2020 Awards: The winners of the Alexander Henderson and Don Grant Awards for 2020 were announced at a Zoom presentation on Sunday September 19th 2021 at 2pm. 


The Alexander Henderson Award is a prestigious award, given to an author who has taken considerable effort to research and write a family history that complies with the specified criteria. There were nine entries for the 2020 Award.

The winner is Caroline’s Dilemma: a Colonial Inheritance Saga,  by Bettina Bradbury

This is an outstanding book, and it is so much more than its title suggests.  The story is very much about the BAX and KEARNEY’s extended families in Australia, as well as containing extensive background on the KEARNEY family in Ireland.  Caroline’s story is intertwined with the two families and is interesting and intriguing.  This family history has been written as a narrative and includes extensive social context of the lives of these two early squatter families in the areas near the Victorian-South Australian border. Bettina’s book is well-written and includes in-depth analysis and explanations of why some research questions could not be answered.



There were five entries for the 2020 Award, which is presented to the person, or persons, producing the best Australian Family history submitted for that year.

The winner is Sentenced to Debt: Robert Forrester, First Fleeter, by Louise WILSON

Louise is a prolific and talented author, having published ten non-fiction books and one novel. Sentenced to Death is the second edition of her book titled simply, Robert Forrester, First Fleeter, which was Highly Commended in the 2009 Alexander Henderson Award (this was before the Don Grant Award commenced). The judges commented that this edition was an impressive work, thoroughly researched, with excellent contextual accounts. These are particularly commendable considering the scarcity of resources that Louise could find on his life. The book covers not just the life of Robert, but the interconnections and relationships of many of those with whom he came into contact. Louise examines and critiques other research in the area, and she presents a detailed study of early European life on the Hawkesbury River, the interactions with the original inhabitants, and the economic impact of the frequent flooding that took place there.

Louise also won the 2012 Alexander Henderson Award, and has entered the Don Grant Award three times, earning a First Place in 2016 and Highly Commended in 2013. Louise is the worthy winner of the 2020 Don Grant Award.


All entered books can be viewed on display at the Family History Connections Resource Centre at 1/41 Railway Rd, Blackburn. Opening hours and further information about the Awards (including entry forms for both awards) can be found on the web site www.familyhistoryconnections.org.au