Prized Australian history heads to Dubbo

Captain Cook’s shoe buckles and rare Indigenous word lists are among the extraordinary items from the State Library’s world-renowned collection heading to Dubbo from 3-4 September 2014.

Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant, said that this would be the first time that these prized Australian historical items from the State Library’s collection would be shown in Dubbo.

“Over the past two years 168 schools have enjoyed the Library’s popular Far Out! Treasures to the Bush initiative, and I’m thrilled it is heading to Dubbo for the first time to show primary school students these amazing items, relating to the discovery and exploration of our continent and nation,” says Mr Grant.

Students and teachers from eight primary schools will be among the first in their area to view the actual handwritten letters of Mary Reibey, extraordinary Indigenous artwork and Indigenous word lists from the local area.

See the full media release attached. 

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Shortlists announced for 2014 NSW Premier's History Awards

The Premier of NSW, the Honourable Mike Baird MP today [Monday 11 August] announced the shortlist for the 2014 NSW Premier’s History Awards.

Eight judges considered almost 150 entries across the five prize categories.

The Premier commented: “This year’s World War One commemorations are a time to reflect upon our nation’s involvement in the war and a reminder of the importance of the work of historians in marking and understanding our nation’s past.”

This year, the Australian Military History Prize has been introduced to commemorate the centenary of World War One. The winner will be chosen from a major published work submitted for the Australian History Prize.

Senior judge and President of the NSW History Council, Professor Richard Waterhouse, said: “The quality of the books submitted was extremely high and the judges faced a formidable task in determining the shortlist. The shortlisted books will all, in their own different ways, make significant and long lasting contributions to our understandings about the past. These books provide clear evidence that Australian historians are producing history that matches the very best international standards.”

The winners of the 2014 Awards will be announced as part of the launch of NSW History Week at a presentation and cocktail reception held at the State Library of NSW on Friday 5 September 2014.

See the full media release and judges’ report attached.

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Remarkable tale of intrepid 19th century female celebrity wins nation's richest biography award

An engrossing biography of Jane Franklin – indefatigable traveller and writer, formidable consort of Tasmanian governor and Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin – has won the $25,000 National Biography Award, Australia’s richest prize for life writing, the State Library of NSW announced TODAY [Monday 4 August 2014].

Tasmanian historian Alison Alexander won from a field of 61 entries for The Ambitions of Jane Franklin, Victorian Lady Adventurer, published by Allen & Unwin.

The judges – award-winning biographer Jacqueline Kent, critic and founding editor of the Sydney Review of Books, James Ley and Professor Melanie Nolan, General Editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography – praised Alexander’s research as well as the quality of her writing.

Chair Jacqueline Kent observed: “Drawing on a huge body of hitherto unpublished research as well as Franklin’s voluminous letters and journals, Alexander has written a full and astute biography of a highly intelligent, vital and strong-minded woman determined to transcend the limited expectations of her age and class.”

“The book is impressively light on its feet, and Alexander guides the reader through Franklin’s story with a great deal of writerly skill.”

The National Biography Award winner announcement marks the beginning of Biography Week (4 – 8 August), a public events program at the State Library of NSW. Following the announcement the Award judges will discuss Australian biography and memoir in a free event at 1pm.

Dr Linda Jaivin, novelist, translator and essayist, will talk about the truth in literature when she delivers the National Biography Award lecture on 6 August at 6pm.

The National Biography Award is administered and presented by the State Library on behalf of Dr Geoffrey Cains and Michael Crouch AO.

Please see full media release and judges’ comment attached.

Alison Alexander, Jacqueline Kent and Linda Jaivin are available for interviews.

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