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.

The prize committee for the 2016 awards comprised:
• Dr Kiera Lindsey (University of South Australia)
• Professor Kate Darian-Smith (University of Melbourne
• Professor Gillian Cowlishaw (University of Sydney)

John Barrett Award: Open Category Winner
Bartlett, Alison and Margaret Henderson, ‘What is a Feminist Object?” Feminist Material Culture and the Making of the Activist Object’, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol.40 No.2 (June) (2016): 156-171.
Bartlett and Henderson take up an ambitious analytic project. While focussing on defining feminist objects, this is more than an exercise in categorisation. Drawing on Baudrillard, Susan Pearce and others the essay provides an original contribution to museology in a number of ways. They provide a compelling argument and illustrations of the essentially political nature of feminism and thus the shifting dynamic of collections of feminist objects.

John Barrett Award: Postgraduate Category Winner
Mosmann, Petra, ‘Encountering feminist things: generations, interpretations and encountering Adelaide’s “scrap heap”’, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol.40 No.2 (June) (2016): 172-189.
Petra Mosmann’s article offers a rich meditation on relationships between feminist objects, institutional responses and feminist scholarship, highlighting the changing significance of objects over time and generations. Objects that meant a great deal to her activist forebears are unfamiliar to the author who is tasked with constructing a feminist archive from the scattered ‘scrap heap’ of second wave feminist objects — banners, badges, posters and papers. She reflects upon the way that ‘touching history’ can produce an intimate encounter that not only evokes both memory and futurity but also provides opportunity for the ‘re/making of feminist identity’.

John Barrett Award: Highly Commended (Postgraduate Category)
The judging panel identified one essay for High Commendation.
Irving, Nick, ‘Answering the “international Call”: Contextualising Sydney Anti-Nuclear and Anti-War Activism in the 1960s’, Journal of Australian Studies, Vol.40 No.3 (September) 2016: 291-301.
Nick Irving makes a new contribution to scholarship concerned with ‘peace movements’ and anti-war protests in twentieth-century Australia. While it has been previously assumed Australian activist traditions were exclusively influenced by the radical forms of USA New Left responses to the Vietnam War, Irving demonstrates how Australian movements also drew inspiration from non-violent and legal forms of activism from the British Campaigns for Nuclear Disarmament.



John Barrett Award: Open Category Winner

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.



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