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Lilian Watson Family History Award

The Award was established in 1983 with the aim of encouraging family historians to present the results of their research for others to read and enjoy and was first awarded in 1984.  It was renamed the Lilian Watson Family History Award in 1996 to honour the memory and the contributions to genealogy and family history of Mrs Lilian Watson who died in March 1996. She was the Foundation Chairman of the Society in 1980 and the first Fellow of the Society, elected in 1995.

The Award

The Award is for a book, however produced or published, printed on paper, dealing with family history and must have a significant Tasmanian content.   
In the context of the Lilian Watson Family History Award, a family history should be a work carefully and accurately researched on a single family, group of related families or a biographical history.

Definition of a Book:

A form in which the literary work is made available for reading, printed, within an enclosed cover and bound.
The history should include an index. Illustrations, that is, photographs, drawings, maps, charts, etc., should be relevant to the text, clear and well-captioned.
Pages of genealogical data in chart or list form should not take up any more than a third of the whole history. Other important inclusions are the table of contents, references and acknowledgment of sources.
Ideally the history should be reproduced in sufficient quantities for either the retail market or private sale among families, and certainly for all to enjoy reading and using. A minimum edition of ten copies is required.
The winner of the Award will receive a suitably inscribed, framed certificate, plus a cheque, the value of which is determined each year by the Society Executive and is currently $200, and one year's subscription to the Society.  All other entrants receive a certificate of participation.  The name of the winner and of the winning entry are published on this website and in the September edition of Tasmanian Ancestry.
Authors may submit more than one entry and all entries become the property of the Society, authors selecting the Branch library for lodgment. Copyright remains the property of the author unless possession is transferred to the society or elsewhere by a document signed by the author.

 Conditions of  Entry

  1. The Award may be made annually, and only one publication may be selected for an award in any one year.
  2. All entries must be in recognised book form, that is printed in some way on paper and bound with covers; entries should be indexed, and be issued in an edition of ten or more copies.
  3. Copies of the publication must have been deposited with the National Library of Australia and the appropriate state library, or the appropriate libraries for entries from other countries, as required by legislation.
  4. All entries must be submitted to the Family History Award Committee by the closing date stated on the entry form. No late entries will be accepted.
  5. Publications must not have been previously entered for the Award unless the new entry is an extensively revised new edition.
  6. Entries for the Award must have a significant Tasmanian content; e.g. more than half the content of the entry must be Tasmanian based.
  7. Entries must be the story of a family or biographical history - a collation of factual details, woven into a story. Historical fiction is not eligible.
  8. Authors may submit more than one entry.
  9. The entry must be submitted by the author or authors.
  10. Each entry accepted for judging will remain the property of the Branch Library of the Society designated on the entry form. A special Lilian Watson Family History Award bookplate will be affixed to each entry.
  11. Award winners must allow the Society to publicise their entry following the announcement of the winner of the Award.
  12. The Society reserves the right not to make the Award in any one year.
  13. Copyright is not required to be transferred to the Society and remains with the author or publisher.

The Judging Panel

  1. The Award shall be determined by an independent judging panel of three persons approved by the Society. 
  2.  The judging panel must include a genealogist or person experienced in genealogical research. The other two members of the judging panel will be chosen from the following categories:
    1. a qualified librarian
    2. a writer or literary critic of note
    3. an historian or compiler of historical or archival material.  
  3. Entries will be judged on scope and detail of the history, depiction of the family/individual in its historical setting, historical accuracy, English expression, arrangement of material, quality of layout type and printing, quality of illustrations and the relevance of these to the text. Indexing should be accurate and comprehensive and genealogical tables clear and easy to follow. Sources of information should be acknowledged and references clearly listed. The judges will also assess how successful the work is in presenting the family or biographical history in terms of the Award and its Tasmanian content.  
  4. The Judges will assess each entry under the following headings:
    1. Presentation including accuracy of statement, scope and detail
    2. English expression, arrangement, etc – 40 marks
    3. Indexing and genealogical tables – 20 marks
    4. References and/or bibliography – 20 marks
    5. The work as a whole – 20 marks.
  5. The decision of the judging panel shall be final, subject to endorsement by the society before public announcement of the Award.  Your name may appear on the society website.  
  6. The Award is made to the person or persons producing, in the opinion of the judges, the best family or biographical history of those submitted for that year.  

2024 Lilian Watson Family History Award

A book, however produced or published on paper, dealing with a family or biographical history and having a significant Tasmanian content.   Entries close 1 December 2024. 

A PDF version of the 2024 Lilian Watson Family History Award brochure may be downloaded here.

A copy of the 2024 Lilian Watson Family History Award entry form may be downloaded in PDF format or MS Word format (editable) 

Further information and entry forms are available from all TFHS Inc. Branch Libraries or email the Award Coordinator

Past Winners

Year Category Title Author(s)
2022 Book The Legacy of John Headlam of Egleston, Macquarie River, Tasmania Carol Bacon
2021 Book The Gatenby Saga: The Story of Andrew Gatenby from Barton and His Descendants. Life Along the PennyRoyal Creek, Tasmania. David Gatenby and Carol Bacon
2020 Book Risby Ancestors: From convict beginnings Warwick H. L. Risby
2019 Book The Master of Hell's Gates: William Kinghorne       Chris Maxwell & Alex Pugh
2018 Book From Proteus to Prosterity: In the steps of John Walduck (1809-1886) Susan G. Scott (editor)
2017 Book Home from War: Stories from the Newstead War Service Homes. Kaye Simpson and Julienne Richards
2016 Book Sarah Bromley: Success, Sorrow and Scandal in Van Diemen's Land. Don Bradmore and Judith Carter
2015 Book No award made.
2014 Book Building on firm foundations. The Cooper family in Tasmania: stonemasons, builders and architects. Lorraine Dooley
2013 Book Pioneers, Ploughmen and Pull-Shots Cecily Dougan
2012 Book Win & Clyde: side by side in Tasmania's far South West Janet Fenton
2011 Book Barnard born & bred: Tasmanian branches and Norfolk roots Jacquie Drohan
2010 Book Making Their Own Way - The Dunbabins on Maria Island 1869-1876 Tom Dunbabin
2009 Book That's the Way It Was: Stories from the Bradmore Family Past Donald James Bradmore
2008 Book Thomas Diprose and Elizabeth Children Diprose of Kent and Van Diemen's Land Strangers 
(Volume 1 book & Volume 2 CD-ROM)
Elizabeth Parkes and Jean Doggett
2007 Book Sergeant Samuel Thorne, A Royal Marine in the Napoleonic Wars and a first settler of Port Phillip and Hobart Town Malcolm Ward
2006 Book She lived in Launceston: Isobel Horner of Waratah House Sally Dammery
2005 Book The Bidencope Story Irene Schaffer
2004 Book Madge's People in the island of Tasmania Rosemary Brown
2003 Book Holycross; the story of the O'Mara family Judith Borrick
2002 Book James Fenton of Forth : A Tasmanian Pioneer 1820-1901 Paul Fenton
2001 Book Buttons, Bodices, Braces and Britches Alan Dyer
2000 Book Cattle King of Van Diemen's Land, William Field (1774-1837) Claudia M Dean
1999 Commercially published book The von Bibra Story Louis Nyman and Graeme von Bibra
1998 Manuscript The Story of John and Elizabeth Carey Allison Carins
1997 Home produced
From Shere to Eternity; a History of the Moody family of Van Diemen's Land John Meehan
1996 Commercially published book Of Yesteryear and Nowadays Paul B Edwards
1995 Manuscript William Lindsay: from Convict to Entrepreneur Claudia M Dean
1994 Home produced
The Greys of Circular Head John Davies
1993 Commercially published book Linked, Chains and Lineage Tony Satchell
1992 Manuscript Private George Smith of His Majesty's Royal Marines lrene Schaffer
1990 Manuscript The Whiting Family of the Sheoak Hills Rosamonde C Combes
1990-91 Book Go ... be Fruitful and Multiply Elizabeth J Parkes & Maurice V French (eds)
1988-89 Book The Norfolk Settlers of Norfolk Island and VDL Peter Sims
1988-89 Manuscript The Blackall­Biggins­ Smith Story Noreen Stubbs
1986-87 Manuscript Stewart & Ellen Smillie Maree Ring
1985-86 Book Winton Merino Stud 1835-1985 Vera C Taylor
1983-84 Book From Chains to Freedom (vol 1: The Garth-Bellett family) Thais Mason
1983-84 Manuscript Henry Pearce (1813-1901) and his Descendants Annette Macquarie


Past Entries

A PDF list of all entries since the inception of the award, along with the names of the judging panels and, from 1998 onwards, which branch library holds the entry, may be downloaded here.

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Site last updated May 2024