Last updated:

2 February 2024

A history of St Kilda’s “golden age” between 1841 and 1900 has won the top prize at the prestigious Victorian Community History Awards, which were presented today at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

Award winners in 12 categories spanned a wide breadth of the state’s history, covering diverse topics including 19th century St Kilda, the 1970s Pram Factory, the loss of “Marvellous Melbourne” and contemporary social media takes on the urban environment.

Carmel McKenzie was awarded the Victorian Premier’s History Award for her book St Kilda 1841-1900: Movers and Shakers and Money-Makers, detailing how St Kilda was a bastion of aristocratic privilege prior to the 1890s. The judges described the book as “a beautifully presented and profusely illustrated social history”.

The book Staging a Revolution: When Betty Rocked the Pram won the History Publication Award for recounting the story of Betty Can Jump, a radical play born out of the early 1970s women’s liberation movement.

The documentary The Lost City of Melbourne won the History Interpretation Award for depicting how widespread demolition “brought Melbourne to its knees”, while Julian O’Shea won the Digital Storytelling Award for Unknown Melbourne, an “engaging, accessible and surprising” social media take on the history of some unusual locations.

A book celebrating art and design in Frankston, Instagram histories of the houses of North and West Melbourne, and Charlton Neighbourhood House’s Nyernila project were also awarded. The Oral History Prize went to Don’t Be Too Polite Girls, a documentary about oral history pioneer Wendy Lowenstein.

The Premier’s History Award carries $5,000 prize money, with 11 category winners sharing a further $16,000.

The Victorian Community History Awards are supported by the Allan Labor Government and presented by Public Record Office Victoria with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria. See bottom for all winners and go to or for more information.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Government Services Gabrielle Williams

“It’s fantastic that we can celebrate the people and the projects that tell our stories in such a compelling way.”

“These projects help us to better understand the communities we live in and their rich heritage – congratulations to all award winners for their outstanding work.”

Quote attributable to Public Record Office Victoria Director and Keeper of Public Records Justine Heazlewood

“This year’s winners demonstrate the many varied and contemporary ways the history of Victoria can be told and shared to reach a wider audience. Well done everyone.”

Quote attributable to President of the Royal Historical Society Victoria Emeritus Professor Richard Broome AM

“The judges had another exceptional pool of entries to choose from this year and every community historian who participated should be applauded for their commitment to local history.”

2023 Victorian Community History Awards winners

Victorian Premier’s History Award
St Kilda 1841-1900: Movers and Shakers and Money-Makers by Carmel McKenzie

Judges’ Special Prize
Frontier Magistrate: The Enigmatic Foster Fyans by John Cary

Collaborative Community History Award
On Bunurong Country: Art and Design in Frankston by Lisa Byrne and Dr Jane Eckett

Local History Project Award
Houses of North and West Melbourne by Elio Sarpi

Small Organisation History Project Award
Precious Objects: Shared Memories of our Collective Past by Willaura Modern Inc. at Historic Railway Station Gallery in association with Willaura Historical Society

History Publication Award
Staging a Revolution: When Betty Rocked the Pram by Kath Kenny

Small History Publication Award
Flinders Cargo Shed: Heritage and Environs by Flinders District Historical Society

Digital Storytelling Award
Unknown Melbourne by Julian O’Shea

Community Diversity Award
Nyernila by Charlton Neighbourhood House

Oral History Award (presented in collaboration with Oral History Victoria)
Don’t Be Too Polite Girls by Richard Lowenstein and Martie Lowenstein

History Interpretation Award
The Lost City of Melbourne by Gus Berger

History Article Award
No Mention of the Great Famine: Interpreting a Gap in Dr John Singleton’s Autobiographical Narrative by Sylvia Morrissey, published in Victorian Historical Journal


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