The winners of The 2017 NSW Premier’s History Awards, were recently announced at the State Library of NSW, as part of the official launch of NSW History Week. Archaeologists Anne Clarke, Ursula Frederick and historian Peter Hobbins were awarded the NSW Community and Regional History Prize for their publication ‘Stories from the Sandstone: Quarantine Inscriptions from Australia’s Immigrant Past’.
Judges of the award stated:
‘The North Head Quarantine Station operated from the 1830s until it closed in 1984; it served as a holding station for passengers on inbound ships to New South Wales arriving from well known hotspots for contagious diseases. Stories from the Sandstone examines around 1600 engravings in many different languages that were carved into the rocks and walls around the Quarantine Station during its 150 year history.
The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs of the engravings and paintings of the area. In addition to the inscriptions and graffiti, sources include official records, personal recollections, unpublished diaries, private correspondence, family trees and various archives. The authors draw from this rich body of sources to spotlight individuals who passed through the station and left their signatures in stone.
This fascinating and accomplished history of the Quarantine Station firmly locates the experiences of the local within the broader context of the global. It covers the history of immigration to Australia, the conditions of ship travel for men, women and children, the start of government public health measures and the establishment of official quarantine policies to manage arrivals and the spread of disease. It is a history contoured by how the governments of the day applied ideas of gender, race and culture to the treatment of diverse individuals. Such local experiences are set within the broader transnational framework of the history of trade, trade routes, theories of disease and pandemics.’
Other prizes awarded include:
Australian History Prize ($15,000) From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories, Mark McKenna (Melbourne University Publishing)
General History Prize ($15,000) Japanese War Criminals: The Politics of Justice After the Second World War, Sandra Wilson, Robert Cribb, Beatrice Trefalt and Dean Aszkielowicz (Columbia University Press)
Young People’s History Prize ($15,000) Maralinga’s Long Shadow: Yvonne’s Story, Christobel Mattingley (Allen and Unwin)
Multimedia History Prize ($15,000) The Amboyna Conspiracy Trial, Adam Clulow (Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media)