Forty South Van Diemen History Prize

A panel discussion and readings, from the best of the 2021 Van Diemen History Prize, moderated by UTas Associate Professor Kristyn Harman. Featuring an introduction by Emeritus Professor Stefan Petrow. Panellists: Tony Fenton, Terry Mulhern, Erica Nathan and Bradley Wood.

More about the Panellists

Emeritus Professor Stefan Petrow (Introduction)

Stefan Petrow teaches Australian, Tasmanian and European history at the University of Tasmania. His research covers all aspects of Tasmanian history from early settlement to the late twentieth century, but focuses on urban, planning, legal, social and cultural history. He has also published on British, New South Wales, Victorian and Queensland history. His books include Policing Morals: The Metropolitan Police and the Home Office 1870-1914 (1994), Going to the Mechanics: The Launceston Mechanics’ Institute 1842-1914 (1998) and (with Cary Denholm) Dr. Edward Swarbreck Hall: Colonial Medical Scientist and Moral Activist (2016). He is currently completing a history of Tasmanian soldiers who served in infantry battalions in World War One called Tasmanian Anzacs.

Associate Professor Kristyn Harman (moderator)

Kristyn Harman is an Associate Professor in History at the University of Tasmania. Her research interests cohere around socio-cultural frontiers including transportation to, and within, British colonies; frontier warfare; Indigenous incarceration; and the Australian and New Zealand home fronts during World War II. She is the author of Cleansing the Colony: Transporting Convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen’s Land (2017), longlisted for the Royal Society Te Aparangi Award in the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, 2018. In 2014, Kristyn won the Australian Historical Association Kay Daniels award for her first book, Aboriginal Convicts: Australian, Khoisan, and Māori Exiles (2012).

Panellists (finalists in the Van Diemen History Prize 2020-21)

Tony Fenton was a joint winner of the Van Diemen History Prize 2020/21. His long-standing interest in South West Tasmania – brought about by his grandfather, legendary tin-miner and naturalist Deny King – led to an exhaustive study of the history of Port Davey. Tony’s first book, A history of Port Davey, Southwest Tasmania, Volume 1: FLEETING HOPES (Forty South Publishing, 2017) was shortlisted in the Dick and Joan Green Family Award for Tasmanian History in 2018 and longlisted in the 2017 Margaret Scott Prize. His ‘Highly Commended’ entry in the Van Diemen History Prize 2018/19 appears in The Van Diemen Anthology 2019 (Forty South Publishing).

Terry Mulhern, joint winner of the Van Diemen History Prize 2020/21, is a writer and biomedical science educator at the University of Melbourne. He has published more than 50 academic research papers in peer-reviewed international journals and, since 2017, has also written about other things in other places. Terry was a finalist in the Van Diemen History Prize 2018/19 and his essay St Valentine’s Tears appears in The Van Diemen Anthology 2019 (Forty South Publishing). He has also published in Forty South Tasmania, The Conversation, Pursuit, Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania, Science Write Now and Australian Biochemist Magazine.

Erica Nathan was a finalist in the Van Diemen History Prize 2020/21 with her entry, The Forgotten Birdsmith. She has published academic work as an environmental historian, including her history of the Moorabool, Lost Waters, while her more general writing has appeared in journals such as Forty South Tasmania and Meanjin. She was shortlisted for the Nature Conservancy (Australia) Nature Writing prize with her Heard Island is a Place. She gardens alongside native birds, ambles through Hobart’s Domain, and ventures into the wider island tracking rivers and imagining past landscapes.

Bradley Wood was a finalist in the Van Diemen History Prize 2020/21 with his entry, The Mysterious Journey of Captain Charles Bayleys Cane. He has always had a passion for history. Since fleeing the mainland for Tasmania six years ago as a climate change refugee, he has worked on archaeological excavations, visited historical sites, and trawled Tasmanian archival material. He believes that to appreciate our present world we need to know and retell the stories of our past.

Biographies supplied by Forty South.