State Library of Western Australia

Western Australian Premier's Book Awards - Historical & Critical Category Winners

For the 2000 Awards, the categories of Historical and Critical Studies and Special Award were combined into a Non-Fiction category with two awards presented in this category.


Broken Lives - Estelle Blackburn
Stellar Publishing
Judges' Comments
In searching for answers concerning a possible miscarriage of justice, Estelle Blackburn has provided a detailed reconstruction of a series of events which illuminate the social history of Perth in the 1960s. Focusing on the extraordinary and chilling crimes of serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke she provides a fascinating insight into what made Cooke tick, while the narrative makes for engaging, indeed gripping reading at all times. This may have been a book written primarily in the attempt to argue the case for a particular individual but the end product is much more than that. The impressive list of sources both written and oral is testimony to the extent of her achievement.


Our State of Mind: Racial Planning and the Stolen Generations - Quentin Beresford and Paul Omaji
Fremantle Arts Centre Press
Judges' Comments
This is a much needed account of Western Australian state discrimination against Aboriginal people, based on a study of the legislation and planning which lay behind the removal of Aboriginal children. The authors also consulted a number of Aboriginal people who had the experience of being forcibly separated from their families. The authors see the origin of the racist ideas which underpinned this set of policies in the desire of Europeans to possess Aboriginal land and employ cheap labour. This is a well-written and accessible text based on substantial research, which the authors make the basis for their careful judgement. It has a good bibliography and index and will be widely consulted by both general and specialist readers for its historical and contemporary value.


Carpet of Silver: the Wreck of the Zuytdorp - Phillip Playford
University of WA Press
Judges' Comments
In Carpet of Silver: the Wreck of the Zuytdorp, Phillip Playford offers us two histories, skilfully intertwined. One is about the wreck of Dutch ships on the Western Australian coast, and of this wreck in particular, with a substantial account of how these ships operated from Europe to the West Indies. The second interlocking story is about how the mystery of the Zuytdorp was unravelled by Museum personnel, by local adventurers and other interested parties. The story gives full attention to the role of local people on the coast, including the Aboriginal population. There are excellent photographs which provide a valuable addition to the clear description of the local environment. This account unravels the politics of wrecks in Western Australia and fills in the details of a great story which has previously come to us only through episodic newspaper reports. There is excellent research both in Western Australia and overseas underlying this account, including research into the amount of bullion carried by the Zuytdorp and into the details of her disastrous voyage to Capetown. The photographs add to the clear reconstruction of the 'search' story which includes the interesting last chapter on the possible absorption of the ship-wrecked Europeans by local Aborigines. This is a well written and absorbing story with a wide potential readership, both here and overseas.


Jandamarra and the Bunuba Resistance - Banjo Woorunmurra & Howard Pedersen
Magabala Books
Judges' Comments
Banjo Woorunmurra and Howard Pedersen's Jandamarra represents a unique collaboration between the traditional custodian of a major episode in Aboriginal-white relations in Western Australia and an academically trained historian, and as such provides a pioneering model for Australian historians. It draws on research from many sources, and while expressing a firmly stated point of view is careful in its use of evidence.


Searching for the Snowy - George Seddon
Allen & Unwin
Judges' Comments
George Seddon's Searching for the Snowy, is a highly readable account of a physical and intellectual exploration of the natural and social world of the Snowy River.


Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia - David Horton
Aboriginal Studies Press
Judges' Comments
The Encyclopedia of Aboriginal Australia is a unique and invaluable reference book, serving well scholars and those interested in all aspects of Aboriginal life, produced in a visually beautiful format.


Central Mischief - Elizabeth Jolley
Penguin Books


Spirit in Exile - Bruce Bennett
Oxford University Press

1991 (Joint Winners)

Wild Card - Dorothy Hewett
McPhee Gribble

Writing from the Fringe - Mudrooroo Narogin
Hyland House

The Historical & Critical Studies Category was called the Non Fiction Category from 1982 - 1990.

1990 (Joint Winners)

Wanamurraganya: Story of Jack McPhee - Sally Morgan
Fremantle Arts Centre Press

Emma: A Translated Life - Emma Ciccotosto and Michael Bosworth
Fremantle Arts Centre Press

1989 (Joint Winners)

For Their Own Good - Anna Haebich
University WA Press

Approaching Elise - Carolyn Polizzotto
Fremantle Arts Centre Press


My Place - Sally Morgan
Fremantle Arts Centre Press

1987 (Joint Winners)

Women, Marriage & Politics, 1860-1914 - Pat Jalland
Oxford University Press

The Lyre in the Pawnshop - Fay Zwicky
University WA Press


Identity Prized - A History of Subiaco - Ken Spillman
University of WA Press

1985 (Joint Winners)

The Conscious Stone - A Biography of John C Hawes - A. G. Evans
Polding Press

Reading the Country - Introduction to Nomadology - Krim Benterrak, Stephen Muecke and Paddy Roe
Fremantle Arts Centre Press

1984 (Joint Winners)

Port of Pearls - History of Broome - Hugh Edwards

Peppermint Grove - Robert Pascoe
Oxford University Press

1983 (Joint Winners)

Lords of Death - Suzanne Welborn
Fremantle Arts Centre Press

Nyungar Tradition - Lois Tilbrook
University of WA Press


Nothing to Spare - Jan Carter
Penguin Books

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