HCNSW Annual History Awards

Submissions for the 2022 HCNSW Annual History Awards are now open.

The HCNSW Annual History Awards celebrate history in all its diverse forms.  From the history makers and its thinkers to collective memory and multicultural history, our Awards & Prizes support and acknowledge contributions towards historical practice and theory, through exploring the past to engage and inform the memories and historical narrative of our present and future communities.

Jane Curtis, winner of the Addi Road Award for Multicultural History, 2021. Photo credit: Jacquie Manning

About the HCNSW’s Annual History Awards

Our awards foster excellence in Australian historical writing, showcase and reward best practice, and advance and promote public understanding and appreciation of history.

We offer a number of prestigious annual awards and prizes totaling $5,500 in prize money, with Honorable Mention citations also awarded where appropriate.  The Awards Judging Panel consists of leading academics from NSW universities, representing our Cultural Partners, as well as a delegate of the Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT).

Winners will be announced and award presentations made at an Awards ceremony in late 2022 (date to be announced).

The HCNSW reserves the right to withdraw a prize if there are no eligible entrants or entries of a sufficient standard to receive that prize.

The History Council of NSW also supports Create NSW in its administration of the NSW Premier’s History Awards and Fellowships in partnership with the State Library of NSW. This event, which traditionally signals the start of History Week each year, will be held at the State Library of NSW on Friday 2 September 2022.

The HCNSW History Awards submissions will close on Saturday, 1 October 2022 at 5 pm.  Further details such as the criteria for each award and prize, as well as a link to the Submissions form, can be found below.

If you have any questions please contact us and subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive announcements.


The First Nations History Award

The First Nations History Award was first awarded in 2016.   Previously named the Aboriginal History Award , it is the generous gift of Emeritus Professor David Carment and Dr Stephen Gapps.

Its purpose is to encourage students and other beginning historians (up to post-doctoral career) in the writing of Australian Aboriginal history, including Torres Strait Islander history, from original sources. First Nations Australians are strongly encouraged to enter.

In 2022, the winner receives a $2,500 cash prize (a further increase of $500 from that awarded in 2021), with the winning entry demonstrating excellence in addressing its subject, proficiency in the use of original materials and clarity of exposition.  Apply via the button above.  Criteria can be viewed here.

The Addi Road Award for Multicultural History

Addi Road Award for Multicultural History is supported by the Addison Road Community Organisation.

The purpose of the Award is to encourage new and emerging historians to discover, analyse and explore multicultural histories and the history of multiculturalism in Australia, helping to increase academic and public engagement in a topic that has ongoing relevance to Australian history and society today.

In 2022, the winner receives a citation and a prize of $1,000. The winning entry (essay or multimedia) makes an original argument using primary historical sources and demonstrate the capacity to develop complex arguments linking the past to contemporary, multicultural issues that have, or are currently impacting on the Australian community.

Co-authored or collaborative works are eligible for submission.  Apply via the button above.  Criteria can be viewed here.

The Macquarie-PHA Applied History Award

The Macquarie-PHA Applied History Award is jointly sponsored by the Macquarie University Centre for Applied History and the Professional Historians Association (NSW & ACT). 

The purpose of the Award is to encourage historians to produce a creative work of applied history drawing on their research. It aims to promote the value of public history and the pursuit of history as a rewarding professional career.

Individuals and groups are eligible to apply. The award is open to historians at all stages of their career, including those inside and outside of academic institutions; undergraduate, diploma, masters and doctoral level students; as well as professional, local, community and family historians. Candidates must have lived and/or created their work in New South Wales or the Australian Capital Territory over the 12 months preceding the deadline for submissions.

The winner receives a citation and a prize of $1,000. The winning entry will demonstrate excellence in writing or other media, and the ability to use original source materials, or demonstrated originality of interpreting the past in a contextual way. This work should engage with the field and practice of professional, public and applied history, using the past to inform contemporary concerns, issues and topics in creative ways.  Apply via the button above.  Criteria can be viewed here.

The Max Kelly Award

The Max Kelly Award of $500 is given annually to a ‘beginning’ historian for a work of excellence in any aspect of Australian history. The Award was established as a tribute to Associate Professor Maxwell John Kelly (1935-1996), the first elected President of the History Council.

The History Council of NSW is grateful to Mr Geoffrey Jones for his continuing support and generous donation of the prize money for the 2022 Max Kelly Prize.  Apply via the button above.  Criteria can be viewed here.

The Jill Roe Regional History Award

The Jill Roe Regional History Award is supported by the HCNSW’s Jill Roe Bequest Fund.

In 2022, and in anticipation of the Annual History Lecture to be given in Orange, NSW, the History Council of NSW is introducing a new Regional History Award. Named in honour of Professor Jill Roe (1940-2017), an outstanding and pioneering Australian historian, the purpose of the Award is to encourage historians at any stage of their careers to discover, analyse, and explore rural and regional Australian history, helping to increase academic and public engagement in a topic that has ongoing relevance to Australian history and society today.

In 2022, the winner will receive a citation and a prize of $500. The winning entry (essay, multimedia and/or public history project) will make an original and compelling argument using primary historical sources and demonstrate the capacity to develop complex arguments linking the past to contemporary, rural and regional issues that have, or are currently having an impact on the Australian community.

Apply via the button above.  Criteria can be viewed here.







HCNSW Award Winners 2021

2021 The Addi Road Award for Multicultural History Winner – Jane Curtis

for her audio documentary ‘‘The Scholars Hut’.

The Scholar’s Hut is a 28-minute radio documentary about the life story and legacy of Thomas Shadrach James, an Indian migrant to Australia in the late 19th century. The son of an indentured labourer in Mauritius, James came to Australia and worked as headteacher at Maloga and Cummeragunja Aboriginal missions for over forty years. He married Ada Cooper, a Yorta Yorta woman, and became part of the community.

In the daytime, he taught children in the schoolhouse. At night, he ran an activist night school for adults. His students went on to change Australian history. This documentary shares the political, historical and emotional legacy of this extraordinary but little known man.

This documentary was commissioned by ABC Radio National’s The History Listen. The bulk of the work was completed from August 2020 – October 2020. It was broadcast on Radio National on 5 November 2020 and as a podcast on The History Listen. The Supervising Producer was Ros Bluett, Senior Producer at ABC Radio National.


2021 First Nations History Award Winner – Jessica Urwin

for her essay ‘‘Take it back to Sydney’.

Using archival material produced and collected both by the Commonwealth and the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta (Coober Pedy Senior Women), this essay explores the clash between settler and Aboriginal approaches to nuclear waste in Australia. It does so by investigating the Kungas’ Irati Wanti (the poison, leave it) campaign, which sought to draw attention to the nuclear injustices plaguing desert peoples in South Australia. Faced with housing Sydney’s nuclear waste in order to allay urban anxieties, Irati Wanti platformed Aboriginal epistemologies, highlighting the importance of taking greater consideration for our environments and the need to better consider the legacies of the nuclear industry.

The majority of this work was undertaken in October and November 2020, with some amendments made in August 2021 ahead of submission for this award. It was written as part of my doctoral studies, constituting part of a thesis chapter under my supervisor Professor Angela Woollacott.


2021 The Macquarie-PHA Applied History Award Winner – Tweed Regional Museum

for their online exhibition and collection project ‘‘Small Town Queer’.

In 2020 the Tweed Regional Museum was questioned about its holdings of material related to LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, plus) people, places, and stories. After a thorough collection survey, the answer was…almost nothing.

What resulted was Small Town Queer, a digital exhibition and collection project that explores the rich tapestry of Tweed’s LGBTQIA history from the early 1900s to the present. This digital project includes the Museum’s first podcast series, a story map, public programming and an interactive portal for community stories.


Annual History Citation

Each year the History Council of NSW, via nominations from General Council members, awards the Annual History Citation to an eminent historian to honour a lifetime of service to history.

The Citation recognises individuals for outstanding research and scholarship and acknowledges their broader contribution through teaching, leadership, mentoring and community involvement.

Create NSW Funding & Support

The HCNSW is supported by an annual grant from Create NSW through the Arts & Cultural Development Program which enables it to manage the Awards & Prizes program, among other History Professional Development programs.

Information about funding and support available about this program can be accessed here.

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