WHEN it comes to the history of Sydney's south west there's not a great deal Cabramatta resident Beverley Donald doesn't know.
She's such an authority that she's completing her fifth book on the subject.
The 74-year-old, who was nominated for this year's Fairfield Council Volunteer of the Year award, has donated thousands of hours of her time to research the area's history, including its people and politics.
Her recent work is focused on the history of Fairfield Council, with the first part expecting to reach 126,000 words and published later this year.
"The first book is about the early days of Fairfield Council and telling the council story through the lives of the aldermen [councillors]," she said. "It's written in chronological order — starting from 1889 and finishing up in 1948, and it contains 147 different people."
The second part of the book, expected to be published in 2015, will start at 1948 and will profile about 130 people including councillors and mayors.
It is estimated both books would cost nearly $100,000 to produce if Mrs Donald was not involved.
"I've got a real passion for telling people's stories," she said.
"I love the investigation and detective work that goes into it, and linking people with the history and information I find on the [National Library of Australia] database, Trove.
"It's amazing what you find out as well. In the early 1900s the total value of land in the Fairfield and Cabramatta municipality would not buy a block of land today. I found that extremely interesting."
Mrs Donald has already had four of books published. These include A little bit country: An oral history of Badgerys Creek, Foundations of Faith: Christian churches in the Fairfield area, Hardgrave Park? Never heard of it. The story of a forgotten suburb, and Leading Liverpool: Alderman and councillors through the years.
Each of her books cost $30 to buy.