Events and Activities
About the Bicentenary
Roll of Honour
History Prize
Community History Project
Thank You
The Shortlists
Tasmania Pacific Bicentenary History Prize
Tasmanian Bicentenary Local History Prize
Advisory Committee
$5000 Tasmanian Bicentenary Local History Prize – List of nominated books
$25,000 Tasmania Pacific Bicentenary History Prize – List of nominated books
131 Fabulous Books enter the Field
Winners of the Tasmanian Bicentenary History Prizes

Winner of the $25,000 Tasmania Pacific Bicentenary History Prize

Victorian writer Barry Hill has won the $25,000 Tasmania Pacific Bicentenary History Prize for his book, Broken Song: T.G.H. Strehlow and Aboriginal Possession, published by Knopf - Random House 2002.

The Tasmania Pacific Bicentenary History Prize attracted 82 entries from throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The judges of the Tasmania Pacific Bicentenary History Prize were historian Professor Michael Roe, Professor Lucy Frost (Professor of English, University of Tasmania)and Ms Sylvia Lawson (University of Technology, Sydney), who wrote the following about Broken Song:

"In every sense this is a big book, indeed a heroic book; it both deserves this award and honours it.

The writer took on a difficult double subject, the anthropologist and translator Theodore Strehlow and his great book Songs of Central Australia, one of the monumental works of all Australian culture.

Traversing this huge territory, Barry Hill's work is at once clear, committed, sympathetic and uncompromising. His book throws a line into the future; it can move minds in a progressive direction. If we can take this great bi-cultural history properly on board, we can be better equipped for the demands of a bi- and mult-cultural Australia".

Broken Song took12 years to research and write.

Broken Song is a multi-award winning book. In 2003 it was the Winner of the Westfield/Waverley Library Award for Literature for demonstrating excellence in research, readability, literary merit and value ot the community.

About the author: Barry Hill

Barry Hill's long narrative poem, Ghosting William Buckley won the 1994 NSW Premier's Award for Poetry, and his labour history, Sitting-In, won the same award for non-fiction in 1992. He is the winner of other national awards for poetry, non-fiction and works for radio. His short fiction has been widely anthologised and translated.

Although he lives by the sea in Queenscliff, Victoria, his most recent work, The Rock: Travelling to Uluru and The Inland Sea, arises out of travelling and research in Central Australia.

Barry Hill was born in Australia and educated in Melbourne and London, where he has worked as an educational psychologist and journalist. He has been writing full-time since 1975. He teaches occasionally at the University of Melbourne where he is Honorary Fellow at the Australian Centre, and he is Poetry Editor for The Australian newspaper.

Winner of the Tasmanian Bicentenary Local History Prize

Tasmanian-born writer Phillip Tardif has won the $5,000 Tasmanian Bicentenary Local History Prize for his book, John Bowen's Hobart, published by the Tasmanian Historical Research Association.

John Bowen’s Hobart marks the bicentenary of European settlement in Tasmania.

The story of that first settlement is virtually unknown. Two hundred years ago, a rag-tag collection of soldiers, settlers and convicts arrived at Risdon Cove on the River Derwent. In command was 23 year-old Navy Lieutenant John Bowen, with orders to take possession of the island and prevent a rumoured French settlement there.

Bowen’s expedition succeeded. The French threat evaporated, Van Diemen's Land was secured for Britain and a town called Hobart was formed at Risdon Cove. Yet within a year the settlement was abandoned, and Bowen ‘cursed for a fool’ ever since. Before long the Risdon story became little more than a footnote in this country’s history.

Through his research, Phillip Tardif found that there was more to the first European settlement of Tasmania than ‘fear’ and ‘incompetency’ – although those two elements did play a part. He found a story with more than its share of adventure, romance, mutiny, betrayal, murder, tragedy, farce – even comedy of sorts, and some fascinating characters – that mixture of heroes, villains and fools often revealed when a small group of people is forced to live in close contact for a long period of time.

The Chairman of the Judging Panel for the Tasmanian Bicentenary Local History Prize, Leone Scrivener, said John Bowen’s Hobart had much to commend it.

“Phillip Tardif has written an in-depth scholarly study into the circumstances surrounding the first European settlement in Tasmania. The book is a well rounded history, detailing the stories of the principal characters after the abandonment of the Risdon settlement and takes the history of the site up to the present day. The lucid prose makes it a most readable and absorbing story,” Mrs Scrivener said.

About the Author: Phillip Tardif

Phillip Tardif was born in New Norfolk, Tasmania, and studied at the Australian National University in Canberra before publishing Notorious Strumpets and Dangerous Girls in 1990. His most recent historical work, John Bowen’s Hobart: The Beginning of European Settlement in Tasmania, was published in September 2003 to mark the bicentenary of European settlement in that State. He also contributed a chapter to Robert Manne’s Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle’s Fabrication of Aboriginal History, and delivered the Tasmanian Historical Research Association’s annual Eldershaw Lecture in 2003.


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2004 Bicentenary of Tasmania