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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 2021 Croker Prize for Biography will be open to entries early in the new year.  Submissions will close 31 May 2021.


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.

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.

This year's winner is Bill Dudley with The Sad Tale of Lieutenant Philip Connor.

2000_Croker Prize Entries 2020_List with Names.pdf

2001_Elizabeth Donaldson_John Stanhope.pdf

2002_Alice Tracing the Thread_Robert Wills.pdf

2003_Grandma was an Alien_Laurel Fisher.pdf

2004_The Unknown Soldier_Bob Wright.pdf

2005_Finding the Real Thomas Walsh_Rowan Morrison.pdf

2006_A Twist in the Tale_Coral Wynter.pdf

2007_The Riddle of the Sarahs_Clem Ditton.pdf

2008_A Master of Elusion - Thomas Gray_Jennifer Oswald-Sealy.pdf

2009_Down the Rabbit Hole_Sue Bulbrook.pdf

2010_James Connolly A Self Made Man_Barbara Reen.pdf

2011_The Tailor from Printing Office Street_Judith Neville.pdf

2012_Are the Clues in the Tattoos_Marianne Young.pdf

2013_A Ninety Year Mystery Solved_Patricia Braden.pdf

2014_My Most Elusive Ancestor_Marilyn Long.pdf

2015_Just Plain Alice_Julie Webb.pdf

2016_Who Were You and Where Did You Go_Diana Pecar.pdf

2017_A Happy End to an American-Australian-European Search for an Elusive Ancestor_Douglas Claus.pdf

2018_Francis Cotterill - Artist_Peter Sinclair.pdf

2019_The 20 Year Search for James William Humphreys_Genny Kang.pdf

2020_Mary Mary Quite Contrary_Vanessa Bland.pdf

2021_May Day_John Callaghan.pdf

2022_Elusive Annie - Who was Annie Taylor_Colin Kilduff.pdf

2023_The Sad Tale of Lieutenant Philip Connor_Bill Dudley.pdf

2024_Hiding in Plain Sight_Fiona Lane.pdf

2025_Edie Exposed_Margaret Dalkin.pdf

2026_The Professor of Natural Philosophy_Natalie Lonsdale.pdf

2027_Elusive Eliza - Opening Pandora's Box_Leonie Worrall.pdf

2028_Orphan Girl in Mourning Dress_Marianne Larkin.pdf

2029_Showdown at the Blue Bell Inn_Jim Fleming.pdf

2030_An Acadian Downunder_Elizabeth Crock.pdf

2031_Elusive William Stockand_Gordon Hughes.pdf

2032_The Elusive Mr Jones_Holly Fitzgerald.pdf

2033_But Names Will Never Hurt You_Ray Parkins.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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