Margaret Medcalf Award

Since 2003, 16 researchers and historians, creating works on various Western Australian subjects, have won the Margaret Medcalf Award. Recognizing excellence in referencing and research using State Archives held by the State Records Office of Western Australia (SRO), the award honours Miss Margaret Medcalf OAM, Western Australia’s second State Archivist, for her valuable contribution to the development of archives in Western Australia. The winner receives a cash prize of $1000, or shares this prize if there is more than one winner. Works nominated must demonstrate accurate referencing and use of State archives.

Any work completed or published in 2017 is eligible to be submitted for nomination, and anyone, including the author of the work, may submit a nomination. Unlike book awards, nominated works need not be published, and may include student dissertations and theses. They may be fiction or non-fiction, and be presented in any media.

To submit a nominated work please complete a 2018 Margaret Medcalf Award Nomination Form and send it along with 3 copies of nominated works to the SRO at the address provided below. If published online please provide a web link. Completed nomination forms may also be emailed. One copy of nominated and winning works will be retained permanently by the SRO.

The judging criteria for the Award are:

  • Level of use of the State Archives Collection;
  • Proficient and consistent use of referencing;
  • Level of contribution to knowledge (historical, cultural, heritage, etc.);
  • Original use of the State Archives Collection;
  • Presentation.

For further details including more information about the judging criteria for the Award, see or contact Gerard Foley at the SRO by email or by phone on (08) 9427 3641.

Nominations for the 2018 Margaret Medcalf Award should be addressed to:

The State Archivist
State Records Office of WA
Alexander Library Building
Perth Cultural Centre
Perth, WA 6000.

Completed nomination forms and 3 copies of the works must be received by 4pm Friday, 6 April 2017.

Emeritus Professor Jenny Gregory AM FRHS MPHA M.ICOMOS
President, History Council of Western Australia

Margaret Medcalf Award nomination form_2018


FAHS bulletin

Link to Federation of Australian Historical Societies
eBulletin no. 174, 24 February 2018

Australia’s changing climate


Since 1910, the air and sea temperatures in and around Australia have warmed by nearly 1 degree Celsius. May–July rainfall has reduced by around 19 per cent since 1970 in the southwest of WA, and the duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across large parts of Australia.

In addition, rainfall has increased across parts of northern Australia since the 1970s, oceans around Australia have warmed and acidity levels have increased. We have also seen sea levels rising around Australia.

These changes affect many Australians particularly those changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought. Australia will need to plan for and adapt to some level of climate change.

The science underpinning these findings will help inform a range of economic, environmental and social decision-making and local vulnerability assessments by government, industry and communities.

In this lecture Neil Bennett will provide a background into the science behind these findings and will include new information about Australia’s climate – past, present and future.

Neil Bennett is the WA Manager of Media and Communication for the Bureau of Meteorology. He has worked in the field for 38 years and has spent time in the UK, Germany and Australia. As an observer he undertook measurements of temperature, rainfall, winds and pressure, whilst as a forecaster he provided forecasts for aviation users, the defence forces, emergency services managers, the media and the general community. In his current role, Neil acts as the spokesperson for the Bureau during major weather events and undertakes stakeholder engagement activities. He has also spent time working with ABCTV as one of their weather presenters.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

5.45pm for 6pm

State Library Theatre, Ground Floor, 25 Francis St, Perth





150th Anniversary of the End of Transportation

Pamela Statham Drew – WA Convicts: their lives and influence on the Colony

The arrival in Western Australia of the Hougoumont, with its cargo of convicts and Pensioner Guards, marked the end of transportation worldwide.
The 9 January 2018 will mark the 150th Anniversary of this event and so the WA Genealogical Society (Inc.) and the Royal WA Historical Society (Inc.) will be holding a series of Joint Presentations and Displays of Artefacts and Photographs of the men who came to the Swan River Colony, both in chains and in Uniform, during the convict era.

In this presentation Dr Pamela Statham Drew will talk about the lives of the nearly 10,000 convicts who came to the Swan River Colony over the 17 years of Transportation.

Date: Sunday 11 February 2018
Time: 10.30am Morning tea after presentation.
Cost: Gold Coin donation, WAGS members and visitors welcome
Venue: Stirling House 49 Broadway Nedlands

RSVP: Tel: 08 9386 3841 email:

Rothschild Prayer Book Lecture and Masterclass

The State Library is hosting a free public lecture by visiting scholar Michelle P. Brown on Tuesday 23 January on the Rothschild Prayer Book. The event is in partnership with Kerry Stokes Collection where the prayer book is held.

A ticketed masterclass will also be held the following day with Michelle on Wednesday 24 January, which will go into much greater depth over a full day – tickets for the Masterclass are $50 and include full catering.


Details and registrations of both events can be made at

The lecture can be found here:

The masterclass found here:

Vale David Hutchison

David Hutchison (1927-2017) passed away on Wednesday 27 December. David’s commitment to intellectual endeavour, with history as a particular passion, was steadfast. Bob Reece’s Citation for David’s Fremantle History Society Life Membership, conferred at this year’s AGM, says much about this remarkable man.

David is one of those rare people we can call a true authority on Fremantle and its history. As someone once said to him, ‘David, you have forgotten more history than I will ever know!’ From the time of his appointment as Senior Curator in History at the Western Australian Museum in 1970 with oversight of what was then the Fremantle History Museum at Finnerty St, David immersed himself in the town’s past. His later activism on behalf of the History Society, his prolific research and writings and his celebrated Fremantle Walks, all contributed towards making him a local ‘identity’. His 2006 book, Fremantle Walks, published by Fremantle Press, brought his extensive local knowledge together in a highly readable format for the benefit of visitors to the city. Closely associated with a movement in the early 1990s to set up a ‘clearing house’ for Fremantle research, David became a member of the History Society and served on the Committee from 1999 until 2004. One of his major contributions was his submission on behalf of the Society to the Fremantle Prison Heritage Precinct Master Plan. Perhaps his most solid and enduring achievement, however, was his establishment in May 1996 of Fremantle Studies Day, which in turn stimulated the appearance in 1999 of the journal Fremantle Studies, to which he became a frequent contributor. He brought a scholarly standard to the work of the Society, at the same time preaching the down-to-earth virtues of community history.