Robin Barrington wins the 2019 Margaret Medcalf Award

The 2019 Margaret Medcalf Award was presented by Hon. David Templeman MLA, Minister for Culture and The Arts, at a special ceremony on Thursday morning 27 June 2019.

This year's Margaret Medcalf Award winner is Dr Robin Barrington for her journal article A Race War: Tracing emotions on the Murchison frontier in Western Australia 1880-1915.

The article appears in volume 32 (2018) of Studies in Western Australian History, published by the Centre of Western Australian History at the University of Western Australia.

Each year the State Records Office hosts the Margaret Medcalf Award, which rewards excellence in archival research and referencing and use of the State Archives Collection. There were 10 nominations for the award this year.

The Margaret Medcalf Award is distinctive in that published and unpublished works in any format are judged alongside each other; the emphasis of the award being the use and referencing of the State Archives Collection, which is preserved and made accessible by the State Records Office. State Archives chronicle the development of WA and document our society, revealing the experiences of communities and individuals that touch us today, also playing a central role in shaping our State’s future. This annual award honours the second State Archivist, Ms Margaret Medcalf OAM.

Quoting the award judges citation, Minister Templeman stated that “Robin Barrington’s article is a sophisticated piece of scholarship integrating Yamaji experiences and emotions with scholarly debates in Australia, producing an innovative work. The winning work makes a significant and unique contribution to the history of frontier violence from an indigenous perspective. The judicious use of visual material plays an integral and active role in furthering the author’s argument in the work, and the article displays a high level of use and exemplary referencing of archival materials”.

Dr Robin Barrington is a Badimia Yamaji woman and a lecturer in Aboriginal history, education and cultural studies at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University.

Three special commendations were also awarded:

Anna Haebich for her book Dancing in shadows: histories of Nyungar performance, published by UWA publishing.

Louis Marshall for his University of Western Australia PhD Thesis Surviving the Colony: the impact of the Western Australian convict system on prisoner health, 1850-1877

Sue Taffe for her book A white hot flame: Mary Montgomerie Bennett – author, educator, activist for Indigenous justice, published by Monash University Publishing.

The judges for this year's award were Ms Catherine Fletcher, State Records Commissioner and Acting Information Commissioner; Professor Jane Lydon, holder of the Wesfarmers Chair in Australian History at the University of Western Australia; and Ms Cathrin Cassarchis, former State Archivist and Executive Director State Records.