History Illuminated recalls halcyon (or not) days gone by.

Revellers throwing back schooners at Dozens Day in 1980s Swansea had little idea they were making Lake Mac’s long and lively history.

That’s exactly what has happened.

Eventually banned due to complaints about “drunkenness, vulgarity and nudity”, Dozens Day was held at Swansea on December 12 each year, with attendees challenged to drink a dozen beers between noon and 1pm.

Photos of the “miscreants” featured in a Lake Macquarie’s Found Photographs talk as part of the 2020 History Illuminated Festival.

Lake Macquarie City Council Community History Officer Judy Messiter said the Dozens Day photos were among a collection purchased from the former Sydney Morning Herald image library.

Recent history can be just as fascinating as historical accounts from our more distant past,” Ms Messiter said.

The Dozens Day photos – the people in them, the fashions on display, their actions and their expressions – are testament to this.”

Other History Illuminated highlights included a talk at Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre with local pop icon John Paul Young and acclaimed author Jeff Apter exploring the life and times of Easybeats front-man George Young.

Other authors to feature throughout the week include Ed Tonks, Mark Dunn, David Dufty, and Mark Dapin.

Historian Michael Bennett gave a talk at Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre delving into the history of Aboriginal trackers in NSW. Author and journalist Scott Bevan spoke about the lake, its history, and its characters.

More importantly than me speaking, I hope the audience will share their stories about the lake and the role it has played in their lives,” said Mr Bevan, author of the recently released book, The Lake.

After all, Lake Macquarie is a vast reservoir of history and legends, of the arts and the environment, and this beautiful body of water has helped shape how we see ourselves.”

The festival began at Rathmines Theatre with a 1940s-inspired evening including live music, food and a presentation by community history expert Dr Peta Belic, titled ‘History: what is it good for’.

History Illuminated was presented by Lake Mac Libraries and NSW History Council.