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‘Shifting Grounds’ and ‘Vandemonians’ joint 2022 Ernest Scott Prize winners

Shifting Grounds: Deep histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (Lucy Mackintosh, Bridget Williams Books) and Vandemonians: The repressed history of colonial Victoria (Janet McCalman, Miegunyah Press) have jointly won the 2022 Ernest Scott Prize for History.

The winners were chosen from 77 entries and a shortlist of five that also included Empire and the Making of Native Title: Sovereignty, property and Indigenous people (Bain Attwood, Cambridge University Press); Return to Uluru (Mark McKenna, Black Inc.); and Truth-telling: History, sovereignty and the Uluru Statement (Henry Reynolds, NewSouth).

Of Shifting Grounds, the judges said: ‘This beautifully produced, absorbing book is a treat to read. Through a combination of evocative prose, clarity of argument and well-chosen images, Lucy Mackintosh delivers immersive deep histories of three Auckland sites and its peoples with care and compassion … She brings places into life from multiple perspectives, arguing that material and human worlds are agents of history. In Shifting Grounds, Auckland’s landscapes are saturated with power and domination as well as delicate human stories that reveal histories of connection across deep time.’

The judges called Vandemonians ‘a profoundly original and compassionate work of history that showcases new methods of collective biography to deliver fresh insights on every page about Australia’s colonial foundations. The Vandemonians were the generation of ex-convicts who crossed Bass Strait to lose themselves in Port Phillip and Victoria, seeking to escape their “demonised” past. … The convict experience is analysed in the full context of the life-course of individuals, singularly and in a crowd. This lucidly written historical study carries important lessons for our treatment today of the poor, the unwell and the disabled, the unprotected, abused and unloved.’

The $13,000 Ernest Scott Prize prize is awarded annually by the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts and the Australian Historical Association to a work based on original research that contributes to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation.


Category: Awards Local news