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Philip Temple Wins Prestigious History Prize

New Zealand Author Philip Temple Wins Prestigious History Prize

Dunedin author Philip Temple’s A Sort of Conscience: The Wakefields (2002; Auckland University Press, Bowker-Thorpe Publisher of the Year) has won the prestigious Ernest Scott History Prize.

The Ernest Scott History Prize is awarded annually to the most distinguished contribution to the History of Australia or New Zealand published in the previous year.

The Prize was announced on 28 September during the Australian Historical Association Regional Conference in Mildura, Victoria.

This year the two judges were Professor Peter Hempenstall of the University of Canterbury and Professor Lyndal Ryan of the University of Newcastle. Describing A Sort of Conscience as a major work of history, the judges said:

The character of Edward Gibbon Wakefield has eluded historians of 19th century British colonial history for many decades. Yet his influence was enormous. Philip Temple has taken a creative solution to this problem by producing a scintillating biography of the Wakefield family over three generations. Temple places the family in the context of their times, and uses their letters, journals and public writings, to let us hear the Wakefields in their own voices.

This is a major work of history that offers new insights into the formation of 19th century settler colonial policy and shows how members of the Wakefield family participated in its outcomes in three colonies.

The prize continues a wonderful year for Philip Temple. He is this year’s recipient of the Creative NZ Berlin Residency (and is currently in Berlin). A Sort of Conscience was named Biography of the Year at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in July, won the ARANZ Ian Wards prize in early September and has now won the Ernest Scott Prize at the end of the month.

The ARANZ Ian Wards Prize recognises an outstanding piece of published historical writing that “makes imaginative and constructive use of New Zealand archives and/or manuscripts”.

The Ernest Scott Prize is based on a bequest given to the History Department of the University of Melbourne by Mrs Emily Scott in memory of her husband, Sir Ernest Scott, who held a Professorship in the department for 23 years.

This year’s runners-up included two Australian histories and another New Zealand title:

Jim McAloon, No Idle Rich: The wealthy in Canterbury and Otago, 1840-1914, Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2002, 220pp. (the Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2003 History of the Year)

Mary Anne Jebb, Blood, Sweat and Welfare: A History of White Bosses and Aboriginal Pastoral Workers, Crawley: University of Western Australia Press, 2002, 352 pp.

Rebe Taylor, Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island, Kent Town: Wakefield Press 2002, 368 pp.

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