Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 4, 2020

2020 winners of the NSW Premier’s History Prize

Thee 2020 winners of the NSW Premier’s History Prize were announced today too, and should not be overshadowed by the QLA!

Since there are some beaut books on the shortlist too, here it is, with thanks to @poppymasselos.  Winners are in bold.

Australian history prize

  • Bedlam at Botany Bay (James Dunk, NewSouth), see Jennifer’s review at Tasmanian Bibliophile at Large
  • British India, White Australia: Overseas Indians, intercolonial relations and the empire (Kama Maclean, NewSouth)
  • The Shelf Life of Zora Cross (Cathy Perkins, Monash University Publishing)

General history prize

  • Amboina 1623: Fear and conspiracy on the edge of empire (Adam Clulow, Columbia University Press)
  • The Warrior, the Voyager, and the Artist: Three lives in an age of empire (Kate Fullagar, Yale University Press)
  • Sundowner of the Skies: The story of Oscar Garden, the forgotten aviator (Mary Garden, New Holland)

NSW regional and community history prize 

  • Surviving New England: A history of Aboriginal resistance and resilience through the first forty years of colonial apocalypse (Callum Clayton-Dixon, Nēwara Aboriginal Corporation)
  • Hotel Kosciusko: The history and legacy of Australia’s first planned alpine resort (Donald A Johnston, Perisher Historical Society)
  • Griffin Rising: The first decade of the Griffin Theatre Company 1979-1988 (John Senczuk, Janus Imprint)

Young people’s history prize

  • Pirate Boy of Sydney Town (Jackie French, HarperCollins)
  • The Good Son: A story from the First World War, told in miniature (Pierre-Jacques Ober, Jules Ober & Felicity Coonan, Candlewick Press)
  • Haywire—The Dunera Boys: Australia’s Second World War #2 (Claire Saxby, Scholastic)

Digital history prize

  • Experiment Street — the true history of a city lane’ (Noëlle Janaczewska, ABC Radio National’s The History Listen)
  • The Eleventh: Introduction, episodes 1 and 6 (Alex Mann, Nikki Tugwell & Tim Roxburgh, ABC Audio Studios)
  • History Lab Season Three: The Law’s Way of Knowing, podcast episodes ‘Making a Fortune‘ and ‘Reading the Signs‘ (Tamson Pietsch, Emma Lancaster, Alana Piper, Trish Luker, Zoe Ferguson, Olivia Rosenman, Belinda Lopez, Sarah Mashman, Julia Carr-Catzel & Allison Chan, Impact Studios at the University of Technology Sydney).

I heard the authors talk about The Good Son: A Story from the First World War by Pierre-Jacques Ober, Felicity Coonan and Jules Ober at Melbourne’s Bastille Day festival just before the book was released.  We were able to see the miniature scenes that were photographed for the book, and the detail was astonishing.


You can watch the awards announcements here. 


  1. And immediately, two of these books (I’m being restrained) are added to my library list :-)


    • Which ones?


      • ‘Bedlam at Botany Bay’ and ‘The Warrior, The Voyager and The Artist


        • Yes, I’m a bit tempted by Bedlam too…


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