The lower part of the blue navigation
bar can have a sub menu navigation
system. To move through the sub menu
click on the "white" text.
Select HOME on the blue
menubar to return to the
Kanawinka Writers and Historians are a cooperative group of writers
with strong links to South Australia's South East.
Many of them write of it's history.
NATIONAL COMMUNTIY HISTORY AWARDS
In 1994 South East Book Promotions (now known as Kanawinka Writers and Historians)
initiated the first National Community History Awards. Its aims were not only to
recognise this growing genre but also to raise its standards and standing amongst
the wider history community. As the Award was named the Christina Smith Award
after the first Community Historian of the region, her descendants under the
leadership of Mrs Heather Carthew and Mr Ian Smith of Rendelsham, provided 10
commemorative medals for the winners. SEBP funded the prize and absorbed the costs.
These first awards in 1994 attracted considerable interest and received entries from
across Australia and entries and interest grew with each biennial event.
To meet the demand from writers of less ambitious works – at least in size and cost –
in 1995 it was decided to sponsor a second award for a smaller book of Community History.
This was named the Ebenezer Ward Award after another remarkable figure from early SA
history, who had close connections to the South East. This award first presented in
1996 attracted a new type of entrant and The Australian Council of National Trusts
undertook to provide $500 biennially for ten years to provide a prize for this award.
In 1996 BankSA agreed to sponsor the Christina Smith Award and donated the sum of
$1500 - $1000 to go the winner and $500 for administration. BankSA continued to sponsor
the Christina Smith in 1998 but, following its major financial problems, withdrew its
sponsorship which left SEBP to fund the succeeding prizes from its own resources assisted
by grants towards administrative costs by some South Eastern Local Government bodies.
However to counterbalance this bad news in the year 2000 the SA Historical Society
sponsored a prize for the Best South Australian entry from the two awards and asked
SEBP to organise this.
Involvement of the History Trust and other Bodies
Although funding was a major concern for SEBP, the awards were at the turn on the century
becoming well established among writers and in publishing and history circles. The History
Trust of SA was most supportive of the project and presentations to winners were made each
year at the State History Conference, also held biennially. The Trust provided a judge for
the competition, as did the SA Writers Centre. There was also a third judge, who either came
from one of the major libraries or a bookshop and a fourth person who acted as judge and
Entries and Endings
In 2002 the number of entries was 78 and the highest number received so far was just under 100.
Confidence was still high that these figures could be increased in the future by wider use of
the internet to reach writers and interested groups as well as through more exposure on the media,
particularly ABC regional radio and Drive Shows and advertising in The Weekend Australian
In what was to become the final competition, entries in 2004 were received from nearly all the
major publishers and from each state of the Commonwealth and three people including the town’s
mayor, travelled from far north Queensland to Adelaide to receive their award. It was sadly to be
both a high and a very low point. Despite canvassing widely the group were not able to attract
sponsors for the Awards and self-funding was no longer financially possible. There were also
other big players entering the lists. Large prizes for Community History were offered by two
States as part of their Premiers Awards . Reluctantly and with heavy hearts SEBP decided to
withdraw from the field but heads still held high because they had achieved their aim of raising
Community History to its rightful place in the History world.