McHugh Keneally Prize

McHugh-Keneally Prize for Oral History

The Prize

The prominent author, Thomas Keneally has endowed a $5,000 prize, which will be awarded in an annual amount of $500,  to honour the significance of oral history as a valuable research practice and tool of social inclusion.

As oral history is multi-disciplinary, commonly used in fields such as sociology, anthropology, history, journalism, communications studies and human rights, as well as in law, Indigenous studies and the arts, the prize will be open to all LHA undergraduates.

The prize will be determined by a panel that will include:

  • A senior delegate from the Oral History Association of Australia;
  • A representative from LHA (usually Dr Siobhan McHugh);
  • Another academic representative of LHA.

Your submission needs to be received by 11 December 2017 and will be awarded at the annual Faculty Awards Night which will be held in May/June 2018.

2017 Winner

Dancing Through Life by Kirstie Wellauer

The prize is awarded to Kirstie Wellauer, for her submission, Dancing through Life, a three-part oral history that follows the fascinating and challenging life of dancer and migrant, Margaret Pepper. The submission was made for a final assessment of JRNL302, Narrative Portfolio. It can be heard here.

The judges for the inaugural prize in 2017 were:

Dr Paula Hamilton, Adjunct Professor of History, School of Communication, University of Technology, Sydney and Adjunct Professor, Department of History, Macquarie University

Dr Georgine Clarsen, Associate Professor and Discipline Leader for History, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong

Dr Siobhan McHugh, Senior Lecturer in Journalism, School of the Arts, English and the Media, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong

The full judges' citation, as well as commendations for 2017 can be seen here


The prize will be awarded to an enrolled LHA undergraduate who demonstrates significant use of primary sources derived from oral history interviews within an assessment for that subject.

The prize will be awarded for an assessment task that best uses oral history to promote social inclusion and/or fill a gap in knowledge. The oral history may be skilfully incorporated into a narrative journalism piece, creative work or digital project, or drawn on for an academic essay. The assessment task must have achieved a mark of 75% or more and be submitted in its original format.

The piece will need to have the subject coordinator's endorsement and can be submitted at the end of semester one or two.

Oral History Definition

An oral history interview is defined here as an in-depth recorded interview canvassing a person’s lived experience and reflections on their past, conducted in a spirit of collaboration, and intended to be preserved for future researchers. A well conducted oral history interview fills a gap in knowledge and often helps interviewees to make sense of their lives, through the detailed yet distilled telling.

The interviews should be conducted to a high standard and audio recordings preserved for scrutiny. See Oral History Australia for more information. There is also some reference/research material available on the link below.