Dr John Barrett (1931–1997) established this award by way of a bequest to La Trobe University in 1987. Dr John Barrett was a lecturer and reader at La Trobe University from 1969 until his retirement in 1990. His research specialisation was 20th-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 to 1990.
The John Barrett Award for Australian Studies is awarded annually for the best written article published by the Journal of Australian Studies. The award is administered by the International Australian Studies Association.
Two prizes are awarded each year:
- the best article by a scholar (open)
- the best article by a scholar (post-graduate).
The award comprises a cash prize of AUD$500 plus a two-year membership to InASA that includes a subscription to the Journal of Australian Studies.