Kulkyne Book Wins Victorian Premier’s History Award

16 October 2017

A book about the history of a little known area of north-west Victoria has been awarded top prize at the Victorian Community History Awards today.

John Burch was awarded the inaugural Victorian Premier’s History Award today for his book Returning the Kulkyne in a ceremony at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

The book provides an insight into the human stories of the Kulkyne ranging from the Indigenous Latji Latji and Nyeri Nyeri clans to squatters and pastoralists, hunters, rangers and even railwaymen, as well as the restitution of the environment after decades of misuse and degradation.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch’s gardener Michael Morrison was awarded the Judges’ Special Prize alongside Lisa Clausen for the book they co-wrote, Cruden Farm Garden Diaries – a compilation of more than 46 years of recorded history of Murdoch’s garden.

Other winning entries included a biography about Charles Joseph La Trobe, the story of McBean and Castlemaine, and two documentary films about immigrants who arrived as children at Station and Princes Piers between 1947 and 1971.

The Victorian Community History Awards are presented by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, and are funded by the Victorian Government.

The annual Victorian Community History Awards is a major event of History Week and recognises the work of individuals and organisations committed to telling stories of local history.

This is the first year the Awards have included the Victorian Premier’s History Award. To view commendations and for more information go to Link .

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“It’s fantastic to see so many authors, historians, film makers and web designers sharing histories of our state that may otherwise have gone untold.”

“I want to congratulate every winner on telling such important and engaging local stories that help Victorians better understand the past.”

Quotes attributable to Public Record Office Director and Keeper of Public Records Justine Heazlewood

“Many of these projects were created by volunteers, all of them by people who love and live for history.”

“From stunning books to compelling documentaries and handy websites – they are rich and diverse resources for learning about Victorian history.”

List of the 2017 Victorian Community History Award winners:

Victorian Premier’s History Award
Returning the Kulkyne by John Burch

Judges Special Prize
Cruden Farm Garden Diaries by Michael Morrison and Lisa Clausen

Collaborative Community Award
Fletcher Jones: Stories from our Community, Julie Eagles Project Coordinator

Local History Project Award
Notable People of Collingwood by the Collingwood Historical Society

History Publication Award
La Trobe. Traveller, Writer, Governor by John Barnes

Local History – Small Publication Award
Building Castlemaine: The Red Brick Legacy of H.D. McBean by Robyn Lewis

Cultural Diversity Award
Reading the Wind and Afterwards, two documentary films by Adam Ricco, Lella Cariddi and Multicultural Arts Victoria

Multimedia History Award
Joseph Reed and the Making of Marvellous Melbourne by Ros Stirling and Heritage Films

Historical Interpretation Award
Discover Historic Kyneton: A Guide to Discovering Kyneton’s Historic Places and People by Discover Historic Kyneton

Centenary of World War One Award
To Paint a War: The Lives of the Australian Artists Who Painted the Great War 1914-1918 by Richard Travers

History Article (Peer Reviewed) Award
One Woman’s Crèche is a Bureaucrat’s Child-Minding Centre, “The Flat” at Footscray High School 1976-1986 by Miranda Francis, Provenance Journal

To view commendations and for more information visit

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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