PHA NSW & ACT Public History Prize

PHA NSW & ACT Public History Prize


The Public History Prize is an annual award offered by the Professional Historians Association of NSW & ACT (PHA NSW & ACT). The prize is open to NSW & ACT students engaged with the field and practice of public history. The winner will receive a certificate and a prize of $500, presented at the PHA NSW & ACT’s Public History Prize awards night in March 2016.

For regular updates, visit the Public History Prize’s facebook page.

What is Public History?

The US National Council on Public History defines it as a form of historical practice that is applied to ‘real world issues’ and covers areas such as museum curatorship, oral history, cultural heritage management, history websites, film and television historical documentaries etc.

Submission guidelines

  • The Public History Prize is open to students (undergraduate, graduate diploma, master studies) in NSW and the ACT whose work engages with the field and practice of professional and public history (both Australian and international).
  • The nominated work must demonstrate competence in the use of primary source material, or be of demonstrated originality.
  • Eligible entries must represent work substantially undertaken within the 12 months before the submission deadline.

Acceptable formats for the entry, are the following:

  • an essay of 3-6,000 words
  • documented evidence of an exhibition and an exegesis (1,000 words) explaining context, purpose etc
  • documented evidence of a website and an exegesis (1,000 words) explaining context, purpose etc
  • multi-media submission of any form and an exegesis (1,000 words) explaining context, purpose etc

The winning entry will demonstrate excellence in writing or other media, and the ability to use original source materials, or demonstrated originality of interpreting the past in a contextual way.

Nominations for Public History Prize 2016

2016 Public History Prize entries close on Sunday 15 January 2017.

The 2016 Nomination Form can be found here.


The Public History Prize was established in 2008 to encourage students enrolled in undergraduate history courses to research, write and present accessible and engaging histories, and to consider a career as a professional historian operating in the public history field.

Past winners

2014 – Nathan Fallon, Macquarie University- ‘Transmitting the memory of the Holocaust to the Australian Public: the cultivation of prosthetic memory in the Sydney Jewish Museum’. Read Nathan’s essay, here.

2013 – Nathan Stormont, University of Sydney – ‘Challenging Helsinki: Human rights, national aspirations and socialist legality in Soviet Ukraine 1965-1980’. Read a PHA NSW & ACT blog post by Nathan here.

2012 – Sarah Gregory, Macquarie University – ‘Understanding Shades of Grey: The Testimonies of Two Former Auschwitz-Birkenau Sonderkommando Survivors: The Gabbai Brothers’

2012 – Brett Seymour, University of Sydney – ‘Robben Island: Histories, identities and futures’

2011 – Rosa Grahame, Australian National University – ‘Mountains out of molehills: Black Mountain and the Human Imagination’.

2010 – Megan Walford, University of NSW -‘Protest and memory: the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’

2010 – Gary Boyce, University of New England – ‘Understanding the heritage of the City of Sydney Fire Station’

2009 – Joanna Laidler, University of NSW – ‘What roles do Museums play in shaping our understanding of the holocaust?’

2009 – Lena Hattom, University of NSW – ‘Coming to Australia: Voices from the SIEV-4’

2008 -Ilana Cohn, University of NSW -‘The Holocaust Since 1945’

2008 – Bethan Donnelly, University of NSW -‘Villawood Migrant Hostel’

Read their winning essays here.