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University authors shortlisted for state’s top history awards

24 August 2017
Stories in the running for $15,000 prize

Four history researchers from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences have been shortlised for the 2017 NSW Premier's History Awards.

Four University of Sydney academics have been nominated for the 2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards.

Professor Mark McKenna, Dr Miranda Johnson and Dr Peter Hobbins from the Department of History, alongside Associate Professor Annie Clarke from the Department of Archaeology, have been nominated across three categories.

First awarded in 1997, the awards offer five individual prizes, with each category winner awarded $15,000.

The winners will be announced next Friday at the State Library of NSW as part of the launch of NSW History Week.

Professor Mark McKenna

Professor Mark McKenna

Professor Mark McKenna – From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories – Australian History Prize

Exploring the central narrative of Australian history; the encounter between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories uncovers stories largely forgotten that offer a new understanding of the country and its people.

The judges commented: “By explaining why an understanding of these localities’ Indigenous stories is so essential, Mark McKenna makes a major contribution to the development of a more widely informed Australian historical consciousness.”

Dr Miranda Johnson

Dr Miranda Johnson

Dr Miranda Johnson – The Land is Our History: Indigeneity, Law and the Settler State – General History Prize

The Land Is Our History tells the story of indigenous legal activism across Australia, Canada, and New Zealand in the late 20th century. The book examines how indigenous peoples advocated for themselves in courts and commissions and forced settler societies to rethink ideas of belonging, rights and status.

The judges commented: “The Land is Our History is a superb example of the power of comparative, transnational historical research. Miranda Johnson draws on a rich array of source material, including legal cases, petitions, interviews and media reports, to create an engaging and path-breaking book.”

Dr Peter Hobbins and Associate Professor Annie Clarke

Dr Peter Hobbins and Associate Professor Annie Clarke

Dr Peter Hobbins and Associate Professor Anne Clarke (co-written with Professor Ursula K. Frederick, ANU) - Stories from the Sandstone: Quarantine Inscriptions from Australia’s Immigrant Past – NSW Community and Regional History Prize

Combining intensive archaeological investigation and historical research, Stories from the Sandstone is a culmination of a three-year project run by the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney, which investigated engravings left behind at the Quarantine Station in North Head near Manly. For over a hundred years the station served as the gatekeeper between potentially sick immigrants, as well as some sick residents, and the colony and country beyond. 

The judges commented: “Stories from the Sandstone examines around 1600 engravings in many different languages that were carved into the rocks and walls around the Quarantine Station during its 150-year history. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of the engravings and paintings of the area.”

Luke O'Neill

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