Writer and philanthropist Vera Deacon grew up on Moscheto Island (now part of Kooragang Island) with her parents and six siblings in the early 1930s.
Despite suffering many of the era's hardships, Vera's happy upbringing in an enquiring, knowledge-driven family created a lifelong thirst for history that led in 2008 to the formal establishment of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund, under the umbrella of the University of Newcastle Foundation.
"While my mother was very ill she had planted the seed about researching the history of the islands and that is how I came into contact with the University of Newcastle, especially the staff in the library," Vera said.
The purpose of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund is to support and encourage regional history through the acquisition, preservation and study of valuable regional historical resources.
Library archivist Gionni Di Gravio said Deacon's generosity has thrown the community a lifeline to its past.
"What Vera has done is take these collections and given them to the community. With her ongoing financial support, we can uncover, preserve and safeguard the Hunter region's important archives."
Deacon's contributions to the University's Cultural Collections began in 1995 while she was researching the history of the islands on which she grew up.
Humble about her contribution, Deacon simply hopes that valuable links to the region's past will be strengthened for the benefit of all.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund can contact the University of Newcastle Foundation.