The Van Diemen History Prize 2020

Good writing about history can be engaging, insightful, poignant or intriguing, but the underlying research will always be authentic and rigorous. The biennial Van Diemen History Prize fosters quality writing about Tasmanian history for articles aimed at a general audience.  

Closing Date: September 21, 2020.

Fee: $20 per article.

The prize is for articles up to 3,000 words, on any aspect of Tasmanian history prior to the 21st century.

The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $500 and publication in Forty South magazine.
A selection of the best entries will be published in an edited volume, The Van Diemen History Anthology 2021 (publication estimated to be in mid-2021). 

Our 2020 judges are:
Professor Stefan Petrow, Associate Professor Kristyn Harman, Paige Gleeson and Chris Champion.

Click here to read our terms and conditions

Click here to purchase your entry
Click here to submit your entry

Judges 2020-21

Professor Stefan Petrow
Professor Stefan Petrow teaches Australian, Tasmanian and European history at the University of Tasmania. His research covers all aspects of Tasmanian history from early settlement to the late twentieth century, but focus on urban, planning, legal, social and cultural history. He has also published on British, New South Wales, Victorian and Queensland history. His books include Policing Morals: The Metropolitan Police and the Home Office 1870-1914 (1994), Going to the Mechanics: The Launceston Mechanics’ Institute 1842-1914 (1998) and (with Cary Denholm) Dr. Edward Swarbreck Hall: Colonial Medical Scientist and Moral Activist (2016). He is currently completing a history of Tasmanian soldiers who served in infantry battalions in World War One called Tasmanian Anzacs.

Associate Professor Kristyn Harman
Kristyn Harman is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Tasmania. Her research interests cohere around socio-cultural frontiers including: transportation to, and within, British colonies; frontier warfare; Indigenous incarceration; and the Australian and New Zealand home fronts during World War Two. She is the author of Cleansing the Colony: Transporting Convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen’s Land (2017), longlisted for the Royal Society Te Aparangi Award in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, 2018. In 2014, Kristyn won the Australian Historical Association Kay Daniels award for her first book, Aboriginal Convicts: Australian, Khoisan, and Māori Exiles (2012).

Paige Gleeson
Paige Gleeson, a sixth generation Tasmanian and PhD Candidate in History at the University of Tasmania, won the inaugural Van Diemen History Prize in 2018 with her entry, Fantasy of the Past: Women’s History at the Cascade Female Factory. Paige researches the history of imperial visual culture and museums, and writes about contemporary art and Australian culture. Paige’s research interests include feminism and women’s history, Indigenous histories of Australia and the Pacific, art in practice and theory, and memory and memorialisation.  

Chris Champion
Chris Champion is editor of Forty South magazine and a director of Forty South Publishing with responsibility for all editorial functions. He has worked as an editor in Australia and Asia for more than 40 years. The historians on the judging panel will assess all entries and create a short list based on the merit of their historical investigation and writing quality. Chris will then choose the winner based on writing quality.


Previous years

Van Diemen History Prize 2018-19


Paige Gleeson (TAS) The Fantasy of the Past: Women’s History at the Cascade Female Factory



Tony Fenton (TAS) Eclipsed

Terry Mulhern (VIC) St Valentine’s Tears


FINALISTS (alphabetical order)

Claire Doran (TAS) No Passengers in the Coach

Billy Griffiths (VIC) How Archaeology Helped Save the Franklin River

Nic Haygarth (TAS) The Passing of the ‘Tigerman’

Terry Newman (TAS) Constitution Dock: Construction, Naming, and Tragedies

Amelia O’Donnell (NSW) Growing up at the Triabunna Barracks

Gina Slevec (TAS) The Enigma of the Midlands Arch

Kees Wierenga (TAS) Job in Tasmania