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South Australia’s newest “history greats” were recognised in a ceremony held at historic Government House last week. Five South Australian historians were honoured with History Council of SA Awards in recognition for a range of activities from South Australian history research, writing, teaching, and raising community awareness of history and heritage. The Awards are supported by Wakefield Press.

His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AO presented the Awards in four categories to:
– South Australian Life-long History Achievement Award – jointly awarded to Mr Tom Gara and Mr Graham Jaunay
– South Australian Historian of the Year – Mr Peter Donovan
– South Australian Regional History Award – Mr John Mannion
– Emerging South Australian Historian of the Year – Ms Carly Osborn

History Council President Dr Susan Marsden said, ‘For 40 years Tom Gara has been working in the important area of indigenous history. His work has provided a basis for development and provenance of indigenous history, and contributed to reconciliation. A major work on Aboriginal History in SA from 1836
to the 1980s is pending’.

Joint winner Graham Jaunay has a lifetime of involvement in history, specialising in genealogy and family history, the fastest growing area of community engagement in history. He has an international reputation and has lectured and conducted historic walks, and published extensively on how to undertake research. He’s been a driving force in establishing SA’s family history centre and the Genealogical Society. Dr Marsden said, ‘The Historian of the Year Award focuses on a major achievement within the past two
years in presentation on historical topics, raising community awareness of history, and strengthening its
profile. The 2015 Award was to Peter Donovan, who has been a leader in the history profession nationally, and has many publications and achievements to his credit, including over 50 books and many heritage studies. He’s recently published another highly rated specialist book, a history of Mercedes College, and was involved in the Gallipoli commemorations this year’.

The South Australian Regional History Award was made to John Mannion, a farmer with a strong sense of place and a passion for history. Since 1974 he’s been recording oral histories of his district of Pekina, as well as Andamooka and Peterborough, which are a valuable resource. He’s promoted awareness of the
value of oral histories by conducting workshops, lecturing, and writing in the local press. The judges extol him as ‘the epitome of the local history activist who can keep the stories of a region alive and relevant today’.

Finally, for the award of Emerging South Australian Historian of the Year, Dr Marsden said that Carly Osborn ‘has greatly assisted the new emphasis on history in the curriculum by harnessing technology and leading professional development of history teaching in schools. Hundreds of teachers have been inspired by her materials and methods’.

Congratulations to all the winners, they were certainly well deserved.

More information …
The History Council of SA is a peak body providing a representative voice on historical issues and acting to celebrate history in South Australia. Membership is now open to organisations and individuals. For more details, visit their website: http://www.historycouncilsa.org.au.