover, paperback size book, that includes 75 historic photographs.
It retails for $34.95 and is now available from bookshops, newsagents, gift shops, museums and visitor centres throughout the South Coast.