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PMI Short History Prize – Past Winners

2016

Neville Lee – Camberwell Historical Society
The Story of Ashburton Through the Ages

A well-researched and detailed description of the development of this little known area of greater Melbourne. Interestingly told with detail of the wider history as well as what happened locally, it is also well illustrated with maps and photographs.

2016 Honourable Mention

Baxter Hall 1923 – Through the eyes of a child / Joan Grace Roycroft Boyle, PMI.

A charmingly presented story of a family and life in early Baxter.

2015

Heather Mutimer – Daylesford & District Historical Society
A Picture Can Tell a Thousand Words

A great example of how a realisation about an image can lead a curious researcher down a path that presents new information and understanding. The picture in this case was of the Daylesford Borough band taken in the 1880s. Among the band members there was one who had much darker skin than the other musicians. The author’s journey of discovery about this person uncovered an extraordinary and surprising aspect of our history that was not known until this time.

2014

Bryan Francis – Balnarring & District Historical Society
Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed: A Recollection of Childhood Adventures Living at Balnarring Beach

Dawn Peel – Colac & District Historical Society
The Local Hall: An Australian Story

It was impossible to choose one above the other of these entries as they are so different, and both were well presented and well written. Both were evocative of a community. We also felt that each was an excellent representation of the best kind of local history, one based on personal experience but able to offer many insights into of a way of life now gone and the other a well researched informative paper in which a history of a community is presented through the story of a local institution – in this case a hall.

Commended:
Charles Lewis – The Exceptional Melbourne Cup Tuesday November 3rd 1942 Tavoy Burma: A
story of Australian Tradition, Humour, Resourcefulness and Courage
Lynette E Franklin – The Briggs Family: Bass Straitsmen and their wives: An Aboriginal Genealogy

2013

John Merry – Sandringham & District Historical
A Boyhood by the Bay : Personal Reminiscences of My Life in Sandringham in the 1940s

This delightful and beautifully illustrated autobiographical piece is an insightful and personal look at life in Sandringham during the 1940s, covering many aspects of life in the difficult war time period and immediately afterwards. It is particularly focused on what a boy would notice at the time. Among the subjects covered are recycling, bikes, sunburn, the Baths, lollies, shopping, school, cinema, the footy and keeping warm. It was the first choice of all three judges in this year’s competition.

Commended:
Jeffrey Atkinson – The Stockade : Carlton’s Forgotten Prison
Bob Lambell & Gillian Senior (editors) plus 8 others – A Small Seclection of Camperdown’s Notable Scots

2012

Elizabeth O’Callaghan – Warrnambool & District Historical Society
Second to None : Warrnambool National School

Elizabeth O’Callaghan has written an excellent piece about the Warrnambool National School which opened in 1849. It was the sixth National School to be officially opened in the Colony of Victoria. National Schools are a forgotten phenomenon of our education history and this work is so well researched and written, really bringing this particular school to life.

Commended:
Alfred Klink – E.E. Kurth: Reflections on the Life of an Eminent Person
Val Gleeson – A Melancholy Occurrence

2011

Dr Peter Mansfield – Geelong Historical Society
Able, gifted, trustworthy and disloyal: the political fortunes of Henry Bournes Higgins, MLA for Geelong, 1894-1900

Peter Mansfield has written a well-considered and well-composed essay on Henry B. Higgins and his increasingly uncomfortable role as parliamentary representative for the people of Geelong in the Federation era. Higgins is known to Australian history as a lawyer, intellectual and reforming judge on the High Court and has been the subject of biographical study including John Rickard’s excellent book H.B. Higgins: the rebel as judge. Peter Mansfield’s essay places the focus on the local while not losing sight of the bigger picture and is a good example of local history of the highest standards.

Commended:
Ellise Angel – From rags to riches: A story of changes in a country school: Lavers Hill P-12 College
Ronald J Gunn – Life as a country boy

2010

Elizabeth O’Callaghan – Warrnambool & District Historical Society
Alien to Us: The 19th Century Importation of Indian Labour into the Warrnambool District

Alien to us was chosen because of its original subject matter, and because it was well written, interestingly and clearly presented using original sources giving an insight into a specific historical episode, exploring the relationships between the two groups of people.

Commended:
Graham Goulding – A Short History of Moe & Newborough
Murray Houghton – Destination Warrandyte 1851 to 1876: A Tortuous Path to Local Government
Marilyn Kenny – Kaleno Parish of Doutta Galla