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Annual Croker Prize for Biography

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The Croker Prize for Biography is a great way to hone your writing skills and share your family history stories

The 2020 Croker Prize for Biography is now open with the theme: My Most Elusive Ancestor. Entries close 31 May 2020.


The Croker Prize for Biography is a wonderful opportunity for you to hone your writing skills, share your family history stories and demonstrate your research. It also enables the Society to showcase your work to assist other members with their research and writing.

Entrants are to write a 800-1000 word biography on an individual, based on original research, which must be related to the selected annual theme. 

Entries are judged according to the following criteria:

·       Entries must relate to the identified theme.

·       Entries should be well written, informative and entertaining.

·       Entries must be logically organised with an introduction and conclusion, using good grammar and spelling.

·       Entries should demonstrate good genealogical research skills.

Full terms and conditions are available here: CONDITIONS


The annual Croker Prize for Biography was established in 2014 in memory of Colin and Loas Croker, who thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Society to research their family trees. Through this annual prize, we acknowledge the very generous benefaction they left to us after their deaths.

A different theme for the competition is set each year, which is announced in the March journal and on the website. Members can submit one entry each on that theme, with the winner chosen by a committee of former recipients and Society representatives. A cash prize of $1000 is awarded to the winner and their entry is published in the September issue of Descent.

Click on each of the links below to read all of the 33 entries received for 2020.

2001_Elizabeth Donaldson.pdf

2002_Alice Tracing the Thread.pdf

2003_Grandma was an Alien.pdf

2004_The Unknown Soldier.doc.pdf

2005_Finding the Real Thomas Walsh.pdf

2006_A Twist in the Tale.pdf

2007_The Riddle of the Sarahs.pdf

2008_A Master of Elusion - Thomas Nepean Gray.pdf

2009_Down the Rabbit Hole.pdf

2010_James Connolly A Self Made Man.pdf

2011_The Tailor from Printing Office Street.pdf

2012_Are the Clues in the Tattoos.pdf

2013_A Ninety Year Mystery Solved.pdf

2014_My Most Elusive Ancestor.pdf

2015_Just Plain Alice.pdf

2016_Who Were You and Where Did You Go.pdf

2017_My Most Elusive Ancestor.pdf

2018_Francis Cotterill - Artist.pdf

2019_The 20 Year Search for James William Humphreys.pdf

2020_My Most Elusive Ancestor.pdf

2021_May Day.pdf

2022_Elusive Annie.pdf

2023_The Sad Story of Lieutenant Philip Connor.pdf

2024_Hiding in Plain Sight.pdf

2025_Edie Exposed .pdf

2026_The Professor of Natural Philosophy.pdf

2027_Master Elusive Eliza - Opening Pandora's Box.pdf

2028_Orphan Girl in Mourning Dress.pdf

2029_Showdown at the Blue Bell Inn.pdf

2030_An Acadian Downunder.pdf

2031_Elusive William Stockand.pdf

2032_The Elusive Mr Jones.pdf

2033_But Names Will Never Hurt You.pdf

All entries remain on the website for the current and previous year and are then transferred to the Society's digital archive system, where they will be found through the MIDAS catalogue.

Use the link below to download and read entries for the previous two years.



Previous Themes and Winners

2019 – ‘A Woman of Influence’ – Winner Wendy Pryor - ‘The Indomitable Miss Jane Skillicorn’

2018 - 'A life-changing experience' - Winner Patricia Smith - 'A double-edged sword'

2017 - 'A Tough Life' - Winner Kim Hatherly - A Boy from Shoreditch'

2016 - 'The Ancestor I most admire is ... ' - Winner Christine Collins - Dan's Legacy

2015 - 'My immigrant's story' - Winner Bob Wright - Granny Greenhalgh (2015 Board Prize & 2015 Members' Choice Prize)

2014 - 'The blackest sheep in my family's flock was ...'

Winner Members's Choice Category - Bob Wright - Old Brine: Terror of the Richmond River (Brian O'Neil)

Winner Board Category - Elizabeth Adams - Sailing Uncharted Waters - the wreck of Master Mariner William Whitfield.

Image: Narrabeen Newport bus 1919, SAG Manuscript and Image Collection, Item 6/1338

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