2019 Victorian Community
History Awards Winners

Winners announced: Victorian Community History Awards including the Victorian Premier’s History Award

The full list of winners (and the Judges’ citations) and commended entries is available here.

A book that tells the story of Ballarat’s famed Avenue of Honour and Arch of Victory has earned the top gong at the Victorian Community History Awards.

Historian Phil Roberts has been awarded the Victorian Premier’s History Award for his book Avenue of Memories in a ceremony at the Victorian Arts Centre.

Chloe Hooper and David Sornig took out the Judges’ Prizes for their respective, highly acclaimed books, The Arsonist and Blue Lake.

Avenue of Memories was produced to mark the centenary of Ballarat’s Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour, which runs for 22 kilometres and is considered the longest avenue of its kind in Australia.

Close to 4,000 trees were planted on the avenue to pay tribute to the 3,912 men and women from the district who served in World War One, 528 of whom died.

The judges described the book as an example of “community history at its best”.

Another winning entry was The Blackburns by Carolyn Rasmussen about Maurice and Doris Blackburn’s lives and impact on Australia from their community activism to civil rights and benefits for working men and women.

La Nostra Storia, a book about Italians in Ballarat and an exhibition about renowned civil engineer Carlo Catani from the CO. AS. IT Italian Historical Society were also on the winner’s list.

The Victorian Community History Awards recognise the work of individuals and organisations that keep Victoria’s history alive by acknowledging those who work to preserve it.

“This year’s stories are wonderful reminders of how communities can come together in times of crisis and how individuals can transform our lives for the better – this is Victoria’s rich and diverse history.”

“I congratulate all of this year’s winners for telling these remarkable stories and ensuring our shared history is not forgotten.”

Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“Congratulations to all the winners, particularly the many volunteers who give up their precious time and creative talents to tell and share important stories and perspectives of local Victorian history.”

Justine Heazlewood, Director, Public Record Office Victoria

“Our best wishes go to all participants – we’re celebrating the 21st year of a much-esteemed community history competition that is unique in Australia.” 

Emeritus Professor Richard Broome, President, Royal Historical Society Victoria


Victorian Premier’s History Award

Avenue of Memories
Phil Roberts

Judges’ Special Prizes

The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire
Chloe Hooper
Blue Lake: Finding Dudley Flats and the West Melbourne Swamp
David Sornig


Collaborative Community Award Winner

Mont Park to Springthorpe Heritage Project
The Springthorpe Heritage Group

Collaborative Community Award Commendations

East Loddon Remembers Memorial
East Loddon P-12 College, East Loddon Historical Society and Loddon Shire

Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Signature Quilt 1895-96
Heidelberg Historical Society Inc.

A History of the Broadford Paper Mill
Broadford and District Historical Society Inc.

The Stories of Drouin
Committee for Drouin Inc.


Local History Project Award Winner

When Roads Were Tracks: A History of the Roads of Monbulk, Kallista, The Patch and Sherbrooke
Jill A’Vard and Armin Richter


Local History Project Award Commendations

At Home on the Hill: Stories of Pioneers in the First 30 Years of the Phillip Island Cemetery
Pamela Rothfield

Castlemaine Gold Diggings
Historical and Modern Place Names

Clive E. Willman

Gravel and Bitumen: The History of the Street Names of Bairnsdale
Anthony A. Meade

Searchable Database of Properties within the Old Shire of Phillip Island circa 1872 to 1900
Phillip Island and District Genealogical Society Inc.

War Worn & Weary: The Convalescent Nurses of Osborne House Geelong 1917-1919
Cheryl Scott and Margaret Phelan


History Publication Award Winner

The Blackburns: Private Lives, Public Ambition
Carolyn Rasmussen


History Publication Award Commendations

Gardens of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
Anne Vale

Her Majesty’s Theatre Melbourne
The Shows, The Stars, The Stories

Frank van Straten

Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair
Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan

The Boy From Brunswick Leonard French
A Biography

Reg MacDonald

The Football Solution
How Richmond’s Premiership Can Save Australia

George Megalogenis


Local History – Small Publication Award Winner

More Than Just Housing: The South Port Community Housing Group Story 1983-2018
Beris Campbell, Janet Goodwin, Heather McKee and Helen Penrose

Local History – Small Publication Award Commendations

A Tribute to Those Who Served: Remembering WWI Service Personnel Who Are Buried or Memorialised in the Warragul Cemetery West Gippsland
West Gippsland Genealogical Society

Not for Self But for All: A History of the Art Gallery of Ballarat Association
Anne Beggs-Sunter

Shedding Light
The Murtoa Stick Shed Saga

Murtoa Stick Shed Enterprises

Victoria’s Earliest Potteries
Our Convict Era Potters

Gregory Hill


Cultural Diversity Award Winner

La Nostra Storia
The Story of Italians in Ballarat

Jan McGuiness

Cultural Diversity Award Commendations

A Golden Age in Flemington: 10 Years of Ageing
Moonee Valley Golden Age Women

A Second Chance
The Making of Yiddish Melbourne

Margaret Taft and Andrew Markus

Building Bridges: From Latin American Stories to Victorian History
Latin Stories Australia with curators Yunuen Pérez and Antonio Gonzále


Multimedia Award Winner

If These Walls Could Talk
Ballarat Town Hall Audio Tour

City of Ballarat and Way Back When

Multimedia Award Commendations

Carlo Catani Blog
Heather Arnold

Parkville Heritage Walks
Oral History Digitisation and App

The Parkville Association

What Courage Such a Thing Takes
The Life of Mary De Garis


Historical Interpretation Award Winner

Carlo Catani: Visionary, Creator, Genius
CO. AS. IT Italian Historical Society


Historical Interpretation Award Commendations

Sale Water Tower Museum
Peter and Ann Synan

Suburbia: The Familiar and Forgotten
Warren Kirk

Untitled (Seven Monuments)
TarraWarra Museum of Art

Vale: Mourning, Remembrance and Spiritualism in Bendigo 1851-1901
Emma Busowsky Cox


Oral History Award Winner

Black Saturday
Not the End of the Story

Peg Fraser

Oral History Award Commendations

Along the Line: Caulfield to Oakleigh Rail Stories
Glen Eira Historical Society Inc.

Bungalows of St Albans
Jospeph Ribarow

Sharing our Stories
RASV Oral History Collection

Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and Way Back When


The Victorian Community History Awards are proudly presented by Public Record Office Victoria and the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

The Awards recognise excellence and originality in historical storytelling. The range of award categories reflects the variety of formats that can be used to enrich the lives of Victorians through history.

The  2019 Victorian Premier’s History Award recipient and eight Victorian Community History category winners were announced during History Week on the 14th of October, 2019 at a ceremony at the Arts Centre in Melbourne.

Need more information?

Call us on 03 9326 9288

Email us at vcha@historyvictoria.org.au 

Image: Moomba parade, Melbourne Harbour Trust.

Public Record Office Victoria. VPRS 8375 P1 Unit 7, Item 004/041