History Publication Award

Maldon. A New History 1853‒1928

Brian Rhule

Exploring History Australia, Bendigo, 2019


This new history of Maldon is a window into the minutiae of life in a gold-mining town and makes a valuable contribution to the ever-expanding body of work on the Victorian goldfields. The book covers a rich spectrum of material, shining a light on many elements of everyday life in this early mining town,


Historical Interpretation Award

Annie’s War. The Story of One Boroondara Family’s Wartime Experience

Lucy Bracey, illustrated by Gregory Mackay

City of Boroondara, Melbourne, 2019


In 1916 Edward Slade enlisted in the First World War, and set off for the front, leaving behind his wife and three young children. His story is told from the viewpoint of his daughter Annie, who makes sense of the tumultuous events of wartime through her own experience of the homefront in suburban Melbourne.


Local History – Small Publication Award

Gariwerd: an Environmental History of the Grampians

Benjamin Wilkie

CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 2020


The author of this well-presented work seeks to answer the question: ‘what is the nature of Gariwerd?’ This mountain range in Victoria’s western district, formerly known as the Grampians, has been a significant presence in the lives of people of the region since the earliest human settlement, tens of thousands of years ago.


Community Diversity Award

The Boîte. History Through Music, Song and Story

Jen Rose, Well Chosen Words in partnership with The Boîte



The Boîte—literally, the Cabaret—has been a significant part of Victoria’s cultural scene since 1979. In a variety of venues across Melbourne, and in rural settings, The Boîte has staged concerts, created choirs, and organised musical workshops and other projects. The central aim of the organisation’s multi-faceted program has always been to increase awareness within the Victorian community of the music of our migrants from non-English speaking countries. 


Digital Storytelling Award

Joint Winners

La Mama. The Biggest Little Theatre in Australia

Rachel Fensham and Andrew Fuhrmann for the Digital Studio at University of Melbourne and Digital Heritage Australia



Carlton’s La Mama theatre holds an iconic place in Victoria’s cultural landscape, and this web project provides an interactive tour exploring the history and significance of the theatre by inhabiting its archive as a material and virtual space. 


History Article Award

Woman’s Sphere Remodelled. A Spatial History of the Victorian Woman’s Christian Temperance Union 1887‒1914

Ruby Ekkel

Victorian Historical Journal, vol. 91, no.1, June 2020


This is a thoroughly and deeply researched article presented with a verve and pace that makes it both conceptually strong and persuasive.  By undertaking a spatial analysis of the activities of the WCTU in Victoria between 1887 and 1914 the author demonstrates the ways in which these women negotiated the ideological framework of ‘separate spheres’ to expand the definition of the ‘private sphere’ women were allowed to occupy.  


Victorian Premier’s History Award

Printed on Stone. The Lithographs of Charles Troedel

Amanda Scardamaglia

Melbourne Books, Melbourne, 2020


Born in Hamburg in 1835, Charles Troedel became an apprentice lithographer to his father before being recruited to Melbourne by a Norwegian printer. Troedel founded his own business in 1863 and attracted praise for The Melbourne Album, which is reproduced here. A master of lithography, the technique of printing on stone, which transformed the production of graphic arts,


Judges’ Special Prize

The judges can award a special prize for any outstanding entry outside of established categories.

Visions of Victoria. The Magic of Kodachrome Film, 1950‒1975

Nick Anchen

Sierra Publishing, Melbourne, 2019


Visions of Victoria provides a window on Victoria’s past in the third quarter of the 20th century. Most of the photographs it presents were taken in Melbourne, but Bendigo, Ballarat and a range of smaller rural towns also feature.  


Oral History Award

Out of the Madhouse. From Asylums to Caring Community?

Sandy Jeffs and Margaret Leggatt

Arcadia, Melbourne, 2020


Out of the Madhouse is an outstanding history, in every regard. The ‘madhouse’ was Larundel Psychiatric Hospital, a Melbourne institution from 1953 to 1999. 


Drawing upon 71 interviews with former inmates, their family and friends, nurses, doctors, allied health workers and other staff, Out of the Madhouse brings to life the shocking consequences of mental ill-health and the equally shocking treatments;


Brainstorm History Month event ideas

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal and that is what the RHSV is doing – we are re-imagining our future and, in October, we’ll lay the groundwork for how we intend to continue in the future. 

The RHSV has a full program of webinars, online book events, on-line clinics and talks in October but we want to see every one rise to the challenge. We are old dogs but we can learn new tricks.



Sunday 2 August 2020

With level 4 restrictions coming in to place tonight from 6pm we have decided that all staff will work from home for the next 6 weeks or the duration of level 4 restrictions. Our phones are switched through to Rebecca’s mobile and we are still accessible by email. Our Zoom events and meetings will go ahead as planned. The bookshop will still be operating however, apologies in advance, we will only be posting books once a week so deliveries will be slower than usual.


We most strongly protest the misguided government policy and demand the penalty on studying the Humanities is removed

Friday 19 June 2020

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria, the peak body for local and community history in Victoria for over a century, is astonished that Humanities students in Australian universities are being burdened with an unprecedented rise of up to 113% in student fees. This is an impost on one of Australia’s most creative sectors at a time when creative solutions are needed to help Australia emerge from an economic shock of unparalleled dimensions.


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Yarra

CBD News loves our articles on history so much that they have asked us to supply a monthly article for their sister publication, Docklands News. Ashley Smith, an RHSV researcher, has produced his first Docklands News piece and it is a wonderful riff on Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works’ divers. It can be read here. The photo has also been reproduced in both Melbourne’s Twenty Decades and Remembering Melbourne.