The Annual John Barrett Prize

Dr John Barrett (1931-1997) established this award by way of a bequest to La Trobe University in 1987. Dr Barrett was a lecturer and reader at La Trobe University from 1969 until his retirement in 1990. His research specialisation was twentieth-century Australian history, particularly national involvement in the world wars. Dr Barrett was a member of the Journal of Australian Studies editorial board from 1979-1990.

The John Barrett Award for Australian Studies is awarded annually for the best-written article published by the Journal of Australian Studies (JAS). Two prizes are awarded each year:
• The best article by a scholar (open)
• The best article by a scholar (postgraduate)

The award comprises a cash prize of AUD$500 plus a year’s membership to InASA (including a subscription to Journal of Australian Studies). A prize committee established by the International Australian Studies Association (InASA) executive makes the award each year.



John Barrett Award: Open Category



Nathan Garvey, ‘“Folkalising” Convicts: a “Botany Bay” Ballad and its Cultural Contexts’, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol.38 No.1 (March) (2014): 32–51.


This article examines the transnational history of the iconic Australian song ‘Botany Bay’, tracking its purported origins as a convict ballad and its evolution through British print culture to its contemporary Australian folk status. In bringing an impressive depth of original historical research to a topic widely misunderstood both within and outside the academy, Nathan Garvey makes a significant contribution to both the field of Australian Studies and the broader public sphere.


John Barrett Award: Highly Commended (Open Category)

The judging panel identified one essay for High Commendation.

Mark McKenna, ‘Tokenism or belated recognition? Welcome to Country and the Emergence of Indigenous Protocol in Australia, 1991–2004’, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol.38 No.4 (December) (2014): 476–89,


Mark McKenna’s article analyses the origins, historical development and historical significance of the Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies. In canvassing a range of indigenous and non-indigenous commentaries McKenna addresses the debate over the role and efficacy of this protocol. In addressing a widely recognized topic but one that has received scant critical attention to date, this article furthers public awareness of a significant issue.


NB: There being no eligible articles for the postgraduate category, there is no John Barrett award in this category for 2014.