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The winners – biennial maritime history prizes

Every two years, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Australian Association for Maritime History co-sponsor two maritime history prizes: the Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Prize and the Australian Community Maritime History Prize. We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 round of prizes.


The Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize 2021

The winners of the Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize 2021, worth $6,000, are Anita Herle and Jude Philp for Recording Kastom: Alfred Haddon’s journal from the Torres Strait and New Guinea, 1888 and 1889, (Sydney University Press, 2020, ISBN 9781743326480).


Recording Kastom cover


The judges (Dr Ross Anderson, Dr Peter Hobbins and Dr Wendy van Duivenvoorde) were unanimous in their decision, and said of the book:

‘The editors present Cambridge zoologist and anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon’s personal journals of his visits to Torres Strait, New Guinea and North Queensland in
1888 and 1898. During these trips Haddon gathered an extensive and significant collection of Torres Strait materials including artefacts, sound and film recordings, all
now held in British, Irish and Australian institutions. Haddon realised the importance of his work as perhaps the last opportunity to record traditional customs in the
region as they were being affected by colonialism.

His private journals give a greater insight into Haddon’s personal views and life in the region at the end of the 19th century. His informal writing style is engaging and readable, in the descriptive manner of a 19th-century traveller’s account. His observations of the many Indigenous, colonial and other characters he meets as he voyages through the region reflect his excitement when encountering new and valuable information, as well as period prejudices.

The book is well footnoted and richly illustrated with Haddon’s sketches and watercolours from his journals, alongside modern photographs highlighting significant items from the anthropological collections mentioned in the text. The authors consulted extensively with both Traditional Owners and Haddon’s family to contextualise the journals, which include modern anthropological reflections and perspectives. This is a high-quality work of enduring value that does justice to the
richness of Torres Strait Islander and New Guinea peoples’ culture, spirituality, voyaging, trade and interactions.’


The three runners-up are, in order:

Sarah Laverick, Through Ice and Fire: The adventures, science and people behind Australia’s famous icebreaker Aurora Australis,(Pan MacMillan Australia, 2019, ISBN 9781760554798).

Jane Smith, 2019, Ship of Death: the tragedy of the ‘Emigrant’: The Voyage – The Quarantine – The Aftermath (Independent Ink, 2019, ISBN 9780648650300)

John Ogden, 2020, Whitewash: The lost story of an African Australian (Cyclops Press, 2020, 9780648952701)


Australian Community Maritime History Prize 2021


Piners Punts cover


The winner of the Australian Community Maritime History Prize 2021, worth $2,000, is the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Society for Tasmanian Piners’ Punts: Their history and design (editor Graham Broxam). The judges said of the book:

‘This is a valuable contribution to the record of a specific boat type and a maritime industry.The book offers a neat combination of oral history, newspaper research and survey of surviving piners’ punts. Shaped from fragmentary sources, it is well written and full of evidence, intended to serve as reference rather than a narrative account. It will be a
valuable guide for historic, ethnographic and archaeological studies of small Tasmanian boats and their construction.’

The runner up was Mission to Seafarers VIC, for Harbour Lights – women with a mission 1914–1918.

The Australian National Maritime Museum and the Australian Association for Maritime History congratulate the winners and thank all those who nominated works for these awards.


Nominate for the 2023 round of prizes
Writers, publishers and readers of maritime history are invited to nominate works for the 2023 prizes, worth $10,000. Click here for details.

Janine Flew

Publications officer, Australian National Maritime Museum

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