Book Award & Media Award

About the awards

Oral History Australia introduced its Book Award and Media Award for the first time in 2019 to encourage innovative and excellent applications of oral history.

Like the Hazel de Berg Award for Excellence in Oral History, these two awards are generally timed to coincide with the OHA Biennial Conference.

In 2021 when the biennial conference was postponed for 12 months due to COVID-19 restrictions, the OHA decided to proceed with the 2021 book and media awards but postpone the Hazel de Berg Award until the conference in 2022.

Applications for the 2024 round of awards are now being accepted. The deadline for submission is 31 August 2024.

Book Award recipients

Author: Mia Martin Hobbs

Book title: Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans’ Journeys

Book publisher: Cambridge University Press, October 2021

Online information:

Brief description: Mia Martin Hobbs’ Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans’ Journeys is an insightful analysis of memories of war and place.

Judges Comments

The judges are unanimous in awarding the 2022 Oral History Australia Book Award to Mia Martin Hobbs’ Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans’ Journeys.

Martin Hobbs has undertaken fifty-four interviews with American and Australian veterans, which she has supplemented with numerous published recollections. Her analysis of the often-conflicting accounts is insightful and nuanced, deftly managing challenging subject matter with grace and skill. 

In her examination of return journeys, Martin Hobbs has crafted a history of war’s long aftermath, as well as the ways in which place and memory entwine. As such, the book, with its origins as a PhD thesis, makes a significant contribution to military history, certainly, but also to scholarship on memory, place, trauma, masculinity, race, and national identity. Although some editorial issues suggest a hurried production process, Return to Vietnam is very well structured and written. Martin Hobbs’ book deserves a wide readership and is a highly deserving winner of this award.

Joint winners

Many Maps, Charting Two Cultures, First Nations and Europeans in Western Australia

By Bill and Jenny Bunbury (UWA Publishing, 2020)

In the Eye of the Storm: Volunteers and Australia’s response to the HIV/AIDS

By Robert Reynolds, Shirleene Robinson and Paul Sendziuk (NewSouth Publishing, 2021)

Peg Fraser

Black Saturday: Not the end of the story

Author: Peg Fraser

Publisher: Monash University Publishing, 2018, Web address:

Find out more about the book and the judges comments.

Book cover

Media Award recipients

Creator: Jeannine Baker

Project title: The Women Who Made Australian Television

Online information:

Brief Description: The Women Who Made Australian Television is a series of five online multimedia articles researched and written by Jeannine Baker, hosted by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA).

Judges’ comments

This five-part multimedia series is a deeply engaging, accessible and immersive introduction to women’s experiences of working in early Australian television production. Each article highlights a different theme of women’s work in television. Baker uses both audio interviews and video oral histories to illuminate the experiences of several women who worked in the industry. The series features extracts from interviews conducted by different interviewers, including Baker, recorded at various points across the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. The oral histories offer rich personal insights into the opportunities, joys, demands, and barriers that interviewees encountered while working in the industry, and explain some of the technical aspects of the creation of early television in Australia.

The oral histories are contextualised within an impressive array of other evocative sources including archival footage of old television programs, photographs, and letters. The series also increases awareness of the NFSA’s oral history collection, as the project involved digitalising analogue audio interviews (which are showcased in the series) and providing the NFSA with accompanying transcripts for future research.

Stories of Strength

The winner is: Stories of Strength: Songs and Stories from Anne Street Reserve 2021.

Using material from the Anne St Reserve Oral History and Concert Project, Stories of Strength was a concert that was produced by Big MAMA Productions, and performed in Broome in May 2021.

View the video –

Joint winners

A City Responds to Crisis: Volunteers and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sydney 1980s-1990s

The Making of Mardi Gras

Find out more about these projects and the judges comments.

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