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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 theme for the 2021 Croker Prize for Biography is:  'My most unexpected research finding'. 

Submissions will close 31 May 2021. Please email any questions regarding the prize to info(at) or telephone the office.


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 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 2021 was: My Most Unexpected Research Finding. Click on the links below to read all 29 entries.

2101: The Curious Case of Raymond Moulton O'Brien

2102: Thank You George

2103: Why Did Stefano Haskitt Change his Name to John Stanton?

2104: A Shattered Life

2105: Selective Memory

2106: Conduct Unbecoming: Matthew Burnside and the 'Providence' Scandal, 1826

2107: My Kingdom for a Crown

2108: The Prisoner Haynes, Said Nothing in her Defence

2109: Oh Brother

2110: The Long Lost Brother and his Heirs

2111: My Most Unexpected Research Finding

2112: Carving the Future

2113: The First Wife of George Moss

2114: The Day the Spanish Raiders went out the Window

2115: Nun on the Run

2116: Fraudster or Upright Banker?

2117: I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife

2118: Where the Coolabahs Grow

2119: A Connection to the Sea-Faring Cat, Trim!

2120: My Most Unexpected Research Finding

2121: Mrs Bebtzen's Wanut Workbox

2122: Fifteen Words

2123: Mary's Ordeal

2124: Elenor McGuinn - A Long Journey Home

2125: The Coffey Connection

2126: Arthur

2127: Phantom - Richard Henry Thompson

2128: Where the Dickens is Prince Albert?

2129: A Voice Immortalised in Fiction - Nurse Mary Ellen Warmington


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



Previous Themes and Winners

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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