University of Southern Queensland History Book Award

2019 Shortlist 

University of Southern Queensland History Book Award

Congratulations to the finalists!

From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage: How Australia got Compulsory Voting (Text) by Judith Brett

Judges' comments 

Judith Brett brings her considerable historical and political skills to this account of Australia’s system of compulsory voting – a system unusual by world standards.  She traces the pathway with clear facts and figures but allows herself some courageous daring with her claim that this could be a greater cause for pride than some of the other narratives we have adopted into our national identity. 

 

An Unconventional Wife: The Life of Julia Sorell Arnold (Scribe) by Mary Hoban

Judges' comments

Exquisitely written and deeply moving, this fascinating biography rescues from obscurity the simultaneously extraordinary and ordinary life of Julia Sorell Arnold (1826-1888). Releasing Julia from the narratives constructed by and around her better known male relatives, the author has created a beautifully rendered portrait of a woman determined to retain her sense of self in an era which assumed a woman’s subordination to her husband.

Kindred: A Cradle Mountain Love Story (MUP) by Kate Legge

Judges' comments 

A lyrical account of two love stories:  that between two young naturalists, Gustav and Kate Weindorfer; and their love of Australia’s great natural wonder, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. Their commitment to documenting especially the flora of this wilderness helped create the national park. The author brilliantly captures the beauty of their relationship and that of the mountains to which they devoted their lives.  

 

A New History of the Irish in Australia (NewSouth) by Elizabeth Malcolm and Dianne Hall

Judges' comments 

A refreshing and engaging re-interpretation of the Irish experience in Australia, using new sources and research. The authors delve into questions of race, gender, crime, mental health, employment, politics and religion, and draw a picture of a vibrant Irish contribution to Australian culture and society, albeit one often controversial and contested.   

You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World (Text) by Clare Wright

Judges' comments

Underpinned by rigorous research, this lively and compelling account of how non-Indigenous Australian women won the right to vote and then took their fight to the world stage illuminates and celebrates a remarkable chapter in our history. Ultimately, it challenges us to rethink our assumptions about nation-building and Australia’s foundational narratives.