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Annual Croker Prize for Biography

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

The 2024 Croker Prize for Biography is now closed. The winner will be announced in the September issue of Descent


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 and be about the entrant's relative.

·       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, as evidenced by referenced sources.

For entry form, click here.

Full terms and conditions for the 2024 prize are available here.

Please refer to our Referencing Guidelines for more detailed information.


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 Autumn/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 Spring/September issue of Descent.

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.

The theme for 2024 is: A Special Family Connection

Click on the links below to read all 32 entries.

2401: Sunshine

2402: Beryl Corsan

2403: Hidden in Plain Sight

2404: Lavinia's Legacy

2405: John Lees

2406: Charles Stokes' Powerful Family Connection

2407: In Uncle Harry's Footsteps - Bullecourt Revisited

2408: Strong Bones: Sarah Fardell

2409: Tremendous Tales and Tropical Tribulations

2410: Clara's Story

2411: My Great Grandfather Pyrland Justinian Payne

2412: From Dampsagens to Duntroon

2413: The (Button) Jar

2414: Seeking Advice from my Great Grandfather

2415: Plumb Loco about Josephine

2416: An Unassuming Man

2417: Move Over Ersatz Forbears

2418: (Francis) Augustus William Wedge

2419: Words Unspoken – The Story of Clara Jane South

2420: The Jury Man

2421: A Special Family Connection via Emma (nee Taylor) Shiels Pendergast

2422: A Life of Service

2423: The Convict Behind the Chains

2424: A Celestial Connection

2425: The Flemings - A Special Family Connection

2426: Chancing upon the “well-known brewer of Mitcham”

2427: An inspirational, indomitable lady

2428: Our Little Darling Jack

2429: Sir Robert, King George…and Hugo Fitch

2430: Wind, Water and Birds

2431: A Caribbean Methodist

2432: The Honest Yorkshire Lawyer

2433: Randwick Rumblings

2434: 200 Years of Connecting

2435: A Saintly Family Connection

2436: Annie and the Crochet Hooks

2437: Biography of Charles Muirhead Inglis

2438: When Roses are Threads

2439: Connecting with Family across the generations and Beyond

2440: The Ribbonman

2441: Eileen Temple: A Musical Legacy for Picton

2442: Beware of the Half Truth: You May Have Gotten Hold of the Wrong Half

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



Previous Themes and Winners

2023 – 'A Family Myth' – Winner: Michael Considine - Reds Under the Bed

2022 – 'Where Did I Come From?' – Winner: Bob Wright - Collits Inn

2021 – 'My Most Unexpected Research Finding' – Winner: Michele Bomford - Conduct Unbecoming: Matthew Burnside and the 'Providence' Scandal, 1826 

2020 – ‘My Most Elusive Ancestor'  – Winner: Bill Dudley - The Sad Tale of Lieutenant Philip Connor

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 ...' – Winners: Elizabeth Adams - Sailing Uncharted Waters - the wreck of Master Mariner William Whitfield (2014 Board Prize) & Bob Wright - Old Brine: Terror of the Richmond River (Brian O'Neil) (2014  Members's Choice Prize) 

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

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