Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Anangu country story wins NT Chief Minister’s book prize

A spatial history of a remote pastoral station on Anangu country in the southwest of Central Australia has won this year’s Chief Minister’s Northern Territory History Book Award.

Shannyn Palmer’s book, Unmaking Angas Downs: Myth and History on a Central Australian Pastoral Station, explores the now-Indigenous Protected Area from an Aboriginal perspective of place, revealing new insights into the area’s social, cultural, and economic history.

Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Chansey Paech hosted the Award prize ceremony on Monday at Parliament House where Ms Palmer (pictured) was presented with her prize. Guests included authors, publishers, historians, and researchers.

“The Northern Territory has a plethora of rich and unique stories that deserve to be told, and each year the Chief Minister’s History Book Award unearths more gems from our past,” said Chief Minister Fyles.

“This Award recognises the work of those who document our history, breathing life into the bygone times that continue to shape our present.”

Judges described Ms Palmer’s book, Unmaking Angas Downs: Myth and History on a Central Australian Pastoral Station, as an “absorbing exploration of the dual history of Angas Downs, providing a brilliant analysis of the duality of Aboriginal history-making in terms of place, and non-Aboriginal in terms of time.”

Ms Palmer is a researcher and writer with a PhD in History from the Australian National University, and works to develop community-engaged practice and enable meaningful intercultural conversations and collaborations.

Her book was one of three shortlisted from the nine entries in this year’s Award including Dean Ashenden’s book, Telling Tennant’s Story: The Strange Career of the Great Australian Silence, highly commended by the panel.

The third book shortlisted by the panel was Wild Dogs of Song: The Palmerston (Darwin) Dingo Glee Club, 1895-1905 by Paolo Fabris and Steven Farram.

Established in 2004, the Award recognises the most significant book about Northern Territory history published in the previous year

“Congratulations to this year’s winner, Shannyn Palmer, whose insightful story brings a new perspective to an area with which I am very familiar,” said Minister Paech.

“Many thanks to the historians and storytellers who entered the Award this year, for these compelling works are all valuable contributions to our bank of knowledge about the Territory’s history.”

A panel of independent judges from the history and research community judge the Award, which carries prize money of $1,000 from the NT Government.

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