2023 Local History Awards

The Town of Victoria Park Local History Awards promote interest in the rich history of the Town by encouraging the community to explore local identities, significant events and heritage relevant to the area. These awards are held biannually.

The awards and ability to add to our local history collection means we are able to preserve the written, oral and visual history of the Town for future generations.

All of the entries into the Awards become part of the Local History Collection.

This year we are also introducing a fourth category to the Awards – that of 'Original Poetry or Performance Work'. This is for those who love to write poetry, might have written a little play about an event, story or theme from our past, or even have written a children's story to encourage our younger generation with the love of history. This is the category for you. We were inspired to add this category as in the 2021 Local History Awards we received a fantastic poem titled "Boulevard of Broken Cars" which tells the story of the car yards and life around them along the Albany Highway of the 1970s and 1980s.

About the awards


Open: 9 am Tuesday 3 January

Close: 5 pm Friday 31 March

There will be two prizes awarded in each category:

  • Personal Memoirs winner $700 and runner up $300
  • Original Research winner $700 and runner up $300
  • Photographic memories winner $700 and runner up $300
  • Original poetry or Performance work winner $700 and runner up $300.

Possible topics include, but are not restricted to:

  • The changing face of Albany Highway
  • Whadjuk Noongar history
  • Your experience of life in Victoria Park during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Research a local Soldier (WWI or other conflict)
  • How Carlisle, Lathlain, Burswood and Victoria Park have changed
  • How businesses have developed in the Town, such as the story of the corner stores; memories of furniture factories like Hearn Bros & Stead or the State Saw Mills.
  • Historic images relating to the development of the Town
  • Images documenting family life, school days, sporting club life, nature, architecture, car-yards and other businesses etc.

Entries must relate to the development of the Town of Victoria Park and can take the format of:

  • a report
  • a memoir
  • an interview with associated text or commentary
  • paintings, drawings or photographs with associated text or commentary
  • a collection of original verse or anecdotes.

Pre 2023 Local History Awards Program

Over the years, the Local History Collection at the Victoria Park Library has received, through these Awards, many wonderful photographs, poems, anecdotes, stories and original research.

Entries have covered many humorous, fascinating and intriguing aspects of our Town’s history and this year’s entries are no exception. But leading up to this the 2023 running of the Local History Awards, we knew we wanted to spread the “local history love” and encourage more entries and generate more awareness in the community.

Last year, we ran a program of events to highlight the Local History Awards, it was a Pre-Local History Awards Program aimed at increasing awareness of the Awards, and providing research guidance, hints and tips to those who may like to enter.

We have also been aware over time, that people may have been nervous about entering the Awards. One of the many reasons for this was they thought they didn’t have anything relevant or interesting to share.

We decided that one of the events in our Pre-Local History Awards Program would feature some of the winners from the 2021 event. Very graciously, four of the previous winners presented and spoke about why they entered the 2021 Awards, how they prepared their entries and how they felt about the process as a whole. They also presented their entries to the audience across two of the events and the Library received lots of positive feedback regarding how encouraged people were to hear from previous entrants. A big thank you to all those presenters: Patrick Low, Graham Carpenter, Carole Rutter and Sharon Mitchell.

A big shout out to Kris Bizzaca, a professional historian and one of our judges for this year. Kris presented two of the events in the Pre-Local History Awards Program that were both a huge success, with more people wanting to attend than could be fit into the Library!

Kris’ sessions were called “Who’s Been Living in My House?” and guided attendees in how to research the history of houses, the best resources to consult and how to interpret those records. Thank you, Kris for sharing your wonderful talent, time and passion for history with us, it is so very much appreciated.

Following on from the success of the Pre-Local History Award Program of events, the Library headed into the submission period for these Awards in January feeling cautiously excited. By the close of the submission period on the 31 March this year we had more than double the number of entries that were received in the 2021 Awards!

Thank you to the following people for their time and talent, but most of all for their very valuable gift in recording the history of our wonderful Victoria Park. We can tell the stories, because you care and have shared with us in the first place.

To all our entrants in the 2023 Local History Awards – Thank you:

Eric Brand, Graham Carpenter, Peter Furey, Kaye Hill, Trevor Hislop, Eric Keijzer, Wendy Lugg, Greg Mahney , Sharon Mitchell ,Jo Newman ,Oliver Newman ,Blake Roberts, Chiara Roberts, Carole Rutter, Pat Saunders, Les Stevens and Martin Suter.

Conditions of entry

1. Entries must be original work and all quotes and use of work by other authors must be acknowledged and referenced.

2. Entries must be relevant to the history and development of the Town of Victoria Park.

3. Entries become the property of the Town of Victoria Park Library Local History Collection, which retains the right to use an entry as it chooses, with acknowledgment of the author.

4. The judges have the right to award a category only if, in their opinion, it is justified.

5. Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

6. Entries, including the application form, must be received at the Library by 5pm Friday 31 March 2023.

7. There are four categories to the awards:

Personal Memoirs (maximum 10,000 words)

Original research (maximum 10,000 words)

Photographic memories

Original poetry or performance work

8. Photographic entries must have been taken in the Town of Victoria Park and be original photos or high quality scans (ideally 400-600 dpi) not currently held in the Town of Victoria Park Local History collection. Original photographs will be scanned and archived or returned if requested.

9. Photographic entries must have the ‘Questions about your photograph’ section of the entry form completed.

10. Members of staff, members of Council, their partners and members of their immediate families are ineligible to enter the award.


We had four categories in the 2023 Local History Awards and there were two cash prizes available as first and second prize with the judges also reserving the right to not award a prize and also to award Honourable Mentions to entries.

Photographic Memoirs

First prize was awarded to Wendy Lugg for her photograph entitled “Bleak Times for the Sinclair Family”.

The judges were captivated by the “evocative image of Henry (Harry) Sinclair, a Gallipoli veteran, who contracted tuberculosis, which progressed from his chest to his pubic bones. After two years of institutional treatment at Edward Millen House, he was given permission to go home and to be nursed by his wife. He slept on the back verandah, but spent his days on the front verandah of the family home in Hubert Street. He ‘faded’ away, dying at age 34, in 1930, leaving his wife widowed with two children at the height of the Depression. There is a 23-page file in the National Archives of Australia on this man’s war service. The image highlights the reality of life for this man, who served in Gallipoli, and his family, and reminds us of the difficulties of ordinary families living in Vic Park in a time of great upheaval.

No 2nd place or Honourable Mentions awarded.

Personal Memoirs

First prize was awarded to Kaye Hill for her entry entitled “Two Blocks of Land and a Sewing Machine: Growing up at 107 Westminster Street, East Victoria Park”.

The judges were impressed with this well presented and referenced entry. They said it is “a very detailed and comprehensive account of growing up in Westminster Street 1956-2000. Under each subheading is a wealth of information on each subject area, also bringing in the human element – neighbours, relatives, shopkeepers, [and] teachers – which add depth and colour to the story, the house, the street. An excellent personal reminiscence, backed up by a wide range of sources.” The judges and all who have seen the photograph in Kaye’s entry of her parents washing up in the kitchen, remarked that this photograph would have been a definite contender for a place if it had been entered in the ‘Photographic Memories’ section too. I will leave it up to the audience to assess their own feelings when they see the picture in the Exhibition, but now we know there is a precedent husbands! Men can help with the household chores.

Second prize was awarded to Jo Newman for her entry entitled “Copper Pots, Socks and Jocks: Life Raising 5 Boys Under a Hills Hoist in the 1950s in East Victoria Park”.

A fun and lively description of the family life of Ken and Molly Newman at 16 Whittlesford Street, East Victoria Park. The judges described this entry as “delightful, though short – well written and takes the reader through many seemingly mundane aspects of family life, starting with the copper, the central point in the house and making them interesting and informative in a very engaging way.”

An Honourable Mention was awarded to Sharon Mitchell for her entry entitled “The Dargie Family of Lot 1297 Sydenham Street, ‘Bickford Gardens’, Victoria Park”.

The judges thought that there were some “tantalising unanswered questions” raised in Sharon’s entry, but they loved the “excellent images, house plan, colourful subdivision advertising and well captioned images.”

Original Poetry or Performance Work

The judges were so impressed with Graham Carpenter’s entry into the 2021 Awards of “Boulevard of Broken Cars” that they recommended this special category be created for poetry in subsequent iterations of the awards. And we were most pleased to have received five entries into the Original Poetry or Performance Work category for its inaugural running.

The judges really appreciated the creativity and talent displayed by all the entries in this category and the visual picture they each painted of a different section of the Town’s history is of vital importance to our local history. The high calibre of entries in this category made it the judges decision most difficult and in the end their opinions were tied on two poems deserving of the first place award. So we had a tie for first prize between Erica Keijzer and Pat Saunders.

Erica Keijzer was awarded equal first prize for her poem entitled “The Great Sewage Debate”. The judges said that Erica’s poem is “a lively, entertaining account of the Victoria Park sewage debate of 1890, bringing in many aspects of the issue and its resolution”.

Pat Saunders was awarded equal first prize for her poem entitled “McCallum Park Lockdown”. This was a wonderful look at a modern piece of history and a local experience of the Covid-19 lockdowns. The judges liked that it “set the scene initially and then brings in lockdown.” It is “perceptive, topical, original and entertaining.”

The remaining three entries were awarded Honourable Mentions:

Les Stevens’ poem entitled “In the Past” was awarded an Honourable Mention with the judges saying it was a “rhyming poem, about life in Vic Park. Relevant, reads well and covers many aspects of Vic Park.”

Martin Suter’s poem entitled “In Those Early Days Which Were So Special to Us All” was awarded an Honourable Mention and the judges loved how it painted a clear picture of the lifestyle of yesteryear in an interesting way.

Graham Carpenter entered his poem that are also song lyrics entitled “Broken Hill Conversation”. The judges loved how it depicted setting of the Broken Hill Hotel in 1993, brining to life the atmosphere of the famed hotel, mentioning pool games, juke boxes and music, the hotel’s carpet, the lodgers from upstairs, bikies, girls – both raunchy and dancing. The judges loved how it really captured the spirit of the hotel, with one of the judges in particular finding that it brought the bar scene to life so that images and smells of yesteryear were brought to mind and were very real to all the senses.

Original Research

First prize was awarded to Sharon Mitchell for her entry entitled “The House That Bill Built: 28 Star Street Carlisle”. The Judges said that Sharon’s entry “paints a detailed picture of family living conditions and life in the 1940s and 1950s, highlighting the significant contribution and dedication of Bill Holmes in providing the family with their own home by building it himself. The contribution of family members in assisting Bill, is also something that would be unusual today and it is important that this is noted. Bill’s wife Jessie, though fulfilling the traditional female wifely role, was also expected to contribute to the building. Though the main proponent was undoubtedly Bill, it comes through as a family effort.”

Second prize was awarded to Trevor Hislop for his entry entitled “A Walk in Canterbury Park: A detailed look at some East Victoria Park properties representative of much of East Victoria Park, but focusing on Canterbury Terrace, 1900-1935”.

The judges commented that Trevor’s entry was ”An impressive piece of research, focussing on a particular area, bringing in not only the physical aspects of the area, but the people and their activities as well.”

No Honourable Mentions awarded in this category.

Original Research (by a School Aged Child)

Two outstanding entries were submitted by young children into the Original Research category of these Awards. The judges decided with unanimous agreement from the Local History Coordinator that it was not appropriate or fair for the children to compete with adults and professionals in the ‘Original Research’ category. Thus it was that the Judges asked for the creation of a special category, and so the new category of ORIGINAL RESEARCH (By a School Aged Child) was born.

First prize was awarded to Oliver Newman aged 10, for his entry entitled “The Burning History of the Victoria Park Fire Stations 1900-2023”. The judges said that Oliver’s entry was “a very readable narrative, informally written and using humour playing on his subject matter - ‘up in smoke’, ‘a bright spark’, ‘burning question’, ‘keeping our history alight’. A delight to read and contains a wealth of information arranged chronologically. Perceptive – critical analysis – short hoses and no hydrants, identifying that the first fire station was made largely of wood and there was a wooden ladder on the fire engine - not the best material to have in a fire. Excellent conclusion, with an overview followed by the Fireman’s Prayer.”

Second prize was awarded to the brother and sister research duo: Blake and Chiara Roberts (aged 11 and 7) and was entitled “The Story of Martin John Healy”. Martin John Healy was born in Scotland and came to Australian in 1911. His family lived in Victoria Park. In World War I, Martin served in Gallipoli and France. He was wounded several times and spent time as a prisoner of war in Germany. He is remembered for his bravery. He is also the great-great grandfather of Blake and Chiara. The judges were very impressed with the well-presented entry, that included nine pages of narrative which was generously interspersed with images, family photos and a timeline as an appendix.

Judges commended the use of headings and footnotes in Blake and Chiara’s work and said that it was “a nice little story and a great addition to the family archives. Well thought out and logically and attractively presented”.