Last updated:

17 October 2016

A book about the history of Mechanics’ Institutes of Victoria has been awarded top prize at this years’ Victorian Community History Awards at a ceremony held at the Arts Centre today.  

Mechanics’ Institutes in Victoria have historically been meeting places for adult education, entertainment and the arts. The book These Walls Speak Volumes: A History of Mechanics’ Institutes in Victoria by Pam Baragwanath and Ken James, provides an insight into their pioneering role as one of Victoria’s earliest community organisations.  

Magda Szubanski was awarded the Judges’ Special Prize for her autobiography Reckoning, delving into her father’s dark past, while Anne Doyle’s book about the Somali community of West Heidelberg, Wadaddi Nabadda. Paths to Peace, won the inaugural Cultural Diversity Award.    

Other winning entries included a book about activism during 1970s Melbourne, the story of Hector Crawford and documentaries about Malvern’s gifted Jewish sculptor Karl Duldig.   

The Victorian Community History Awards are presented by Public Record Office Victoria in partnership with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, and funded by the Victorian Government.  

A major event of History Week, the annual Victorian Community History Awards recognise the work of individuals and organisations committed to telling stories of local history.  

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“These fantastic award winning projects document our history and the development of Victoria as we know it today.” “I want to congratulate every winner on their contribution to detailing the many stories and perspectives of Victoria’s rich history.” 

Quotes attributable to Public Record Office Director and Keeper of Public Records Justine Heazlewood

“From books about citizens and institutions, to documentaries, websites and valuable online databases – these projects provide the entire community with rich and diverse resources for learning about the history of Victoria.”

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