Every two years, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Australian Association for Maritime History (AAMH) jointly sponsor two biennial maritime history awards – the Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize and the Australian Community Maritime History Prize. The winners of the latest round were recently announced.
The Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize, worth $5,000, has been awarded to Alan Frost for his book Mutiny, Mayhem, Mythology: Bounty’s Enigmatic Voyage (Sydney University Press). The three judges were unanimous in selecting Mutiny, Mayhem, Mythology from a field of 13 entrants covering a wide range of topics. They said of the book:
‘Frost’s book is possibly the last word on this well-published subject until any new information comes to light. Frost thoroughly investigates and researches the Bligh/Fletcher/Bounty mutiny myths that have become embedded in broader culture. His forensic analysis of previously published research and source documents, together with new material, exposes how myths about Bligh, Christian and the mutiny have been perpetuated and embellished.
The outcome is a solid case for Bligh being not only a bully and brilliant navigator, but a committer of fraud against the Royal Navy and his crew in terms of manipulating supplies for his personal gain, withholding food and ignoring traditional crew rights and privileges. His treatment of Christian drove the latter to despair and made him choose poorly from the limited options open to him.
Some impressive research has gone into this well-referenced work, with genuine scholarly treatment exploring all aspects of the subject, where many recent accounts have been lightweight and novelised. The introduction is so good that one could read just this and no more (but that would be a shame).’
The first runner-up is Joy McCann for Wild Sea: A history of the Southern Ocean (NewSouth Publishing), and the second runner-up is Charlie Veron for his autobiography A Life Underwater (Penguin Random House).
The Australian Community Maritime History Prize 2019, worth $2,000, has been awarded to the Naval Historical Society of Australia for its website, navyhistory.org.au. The society aims to record, preserve and promote knowledge and awareness of naval history in Australia. Its website, launched in 2018, features events of interest, a research service, profiles of naval heritage sites, information on guided tours and membership, a members’ page and access to more than 2,000 articles. Uncluttered and easy to navigate, the website provides an excellent resource for anyone interested in many aspects of naval history.
There were no runners-up in this category.
The museum and the AAMH wish to congratulate the winners and thank all those who nominated a work for the awards.